Zayd closes his eyes, and comes home to a fragmented darkness. What he sees in this temporary blindness is vacuity, and it is marked by reddish hues. The rest of the world is asleep right now, but Zayd has only just come alive.

Tonight, he does the usual: locks his bedroom door; gently opens the window – the left segment, not the right one, which creaks and groans each time it is moved – and steps outside onto the outer ledge. He jumps into the apparent abyss below; half expects the ground to swallow him up, in all its darkened fury. But, and as usual, the bushes below provide for him a comfortable landing. The ground propels him upwards – like a loyal confidant. And Zayd the self-proclaimed vampire has come alive again.

Being alive can be a terrifyingly lonely ordeal, Zayd always thinks to himself. But the night sky is an excellent cure for feelings like this. The stars are his friends; the moon his nocturnal protector. Silence is his melody of choice. And the thoughts that fill his head with the dawn of each day become more tame and far more dream-like as soon as night falls.

Funny, isn’t it: how the sky refuses to fall on us. Zayd outstretches his left hand towards the cosmos – his left one, not his right one, due to his injury from playing basketball earlier in the day [because even self-proclaimed teenage Muslim vampires need to exercise!] Where does the sky begin? And where does the universe end? 

And where do people go, when they dream? After walking for five minutes or so, Zayd reaches the home of Omar – his best friend. But Omar is still a diurnal being; it’s unfortunate, really, how the ones we choose to be with us upon the journeys of our lives, cannot be here with us for all of it. Zayd wishes Omar could be here for the fun stuff – the climbing-over-fences, and the trying-to-spot-Venus-in-the-sky, under the glow of midnight moon.

Zayd’s father used to always tell him that dawn arrives when the Dragon who lives in the clouds breathes its fire into the sky; that the sun was an orb of said fire, which was renewed with the break of each day. Now that his father is no longer here, Zayd clings onto the false truth of the Sky Dragon like his very breath is reliant on it – this tall tale, this much-comforting lie. It makes the whole story of why the sky looks like it is ablaze, in the early hours of the morning, at least a little bit more beautiful.

Tomorrow, at school, Omar will simply get on with what he needs to be getting on with. Meanwhile, Zayd will rest his head upon his arms, drumming on the table with his pencil, repeatedly telling those around him who seek his energy that he is “tired“. He will look outside, at the plain azure monotony of the day, and he will wait for his friend Night – king of adventure, producer of the stuff of dreams – to befall him once again.

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