Tell A Tale in 500 Words

The Abdellas By Hannah Bavage

She once told me, while most people are good there will always be others- like the Abdellas who are not, and the rich waves of coloured cloak tumbling from head to toe isn’t there to wonder at, but to shame and stare, with faces curved into question marks as the mumbling town scratches whispers into their skin.

She once told me, they are different; their skin a darker shade with eyes of coffee black. The complete opposite of her almost translucent skin stretched like paper beneath lips redder than blood, and eyes so blue they sit like steel in their sockets.

She once told me, they are lazy. That people on benefits often are, but them even more so. Because not only are they leaching from our government, stuffing their 'empty' cupboards with fine silks and rich foods, but when they finally settle into jobs, they steal ours. Those terrorists who think they have the right to steal from our country, as their own is ripped apart by the religion they created.

She once told me, I should never, never speak to the Abdella’s. People like them exist to be acknowledged.

The news howls like a storm, constantly kicking up the same stories. Casualty, terrorism, Muslim. Death, destruction, Muslim. That word is like a stagnant sickness floating under the statistics, seeping its way through with crooked silver hands. Muslim. Muslim. Muslim. When I asked her why there are no Christian terrorists she narrowed her eyes and told me Christians couldn’t be terrorists. Our religion isn’t founded on destruction.

Why would anyone found a religion on destruction?

She smiled tightly and said nothing more. I think now, she may not have known the answer herself.

Then there is Allah. He is merciful and forgiving and I think that’s why people can do such terrible things; they honestly believe they will be forgiven and who knows? Maybe they will be. Is that how religion works? Forgiveness for the guilty, injustice for the innocent? We are taught that our God is all loving but I secretly wonder where his love was when fire splashed the skies.

The Abdellas are in my class and everyone, even the teachers seem to keep their distance. It’s as if they radiate some form of poison, seeping out between their fingertips and curling onto the very pages they stain with their writing. They leave at random intervals to pray separately and I am certain they are blinded by their own faith. Maybe in that respect we are not so different.

These dangerous thoughts begin to fester.

I tire of hearing the same white-hot comments spat at the TV- she lost her job last week- now instead of cooked meals we live off micro-waved chaff. All night she crawls through our house like an insect, bottle in one hand, glass in the other, and paints our walls with lies.

Until one day, the Abdellas leave. In their wake sits my town, as dazed and as empty as my mother’s eyes.


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