Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Book-Story Challenge

This is a story I'm writing for The Book-Story Challenge hosted by A Casual Reader. It is about Leila, a pitiful 7-year-old Afghan girl who was forced to marry someone she barely knew because of her lawless felon of a father. This story was inspired by the real-live happenings in Afghan, a place where a girl's purity is highly regarded, where men often used their religion as a weapon to shield their notorious crimes. Please let me know what you think of this story. Thank you!

Afghan Girl
Leila was only 7 when she was married. She was so young, so fragile, so weak, so helpless. She was such a pretty girl, but she would never smile again. She was tormented in the ways one could never imagine. She was abused mentally and physically. Her heart was sore and wounded, her soul was in patches, her life shattered, her joy never to be found again.

*****

Yusuf stepped into the threshold of his house, calling out loud to his wife. His wife, a pretty woman named Nadia quickly put down the food on the dining table and ran out of the kitchen. She feared him because of his hot temper and intolerable ways. He was the head of the house, the big boss. No one was ever allowed to question his words and decisions.

"Our daughter will be marrying the son of Karim in three days time. You are to teach her whatever she needs to know." Yusuf said.

"But she is merely 7 years old!" Nadia replied with a controlled tone, even though deep inside she felt shocked and frustrated.

"You will do as you are told." Yusuf replied icily, his tone harsh.

"Please tell me what has happened. Leila is only a young girl, how can you do this to her?" Nadia pleaded, her eyes starting to water.

Yusuf remained silent, and his wife's tears eventually broke free as she thought of all the bad things that would come upon her daughter for marrying at such a tender age.

*****

Nadia later found out the truth behind her daughter's sudden marriage. And she realized what a beast Yusuf actually was. A week ago, her good for nothing husband snuck into Karim's beautiful 18-year-old daughter, Aisyah's private chambers while no one was looking. He later forced herself unto the still sleeping Aisyah and robbed her innocence. When Karim discovered the terrible fate which had descended on her beloved daughter, he was furious and wanted to bring Yusuf to the Justice Hall. But Yusuf threatened that everyone would know his daughter was impure and this would bring his family great shame and humiliation. Karim shivered in anger and pulled out his sword from its sheath. He vowed to seek vengeance for his poor daughter. Yusuf immediately thought of a way to save himself - to give his daughter to Karim's son to be treated in any way he wished.

*****

On the day of her marriage, Leila was not dressed up in extravagant, luxurious marriage robes, neither did she receive any kind words from her father. She was scared and sad to be leaving her home, and she expected the worst after marrying a stranger whom she barely knew. Her marriage was one full of shame and dishonour, for she bore a terrible burden - the guilt of her father's beastly acts. The only sounds she heard before departing were her mother's weeping and irrepressible moans.

*****

After eight miserable years under Karim's roof, Leila had learned to shut herself in. She spoke nothing at all, and she had already turned invincible to the curses showered upon her whenever she did a mistake. Her body was covered with with scars and stripes. Her in-laws constantly caned her, and once in a while they would whip her like a horse and burn her skin with hot iron just for fun. Her painful cries were drowned by the cackles of her 'family' who were evil at heart. Her heartless husband once kicked her down a fleet of stairs when she was sick and unable to work. Sometimes, she wondered if heaven really exists. She often wished she were dead. She was a living dead girl, anyway. No one could save me, she thought. To her, joy, peace and happiness did not exist. Her days were full dark, no stars. Looking at the small bottle in her hands, she unscrewed the cap and finished the contents in a gulp. Before she fell, she prayed to God that He would grant her her only wish. She didn't care if she ended up in Hell, because staying in this ugly, twisted, loveless house was worse than Hell itself. For the first time since forever, she closed her eyes and smiled as her consciousness slowly faded away.

*****

In the evening, Leila's husband walked into their bedroom, only to find his wife's lifeless body on the bed.

"This damned woman! She can't even find a better place to die!" he cursed and spat on Leila's cold body.