Life Arts

Short Story: "Unspoken"

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"Maybe not on the basis of social standing or dietary restrictions," she said, her eyes narrowing, "but what you just said smacks of discrimination based on age and marital status. Or is it just me that you want to get rid of?"

"Just you? Why, in heaven's name, would I want to do that? Look. We came to your country with one goal in mind: to save the souls of women in distress. This center, and others like it across your country, is the physical manifestation of our commitment to that mission. I will not have you, or anyone else, accuse this organization or the church that runs it of insincerity. We're doing serious work here."

"Are you." Rahila's voice was flat, unemotional, controlled.

A few people, attracted by the commotion, stepped in from the hallway and drifted closer.

"It's God's work," the attendant said in a harsh staccato.

Sanjit, frightened by the man's voice, dropped the ball he was holding and ran to his mother.

"And that," Rahila said sharply, "is precisely the problem. You're not here to help me, or these women, or anyone else in my country. You're here to help yourself. You set these shelters up to attract the disempowered so you can fill their heads with your self-righteous morality, oblivious to the simple fact that my people have their own beliefs, their own culture, and as I know all too well, their own problems."

"Now see here!" he thundered.

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Several more people entered the room, including Green.

"Your bullying tactics can only demand obedience," she shot back, just as forcefully, "they do not produce allies, and they certainly do not save souls."

Green pushed through the gathering crowd.

"I wasn't trying to--."

Rahila cut him off. "What you thought you were doing is irrelevant. It is what you did that I take issue with. I may have lost my job and my home, but have not lost my dignity. But apparently, dignity is something your sanctimonious religious principles do not recognize in people of other faiths. I have read the history of your religion, and it does not speak well of your God. I was willing to put that aside because of the good works that have been done in its name here, but now that I have experienced the attitude of its adherents at close range, I can no longer do so. I came here in need, in the hope that your order could be of help, but now I understand the price that is asked, I will not attempt to challenge your decision. Good day, sir!"

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Green rushed after her as she left the room in raucous commotion. "What just happened in there," he asked as they approached the residence wing.

She stopped, and turned to face him. "Your associate asserted that I should not have been allowed in because of my age and marital status. You made no mention of that, nor did the rules posted on your website. Did he speak the truth? Do you have unwritten rules?"

He nodded glumly. "We do. I did not mention it during our interview because you can easily be taken for a younger woman, and I wanted to help you. I did not think it would be a problem."

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Ever since I learned to speak binary on a DIGIAC 3080 training computer, I've been involved with tech in one way or another, but there was always another part of me off exploring ideas and writing about them. Halfway to a BS in Space Technology at (more...)

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(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always) someone else's moccasins, even if you just i... by Philip Zack on Sunday, Jan 29, 2012 at 9:27:22 AM
I do that every dayclick here... by Mark Sashine on Sunday, Jan 29, 2012 at 2:45:28 PM
You are very generous to share so freely.   ... by Paul Repstock on Friday, Feb 3, 2012 at 3:54:25 PM
My story was inspired by what I've read in Rolling... by Philip Zack on Saturday, Feb 4, 2012 at 12:44:25 AM