A few days ago, I was rummaging through some of the junk in my basement, trying to look for some documents to file my taxes, but instead I ended up finding something even better: My old personal diaries from like back when I was in high school, as well as some stories and poems I wrote when I was barely a teen! My reader needs to know that when I was younger, around 12 or 13, I started to read and write. A lot. From poems to short stories to novels even! In fact, I used to write so much that I even started a series of short novels (inspired by two of my favourite authors at the time, R.L. Stine and Richie Tankersley Cusick) called “Untold Stories.” I’d written them all in notebooks and by hand too! And I must admit they were pretty well-written! This one story called, “Deadly Secrets” was so freaky, I couldn’t believe that I, as a 13 year old, wrote it! It’s so hard for me to write stories now, ‘cause they always turn into novels (literally), and the topics I now choose to write on are drastically different from what I used to write on. Heck, I can’t even write horror anymore! Most of my stories focus on women’s issues, poverty, oppression, non-fiction events, and of course my people, Pashtuns.
Anyway, I managed to type the prologue from “Deadly Secrets” – a story I wrote when I was only 13. I hope my reader enjoys it as much as I did, reading it after almost a decade and a half. Damn!
Thundering and lightening shook the sky and suddenly rain started pouring down in torrents. Jemi Wilson stared at her friend, Janice Ross, and wondered why she’d called her up in the middle of the night and then dragged her to the woods, in this horrible weather.
The woods led to a dangerous cliff, which was so deep that no one dared to walk near it. Rumour had it that the cliff could possibly be haunted. There were reports that people who had almost fallen, claimed they felt an invisible force push them towards the cliff. To make matters worse, the bodies of people who had fallen through were never recovered; they all had just disappeared. Of course Jemi did not believe in all this nonsense, she considered herself too smart to believe such superstition, but she couldn’t help the uneasy feeling she was getting in the pit of her stomach.
“Excuse me Janice, but could you please tell me what exactly we’re doing here?” Jemi asked, as Janice stopped the car about 50 feet from the cliff.
“Jemi, if I tell you why, will you please promise me that you won’t tell anyone?” Janice said, turning to Jemi, her eyes were moist and seemed watery—she looked like she was about to cry.
“I promise,” Jemi replied quietly, but was still pretty confused as to why Janice was behaving so strangely. Suddenly, Janice burst into tears and covered her face with her hands.
“What is it Janice, what’s wrong, please tell me,” Jemi asked, she was starting to get really worried now, what’s wrong with Janice anyway? They weren’t exactly close friends, if anything Jemi wasn’t too fond of Janice. She was extremely vain and self-centered. But that was mainly because she was the prettiest and the most popular girl at school. The only reason she talked to Jemi was because she was currently dating her older brother, James. Janice was so beautiful that she could get any guy she wanted. She had long silky, wavy blonde hair, emerald-coloured eyes and the perfect figure. Every guy Jemi knew was simply nuts about her. Even Tony Salinger had a crush on her; he was Jemi’s best friend, but she was secretly in love with him. It really pained her that he couldn’t look at her the way he looked at Janice. In a way, Jemi envied Janice. She had everything from looks to grades to getting any guy she wanted with just a snap of her fingers. Everyone seemed to love her; teachers, students, parents—everyone except Jemi. But seeing her that fateful night crying, Jemi actually started to feel a little sorry for her.
“Ohh, I can’t, I can’t!” Janice sobbed shaking her head in her hands.
“Can’t what? Janice, tell me what’s wrong?!” Jemi asked again, but more firmly this time. In response, Janice turned the door handle and got out of the car and ran towards the direction of the cliff.
“Janice!” Jemi screamed, oh my God, where is she going? Jemi quickly got out of the car and followed Janice, only to find her standing a few steps away from the cliff. Jemi was completely out of breath when she finally caught up with Janice. She watched as Janice looked out into the darkness of the cliff, her face was totally pale. The rain had finally stopped, but they could still hear the barking of the thunder and lightening in the distance. Fog and mist covered everywhere and suddenly the woods looked even spookier than usual.
“Janice, will you step away from that cliff, you might slip and fall!” Jemi warned and grabbed her by the arm to pull her away, since she was standing too close to the edge.
“Oh,” was all that Janice said, as if suddenly coming out of a reverie.
“Okay,” Jemi sighed, “seriously Janice, you are acting so weird today, you’re really scaring me. What were you going to tell me just earlier?” she asked, studying Janice’s troubled face. She was about to say something when suddenly her eyes widened and she grabbed Jemi’s arm tightly, digging her long perfectly manicured fingernails into it.
“Oh my God Jemi, he’s watching us,” Janice whispered hoarsely. Suddenly, the thunder and lightening in the dark sky became so violent that it blackened and burned the trees in the distance.
“W-what are you talking about? Who’s watching us,” Jemi asked, she was starting to freak out at the hysterical way Janice was suddenly behaving.
“Shhh, let’s get out of here before he gets me…quickly!” she shrieked the last word and pushed Jemi to the side.
“Janice, what’s wrong with you? Why are you acting this way?!” Jemi cried and grabbed Janice by the arms to steady her.
“He followed us and now he’s watching us! He’s right there! Can’t you see him? Omigod Jemi, quick get the car!” she screamed pointing a shaky finger in the direction of the woods. Jemi looked to where Janice was pointing, but all she could see was mist and fog. I think she’s going insane! I need to get her out of here, Jemi thought panicking.
“Ok you stay here and I’ll go check it out,” Jemi said bravely, but she was shaking so much that she was afraid that what if Janice was right and there was really a dangerous man lurking somewhere in the woods.
“No! Please don’t go there,” Janice begged, her sobs turning into hiccups.
“Janice, you’re really, really freaking me out! First you bring me here, then you start acting all bizarre and now you’re telling me there’s someone watching us? I hope this isn’t one of your sick jokes, ‘cause I’m really not finding this funny!” Jemi shouted, suddenly realizing that this could be one of Janice’s pranks.
“I’m not joking! He’s really watching us, can’t you see him?” Janice repeated, her eyes widened so much they looked like they were going to pop out of her head. Jemi looked once more and again all she saw was mist and fog, there wasn’t a being in sight.
“Okay, this is ridiculous, I’m leaving,” Jemi said, shaking her head
“No, please don’t leave me, don’t leave me here alone,” Janice pleaded.
“Then let’s go home then! I’m tired and I really don’t like being here at this time of the night, seriously Janice you’re acting like a wacko,” Jemi said irritably and turned to walk away. She thought Janice was close behind her the whole time and just as she neared the car, she turned around to see whether Janice was with her, but to her alarm there was nobody behind her, except for the mist and the fog which had become thicker, until she couldn’t see anything.
“Janice? Janice, where are you?” Jemi called, as she went back the way she’d come, when suddenly she heard a blood curdling screech in the direction of the cliff. Her heart pounding uncontrollably, Jemi rushed the rest of the way, only to see fingers struggling to hold on to the edge of the cliff.
“Janice!” Jemi shrieked, “Hold on, I’m coming!”
“Help me! Jemi! Oh please, help me!!” Janice screamed. Jemi tried to hold on to her hands, but her hands were too slippery.
“Hold on, oh please hold on,” Jemi pleaded as tears started to stream down her face. Janice’s body was too heavy and it kept pulling her down. Suddenly, her fingers slipped from Jemi’s and she fell.
Her screams echoing, as the blackness of the cliff enveloped her. And then she was gone. Dead…
Freaky, eh? And the rest of the story gets better, but I’ll share that some other time, ‘cause I’d have to type it all, and I really don’t have the time for that at the moment. Perhaps once my semester is over, ka khairey.
Anyway, besides my freaky stories, I also found my diaries! Like oh em gee! Seriously, I am so glad I kept diaries back in the day, man! Of course, since we didn’t have the internet back then (or we did, but it wasn’t as widespread as it is now), the only way I could record my entries was on paper. And again, it was all hand-written. So, now whenever I want to relive a memory, especially from my early teens, I don’t have to derive it from my memory; I can just refer back to these diaries as they indeed serve as wonderful written memories. Needless to say, some of the posts I’d written were absolutely hilarious! It’s obvious how innocent and immature I was. It’s actually unbelievable how drastically one can change over a span of a little over a decade. And now I wonder what I’d be like another decade or so from now. We, humans, are indeed constantly changing and evolving, not only physically, but mentally as well. I am sure my blog serves as the same thing (diary), but of course more technologically advanced. I am sure 10-15 years from now, my blog, too, will serve as written memories, especially the personal ones I’ve written. And who knows, I might look back at my posts and laugh at them too.
I clearly remember when I got my first diary. It was actually a parting gift from one of my dearest friends, because she knew I was moving to Canada. And my diary starts the first week my family and I moved to Canada. The great thing is that I dated each and every post I’d written, so now when I read these diaries and relive the memory as it was written; it surely feels like it all just happened yesterday. The images and conversations I had feel so vivid!
Anyway, here are the first couple of entries I wrote, again for your reading pleasure. (Note: I have not changed anything in the posts I’m about to share. They are typed verbatim the way I wrote them.)
September 17, 1997
Hi, this is the first time I’m writing in here. That’s ‘cause I didn’t have the time to write in here earlier, since I was busy adjusting to my new school and my new house. The new house is pretty. It’s bigger than the house we had back home, which was actually kind of small. We have three bedrooms, a nice dining room, a very big living room and of course a kitchen. We also have a basement! But it’s kind of dark and spooky there so I avoid going there by myself.
Anyway, I’m in the 10th grade (they made me skip a grade because my English was very good and also my marks on my report card) and I like it very much so far. I’m also taking Physical Education. I love sports. I have three brothers so I grew up as a tomboy. I like to play cricket, soccer, tennis and basketball.
I also made two friends. One is Mehvish and the other is Warka, but she wants me to call her ‘Wendy’. They are both very nice. I like them a lot. Maybe they can become my new best friends. By the way, before I started writing in here, I wrote to my two best friends in the world, Sadia and Rasha. I hope they like my letter. I stayed up till 1 am writing it. Maybe that’s why I was so sleepy in class today. Thank God my teacher didn’t notice.
Right now I have some homework to do, so I’ll write in here later. Bye!
October 4, 1997
I know I haven’t written in here much ‘cause I’ve been really busy doing homework and studying for boring tests. I got my Science test back yesterday and I got an A. My teacher, Mr. Burns, is so funny and awesome. I used to hate science, especially chemistry, but thanks to him, I like it a lot.
I also love my English class. I actually look forward to it each week. This week we started to read Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare. I’ve read Shakespeare before, back home I mean. I’ve read Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, and Macbeth. I like his plays. So I am looking forward to it. My teacher might even have us act it out. I’ve acted and sang before, so I will definitely apply for the role of Juliet.
I am sleepy now so I will write in here later. Good night.
All right, dear readers! That’s it for now. I’ll share more later on, but right now I gotta get back to reality. 🙂