Sami looked outside. She quickly moved her hand away from the hot window glass. The sun was torrid. The trees were as still as statues.
It’s so hot! I don’t want to walk in this heat, she thought.
Her mothers’ car was still not out of the shop yet so it meant another day of walking to school for 15 year old Sami.
“Mom, can I please just stay today? I really don’t wanna walk! It’s so hot today” sami yelled to her mother from the upstairs bathroom.
“You’re going to be late, get down here and get moving already!” her mother replied.
“Don’t even try it, OK!” interrupted her mother.
“You are going if it’s 100 degrees! It’s almost 9. You have less than an hour before your next class.”
“Why can’t I just stay, only for today mother? Please…I’ve missed my first class anyway.”
Her mother stood with one hand on her hip, holding the door wide open, motioning for her daughter to get out.
Sami sighed as she came down the stairs and made her way out of the house. She dragged her feet as she left the house still mumbling something under breath.
Carrying a backpack that looked as if it was half her size, Sami headed in the direction of her school. It wasn’t long before small beads of sweat started forming on her nose and top lip.
After walking for a while, she paused for a moment and looked up at the hill. Her school was just a block down from the hill. Sami took off her backpack. Wiping sweat from her face, she started walking up once more, trying to move faster with each step she took as dragged her backpack on the floor. She was so focused on climbing up the hill quicker that she didn’t notice the slow moving car right behind her.
“Hi there, you need a lift?”
Startled and confused, she spun around quickly, nearly losing her balance.
“You look like you’re struggling to climb up this hill with that heavy backpack. Your school is that one down the hill right? Come’on in, I’ll drop you off right in front of your school. It’s only several minutes away.”
He waved with his hand for her to get into his white pickup truck as he drove slowly to keep up with her pace. He was getting closer and closer to the side walk.
Sami examined him closely; he wore black sun glasses that nearly covered half of his face. He smiled at her wanting to look more welcoming as she stared at him through the open window.
“Listen, I mean no harm at all. I just want to help you, OK?”
She sensed an accent she’s never heard before every time he spoke. Every word her mother ever told her about not going with strangers popped up in her head. She didn’t even know why she was considering going in that car with that strange man, but he drove so close to her she could almost feel the cool air coming from his car. She looked around the back of the truck to see if there was anything there but nothing. It looked like a brand new car.
She knew she was very close to the school but she was hot and tired and her backpack was heavy. Before getting in the car, she thought for a few more minutes.
My school is right here. He’s not going to do anything to me she said in her head
Without giving it another thought, she opened the passenger door of the car and went in. She didn’t bother to buckle hear seatbelt. She sat and looked at him as she closed the door. Panic hasn’t set in yet until she heard the doors lock automatically.
Oh dear God! What have I done?
It was only after she got in the car that she looked around the street to see if anyone saw her getting in the car. There was no one in sight.
“So, what’s your name? How old are you?”
She wanted to look calm and collected but there were all sorts of thoughts going through her mind. He kept looking at her still not taking off his sunglasses.
“Why are you dressed like that? Aren’t you hot?”
Her voice becoming a little shaky, she answered him.
“Oh…um yeah, I’m Muslim. I have to cover up.”
The only thing she noticed about his face was his mouth. He had small, yellowish teeth with a gap between his two front teeth.
“So that means you have to cover your whole body up?” he asked sounding a little surprised.
“But it’s like a hundred degrees out.”
“I follow Islam and that’s what my religion teaches. It’s for modesty reasons and to obey Allah…God.”
He was quite for a moment. Sami looked at the time and shuddered. It’s only been 2 minutes but it seemed like she was in the car for hours. She wanted to get out. She didn’t understand why he was driving so slowly.
Oh Allah please save me! Please Allah, please don’t let this man harm me. Ya Allah I will never again do anything like this ever again if you only save me this time.
Her hands were becoming icy from being so nervous. She didn’t know what to do with herself. She wrapped her hands around herself and moved as far away from the man as she could. She still felt trapped.
“Hey do you want a job?” he asked all of sudden.
“No! I mean, I’m only 14, I can’t work” she said, forgetting that she told him her real age earlier.
“Don’t you want to make money?”
“N-no thanks. Can you please drive a little faster? I’m late for my class.”
He didn’t ask another question but still kept casting glances her way. She couldn’t hide her anxiety any longer. She didn’t bother to hold back the tears from rolling down her cheeks.
At last she saw her school come into view and she clutched the door handle ready to open and jump out. He looked at her and saw that she was holding the door handle. He decided to drive right past her school.
“Let me out! You’re passing my school. Stop!”
She couldn’t control herself anymore. Real panic set in. She didn’t even know if he had a gun or knife. Sami kept praying and begging Allah to make him stop. The man just kept driving.
Oh Allah I need your help. Oh Allah please save me. What is going to do to me?! I’m so stupid. Ya Allah I will never again, please Allah please. “Hasbiyalaahu wa’ni mal wakeel!” she yelled.
She no longer talked to the man but to Allah, out loud begging Him to save her from the man’s evil.
The man looked at her and saw that she was saying something he couldn’t understand. She had her hands up with tears wetting her face. He was about 50 feet away from the school. Silent, he kept driving.
Suddenly, he stopped the car. Sami was busy with her own thoughts; she kept reciting dua and reciting Quran that she didn’t realize the car stopped. Thinking he was about to grab her, she jumped and pushed herself into the car door until she saw him hold the shift knob and put it in reverse. He drove backwards to her school.
As he got closer to the school he unlocked the car doors. Without waiting for the car to fully stop, Sami grabbed her backpack and jumped out. She ran as fast as she could to get away from him, still scared. She got to school but all the students were in class. She ran to the closest place she could find—the basketball gym. She kneeled and prostrated. Still sobbing, she thanked Allah.
Four days later
Sami was sitting on the sofa doing her homework when her mother turned on the TV. The local news was on.
“A 7 year old girl was kidnapped by a man believed to be in this white pickup truck yesterday morning while waiting for the school bus in front of her home” read the news anchor. Sami looked up as soon as she heard pickup truck. Her heart must’ve skipped a beat. She dropped everything and listened closely.
“Subhanlaah! Poor little girl, I hope they find her” said Sami’s mother. Sami was shaken up. Remembering the danger she put herself in, she nearly broke down in front of her mother.
“I’ll be right back mom” she said and went to her room. She sat on her bed.
“Alhamdulilah! Alhamdulilah! Oh Allah how can I ever thank you enough. I’m here because of your mercy and kindness. That could’ve been me. That really could’ve been me” she repeated, her eyes swelling up with tears again.
I’m inviting kelzbelzphotography for the Five Days, Five Photos challenge where you choose five pics, one each day and write a story about that pic; it could be fiction or non fiction. You can accept or reject.