Kalimat / Words Magazine

Page 1




2012  |  ISSUE 1


25 fr Life & Love*Stories EDITION S the Past * Children's ies*Hopes & Dreams* Fantasy & Fiction*Life Love*Stories from the t*Children's Stories*H & Dreams*Fantasy & tion*Life & Love*Stor from the Past*Childre Stories*Hopes & Drea Fantasy & Fiction*Life TH



Contents + Publisher


RAK Colleges Creative Writing Centre


+ Editor-in-Chief

Susan Bainbridge

+ Content Editor

Patricia O’Shea

Copy Editors: Aaron Kingsley; Alycia Sayer; Daniel Carroll; Doug Lovett; Dr. Samah Khalil; Giovanna Bejjani; Greg Maddox; Jane Chalton; Judi Moy; Kate Quinlan; Monica Sturgess; Robin Manson; Sarah Eccleston; Sheri Henderson; Sue Fine; Wayne Bauche

+ Graphic Designer Clarisa Carubin

+ Writers

Aamena Al Shehhi Halima Rashed Hessa Ali Mansoor Mohamed Rashed Al Shehhi Mouza Rashed Onood Ahmed Saeed Mohamed Ahmed Abdulla Saeed Thuwaini Sana Mohammed Al Shehhi Suaad Hasan Tahreer Rashed Al Naqbi The Nemesis

+ Ras Al Khaimah Colleges P.O. Box 4792 Ras Al Khaimah United Arab Emirates http://www.creativewritingcentre.com For queries, please contact: Susan Bainbridge / susan.bainbridge@hct.ac.ae



iv Creative Writing Centre Dr. Bob Moulton

Dr. Triona Croke Susan Bainbridge Patricia O'Shea Clarisa Carubin

2 Life & Love

How I Got My Name

Chat Friends A Little Evil The Death Challenge

20 Stories from the Past At My Grandfather's Knee Aunty Khulood

28 Children’s Stories

The Two Kingdoms

Peace Village - A Love Story

40 Hopes & Dreams Experiences of a College Student A Story From India My Snippet The Joy of Reading

54 Fantasy & Fiction Tales of Nemesis - The Scattered Souls

Creative Writing Centre HCT  KALIMAT



With great pride RAK Colleges introduces this journal . . . A

creative writing journal originating in Ras Al Khaimah, a city without public libraries or creative writing traditions? Written in English by young Emiratis who have yet to completely master that language and whose parents may not be literate in either Arabic or English? Why not? With great pride RAK Colleges introduces this journal. In it, you will discover emerging writers who are learning to write by writing. But don’t expect to find here the work of amateurs. Far from it. These authors, all students at the Higher Colleges of Technology Ras Al Khaimah Men’s and Women’s Colleges, show remarkable talent as they experiment with and practice their new-found literary art. In preparing contributions for this journal, they have generated fascinating original ideas, committed drafts to paper, and critically reviewed and edited them. And in doing so, they have gained confidence while learning about imagery, characterization, dialogue, and narration. Though the people of Ras Al Khaimah may not have deeplyrooted traditions of written

literacy, they are nonetheless natural story tellers with rich oral legacies. “Al Rawi”, the ancient Arab art of telling stories, was a major part of their upbringing. Growing up in Ras Al Khaimah, they listened to stories of ghosts or “gin”, pirates, pearl divers, ship builders, and camel drivers. Their early years were full of legends, fables, and tales of adventure. They learned verbal lessons from the Quran, they heard how, before oil was discovered in the region, their ancestors struggled to make a living in the wadis, on the mountains, and under the sea. It might seem that it should not be a major challenge to move from hearing stories to writing them. After all, writing is simply a means of putting to paper what you hear. Right? Actually, it is more complicated than that. The degree of correspondence between written and spoken forms of a language varies between languages. In Arabic, the distance is dramatic. Our students grew up hearing stories in verbal, linguistic forms that differed markedly from the formal, written Arabic that they learned in school. And even if this were not the case, the college students’ contributions to this journal were written in English, which has even less correlation to colloquial, spoken Arabic. Knowing this, the quality of the creative works in this journal is nothing short of amazing.

This journal is the product of a community of students and faculty who respect each other, value creativity, and enjoy working together. They deserve our respect and admiration.

Dr. Bob Moulton

Creative Writing Centre HCT  KALIMAT

I am no longer surprised at the talents of our students! Having

been associated with the Higher Colleges of Technology since 1995, I am no longer surprised at the talents and abilities of our students. I have now reached a point where I expect it and the RAK Colleges Creative Writing Centre has proven this. A tremendous amount of work has gone into this, from the faculty, Susan Bainbridge, Patricia O’Shea and Clarisa Carubin, to the number of

student writers who are all undertaking heavy program schedules as well as writing for pleasure. There were a number of foundational elements underlying the creation of a Creative Writing Centre at Ras Al Khaimah Colleges. First and foremost was to improve English writing skills amongst the students. Secondly, empowering students in the creative arts by suggesting the long term possibility that their writing could perhaps offer them additional career choices. And thirdly, at the Ras Al

Khaimah Colleges we are engaging in initiatives that could possibly lead to creating indigenous employment, in the area of writing and publishing and hopefully in the future the broader area of the arts in general. On presenting the idea of establishing the Creative Writing Centre at the RAK Colleges to the director Dr. Moulton and associate director Dr. Al Mansoori, I was in no doubt that it would be a success. They too believe in it and have supported it from conception.

Dr. Triona Croke



We welcome readers to our first edition of Kalimat! T

he Rak Colleges annual journal published by our Creative Writing Centre. The RAK Colleges Creative Writing Centre was established this year to identify potential authors among our student population, and to offer these talented young writers a venue for publication, through an annual creative writing journal. As our Communications Skills Program matures and evolves,

we hope to see student leaders gradually take responsibility for the organization and design of future editions. I want to thank faculty members who assisted with this first edition of Kalimat. It was an enormous challenge to seek out potential authors on our campuses and to encourage them to offer their personal work for publication. To envision a first edition and motivate others to believe in the quality work we knew we could produce, required hours of dedication and mentoring. Faculty members who volunteered as copy editors were much appreciated. It is a


feel privileged to have had the opportunity to mentor our first team of creative writers in the RAK Colleges and to pass on my enthusiasm, experience, and knowledge to them. This is a new project for our students and one which we look forward to see growing and developing. The desire to write and the original ideas have come from the students. My role has been to help them to see the possibilities in those ideas and to mentor each student to build confidence in their writing and thinking skills; and to understand the creative writing process through the development of their own work. I have always enjoyed creative writing and was lucky enough to go to a school where the teachers encouraged creativity. I hope to help begin a tradition of creativity at RAK Colleges!

Patricia O’Shea

tedious task to review our work repeatedly and meticulously. Without the vision of Dr.Triona Croke and the oustanding dedication of Patricia O'Shea and Clarisa Carubin this first issue of Kalimat would not have been possible. We offer this first edition of Kalimat as a tribute to our students and our community of Ras Al Khaimah. We hope it is the foundation of a long and worthy tradition that will continue to grow and evolve with our colleges and our emirate.

Susan Bainbridge


am very grateful to Dr. Triona Croke for giving me the opportunity to be part of such a creative and innovative idea. It was certainly a delight for me and my colleagues, Susan Bainbridge and Tricia O'Shea, to bring to life this magazine and leave it as a path drawn and as a legacy for our Ras Al Khaimah students. The variety and different graphic styles of the illustrations were chosen with the intention of inspiring our creative artists for future editions of the magazine. I hope you all enjoy Kalimat.

Clarisa Carubin


Life & Lov

Life & Love



Life & Love


How I got my Name Since 2009 my dream was just to write a short story - any story. I tried, and I learned to improve my writing skills, but I couldn’t think of a plot or create the characters. When I heard about the Creative Writing Centre I tried my

best to go for it and achieve my goal. I came up with an idea of how I got my name. I wrote about my name because it is unique. I like to write to express my feelings because it is hard keeping things in my heart. I used to write Arabic stories before I started studying at the college, but now I also write in English. Now I can say: “Yes, I have achieved my goal!”


am going to tell you the story of how I got my name. I am the seventh child in my family and my brothers and sisters think I’m ‘special’. Seven is certainly a very special number in Islam and in many other cultures too. I will start at the beginning. Six months before my birth, on the second of August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait and began the first Gulf War. The UAE sent their armed forces to Kuwait to participate in ‘Operation Desert Storm’ or ‘Tahreer Kuwait’ as some people called it. My father was one of those soldiers. He packed his bags and prepared for war. My mother was very unhappy and frightened for my father. She was pregnant and didn’t want my father to go to war. My father was very sad. It was a difficult moment for him to leave my mother alone and pregnant with me and to say goodbye to my brothers and sisters. But he knew that this was life so what could he do? The day he left, the family and neighbours gathered to say

On the 1st of February, the old woman delivered me and put me in my mother’s arms.


goodbye and wish him luck. Life was very dangerous for my father in the Kuwaiti desert with gunfire, bombing and oil wells on fire. It was very worrying for my mother at home and she missed her husband. On the 31st of January, my mother knew that the time of my birth was coming. She wanted to go to hospital, but there was no one to take her as my father was in Kuwait. Her neighbours looked after my brother and sisters and an old woman came to help my mother. On the 1st of February, the old woman delivered me and put me in my mother’s arms. Meanwhile in the desert, my father was on duty when he heard gunfire. The soldier who was standing on his left was

lying dead on the ground, and the soldier on his right was hit in his leg by the same bullet. Thank God my father was alive! The day of my birth, lots of people came to see my mother and to see me. They asked her what she was going to name me. She said that she wanted to name me 'Hanady', but thought that 'Sahra' would be better. Her friend thought the names were strange and asked her why she chose them. She replied that 'Sahra' meant 'desert' and she was thinking of my father, but she would wait until he returned from the war and ask him to name me. One friend suggested 'Mouza', but my mother said no, she would wait for my father. She waited a whole month and


during that time, I had no name. Some of my sisters called me 'Hey!' and another called me 'Noof', but my mother still waited for my father’s return. Day after day and week after week went by and finally my mother heard that all Emirati soldiers would come home on the 2nd of March. My family and neighbours were so happy that my father was returning, they hung a flag from our house and threw sweets and money over him to welcome him. Finally, when he entered the house, he saw his new baby daughter and began to think of a special name for her. He decided to call me 'Fatema', but my grandmother became angry. "That's my name." She cried. "If you call her Fatema, I will surely die!" So my father thought again. 'Maryam' he said "We’ll call her Maryam". "Oh no!" said my oldest brother, "My wife’s name is Maryam. If you call her Maryam, my wife will surely die!" So my father said, "Let me think." And he thought for a long time before he found the perfect name… One morning, a few days later, he was sitting in his study unpacking his certificates and medals from the war and he began to feel proud of the part he had played. On every certificate and every medal was written 'Tahreer Al Kuwait' and he smiled. So that’s how I got my name. Oh – I’m sorry I almost forgot! My name is 'Tahreer'. It means 'Freedom' . . . and everyone agrees it suits me very well.

Photo by Stephen Pellerine

...he was sitting in his study unpacking his certificates and medals from the war...

Written by Tahreer Rashed Al Naqbi

Life & Love


Chat Friends

Written by Saeed Mohamed Ahmed Abdulla Saeed Thuwaini

My family, my friends and my college have encouraged me to drip my imaginings onto paper, so this is my first attempt at writing. The purpose of my writing is to focus on the problems of teenagers.

Our youth are the building blocks of our country. I try to vary the ways I discuss these issues between tragedy and humour. I hope to encourage the reader to consider the suffering of young people and to attract their attention to the issues at hand.


hen his parents went to sleep at 11:30 every night, Ahmed would close his door, open his laptop and chat with his friends. His father had bought him the laptop on his 19th birthday for study purposes. However, he began to spend more and more of his time in website chat rooms and soon became an active member. One night Ahmed opened his laptop as usual and found a friend request. The nickname consisted of eight random symbols and digits. Thinking that the conversation would be exciting, Ahmed pressed ‘accept’. “Hi” immediately appeared on the screen. “Hi,” typed Ahmed. “How are you?” “Fine, Ahmed,” the new friend replied. “Your nickname will take hours to remember,” Ahmed said jokingly.

One night Ahmed opened his laptop as usual and found a friend request.


“Can you tell me your name?” “That’s very funny. :) My name’s Saif.” Ahmed spent the whole night chatting with his new friend Saif. He was the same age but lived in another city. He suggested they meet face to face and Ahmed agreed. They exchanged mobile numbers and arranged to meet at the fountain in the mall on Friday night at 10:00. When Friday came, Ahmed realized that he knew nothing about Saif except his name and he was worried about what his new friend was truly like. At midnight, after two hours of waiting, Ahmed decided to phone him. He heard the voice on the phone coming towards him and looked up to see a

smiling Saif with his phone to his ear accompanied by two friends. He introduced them as Ibrahim and Easa. When Ahmed greeted them he became anxious. They were quite a few years older and dressed in the kind of clothes that gave a bad impression. “This is Mr. Ahmadoo Al Chat,” introduced Saif, using Ahmed’s chat name. “Glad to meet you,” said Ibrahim, exchanging a cunning smile with Easa. “You seem like an adventurous guy.” “Hi,” replied Ahmed and turned to chat with Saif. After a few minutes of conversation, everyone felt hungry so they decided to have


dinner in an expensive restaurant in one of the luxury hotels. Ahmed began to feel relaxed with his new friends as they chatted and enjoyed the delicious food. However, this feeling didn’t last long. The door of the restaurant opened and a beautiful woman with blond hair and a lovely figure entered the restaurant alone. The waiter jumped like a horse to help her to a chair. Saif and his friends stared admiringly and Ibrahim gave a soft whistle of appreciation. “Man! Do you really think that’s going to attract her?” Easa joked. “That was just a try Easa, but it will work the next time!” boasted Ibrahim. “I think this beauty is out of our

“I think this beauty is out of our reach!”

Life & Love


reach,” Saif sighed. While the three friends continued flirting with the beauty, Ahmed began to panic and his friends soon noticed it in his breathing. “What’s happening with you Ahmadoo?” Saif asked surprised. “Oh my God, Ahmadoo Al Chat is afraid of women!” giggled Easa. “No!” Ahmed whispered urgently, “The *tahareat are everywhere and we’ll be in huge trouble.” “I see - you are afraid of problems,” analyzed Saif.

*tahareat – secret religious police

Ibrahim and Easa giggled. Ahmed felt embarrassed and disappointed. “We’ve all finished dinner, what about leaving the hotel and going somewhere else?” said Ibrahim. “Yes,” said Easa, “Let’s go somewhere more exciting!”

They decided to go in Ibrahim’s car. The clock on the dashboard showed 00:00 as they drove out of the car park. “Are we leaving the city?” demanded Ahmed after some time. “What’s the problem?” Saif asked calmly.

“We’ll take you to our secret headquarters in ‘The Basement’,” added Ibrahim confidently.

“My car is in the mall and someone could steal it!”

“Ibrahim is right,” Saif concluded, “Let’s go to ‘The Basement’!”

“Don’t be so afraid; we live in a safe country. No one will steal it,” Ibrahim added nonchalantly.

“Are we leaving the city?” demanded Ahmed after some time.



Inside the house, everything was chaos.

“I think Ahmed is a coward!” taunted Easa.

“He actually fell asleep!” mocked Ibrahim.

“No I’m not…!”

Easa laughed, “He’s like a little chicken. He sleeps at one o’clock in the morning!”

“Well this is a young man’s trip, and we’re all young men aren’t we?” interrupted Easa. Ahmed felt embarrassed once again and kept quiet for the rest of the trip. He wondered what was waiting for him in ‘The Basement’. He wondered what a basement was….their voices and silly songs made Ahmed sleepy. Suddenly Saif’s voice rang in his ear, “Wake up. Are you sleeping?”

Ahmed was angry, “What time do you go to bed?”

Ahmed felt very upset. They were treating him like a small child. He also began to feel that ‘The Basement’ would be worse than what had happened to him up to now. When the car finally reached Saif’s village, Ibrahim pulled up in front of an old traditional house.

“We are awake until the early morning. We don’t sleep at night. That’s the bedtime for old men and children!”

“Is this house ‘The Basement’?” Ahmed asked?

“Don’t be harsh, Easa,” said Saif. “Children need a lot of sleep for their health.”

“Why do you call it ‘The Basement’?”

“Yes,” replied Saif.

Life & Love


“You'll see when you get inside.” Inside the house, everything was chaos. Ahmed saw scattered furniture covered in dust. Garbage lay everywhere, the toilets hadn’t been flushed and the bathroom was dirty. Saif and his friends said he could rest in the bedroom while they went to get some food for later. He was scared, it was now 2:00am. What would he do if his parents called him? What would he say to them? I’ve just spent the night with friends that I don’t know, from a chat room? I’m in a dirty house in a village in another emirate? Ahmed sat on a couch near the bed. He wanted to lie on the bed, but noticed with surprise that someone was sleeping there already. He approached the bed to satisfy his curiosity and saw only a man’s long black hair spread across the dirty pillow, his arm across his face.

What he saw made his eyes open with shock. Saif and his friends were in handcuffs and an older man turned towards him, “So you are Ahmed, right?” “Y…es,” Ahmed stammered. “I am from the tahareat, and you and these men were involved with crime in this house!” he shouted. “No, I’m not with them, please believe me!” Ahmed pleaded. “Pleading is not enough. You are coming with us to the police station.” “But sir, please…..” Ahmed hunched over as a terrible pain of fear gripped his stomach.

father’s call and finally spending the night in prison. He pleaded. He cried and began to beg the tahareat to forgive him. “Sir, I belong to a good family. I'm not a criminal…I just met these people on a chat site….I didn’t know this would happen…. please….forgive me…I want to go home…I won’t use a chat website again. Please! Please!” Ahmed heard himself acting like a small child. After two minutes of silence, a smile began to spread across the man’s face and across the rest of the room. The ugly man in the doorway was also smiling.

“Now!” the man demanded.

Ahmed was confused, “What’s happening?”

Ahmed could not believe the trip had turned into such a calamity; staying out all night, ignoring his

The question made everyone laugh. Ibrahim and Easa started removing their handcuffs.

Suddenly Ahmed’s mobile rang and his heart began beating fast. It was his father. He was not ready to face him, but if the phone kept ringing, the sleeping man would wake up. This situation needed a quick response. Unfortunately his hands began to shake and he pressed the red button by mistake. The phone began to ring again and the sleeping man woke. Ahmed looked up at the ugly face and huge shoulders of the man on the bed, and ran into the living room dropping his phone. He heard it smash on the floor and knew it was never going to ring again.

“I am from the tahareat, and you and these men were involved with crime in this house!”


“That trick worked better than I expected!” laughed Ibrahim. “He was so afraid he nearly wet himself,” Saif added. Ahmed was shocked. “That was a trick?” he stammered. “Of course it was a trick. That’s the way we always introduce ourselves to new friends in ‘The Basement’!” Ibrahim and Saif, Easa, the fake tahareat and the ugly man clapped hands in a ‘high five’. Ahmed was silent with shock. “I don’t think we’ll see ‘Ahmadoo Al Chat’ on the website again!” concluded Easa. “He’s just a little boy pretending to be a young man.” Ahmed surrendered. “It’s 3:30 in the morning; my parents are worrying. Please take me home.”

A smile began to appear on Easa’s face but Saif stopped him, “Let’s take him home, I think he’s learnt a tough lesson tonight.” Ahmed returned home at 5:00am to a cruel punishment from his father. He was not allowed to use his father’s car for a month and he wasn’t allowed to meet friends without his father’s permission. After the weekend, Ahmed returned to college by taxi. His fellow students rushed to meet him. “What’s going on guys?” Ahmed asked amazed. “We heard you were involved with chat friends last weekend. Is that true?” “What! How did you know that?”


Ahmed’s eyes began to bulge with horror. “Calm down, it’s on the video,” said another student showing the clip to Ahmed. “It’s one of six,” said another, “called Ahmadoo Al Chat in Trouble. I’m going to download them all.” Ahmed felt as if he was going mad. His head was pounding and he began to walk around the college building, too ashamed to look at the other students enjoying the scandal of the previous weekend. He found himself in the middle of the campus. He put his hands over his ears and his mouth opened wide ….. “Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooo!”

“It’s one of six called Ahmadoo Al Chat in Trouble. I’m going to download them all.”

Life & Love


A Little Evil Written by Suaad Hasan

I have a lot of hobbies, but my favorite is writing. I started writing simple poems nine years ago, but then I began to focus more on short stories. I discovered that I love writing, when our Arabic teacher gave us a Diary Project at

school. The teacher noticed my skill in writing, so she encouraged me to keep practicing. I especially like writing short stories, because I can translate all my feelings and ideas into the story. I usually keep my stories for myself but sometimes I like showing them to my sisters and friends.


t was my birthday, the fourteenth of January. I was waiting for the great party that was going to take place at the small safe house that I lived in with my father. I had lived for the previous fifteen years without my mother, as she died when I was only two months old. I had no brothers and sisters and I grew up seeing Dad as my father, my mother, my brother, my friend, and my whole life. On that special day, I was sure that my father was going to bring a nice gift for me, and I was also sure that the gift was going to be the gold bracelet that I asked him to buy for me and he promised to do for my birthday. At 8:00


the door opened….

I jumped from my seat, and was going to run and hug my wonderful father as usual, but I stopped. There was another person with him, coming to celebrate with us. She was a very pretty lady with long black hair and beautiful

"It was my birthday, the fourteenth of January. "


black eyes. She was wearing a lovely red dress and shiny red lipstick. I stood still and I said nothing. My father and the lady had huge smiles on their faces as they looked at me. “Happy birthday dear Emma!” said the lady. I was staring at her. She seemed very nice, but I didn’t want her to disrupt my birthday. I looked at my father and tried to say something, but my voice wouldn’t come out. “Happy birthday my little daughter. This is Sara, she is going to celebrate with us today.” I smiled at her and said, “Welcome!” but actually I wanted her to leave as soon as possible. Then I knew that she was not

going to leave at all when I saw 'my' bracelet on her wrist. I gave my father a sad look to tell him that it was the one that I wanted, but he broke my heart by saying “Sara and I are married – she is my wife now.” He started the party with this sentence and he ended it at the same time. Why? When? Who is she? There were so many questions that I wanted to ask him, but I was unable to say a word. Instead, I ran to my room, and closed the door. I began to cry and I couldn’t stop the tears. There would be another person in my father’s life and in my life also. I never imagined that my father would get married again. I always saw him as mine, and only mine. I didn’t want to imagine that she


was going to share hours of my father’s life with me. He gave her the bracelet that I wanted, and that was the indicator for me that she was going to be his first priority. I hated 'Sara'. I refused to leave my room to avoid seeing her. My father was sad because I was so unhappy, but he believed that I was going to overcome all of that. My behavior changed a lot. I became very quiet, very depressed, and I left my school. The biggest change in my behavior was when I joined the crazy group, The Little Evils, as they called themselves. There were about twenty boys and girls who had their own lifestyle. They were very kind to me, and the first reason for me to join them

"Then I knew that she was not going to leave at all when I saw 'my' bracelet on her wrist."

Life & Love


was that they supported me in my hatred of ‘Sara’. They agreed with me that she had no right to enter my life and steal my father from me. I considered them my new family. I copied their way of life, their way of talking, and their behavior. In short, I became a Little Evil. I lost my father totally. I lost the person who used to care about me and ask me about every single matter in my day. I missed his stories before my bedtime. I longed for his wonderful stories about my mother; the lady that he forgot after getting married again. I thought that the new life I had with the Little Evils was going to bring happiness back to me, but I was wrong. I was totally wrong. We were living in a strange

world. Some of us, including me, started smoking. We had no one to turn us away from the dangerous path we were walking on and we thought we were very happy. I still remember that night. I was with four other Little Evils and we were out around the streets. We stopped at a grocery store to buy some cigarettes, but the man refused to serve us. We used to fight anyone who stopped us doing what we wanted to do, and that man deserved to be shown some of our power. We fought him, and I was the one who tied him up with a rope. We drew on his face; we damaged his shop and we stole cigarettes and food. We behaved as badly as we could and then we walked away. We thought that there would be no

punishment as usual, but the police found us and arrested us and took us to the police station. The policeman noticed that I was younger than the others so he called my home to ask someone to come to the police station. After a while, Sara arrived. I kept silent. The police let us leave the station because the grocery man forgave us for what we had done, and his only request was for us to go back home and lead a proper life. I left with Sara. We walked along the street and neither of us said anything for a while. “Do you hate us that much?” said Sara. I didn’t reply. I was very embarrassed. In fact, it was the

"...we damaged his shop and we stole cigarettes and food"



"Today is the fourteenth of January and it is my sixteenth birthday".

first time I’d had a conversation with her. “You love your father, and he also loves you. The difference is that you have been unfair in your love.” That sentence forced me to stop walking. I looked at her and tried to say something but I couldn’t speak. She said “I used to love my father too however I was fair in my love for him because I made him as happy as he made me happy. You want your father to stay with you forever, and be there only for you, but have you ever wondered if he needed someone else in his life as well as you to make him happy? Your father sacrificed fifteen years of his life to take care of you and bring happiness to your heart, but you didn’t appreciate that. Do you know what the first thing was he asked me to do? He asked me to keep you happy forever. I know that

I’m sharing something valuable with you, but that love for you didn’t disappear, your father is with you, and he will always be with you.” Her words seemed to wake me up. A strange bright light appeared in my mind to tell me that I was wrong. I realized how selfish I had been and I began to cry. I stood still and cried a lot. I told Sara I was sorry and the words came out truly from the bottom of my heart. There was no reason for me to do what I did. He was my father, but I didn’t have the right to steal his entire life. Sara’s words were like an alarm that reminded me that my father loved me and would always love me. I went back, to our safe home; I went back to my normal life and I went back to my father. Being a Little Evil didn’t compensate

for losing my great father. In fact, there is nothing in the world that can take my father’s place. I joined the school again. Happily, most of the other Little Evils made a change similar to mine. We became friends, good friends, and we made new friendships with many other people. My father had missed me a lot, but now he is very happy that he has gotten his little daughter back again. Today is the fourteenth of January and it is my sixteenth birthday. I’m with Sara in the kitchen preparing my birthday cake. We are both waiting for my father to come home to celebrate together.

Life & Love


The Death Challenge Written by Saeed Thuwaini

The roads are quiet and there is

a light breeze as I drive along the side streets. My window is open; it is early evening and I switch on the headlights. I am feeling relaxed. My kandora is neatly ironed and I am ready.

I look in the mirror of my modest car, and see my reflection: my striking eyes, my black neatly trimmed mustache and beard. I look self-confident and I am pleased with what I see.


s I drive towards the city, other cars and trucks begin to appear in the road. They look as if they are heading towards the industrial area that lies several kilometers from the city. This district includes factories, workshops and labour hostels. I am in the left lane of the road, overtaking a line of trucks, when a flashing headlight interrupts my thoughts. I look in the mirror and see a car getting really close to me. It’s telling me to move over and let it pass. I can see that the car is the latest model of my car, but I can’t see the driver. The headlights are flashing me again and again and I’m getting upset. I try my best to give way to him, but trucks are in the right lane of the road where I need to go. I have to stay in this lane and I can’t drive any faster, as I’m at the legal speed limit; he knows my situation, so what does he expect me to do? He’s acting childishly and dangerously just to annoy me.

The headlights are flashing me again and again and I’m getting upset.


I try to ignore him and keep going straight ahead. After a short while, I see a roundabout just ahead. I turn into the roundabout and cross the main road. Then, just as I start to turn left, a car overtakes me really fast on the inside, forcing me over and nearly causing an accident. I’m shaking with shock and then I hear shouting and a loud laugh through the open window. This is the same car that kept flashing me and tried to force me into the truck lane. He’s so angry he couldn’t overtake me that now he wants revenge! "No problem man," I say to myself calmly, "I forgive you." Then he does something that makes me swallow all my

forgiveness. He presses the break suddenly and for no reason. I know he’s challenging me and he wants something else from me. I’m angry. He’s proud. He thinks he’s above me because his car is newer than mine. That’s why he’s treating me scornfully. He thinks that because my car is older, I should let him pass me, because he’s better than me! Along the main road, I take the right lane and I keep beside him. "If you want to challenge me, I will accept!" I say angrily to myself. "You have a newer car than mine, but I have the confidence and I can beat your ego." I reduce my speed to be alongside him. I can see he’s accepting the challenge.


I accelerate my car as the race begins. Then the other car begins to pull ahead of me, but I keep boosting the acceleration, pushing my foot down hard. I want the energy from my body to give my car the power to win the challenge. "I will not give up," I promise myself. "I’ll teach him respect." My speed increases and I see radar flashes. I don’t care, or maybe I just don’t notice them. I don’t see anything. I’m crazy. My heart beats faster. I continue pushing the acceleration. The car is moving like an arrow. I don’t care about the race. The road has disappeared from my view. The roar of the engine strikes my ears. There are seconds of madness. Then a barrier is moving towards my car. My eyes

I accelerate my car as the race begins.

Life & Love


open wide and I know I can’t avoid it. I am blinded by a red light. The collision happens and I feel a huge amount of force pushing me as the hard metal barrier penetrates my body.


My scream begins to fill my head…..blood spreads across the road….my organs are slowly shutting down.

sisters and all my relatives and friends who share the sorrow.

All that is left are screams and cries. I know all of these.

Please forgive me . . .

This is for my crying mother.

I accepted the challenge . . .

This is for my heart-broken father.

The ‘Death Challenge’.

These are for my brothers and



Please forgive me . . . I accepted the challenge . . .

Stories fro

Stories from the Past


m the past

Stories from the past HCT  KALIMAT

At My Grandfather's Knee Written by Sana Mohammed Al Shehhi

I fell in love with books at an early age. That’s what has made me who I am a quiet and ambitious student. Actually, when I saw the announcement for the Creative Writing Centre for the first time, I was not brave enough to join. Then an old

saying came to my mind: ‘’It doesn’t hurt to try.’’ Finally, I decided to write my first story and with the help of my mentor, everything happened so quickly. My story means a lot to me because it is about what actually happens as compared to the way people choose to see and talk about life.


would look into his lined, compassionate face. The innocent brightness in his eyes and the laugh lines on his cheeks made them look beautiful to me. I used to spend all my weekends listening to my grandfather. I was fond of his adventures and stories from his experience and wisdom of life. His soft voice calling my name interrupted my thoughts. "Mohammed, are you ready for today’s story?" I jumped enthusiastically from my seat and sat beside him. He held my small hands in his. They were warm and comforting and everything was silent except my grandfather’s voice… They shared poverty and hardship and despite their thin weak bodies, they helped each other towards a better future. In this village lived a beautiful young widow called Sarah. Her voice was soft and her character strong. Yet, she was so sad at her husband’s death; she spent

…In a far village, in the lap of nature, people lived as one family.


her nights thinking about the wonderful moments they had spent together. In the mornings she wept for the man who had been her lover and her friend. One night a villager was on his way home when he saw a man standing by Sarah’s door. The next day he couldn’t wait to tell all his friends and neighbours what he had seen. As the days passed everyone talked about Sarah and the strange man, each adding what they liked, to make the story more exciting. Some said they had known each other before her husband’s death, and others that he stayed with her each night and left at dawn. Such is the nature of gossip! Long days passed and the gossip continued. The villagers all met and decided to watch the man closely because he was giving the whole village a bad reputation. If he was involved with Sarah, they claimed, they would exile them both from the village. This matter could not be allowed to continue for they were pure and well reputed.


down, the men met near Sarah’s house. They hid themselves in the trees and waited, watching closely, hoping to catch the man. Soon they heard soft footsteps on the pathway. They watched as he bent down and then stood and tapped softly at the door. Then he stepped back into the shadows and waited unseen.

they had behaved. Everyone apologised in a different way. Some sent their wives to visit her so she would not be lonely, and others shared their food with her so she would not go hungry.

After a few minutes the door opened. Sarah bent and lifted a pot of steaming soup from the doorstep, and called out a grateful thanks to the unseen stranger. A little later the door opened again and the empty pot was placed carefully outside for the stranger to collect.

I nodded my head and looked into his eyes.

“Now, do you understand the story Mohammed?’’ My grandfather asked.

“Don’t be the cause of someone’s tears,’’ he continued, “and don’t judge too quickly. We are all human, Mohammed, and we make mistakes; but you must go easy, think, and don’t rush to conclusions.”

When the men in the village saw this, they realized how badly

They decided to meet in a tent far away from the village to make a plan. It was very dark and the only source of light they had was from a small candle. They began to whisper. "We are responsible for this village,” said the first. “We cannot allow this behavior to continue,” added the next. “It will destroy our reputation,’’ whispered another. “We will stop this tomorrow night,” agreed the crowd. The next day when the sun went

They decided to meet in a tent far away from the village to make a plan.

Stories from the past HCT  KALIMAT

Aunty Khulood Written by Halima Rashed

This is the first chapter of a much longer story. In days gone by, when a young husband or wife died, the family would force the widower to marry his sister-in-law, or the widow to marry her brother-

in-law. They had no rights and were not allowed to refuse. They had to give up all their hopes and dreams because the family would not allow a stranger to raise their grandchildren. In my story, the main character will experience a similar situation and try to accept it, without regrets, for the rest of her life. I hope you enjoy this excerpt.

Chapter One:

A Marriage


am holding her diary and thinking about the times we spent together, the moments we shared waiting for my parents to come home from work. I miss her. I miss her smiles and her sad expressions, the advice she gave and the stories she told. I miss every part of it. I loved her and I always will. I remember the first time she mentioned the diary. I rushed home earlier than usual from school and she was napping in her chair. “Aunty Kholoud,” I cried, “why do you look so sad?” She opened her eyes and looked at me, her wrinkled face carved by the hand of time. “Isn’t being too old a good reason for sadness?”

"Isn't being too old a good reason for sadness?"


This surprised me as I couldn’t wait to grow older. I thought growing old meant you could do everything you wanted and I wanted to do everything. I was silent for a few moments while these ideas ran through my head. She spoke and broke the chain of my thoughts.

She looked at me for a moment. “When you are older you can read my diary.” “You have a diary?” I asked in surprise, “but I thought you couldn’t read or write.”


There are no cars in the driveway and I am alone. I sit at my desk, the diary in my hand. This will be our secret, I promise. I open the cover carefully and I decide to read just one page. The handwriting is beautiful.

“Well, that will be our secret,” she smiled.

“I guess you are too young to understand that being old is difficult. Old people have experienced a lot of life. They have many happy and many unhappy experiences.”

How long has it been since she told me about the diary . . . five, six years? Am I old enough now? Or should I wait another five years? I turn it over carefully. It is old to the point that the pages are falling out, and I can see that some have been ripped out.

“What kind of experiences?” I asked eagerly.

I walk to my window and look to see if anyone has arrived home.

“My sister Layla told me to practice my writing in a diary since I am not allowed to read or write in front of our parents. They think it is pointless teaching me to read because it wastes my time, which I am supposed to spend working on the farm or doing housework. However, Layla can learn how to read and write because she is always sick and can’t do anything else.”

“Well, that will be our secret,” she smiled.

Stories from the past HCT  KALIMAT

This makes me angry and I stop reading. It’s so unfair – letting one child do something she wants to do and prohibiting another! Even if Layla was sick, that was a harsh thing to do. Poor Aunty Khulood; no wonder she kept it a secret! I forget my promise of ‘just one page’ and turn another. “Today is Sunday, and it is the first day of Ramadan. Layla is sick so she can’t help us with any of the preparation. She loves this month, but she can’t share in the happy things we do together like cooking or delivering food to our neighbours. I really feel sorry for her.” I continue turning the pages. “On this rainy winter day, our cow

had a baby. I gave it the name Fatima, but everyone laughed at me because they thought it was a silly thing to do. Everyone laughed except Mohamed, our neighbor’s son. He said he thought it was cute. Mohamed is ten years older than me. He is educated and completed his studies in Egypt. Mohamed is a kind person and he always cares about others. He never laughs at their actions and he respects everyone. He is always kind to me. Once he saw me trying to write in my diary and he helped me with my spelling. Also, he said that he would lend me some poetry and story books to read. I feel really happy that someone like Mohamed thinks I am important.” This makes me smile. “One of the books that Mohamed lent to me was called 'One Thousand and One Nights'. This

story is really interesting and I like it a lot, but what I liked the most was a poetry book of Qays Ibn AlMullawah who loved a girl called Layla. This Layla reminds me of my sister. She is beautiful and everyone cares about her. I really hope someone will care for me like that one day.” I hope they do too and I continue to read: “This morning, while I was heading to our farm, I met Mohamed and he asked if I had started to read any of the books he lent to me. He was really surprised when I told him that I had finished reading them already. Then he asked which book I liked the most and I told him I liked the book of love poems by Qays Ibn Al-Mullawah.” He looked at me and smiled,

Mohamed is ten years older than me. He is educated and completed his studies in Egypt.




"Enshallah, " I said."

“Well,” he said, “I also like love poems, but love is not always like that Khulood. Sometimes we are left with memories and regrets.” He looked at me for a moment and I didn’t know how to answer. Then he suddenly smiled again and said, “But you are right, the love poems of Qays Ibn al Mullawah are the best,” and he left me there alone wondering what he had said. I turn the pages over and over until I see a page with faded ink that catches my attention. “I was told that today I should be joyful because Mohamed is getting married, but I felt as though my world was about to collapse. The walls were getting closer and closer to the point where I couldn’t breathe normally anymore and the tears began to flow. Poor Layla is very sick again and I was glad that I was the one chosen to stay home with her. She spoke to me, but I

couldn’t hear, so I wiped my tears and moved closer to her bed. “Go,” she said, “I can manage alone for a while,” but I refused. Then she said, “I know you think you love him, but you must say goodbye to Mohamed, return his books and wish him well.” I picked up the books and ran out towards the celebration, looking for him. As I reached the party of men, I tripped and fell and when I looked up, I saw him walking towards where I lay on the dusty ground. “When I marry, I want to marry someone like you!” I cried. “You are such a beautiful, brave girl,” he said “and I admire you very much.” Then he smiled gently and added, “and when you marry, I hope you will find someone better than me.” Then he picked up the books I

had dropped and helped me to my feet. “These are your books now Khulood,” he said. “Remember me when you read them and wish me luck in my new life.” Then he turned and walked away from me. “Enshallah,” I said.” I close the diary and wrap it carefully in the piece of cloth she kept it in. I place it in the box she hid it and place it in my drawer. I cannot read anymore tonight. I am filled with her sadness and I miss her so much.


Children’s Stories



Children’s Stories HCT  KALIMAT

The Two Kingdoms Written by Hessa Ali Mansoor

"I have always loved writing and I particularly like writing fantasy stories. I love to imagine the events of the story especially if they are stories talking about the fight between good and evil with

courageous knights and exciting action. My story, the Two Kingdoms, is my first serious attempt at fantasy. I hope it stirs your imagination. I also love drawing and would like to illustrate my own stories someday."

Once upon a time there were two kingdoms.

In Kingdom of Rainbows, there lived Great King and Great Queen who loved each other very much. Everyone was happy in the Kingdom of Rainbows, and life was good. In Kingdom of Darkness, there lived Evil King and Evil Queen, who hated each other very much. Everyone was angry in Kingdom of Darkness, and life was bad. One day in Kingdom of Rainbows, the queen gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. The people were happier than ever and held a great celebration because this boy would become a great king after his father, and life would continue to be good. However, in Kingdom of Darkness, Evil King and Evil Queen heard the news and were very angry. The people were

Everyone was angry in the Kingdom of Darkness, and life was bad.


angrier than ever and held a great meeting with Evil King because they didn’t like to see people happy. The days and years ran by in Kingdom of Rainbows and the beautiful baby boy grew into a handsome young prince. Soon it was the day of his seventh birthday, which was a special birthday in Kingdom of Rainbows, and Handsome Prince played happily in the palace garden. As the days and years ran by in Kingdom of Darkness, Evil King and Evil Queen spent their time thinking of an evil plan to make Great King and Great Queen sad. On the morning of the prince’s seventh birthday, they decided they would kidnap the boy. In Kingdom of Rainbows, Great


Queen sent her servant to the garden to bring her son to her. “My son,” said Great Queen, “it is time to prepare for your party. There are many guests coming to see you.” Handsome Prince was happy and went to meet his guests. There were rich people and poor people, tall people and short people, thin people and fat people, and all of them were happy to see Handsome Prince. In Kingdom of Darkness, Evil King sent for his servant. “Go to Kingdom of Rainbows and bring me the handsome little prince,” he said, “and I will give you a rich reward.”


has sent me to tell you that there is a special surprise for you if you will follow me.” Handsome Prince was happy to hear about the surprise and followed him. When the party finished and all the guests were gone, Great King searched for his son and couldn’t find him. He was very worried and talked to Great Queen who was very worried too. Evil Servant took the prince far away from the palace. It was getting dark and the prince was frightened to be so far from home.

In Kingdom of Rainbows, Evil Servant found Handsome Prince.

“Sir,” he said, “please take me home.”

“Oh Prince,” he said, “the King

Evil Servant laughed loudly. “You

It was getting dark and the prince was frightened to be so far from home.

Children’s Stories HCT  KALIMAT

little fool. I have kidnapped you and I am taking you to Kingdom of Darkness!” Handsome Prince began to cry. At the same time, in Kingdom of Rainbows, the queen began to cry. The king cried out to his servants, “Come fetch the horses, we must search the kingdom and find the prince!” The servants were sad and left the palace. No one was happy that day in Kingdom of Rainbows. In Kingdom of Darkness, the prince woke and found his hands and feet tied with strong ropes.

He tried to lift the ropes, but he couldn’t. The place was dark and full of strange noises. He was very scared. Evil King and Evil Queen sat in their royal chairs in their royal rooms and laughed. “Finally, we’ve made the king and queen in Kingdom of Rainbows so sad!” They laughed so much that everyone in Evil Palace laughed too. They laughed so much they forgot to check on the prince. The little prince heard them and made his plan to escape. He began to slowly untie his ropes and finally escaped from the castle. The next morning, when Evil King went to the room that held Handsome Prince, he found

that his little prey was gone. He roared at his servants, “I will kill all of you if you don’t bring the little prince to me – I will kill you all!” The servants were so scared they ran away from Kingdom of Darkness and were never seen again. When Handsome Prince reached Kingdom of Rainbows, he saw his father and his servants riding towards him. Everyone was so happy to see Handsome Prince safe and unharmed that they began to laugh and life was good again in Kingdom of Rainbows!


Fusce Neque mi, consectetuer gravida, convallis ac, varius a, pede. Fusce pellentesque pretium quam. Ut luctus, justo id volutpat iaculis, est diam pulvinar sem, quis bibendum turpis dui eget mauris. Sed in mauris. Ut massa. Pellentesque condimentum felis nec sapien. Integer posuere elit at turpis. Nulla facilisi. Sed sapien ipsum, commodo ut, facilisis vitae, ultrices non, metus. Aenean non nulla. Curabitur molestie volutpat magna.

Vestibulum tempor


Faucibus nisi. Pellentesque vitae enim. Aliquam rhoncus volutpat mauris. Sed auctor. Donec tincidunt velit et tellus. Donec sed augue eget lacus placerat adipiscing. Ut convallis suscipit nulla. Morbi posuere ullamcorper ligula. Duis sit amet odio nec lorem ornare gravida. Suspendisse ante nulla, gravida quis, eleifend sit amet, placerat eget, purus. Sed egestas magna ut erat. Vivamus euismod, odio id mattis porttitor, tellus nisl consectetuer turpis, ut auctor enim justo euismod nulla. Fusce eget diam vulputate massa tem-


por tempor. In ante. Phasellus convallis, nisl in vestibulum facilisis, lacus pede bibendum urna, dapibus pellentesque eros magna sed nibh. Etiam tortor arcu, porta nec, laoreet quis, mollis in, libero.

Everyone was so happy to see Handsome Prince safe and unharmed that they began to laugh.

Children’s Stories HCT  KALIMAT

Peace Village - A Love Story Written by Aamena Al Shehhi

I consider writing as a way of expressing my ideas and feelings which means that when I'm feeling down or have a personal problem, I turn these emotions into words. This is the first time I have written a children’s

story in English. This experience has helped me to bring an idea that I created to life and allowed me to escape from reality into my own world. My personal motto is: "If others can do it, I can do it better!" Writing, reading and photography are my other hobbies.

Once upon a time, there was

a little village located in the most beautiful place in the world called Peace Village. The area was full of green grass surrounded by farms, trees, rolling hills, and a lovely lake. No-one was wealthy, but everyone lived happily and peacefully. The residents of the village loved each other as one family and worked together at many tasks, such as building huts to live in and developing farms to grow food and raise livestock. In the village, there was a small family consisting of a father, mother and a little baby boy called Gavery. Gaston and Golya loved their baby more than anything in the world. "He is the most beautiful baby in the village!" Golya said.

Gaston held his baby tenderly. "No, my love,” he replied. “He is the most beautiful baby in the entire world! He is a gift from God.”

Gaston and Golya loved their baby more than anything in the world.



They lived happily in the village, until one day darkness began to creep towards them.

worried about their baby. “What will happen to our little son?” Golya cried.

The leader of the village was worried and called a meeting. "There is disease spreading across our beautiful land," he announced. “Many people will die and our crops will be ruined.”

Gaston held her tenderly and wiped the tears from her eyes. “Don't worry, my love,” he said, “Gavery will live safely, away from the disease.”

The people listened in fear to the leader’s words. They were deeply afraid of disease and famine, but they didn’t know what to do. They wanted to run, but they had nowhere to go. They gathered together in the market square and began to discuss the future of Peace Village. After a long discussion, everyone decided to stay in the village and face it together, whatever the result. That night, Gaston and Golya could not sleep. They were

They thought hard for some time and finally decided to give their baby to a family in a faraway village, to take care of him and keep him safe. This decision was not easy for Gaston and Golya. Gaston promised that he would search the land for a family who would love Gavery as their own son. Gaston left the next morning, and two weeks later he returned to the village with good news.


“Golya!” he exclaimed. “I have found a family.” “No!” she cried. “How can I live without my son?” “Don't worry my love, he will be happy. They are kind and generous and will keep him safe.” A few days later, Oran and his wife Daron came to take Gavery with them to their village far away. “What a sweet baby he is,” Oran said, looking at Gavery smiling in his wife’s arms. Daron held Gavery and hugged him. “I could not give birth to my own child, but you are our son now and we will love you very much!” They were very happy and

“What a sweet baby he is,” Oran said, looking at Gavery smiling in his wife’s arms.

Children’s Stories HCT  KALIMAT

thanked Gaston and Golya for letting them take care of the baby.

Daron lived in the largest house. They prepared a wonderful room especially for the new baby.

Gaston and Galya held Gavery for the last time. Galya took off her necklace with a small silver heart and put it around her son’s neck.

“We have a son of our own after all these years, thanks to God,” said Daron.

“This necklace will protect you, and this heart will carry our love,” she said. Daron and his wife took their new son to their own village. It was a prosperous one, with large houses, gardens, fountains, servants and guards. Oran and

“We will name him Sandon,” replied Daron, “and our house will be his palace.” Eighteen years passed and memories faded. Sandon grew to love Oran and Daron as his real parents. He learned from them and grew into a generous, kind and handsome young man. On his eighteenth birthday Oran and

Daron knew it was time for their son to travel the land for one year and learn the skills of life. This was the tradition for young men in their village. He was sad to leave them and promised to return safely the following year. Sandon had never left the village before and felt very excited. He began to prepare for his trip. Oran gave him enough money to feed himself and told him he must work hard to earn a bed to sleep in each night. The year passed quickly. He visited many villages and towns in different parts of the land and met many different people.

He visited many villages and towns in different parts of the land and met many different people.




There were a few trees and some withered flowers and Sandon decided to take a nap under one of the trees.

Some of them were kind and others were rude, some were rich and some were poor. He spent his money wisely, worked hard each day and was happy. One day, by chance he arrived at a ruined village. He was very tired after his long walk and needed somewhere to shelter for the night. There were a few trees and some withered flowers and Sandon decided to take a nap under one of the trees. He felt comfortable under the tree and was just beginning to fall asleep when he saw a girl carrying a heavy container of

water. She looked tired and Sandon felt sorry for her. He got up immediately and offered to carry it. “Thank you,” she said, “you are very kind. I am Olexa. Welcome to our poor village.” “Thank you,” he said, “I have traveled to many villages both rich and poor, but I feel comfortable here. My name is Sandon.” Sandon carried the water for Olexa, to a small ruined house in the middle of the village where her parents were collecting sticks for their fire on the ground nearby. Olexa ran towards them and took the sticks from

their arms. They were grateful to Samdon for helping their daughter, and offered him a place to sleep for the night. They shared a small meal, and some bread that Sandon had brought and he told them about his travels and how he missed his parents and had promised to return to them, with the skills he had learned, by the end of the year. Suddenly Olexa’s mother began to cry. Her husband and daughter tried to comfort her, but her eyes were filled with so much sadness that she stood suddenly, unable to stop the tears which now began to fall onto the table in front of her.

Children’s Stories HCT  KALIMAT

“I’m sorry,” she said, “I don’t want to eat. I am tired and I want to sleep.” She left the table and her husband followed her immediately. “Please forgive my mother,” said Olexa. “She doesn’t mean to disrespect you. Her first child, my brother, was lost many years ago before I was born and they both loved him very much.” Olexa told Sandon the story of Peace Village; about the families who had died of disease and famine. She told him how Gaston and Galya had lost their son and how they cried for him every day. Sandon listened to Olexa’s words in silence. When she finished, Sandon spoke. “I am so sorry. I wish I could do something to compensate them for their loss.” “Stay with us Sandon. You could take my brother’s place and make my parents smile again.” “I promised to return to my parents at the end of the year. I will stay for 5 days and then I must go back to them as I promised. I will return from time to time. This village will be my second home and you will be my sister,” replied Sandon. “I would like that very much!" smiled Olexa. “I would love you like my brother." The next morning Sandon walked around and got to know many villagers. He loved the people and the village in spite of the ruin. Every day he learned new skills to help them cut down trees, take care of the livestock and milk the cows. He liked life

in the village as much as he liked his old life. While he worked, he thought about rebuilding the village to what it had been before, with green fields, rich farmland and rolling hills. The five days passed quickly and it was soon time for Sandon to return to his home. He promised Olexa and her parents that he would visit soon and help to rebuild the village. Sandon walked for many days and finally reached his village. Daron and Oran were very happy to see him, and asked him to tell them everything about his travels. He talked about the ruined village and Olexa and her family, and how many families had died of disease and famine. When he told them about their lost son, Gavery, Daron and Oran looked at each other in disbelief. Sandon stopped talking and looked at his parents’ reaction. “Can this be true?” said Oran sadly to her husband, “After all these years.” “The world is a small place,” replied Daron. “What’s wrong?” asked Sandon. Daron nodded to his wife as she left the room. When she returned she held the necklace that Golya had given to Gavery when she said goodbye. Finally, after nearly nineteen years, Oran and Daron told Sandon the truth. When they had finished they looked at their son. He couldn’t believe what they were saying. “Am I Gavery who was given to you all those years ago?” Sandon’s eyes filled with tears, “and are Gaston and Golya my real parents?” His heart was broken when he

“I would like that very much!" smiled Olexa. “I would love you like my brother."


knew the truth. He spent many days alone in his room trying to understand everything he had been told. After a week, Sandon sat with Oran and Daran and said, “You are my parents and I love you very much. You have always been kind to me and loved me like your son, but I must return to Peace Village as I promised and tell them the truth.” Daron and Oran understood and told him that they would go with him to help to rebuild the village and return kindness to the family who had given them their son. Oran, Daron and Sandon planned what they would need and packed food and tools, which they tied onto livestock


to take them to Peace Village. Olexa’s family welcomed them into their small hut. They were very pleased to see Sandon and his family. Oran prepared a dinner with some of the food the visitors had brought with them. While they ate together, Sandon gave Oran the necklace and told them the truth. At first they were shocked, because they had never expected to see Gavery again. Then everyone cried with happiness and Olexa, Gaston and Golya stood and hugged him.


the trees and the number of livestock increased. Sandon was true to his word and spent some weeks in the village with Olexa, Gaston and Golya, and other weeks with Daron and Oran in his home. When people asked him about his parents, he would tell them he was the luckiest man on earth, as he had two mothers and two fathers, and he loved them all very much.

“We will never send you away again,” they promised. A year passed and the village was rebuilt more wonderfully than before. The land was green, the birds returned to sing in

A year passed and the village was rebuilt more wonderfully than before.

Hopes & D

Hopes & Dreams



Hopes & Dreams HCT  KALIMAT

Experiences of a College Student Written by Mohamed Rashed Al Shehhi

family, too.

I am 22 years old and I love to write. I began by writing funny stories for my little sisters to enjoy. I would tell them the stories and sometimes read them to my

I would make them laugh by making facial expressions of the characters. I enjoy writing stories about events in my life as well as writing fiction. My favorite hobbies are video games and basketball. I also enjoy listening to music.


s the saying goes: "Life doesn’t always flow smoothly.” When we move from one stage of our lives to another, we have problems to face and overcome. We learn from these problems and gain experience to move on to the next stage. Every student who decides to move from school life to college life faces problems and one of these is language and communication. In many of our schools, we have Arabic teachers who teach us simple English as a foreign language but we communicate mainly in Arabic. They are not as experienced as the teachers in college, who are usually native English speakers, and communicate with us in English. I still remember my first day in college in 2007. I arrived at 8am and was looking for my classroom. I went to the reception counter to ask. I remember very clearly the words I used. "Teacher,” I said, "where is my

I still remember my first day in college in 2007.


classroom?" He looked at me in a funny way as if to say, "How should I know?" Then I told him my name and he gave me the number of the classroom. I searched around and finally found it. I expected to see some of my school friends there, but all the students were from different places. Every time I wanted to talk to my professor, I would say, "Teacher…" Then he or she would look at me and say, "Just say my name and please don’t call me ‘Teacher’”. And I would reply, "Okay, Teacher!"



I have really liked the time I have spent in college in the last 5 years. I have had some good (and some bad) friends who have helped to make this an enjoyable and interesting experience. I have also had some very good ‘teachers’ and I want to thank every faculty member, professor, or doctor who has taught me in this college, because they helped me as a student and as a person. Some of them also advised me when I had issues in my life. Thank you all for making my experience at college such a valuable one!

Thank you all for making my experience at college such a valuable one.

Hopes & Dreams HCT  KALIMAT

A Story from India Written by Mouza Rashed

My favourite hobbies are reading Arabic and English stories, chatting with my friends, travelling and cooking. I wrote this story based on my experiences in India. I have visited India many times

and during my visits, I have seen many cases of children walking in the streets selling food, flowers and other items. The events in my story are a combination of what I actually saw happening, stories told to me by the family who live next to our villa, and my own imagination. These are the people in the story.

Chapter One:

The Sisters


n Indian woman is boiling milk for her three children. The two older girls, Muskaan, whose name means smile, and her sister Yasmeen are sitting on a mattress on the floor of the small room with their young brother Mustafa. It’s a dark rainy night outside and everyone is cold. She doesn’t have a blanket or a warm coat for her children and their clothes are very worn and torn. As she lifts the milk from the stove and pours it into three old tin cups, there are a lot of thoughts and worries in her head. She wants her son Mustafa, who is 4 years old, to study and help them in the future, but she needs money to pay for his school and to provide proper food and clothes for all her children. When Mustafa is asleep, she

An Indian woman is boiling milk for her three children.


talks to her two daughters. Muskaan is 14 years and Yasmeen is 8 years. They are sensible, hardworking girls and they know they have to find work to help to feed the family. The next day, she finds a cleaning job for Muskaan at the local secondary school. It is raining so hard that Muskaan is late and as she runs into the school, she wishes she was entering as a student, wearing the uniform the girls are wearing, and not as a cleaner in her wet worn clothes. She finds the principal’s office and knocks on her door.


‘Why are you late?’ the principal shouts, ‘Tomorrow I want you here at 6am! Now quickly, go to the cleaner’s room and get on with your work.’ Muskaan is very upset and bows her head. It is not her fault she is late, but she doesn’t speak. She is too afraid. She finds the other cleaners who are much older than her. They give her a mop and she helps to clean the toilets. Later that morning there is an accident in a classroom and Muskaan is sent to clean vomit from the floor. The students and teacher are surprised and think that she should be studying with


them, not cleaning the floor. When she is finished, the teacher smiles at her and thanks her. Muskaan is grateful and smiles back. She goes back to the other cleaners who are eating lunch. She is hungry, but has no food with her. One of the cleaners feels sorry for her and shares some bread and water. At the end of the day, after the students leave the school, Muskaan is very tired. She hears someone calling her and turns and sees the teacher who smiled at her. The teacher asks her name and gives her 10 rupees.

Muskaan is 14 years old.

Hopes & Dreams HCT  KALIMAT

The next day the rain has stopped and Yasmeen is also going to work. Her mother works for a family in a neighbour’s house and she has asked them if they can find work for her daughter. They have a farm where they grow all kinds of fruit and vegetables and flowers. They like Yasmeen and her family and want to help. The old grandfather of the house takes her to the farm and tells his son that she is honest and hardworking. The farmer gives her a basket of red roses to sell in the street. Yasmeen is very happy and smiles because she can smell the scent of the roses in her basket.

She spends all afternoon moving from car to car when the traffic lights are red, selling her roses. By the end of the afternoon, she has sold all the flowers and her basket is empty. She goes back to the farmer and gives him the money she has collected. He is very happy with her and gives her 100 rupees and rewards her with some fresh fruit from the farm. He asks her to come back the next morning. She goes home and gives all the money to her mother and shares the fruit with her family.

Muskaan and Yasmeen and smiles for the first time since her husband died.

Later that night as the mother is boiling milk for her children at the stove, she looks at Mustafa,

...she can smell the scent of the roses in her basket.




...she smiles for the first time since her husband died.

Hopes & Dreams HCT  KALIMAT

My Snippet

Written by Saeed Mohamed Ahmed Abdulla Saeed Thuwaini

It’s hard to believe that something so tiny can mean so much. My dreams were planted like a seed in my heart, which became full of desire. Yet when someone sees those dreams and displays that seed for all to see, do you take responsibility for it? Will you try to rescue it? Do you nurture it? Can

you keep it safe? This is my story. It happened to me four years ago. It was the summer vacation when everybody should have been happy, but I was very sad. I wasn’t chosen for a school camping trip so I was 16 years old and sitting in my bedroom alone.


y two older brothers were watching an adult horror movie in the living room. I was not allowed to join them. Suddenly my oldest brother arrived home and rushed into my room. “Hi brother, how are you?” he asked, interrupting my thoughts. "Fine,” I said absent-mindedly. “How’s your new job?” “Oh my God!” he said with immense delight. “Great! It’s a fantastic building, great salary and really interesting!” “But why don’t you go to university? You were such a great student.” “University? I can’t believe I finished high school. Studying is so boring. Working in a company with girls is more interesting,” he laughed. “You’re lucky, I have to go back to an old school building with bad-tempered advisors,” I said sadly.

"Here, I bought a newspaper at the petrol station. You look bored. Take it and read it.”


“Here, I bought a newspaper at the petrol station. You look bored. Take it and read it.” He dropped the newspaper in my lap and left the room to take a hot shower. I turned the pages. They held the usual topics; politics, wars, economics and other tedious articles. I continued until my eyes were drawn towards an image in the middle of a page. A young man was standing in a hall or theatre surrounded by a smiling crowd of men and women. He was clearly very important. I couldn’t take my eyes off the image. I knew that this was my dream, my hope, to be someone important. To be a man people follow and listen to. I took a pair of scissors from my desk and carefully cut out the


picture. I decided to keep it with me and hidden away from my family. It would protect me when I felt harassment from my family or problems in my life. It would become my consolation and hope when I was sad. Two years later, I finished high school with honours and began my studies at university. Unfortunately, my family still ignored me and treated me like a teenager, which hurt me very much. Later that year my oldest brother got engaged to my cousin. This meant a big celebration and even less attention for a ‘teenager’. I returned from the university on Thursday as usual. This time, however, I was very annoyed. Our family celebration was the next day. I was to be in charge of


the children and keep them out of the adult area. Once again, I was treated like a child and not allowed to join the adults! The whole house was ready and everyone was anticipating the celebration. I was sitting alone yet again in my bedroom, sulking. My father had told me that I was not allowed to invite any friends to the party. I was angry. This was his way. I was 18 years old and an 'A' grade university student yet he still treated me like an irresponsible child. I hated the celebration, my family and everything in my life. Then I remembered my magic charm, my ‘snippet’. I took it out of my desk and felt myself drawn into the image. I saw my father and brothers inviting me to join them and the other men in the living room. I looked in the mirror on my desk and saw

I took a pair of scissors from my desk and carefully cut out the picture.

Hopes & Dreams HCT  KALIMAT

my features changing. My hair was long like his and my face was his. I pinched my cheeks and waved my hand to make sure it was my reflection in the mirror. Suddenly, a shout shattered my dream. My oldest brother stood in the doorway red with anger. “What is this?” he screamed, snatching the ‘snippet’ from my lap. “This…..this…..it…..was…” I mumbled. “Are you crazy? You should be

ashamed of loving a picture like this!” his anger shook the house. I couldn’t speak. He began punching me and I cried like a small child. The ‘snippet’ fell to the floor. I saw its true value……. a crumpled piece of paper. My emotions began to ignite. “Why don’t you understand my misery!” My voice was stronger than I’d ever heard it.

The room was silent. I looked up, and saw my brother in the doorway staring at me. He turned and left the room, slamming the door behind him.

As my anger began to build, I stopped crying. I realized that the answer was in me, not in a piece of paper. At that moment, I felt something begin to change in me. It was very small, but I felt it.

“What is this?” he screamed, snatching the ‘snippet’ from my lap.




At that moment I felt something begin to change in me.

Hopes & Dreams HCT  KALIMAT

The Joy of Reading Written by Onood Ahmed

I am 14 years old and I’m in Grade 9 at Al Mataf School. Aamna Al Shehhi is working with me as a student teacher and she encouraged me to write a story that she could submit to Kalimat. I don’t really have lots of accomplishments; however I’ve won the first place in the Arabic and the English Olympics. One of my many hobbies is collecting coins; especially silver ones.

Student Teacher: Aamna Al Shehhi

The first day I walked into my teaching practice classroom, I noticed that one 14 year old student had a novel on her desk. I was impressed. The student introduced herself as Onood and told me she loved reading.

I thought to myself “Here’s someone who will have a good vocabulary and good writing skills”. I was not disappointed! Onood has an excellent vocabulary and writes creatively and fluently. It was a wonderful Some people might find it a little experience working with her during weird, but I think it’s fun. Reading is my passion so I don’t think it would be my teaching practice and I am very pleased that a piece of her work is fair if I considered it as a hobby. It’s a published in Kalimat. lifestyle. I believe that if you don’t enjoy reading, you can’t write well. I also believe that books play an important part in developing your character and personality.

One day, my mom took me to the public library.

Onood sent me a thank you letter at the end of the term for my help and encouragement. This is my thank you to her for helping to make my teaching practice so positive and enjoyable.



f anyone asked me to talk about something I like, I would probably choose reading. However, if I even mention this word, people just smile and think I’m crazy. I once thought that way too. When I was about seven or eight years old, my mother used to force me to read books that I didn’t like. I had to read ten pages a day and it was torture. Time passed really slowly and I remember counting the pages after I finished each one. I didn’t get anything from the books I read and I didn’t enjoy any of them because they didn’t seem to suit me.


Then something really interesting happened that totally changed my idea about reading. One day, my mom took me to the public library. It was the first time I had seen such an enormous number of books! I couldn’t believe my eyes; it was like magic. I asked my mother if I could take some books home and she smiled and told me to choose what I wanted. Since then I have read hundreds of books and I have loved all of them.


kids, I spend my time reading. My favorite types of books are Action/Adventure, Fantasy and Mystery followed by Horror, and a little bit of everything else.

Now I can’t live without reading because it makes me feel special and happy about myself. It's an obsession! Instead of watching cartoons like other

Now I can’t live without reading because it makes me feel special and happy about myself.

Fantasy &

Fantasy & Fiction



Fantasy & Fiction HCT  KALIMAT

Tales of Nemesis Written by The Nemesis

I am inspired by music and animation and have a wide imagination. I am a great fan of fantasy stories and I usually write about darkness and the things that scare me. My stories do not usually

have happy endings. This is the first chapter of a longer story called ‘Nemesis – The Scattered Souls’. When I write, I imagine myself as the ‘hero’ of my story which is why I like to remain anonymous and write in the name of my main character - Nemesis.

The Scattered Souls Chapter One:

The Dark Past

I don’t think I can go any further. My faith in this fight has reached its end. It’s not that I want to die. That’s not my destiny. I wish to live again and see a new future. My heart has been full of hate and my eyes are full of sorrow. I’m lonely. I believe that no one will care that my soul is gone. I’m nothing now. The only thing I want is to remove my sins. I wish I was human. It was the day of the blood red rain. The fighting had continued for so long. My father sent me with my oldest brother Chaos and his army to conquer the village. It took a whole day to reach it. We hid in the forest to rest and prepare for battle. My brother decided to attack the village at sunset and a few hours remained. He ordered me to explore the area and look for

My brother decided to attack the village at sunset and a few hours remained.


anything unusual. I agreed just to get away from camp. I set out towards the village taking care to stay hidden. It was green and peaceful, but I was weary and my head was full of the battle to come. Suddenly I heard a voice that lifted my soul. I wanted it to go on forever. I hid behind a tree and searched the clearing. The voice began again, like the ripple of tiny bells and a quick movement caught my eye. I stood still, silent, hardly daring to breathe. Then I saw her . . . a golden-haired child of perhaps 8 or 9 years old, laughing and playing with a little dog. As I watched, I realized how close she was to the army camp. I was confused. Should I leave her alone or warn her not to go too close?


The laughter stopped. I looked up and the child had disappeared. I was frightened. I thought perhaps one of our soldiers had heard her and killed her. I looked around desperately, but no one was there. Suddenly and softly the laughter began again and this time it was behind me. I turned quickly and there she was. It was the first time I had seen a smile on a human face and it was beautiful. The dog was barking happily and running all around us. “Jack, stop!” she commanded. The dog sat and looked up at me, its head to one side, wagging its tail. The girl with the golden hair asked my name. Her voice was like music. I looked at her and the dog began to lick my fingers. I


couldn’t speak. She asked me the same question again and this time I answered, “Nemesis.” She looked at me and smiled “What a sad name. My name is Jessica,” she said. “It’s a happy name. Do you like to play?” I was bemused. It was the first time I had heard that word. “I don’t know how,” I replied sadly. "It’s easy, you just have fun!" she laughed. She studied me. Her head tilted. “You are a good person,” she said, “and you have a beautiful smile.” I was shocked. It was the first time anyone had ever seen me smile. In fact, I had no memory

The girl with the golden hair asked my name. Her voice was like music.

Fantasy & Fiction HCT  KALIMAT

of ever smiling. The little girl interrupted my thoughts. “I’m sorry, Nemesis,” she said. “It will be dark soon and my mother will be worried.” She called her dog and ran down towards the village. Suddenly the spell was broken. The sun was low in the sky and it was nearly sunset. At the bottom of the hill she stopped and turned back to wave goodbye. I wanted to follow, to call her back and warn her to stay away from

the village. I wanted to save her from the death and destruction to come, but it was too late. I had reached the top of the small hill that separated the army camp from the village. I heard the sound of horses. The army had started the attack. I ran as fast as I could but the killing had begun. This was the first time I saw the battlefield through the eyes of a human. Something had changed inside me. Suddenly there was a flash of light and the sky turned red. I was getting closer and I could see the flames and the smoke rising. The village was burning. I entered the gates, covering

my mouth and nose. It began to rain, slowly at first. I looked around me. Children lay in a bloody heap, their limbs hacked or missing. The iron smell of blood and burning filled the air. The screams of the innocent hit my ears. Everything around me was dead or dying. The scene was terrible. I closed my ears to the screams. Everywhere I looked there was a bloody river. Everything was blood-red including the rain falling from the sky. I tried to close my eyes, but it was already burned into my memory. I tried to find Chaos to beg him

Suddenly the spell was broken. The sun was low in the sky and it was nearly sunset.




I wanted to save her but she insisted I leave her and help her mother inside the burning house.

to stop. I saw him in the distance and as I began to run towards him, I heard a voice that made me stop. I knew it was Jessica. I changed my path and went directly towards her. As I drew near she recognized me. “Help me, Nemesis!” she cried. Her face was half-covered in blood. The dog lay dead beside her. I tried to help her but her leg was trapped under a big block of stone. She was hurt and in pain. I tried to remove the block but it was too heavy. She looked at me and grabbed my hand.

“Leave me and help my mother please!” she begged. She needed help and yet she wanted me to help her mother. I shook my head ‘no’. I wanted to save her but she insisted I leave her and help her mother inside the burning house. I looked at her and said, “I will help her and then I will help you.” I left Jessica and ran towards the house. The flames were everywhere. I could barely breathe or see because of the smoke. I tore a piece of my wet shirt and covered my mouth and nose.

As I entered the house, I heard a woman’s voice. The fire surrounded her and she was on her knees crying for help. Without thinking I jumped into the flames. I lifted her onto my back and managed to get out before the house collapsed behind us. She was calling for her daughter, so I took her quickly to the place where Jessica was lying. Her mother sat beside her and comforted her while I lifted the heavy stone from her legs. When she was free, she began to cry softly.

Fantasy & Fiction HCT  KALIMAT

“Human trash!” My brother’s voice echoed in my head.


“You have to go quickly!” I said urgently. “You are not safe here. You must carry Jessica to the woods and hide there. I will find you later.” I helped her lift her daughter. She was so weak she could hardly lift her hand to touch her mother’s face. The noise of battle was getting closer and as I turned to reach for my sword, a sickening blow struck the side of my head and I fell to the ground. “Human trash!” My brother’s voice echoed in my head. I looked up at the bloody sword dripping in his hand. I could hear myself pleading as I tried to stop him. He kicked me down


again with his foot. Jessica and her mother lay on the ground dead. I threw back my head and cried, “Nooooooooooo!” Chaos laughed loudly. He bent over me and pressed his sword against my throat. “You will pay for this!” he growled. The guards tied my hands and the next day we took the long journey back to the castle. The guards dragged me to the door which led to my father’s stateroom. I was afraid to face him and wished my mother was with him. Suddenly the door opened and the guards led me in. I stopped in the middle of the huge room and looked at


the paintings and animal heads on the walls. There was war and death everywhere I looked. My father sat on his throne staring at me angrily. I didn’t know what to say, so I bowed and said, "Father." “SILENCE!” he shouted. “You vile creature, I did not expect you to show mercy!” I couldn’t look at my father or make direct contact with his eyes. I was looking down to try to hide my anger and hate. “How dare you try to save human trash, when I sent you to kill them! You are as foolish as your mother!” he continued. When he talked about my mother

I didn’t know what to say, so I bowed and said “Father.’’

Fantasy & Fiction HCT  KALIMAT

I became angry. “I don’t care about you or your legacy. I hate you father, and I will not be a monster like you. You fooled me. You made me believe that humans are trash. But I see something unique in them. They look like us, but they care for each other. You don’t care for anything, only yourself, your wealth and your power. I will choose my own path and no one will stop me!” It was the first time I had shouted at my father. The room was silent. Suddenly, my father laughed. Then he stared at me. “So be it!” he roared. “Throw him in the jail underground!” Immediately the guards grabbed me and dragged me down to a cell. I looked at the pile of bones and skulls of people my father had sent there before me. The guards locked the door and I thought my end would come in this place. Three days passed and I waited for something to happen, or for my father’s forgiveness. Every day a guard came to me and gave me food and water. His name was David and he was a good man. He came to my cell and talked with me. He was afraid if my father found out that he had helped me, he would kill him so he would hide and sneak past the other guards when they were asleep. On the third night I heard a voice calling my name. “Lord Nemesis.” David was at the door of my cell and beside him stood a child of about 12 years old with long black hair. I recognized my sister at once.

“Angelica,” I whispered, “you must go. It’s not safe. "



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Vestibulum tempor


Faucibus nisi. Pellentesque vitae enim. Aliquam rhoncus volutpat mauris. Sed auctor. Donec tincidunt velit et tellus. Donec sed augue eget lacus placerat adipiscing. Ut convallis suscipit nulla. Morbi posuere ullamcorper ligula. Duis sit amet odio nec lorem ornare gravida. Suspendisse ante nulla, gravida quis, eleifend sit amet, placerat eget, purus. Sed egestas magna ut erat. Vivamus euismod, odio id mattis porttitor, tellus nisl consectetuer turpis, ut auctor enim justo euismod nulla. Fusce eget diam vulputate massa tem-

We left the castle and ran into the woods as fast as we could.

“Angelica,” I whispered, “you must go. It’s not safe. Get out before someone sees you.” She smiled and answered, “Do not worry, brother. All is well.” I looked at her in amazement. In her hand she held a large key which she gave to David to unlock the door of my cell. Then, she held my hand and David led us through the dark passages of the underground jail to freedom. We went directly to the castle gates. The guards were sleeping and I was afraid they would hear us.

“It is safe, brother,” said Angelica, holding up a small empty bottle she took from her pocket. “They will not wake tonight." Suddenly, my brother Genesis appeared from the shadows in front of us, a huge sword in his hand. We stopped, frozen to the spot. He was the strongest in our family. He could destroy a whole city in one strike. We stood still, too scared to move. Then Genesis spoke. “I will not prevent you from escaping. It is your choice to go and I will not hurt you. Leave now!” he commanded. “But remember this, I will count

you as my enemies after you leave and I swear I will not have mercy on you.” My heart was beating very fast. I could imagine what he would do to us. Angelica held my hand tightly and we began to walk towards the gates. We left the castle and ran into the woods as fast as we could. The feeling of being free was wonderful. I didn’t know what the future had in store for the three of us, but there was something I was sure about…… ..a new story had begun.

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