One Thousand And One Nights
One Thousand And One Nights
Author’s Note: I will confess that “sucked-into-video-game” styled stories have always been a guilty pleasure of mine. My only complaint is that they always tend to follow the same formula. With that in mind, I am going to try and switch things up a bit with this story. I hope you enjoy it, and regardless of the feedback being good or bad, I would love to hear your thoughts.
By the time you are nine-years-old, you are already considered a woman. In my mother’s country, you could already be married off at that age. You could live in a house with your husband’s family, you could bare children, and you can consumate your marriage even before you are of a mature age. Alas, I am not nine, I am not married, and in many respects, I’m not yet a woman. At least, I’ve never felt that way.
To be perfectly honest, I’ve always felt like a child. My family may have disciplined me into being quiet and intelligent, to pray five times a day to Allah, to read the Qur’an and wear the hijab, and always to get good grades, but I’ve always felt this longing for adventure. They wanted me to grow up quickly so I would have a future that was every bit as special and important as the ones promised to other American children. But during my studies, my mind would always wander to imaginary worlds of castles, dragons, fairies, and of knights and princesses that banded together to save the day.
And that feeling would build in my chest: warm and comforting, so light that it can almost lift you off your feet, whispering promises of laughter and happiness to come. It isn’t easy being a Muslim in a sixth grade class full of conservative Christians, girls with gothic make up, or boys with their pants worn so low that their underwear shows. Despite how different they all are from each other, all of them were the same in their treatment towards me. At the very least, my imagination would offer feelings of companionship. Close friends who would accept me for who I was and not for what I wore or how many times I had to stop and pray throughout the day. At least, when I had finished my homework and had the time to write and draw in my notebooks, I could return to that imaginary place of peace and happiness. And sometimes, as childish as it may sound, I would pretend that such a place existed.
Then I was killed.
At least, that’s what I think happened.
The nicest aspect of imagination is that, in your own world, there are no Islamophobes. There are no people who want you dead simply because you are Muslim. You don’t have to worry about stepping into the mosque and some scary man driving a van full of explosives into the building. He wanted to take out as many Muslims as he could, and one of them was me.
Everything happened so suddenly that it’s hard to recall exactly how it happened. I remember hearing glass shattering. The doors leading into the mosque were made of glass, so I assume that was where the van drove into the building. There was the sound of doors being broken down, or wood snapping, and then the blast. I was the closest to the wall where the explosion went off. I remember feeling something smash against the side of my head and I briefly remember the heat that followed. There was nothingness for awhile: I could not see, think, or hear anything that was happening around me. I could not feel anything anymore. The best way I can accurately describe it would be a black out. Because it happened so quickly, I did not have time to register whether or not I was dead.
I reached that conclusion when I woke up here. The Qur’an describes paradise as a place of large trees, sweet water, and pure soil of musk. The dwellers of heaven would not feel the excessive heat of the sun, nor the excessive cold of the moon. It is a realm of magnificence.
This afterlife did not fit that exact description. There were trees larger than any I have seen in this life. There was water, beautiful and sweet, with the ability to heal me if I were hurt, or provide me with energy when I was weary. There was soil so pure that flowers and plants of all kinds could grow. It was indeed a realm of magnificence, but also a realm of both wonder and ruin.
There were times that were heartbreaking. There were moments where I was sure I was going to die a second death. There were moments where we would walk and walk and walk with no chance of knowing if we would ever truly reach our destination.
But there were moments of happiness and laughter. There were moments where we could laugh about the hardships we had just overcome. And there was that feeling of acceptance. I had found people who did not hate me for what I wore or what I worshipped.
Before I continue with my story, I should introduce myself:
My name is Nasira. I was twelve-years-old when I died and woke up on the Mist Continent.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 4 January 2017
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