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Faith, Flash Fiction, Society, Writing

Write4Ten: “At Last”

Just found this wonderful sight called Write4Ten. The rules are simple: use the prompt to write for 10 minutes a day. Post what you’ve come up with either on your blog and link it or post directly to comments on the page.

Today’s prompt is Free and my contribution is titled “At Last.”

Marcus blinked up at the sun, startled by its brilliance. For a moment he closed his eyes, loving the heat on his face. “Yo, boy; you goin’ or you plannin’ on stayin’ up in here? I got thangs to do and no time to watch you stand there lika statue.” The voice of the sergeant brought him out of his reverie.

Yes, sir; I’m leavin’.” No more would he have to look that joker in the face; for the last seven years, Sergeant Moore had been riding him and demoralizing him; of all the staff, Marcus was most glad about never having to see him again. If I ever see you on the street, he stopped himself from that thought trail and instead thought on the teachings from Brother Evan, whom he hoped would pull up soon. He picked up his bag, saddened by its lightness; seven years should be heavier than this, he thought as he took three steps past the gate. Even after all this time he jumped as the metal gate slammed shut behind him no sooner had his left heel passed the threshold. He realized that he had never become immune to the sound. His attention was soon drawn to the cloud of dust that was growing larger to the east; Brother Evan was coming, the tires of his car stirring desert dust into the air. Marcus straightened his kufi and tried to look positive. As Brother Evan pulled to a stop, Marcus whistled out loud.

“As-Salaam-Alaikum,” Brother Evan called from inside the low sports car, a smile spreading across his face as he noticed Marcus’ admiring glances.

Marcus regained his composure and bowed slightly. “Wa-Alaikum-Salaam,” he replied, carefully placing his bag on the back seat.

Brother Evan grabbed him by the shoulder, the joy shining in his eyes. “It is so good to see you on this side of that place, Brother Marcus. The other brothers are waiting to receive you at the Masjid.” Marcus tried hard not to cry and Brother Evan noticed his tears. “Oh, Brother Marcus!” he sounded concerned, “Don’t be sad–I pray those are tears of happiness I see. You have done well since last I saw you; I know you were sorry to see me go but happy that I had been released and I told you that I would be the one to come and get you just as Brother Sam came to get me. This is what we do for one another. This is how we work to bring our men back into the community as loving followers of Allah. We wish to dispel the image of violence and hatred and to do that we are working to change ourselves and our communities. You were but a child who committed foolish mistakes and now you are a man who follows the will of Allah and knows how to conduct himself.”

Marcus took a deep breath and managed to look his friend fully in the face. “Thank you, my brother,” he said, gratefully. Brother Evan had the top down and the sun shone brightly as Marcus again looked up. “It feels good to be free.”

As an aside, I welcome your comments about this piece; since I am not a follower of Islam, a man, nor have I been to prison I may not have captured the subtleties of such an experience from that viewpoint well. I look forward to your feedback!


  1. Donna B. McNicol February 22, 2013 10:11 pm

    Wow, gave me a chill. I look forward to more of your posts!

    • AR Neal February 22, 2013 10:15 pm

      Thank you, Donna 🙂 I appreciate your comment and look forward to any pointers you can provide to improve. I’ve published academic papers but my dream is to get some fiction out there. I am gearing up for the 2013 NaNoWriMo, so we’ll see!

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