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"I'll give you until the morning to grieve and think over your options." He said, his tone mocking me. He didn't wait for my response before he left me there, shutting the door to the dank room and locking it.

The images of Cole's body flashed through my mind and my stomach lurched. I gagged as stomach acid rose in my throat before throwing up what little food I'd had recently and then I carelessly wiped my mouth on my sleeve in tears. I felt like I had nothing else to give as tears pooled on my chin and my heart felt just as empty as my stomach. But with all the grief I felt, a hopeful thought kept trying to push to the forefront of my mind.

Had I heard a heartbeat when I leaned over Cole's body?

I pushed the thought away and curled into a ball of misery, my tears being the only thing keeping me warm. They would kill me next, or worse, my family. Even knowing this, the strongest thought circulating through my brain was that Cole, who had just been talking to me hours ago, was dead. This was all my fault and I would never forgive myself.

      Before You Read: Hey guys! Quick reminder here! If you're delaying a prayer right now to read this story, stop whatever you're doing and go pray! Don't let anything take you away from Allah. Especially not this story. Now if you're all prayed up, go ahead and enjoy this chapter.

So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.

-Surah Al Baqarah Verse (152)

Diamonds & Pearls

CHAPTER THIRTY ONE-And So, The Devil Won


                 There's a point, or sometimes several points, in our lives where we just tend to shut down completely. It was this night, for the first time in my life, that I'd lost my grip on hope for a brighter future. It had all nearly slipped away and I found myself grasping at threads that I wasn't sure were even there anymore. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I became a blank space. I was empty and my heart was hollow. I'd lost someone that I...loved right in front of my very eyes. I shouldn't have loved him. Maybe if I hadn't cared so much, maybe if I hadn't loved him, I wouldn't be in this much agony. After it happened, it had all started off as anger. I'd felt this murderous rage after they'd dragged his body out of the room. I'd screamed and shouted every foul thing I could muster for what felt like more than an hour. Then, when my throat was raw and my rage had dissipated, reality set in. He was gone and he was never coming back.

The next stage was unfathomable pain and sadness as I sobbed to the point of no longer being able to move. It was the worst pain I had ever felt in my sixteen years of living. The abuse I'd endured over the past few weeks were nothing in comparison. Finally, the numbness set in. I couldn't feel, I couldn't think, I couldn't move, I could barely breathe. At that point, I had no future. From what I could see, it was all over. All I could really do was mentally ask Allah to forgive me with the last of my strength and faith. By that point, Allah was the last string I could hold onto and although my grip was shaky, He was the One who gave me comfort in the idea that I would die next.

They left me staring at that dim basement for what felt like an eternity. I'd never forget any detail about that place. I would remember the blackened and slightly yellowed four walls. I would remember the dirty old sofa in the corner that was missing two cushions and had probably once belonged to someone's grandmother. I would remember the wires hanging out of caved in holes in the ceiling. I would never forget the stomach turning smell of blood, mildew, feces, and sweat blending as one. Every horrible, insignificant detail was etched into my brain permanently. This was the place where he died and so would I. At any moment they would come through that door and end my life or worse, tell me they'd killed someone else I loved. The thought caused pain to shoot through me...or was it just an echo of hunger? I couldn't begin to tell you. I felt detached from everything that had once been me.

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