A story by Frozan Shahnoori

“Once upon a time, there was an exquisite castle on a high, green mountain. All the people of the kingdom were happy and safe. They had smiles on their lips and hope in their hearts. This kingdom had a benevolent princess who was innocent and pretty. She was called Frozan.”

This was the beginning of each story my mother told me when I was child. In her stories, there was not a single bad person. Everybody was kind, gentle and soft-hearted. Because of her stories, I had an optimistic heart. I believed in the goodness of people. By the time I grew up, I realized that most of her stories were not true — but maybe they reflected her life and beliefs. In fact, I went through life believing, as she did, that there was very little evil in this world and that goodness and truth were always more powerful. Until one dark and vile day.

It was a mild winter day, because it was close to spring. I was at home with my family when we first saw the video footage on the TV.

“KILL HER! KILL HER!”

These disturbing and loathsome words were being repeated by many voices.

I looked closer at the TV to understand what was going on. It was so crowded at the Shah Do Shamshira shrine and some men were beating an angel to death. A poor and woeful angel hunted by a group of cruel, grim people. No, no they were not human. They were vampires. Vampires wearing the masks of humans. But when they learned of the angel’s existence and her so-called crimes, they threw off their masks and started biting her and drinking her blood.

I can’t write about the savage things the vampires did. They had long teeth and ghostlike faces. Their eyes were red and fingernails as sharp as knives. She begged for her life to their deaf ears. She was shouting and crying, and each of her tears dropped like pearls. Hanging from the neck of her mangled body was a delicate necklace with the name Farkhunda written on it. Her white wings were soaked with blood and covered with dust. The sky turned red and dripped with sorrow.

I was such a pitiful girl sitting in my comfortable home in front of the TV. I was soaked in tears, but I was not able to help her. People were laughing as if it were just some cruel game. They cut both of her wings and drank all of her blood, still they were not satisfied. Their final display of inhumanity was to throw her body onto the river bank and burn her. They left her burned body where it lay, put on their human masks and returned to their normal daily lives… to their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. They were never punished and there will never be justice.

Now I trust no one. Everyone looks like a mask-wearing vampire to me. Sometimes I feel that I am one of them too, because I could not save her. I wish I could go back to protect and defend her. I’m sorry, Farkhunda.

About the author: Frozan Shahnoori lives in Afghanistan and is a Star Educational Society alumna. She was a student of creative writing and teacher training courses. She loves to write short stories about her people in her spare time. She wants to become a successful businesswoman in the future.

Writing by Afghan writers. Editor/Publisher: Nancy Antle; Editor: Pamela Hart