Different

Diana at Mythos of the Mirror has a new picture prompt for this month. This is my take on it.

*****

Being dark-skinned made life difficult for Ja’lal. He was different and no one liked different.

And they expressed their dislike in so many ways.

In ugly words.

In vulgar gestures.

In violent actions.

In fire.

He kept his hair cut as short as possible. So, they would have nothing to grab onto in a fight. Unfortunately, that was just one more thing that made him different and disliked.

Ja’lal slept uneasily, because there was always a chance that they’d burn his house down again. When he did fall asleep, his dreams were frightening. They were always trying to change him, force him into conforming with everyone around him. “Stop being so different! Be like us! Change into us!” They slapped the red eye onto the side of his head. The metal barbs pierced his skin and latched into his veins, arteries, muscles, and skull. The red light turned on and the change would take him over, stealing away his flesh and transforming him into metal until he looked like everyone else.

He hated those dreams, but they were the only ones that would come to him. There were never any fluff, what the heck was that about? kind of dreams. He would wake and lie there, hating the world around him and longing for a better life. But did a better life even exist?

Where could he go to find it?

How far could he run to escape the hatred?

Where would he find peace and acceptance?

What would it be like to be accepted?

To no longer be the object of everyone’s hatred?

To be seen as just another man?

Was that even possible in this world?

He didn’t know.

Maybe they had the right idea.

Maybe he should let them steal away his skin, peel away all of the darkness, make him all dull metal.

Maybe that was the only way for him to discover peace.

But that wasn’t the kind of peace that he wanted.

That was not what he longed for.

So, he lived each day – a dark-skinned man amongst creatures of red eyes and sharp-edged metal.

He lived each day with their daily insults and assaults.

He lived each day with uncertainty and fear…and hope.

Hope that one day he’d find a better place to flee to.

That he’d find people like himself.

That he’d find peace and acceptance.

That he’d find a place that was truly home.

 

May Speculative Fiction #Writingprompt

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17 thoughts on “Different

    1. Thank you so much!

      It took me a couple of tries to get that ending just right. I knew I wanted it to end balanced between uncertainty and uncertain hope. I’m happy with how it turned out.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!

      This was one of those stories that surprised me as I was writing it. I’ve never written a story that tackled racism so blatantly before. So, this was a complete change of pace for me.

      I’m very glad you enjoyed it. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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