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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bitter and Sweet (05/28/09)

TITLE: Naked
By Ruth Neilson


Fatimah touched her uncovered hair. It was weird, being in public without her hijab, but it was a step in the right direction of declaring her beliefs to her father. She shivered, and tugged her jacket closer around her. She hunched over the computer at the internet cafe` and smiled as she saw a screen name sign-on.

She pounced, doubling clicking the name and typed.

550220: Ahmed?

There was a long pause and Fatimah wondered if she got his screen name correct. What if it wasn't Ahmed? Moment's passed, and then the screen flashed announcing his response.

062414: Fatimah? Is that you, little sister?

Fatimah grinned as she typed her response, it had to be Ahmed. She could almost hear the fondness in his voice that had developed in the months before the discussion of the Hajj and Ahmed's earth shattering statement that he no longer believed in Allah or Muhammad as his prophet.

062414: What's going on, Fatimah? I thought I would never hear from you again.

Fatimah swallowed and looked over her shoulder again. She tried to make herself look smaller as she began to type.

I began having dreams after you left...about Jesus.

Ahmed pressed for more information about her dreams, and eagerly, Fatimah gave them to him. Finally, he asked the question she was waiting for.

So, what are you going to do about them?

Fatimah tapped the keyboard with her fingers before typing: I did research...found stuff you left behind. By the way, you hiding stuff in my room wasn't the smartest thing to do...

There was another pause, and impulsively, Fatimah ran a hand over her hair. It felt so strange not to feel the hijab.

062414: And? What have you decided?

Fatimah bit her lip before rapidly typing, I took off the hijab. I'm going to tell Father what I've found out. It's a odd feeling, finding something like this, that's so easy...so sweet, to just accept without having to work for it; but also knowing...I'm going to be homeless this time tomorrow, if I survive Father's wrath. It's a bitter feeling...how'd you deal with this knowledge? How long did you know?

062414: Are you sure you want to go through with this? You're still young, Fati. *sighs* I knew for several months before I told him...What made you decide to come out to him?

She thought for several moments.

062414: Fatimah? You still there?

Yeah, I'm here. Father wants me to marry, as soon as I graduate from high school. Not ready for that, actually been thinking about going to school.

There was another pause and she shifted nervously. Her time was starting to run out, Fatimah knew she was going to be missed soon. She softly sighed reached into her bag, fingering the scarf. It was safety to wear it for a little longer. But, Fatimah knew it would chafe her spirit.

062414: Have you figured out where you're going to go? If you out yourself now, he'll send you to stay with our cousins in Lebanon. And there would be no escape.

I know. I was hoping maybe you could...but if you can't, I'll find some place to go.

062414: I have to work tonight so I can't get you now, but I am off tomorrow. And it's the weekend. I can get you after school. We'll go together and confront father then...Can you hang in there for one more day?

Fatimah's nodded and she looked around again. A familiar shape was walking into the cafe` and she shivered. She crouched lower, hoping...no praying that her uncle didn't see her. His eyes darkened as they landed on her naked head. She swallowed, and rapidly began to type: Yeah, I can. I need to go. Time's up. Then, without waiting a response, she logged off. For better or worse, her secret was out.


Fatimah's abrupt departure scared Ahmed. He grimaced and shook his head. Someone found her, that much was obvious; but who? This wasn't good. Ahmed reached for his phone, and began to dial his boss's number. He could only pray that he wasn't going to be too late for Fatimah.

Hijab-a head covering and modest dress for Muslim women.
Hajj-a Muslim's pilgrimage to Mecca that they must take at least once in their life-time if they can afford it.

Galatians 2:20--"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

Joshua 24:14--"Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD."

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This article has been read 564 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 06/04/09
I found this so timely as we deal with intercultural religions in our country today--many of which are Muslims. The sweetness of accepting Jesus will overpower the bitterness this decision brings. Thank God.
Joanne Sher 06/04/09
Wow - incredible detail and intensity. I so wanna know what happened. Kept me on the edge of my seat.
Jan Ackerson 06/08/09
Excellent and creative. It's obvious that you have a tender heart toward this subject.

I caught an apostrophe hiding out where it didn't belong (in moment's).

Love the title, too.
Carol Slider 06/08/09
This felt so incredibly REAL! Great job conveying the dangers for young people who choose Christ against the wishes of their families, as well as the conflicting emotions involved. Well done!
Colin Swann06/08/09
Interesting take on the topic. Opposition to an initial stance for Jesus comes in many forms - I suppose none more intense than this form. Well written piece. Thanks
Sara Harricharan 06/08/09
Interesting story. Hmmm....will she be all right? ^_^ I wanted to know more and what happened after this.
Genia Gilbert06/08/09
Yes, more please.... But your point was well made. Very nice!
Connie Dixon06/09/09
Great insight to a prison that most of us know nothng about. You did a great job of informing your reader. Very creative and enjoyable to read. Good job.
Dee Yoder 06/09/09
This is so similar to what my Old Order ex-Amish friends are facing when they leave their culture. Being religious means nothing when Christ is not in it! Freedom to serve Him is a driving force for everyone who meets Him face to face. There is no going back! Great story.
Mona Purvis06/09/09
Really enjoyed reading this one. Suspense throughout. I was reading in Matthew this morning, when the wise men found Jesus. When they left they went "another way". That's true of us, too, isn't it? And your MC.
Bryan Ridenour06/09/09
Suspenseful and definitely kept my attention. Left me wanting to know the rest of the story. Well done!