Glass Flowers, a vignette by journalism student Sara Hameed


The greys of monotonous routine were no match for a buttery sky, striped with cirrus clouds, floating aimlessly in the autumn breeze. Heavy boots marched through a narrow corridor, natural light its only source of illumination. Roughened from the labour of the day, gloved hands lugged a chainsaw behind their owner’s short, but sturdy frame. Shafi Ahmed gazed up, squinting at the overgrown tree he was politely asked to trim. 

“Baba wondered if you could,” Ibrahim Hameed continued, placing upon the garden table a pitcher of cool water, and a glass. “He’s afraid it might be going into the neighbours’ lawn.” 

In his tracks towards home, the 18-year-old paused, and spun once remembering the most crucial detail of all, “Oh, and he’s also in Pakistan for the week so, he won’t be able to meet.” 

The gardener nodded his head, already focused on perfecting the task at hand. Cream walls rattled from snarls of the machine, and the family within lounged before one another, having finished piping milk tea from ceramic mugs. The tremors ended, leaving whispered resonance of emerald blades bent beneath rubber soles. Ahmed propped a steel ladder against the chipped cement fencing. Shards of glass lining the edge twinkled like silver jewels beneath the descending, golden sun. He balanced himself on the narrow steps, tossing over stray branches he had gathered carefully in his firm arms. 

All of a sudden, the late-afternoon star bore witness to the Earth, smoothed with tiles, loosening its grip on the ladder. The branches reached the pail on the other end, of course; but on the opposite side was a man desperate to grab on. Instinctively, he clawed for the ledge; yet, it retaliated. Sharp corners of jagged crystal tore through soft flesh, and he was mercilessly unraveled, like loose string from stitched fabric. The early October breeze faded in fright, that earlier giggled and frolicked around him, carrying with it cherubic melody of tiny sparrows. Even the ascending vines peppered with fuchsia flowers he carefully tended to, dared not crawl higher. The silent world’s eyes were on him. He pushed himself onto his feet, metal’s clang at last reaching his ringing ears. 

Life source was draining from between the fibre of his olive uniform, and lacerated muscle. Quickly, he yanked an old rag from his pocket, and used it to grip tightly onto the gushing wound. The onlookers were soon unable to understand where the whites in its checkered pattern had vanished. With the remnants of his will, he stumbled back through the claustrophobic hallway, and left behind his signature in small pools—a trail of ghastly crimson that wreaked of iron. Perhaps, the splatters in his wake must have bloomed into scarlet flowers, an ode to the care he devoted to nature. 

With a trembling finger and darkening vision, he rang the doorbell, knuckles white from how desperately he was clinging on.

By then, it was as though one had twisted on a faucet and forgotten about it.