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Kashfia Hassan


She sat there and stared at the blank page in front of her, frustrated. That’s how she had been spending most of her time lately. Thoughts and ideas raced around her head like a violent tornado determined to destroy everything in its path — but before she could capture them on paper, they would disappear, leaving her with muddled tidbits to taunt her.

Whenever she tried to write, fear of what they would say loomed over her head. It choked her so badly, writing became close to impossible. There used to be a time when writing used to come as naturally to her as breathing. She would sit down, her head swimming with stories, and the second she touched her pen to paper the words would flow automatically.

It was back when she used to write for herself, as a hobby, without the fear of being judged. It was before her art had been published, or seen by the outside world, before some of her work had been praised to the heavens while others torn to bits by the same vulturous critics. It was before her latter work had been mercilessly compared with her former ones. They had no idea what this constant circle of comparison could do to a creator’s mind; they were unaware of the power their words held. If they had been, they would’ve chosen them a little more carefully.

In order to survive, to protect herself from their spite, she had grown a shell all over her body, encasing herself inside. It had been so easy to be cocooned in there, safe from the outside world. No one could harm her there and she could retain her mental peace. She never thought of what other consequences this action might have and now she wishes she had. In order to keep herself safe, she had given up feeling anything at all. If she couldn’t feel, how would she write? As a result, she had lost her reason to live — that which meant more to her than anything else in the world — her ability to create magic with words.

 

The pile of pages on her left side had been growing over the past few months. It was the unfinished pile — with random sentences, ideas, and introductions — that she had been unable to continue. Seeing them, a desperate anger flared up inside her; she pinched herself, slapped herself across both cheeks, dying to feel something. She grabbed the paper cutter from her penholder and slashed her thumb with it. As the blade left a long slice in her finger, she felt a familiar sting and saw a crimson trickle. She smiled. It was slowly working. But she needed to feel faster, to feel more.

She got up and headed to the next room. Looking around, her eyes lit up when she spotted what she was searching for. She carefully picked up the knife with the gleaming blade and slowly plunged it in. She let out a big sigh of relief. There it was. As she fell limply to the floor, blood oozing out of her slit abdomen, she finally began to feel. She felt everything she had refused to over the years, until she could feel nothing at all.

 


Kashfia Hassan loves to write professionally and for fun.

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