Reach for the Light


Red Eyes

There they are again. Red eyes, staring at me.

It all started on a rainy morning last month, I was standing on the curb waiting for the school van to pick me and, out of then corner of my eye, I spotted a pair of red eyes, staring at me from the bushes nearby. When I turned around to check, they had vanished. Ever since, it’s been happening more and more frequently. But now, I’m done being freaked out. Today, I’m going to catch whoever, or whatever it is, red handed.

“Asfand, are you ready to leave?” my mom’s voice interrupts my planning. “Yeah, Ammi-gi, I’m just about done.” I call out, quickly shoving my notepad in my bag and getting up to run down the stairs. We’re going to Aunt Hafsah’s house for dinner, and I’m looking forward to seeing my cousin Ahmed there. I’m going to enlist his help in solving my problem.

“Oh, there’s Asfand, my oh my, our twelve-year-old is looking so handsome tonight! Did you finish your homework, beta?” my father asks, bending down and straightening my collar.

“Yes, Baba, I finished it yesterday!” I tell him, “Can we leave now?”

“Yes, yes, someone is eager,” says my mother with a smile. “Let me just grab my dupatta.”

With that, we are finally off.

When we get to Auntie’s house, I yell, “Assalam-o-Alaikum, Khala!” and grabbing Ahmed’s hand, I pull him upstairs into his room.

“Whoa, dude, slow down, what’s gotten into you?” asks Ahmed with a puzzled look on his face.

“You have to help me, Ahmed bhai! There are these red eyes, and I’ve finally got a plan to catch –“

“Okay, why don’t we sit, and you explain this stuff to me slowly, hmm?” says Ahmed, an indulgent grin on his face.

So, we sit down on his couch and I explain everything to him. You see, Ahmed is two years older than me and my best friend, he has my back and I know he’ll help me. As soon as I’m done explaining, we set up his camera, and he leaves the room. I sit there, a net clutched in my hands, determination coursing through my veins.

I don’t have to wait long at all, before they show up. Just five minutes later, I spot them out of the corner of my eyes and without waiting, I yell “Bhai!” and lunge with my net. I tumble onto my cousin’s bedstand and land on something soft and squishy, wiggling beneath me inside the net.

To be continued…

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