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I started work as an English Academic Support Lecturer at the College of Cape Town in 2016, but I resigned in August 2018 to go to Kuwait. It was the worst decision of my life, but I learned a lesson from it. I realised that I valued my happiness far more than money, thus I opted to leave Kuwait and returned to the College of Cape Town in 2019.
I self-published my first short stories anthology, "Mamlambo and Other Short Stories", in May 2018. In 2021, I self-published two books: my first novel, which is a fantasy novel, "The Legend of the Hunter" (August 2021), as well as my second short stories anthology, "Mhlobam and Other Short Stories" (November 2021). I have just self-published my third short stories anthology, "A Beautiful Life and Other Short Stories" (September 2022). I had a book launch at the College of Cape Town on 12 October 2022.
I have an author’s web site (www.hidayatscorner.co.za) as well as a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/hidayatscorner) and Profile where I post my short stories. I also write poetry, and my poems are also posted on my Facebook Profile page.
I am single and I live on my own. A colleague once described me as “an indoor plant”, and I heartily agree with this accurate description of my nature. I write not to turn a profit, but to encourage people, especially young people, to read. The stories in "Mamlambo and Other Short Stories" were written for reluctant readers; the stories are arranged from the shortest (300 words) to the longest (just over 4000 words) to help young readers advance their reading skills. The anthology contains 26 stories. "Mhlobam and Other Short Stories" contains 13 tales that could appeal to readers aged 15 and above. "The Legend of the Hunter" is a fantasy tale for adult readers; it is the first of a three-part saga. I have started on Part Two, "Belac and the Staff of Power", but it has stalled on Chapter 4. "A Beautiful Life and Other Short Stories" contains 30 stories that are aimed at readers aged 14 and above. The anthology contains an eclectic range of genres and themes. I am also working on a book entitled "Allergic to Stupidity", which is a collection of factual and fictional accounts of the stupid people who live among us and the stupid things they do. I am currently writing a supernatural thriller, which seems to be moving along quite nicely. Hopefully, I would have completed it by February 2023.
A Son's HugFeb 26, 2023 3 weeks ago
The screech of brakes momentarily stopped Sandra's heart. Instinctively, as only a mother can intuit, she knew something awful had happened to Warren. Letting slip the dish cloth from her shaking hands, not caring anymore about the chore, Sandra sprinted out of the kitchen. Her heart once more stopped for five long seconds when she saw the open front door. “Dad,” she called to her father, “where's Warren? Warren!” she yelled for her six-year-old son. He was mildly autistic and tended to wander off if unsupervised, which was hardly ever, but this afternoon she had left Warren in the care of her septuagenarian father, assuming he would be safe. Before she reached the door, her father said, “He's in the garden, Sandra. But don't worry; the gate's closed, dear.” Sandra nearly stumbled upon sighting the open gate which led straight to the busy road that ran in front of their modest two-bedroom council home. Warren was nowhere in sight. Behind her, Gavin stepped out of the house to follow his daughter. The old man was shocked to see the wide-open front gate. “Sandra,” he called out, “did you find Warren?” The old man was now beyond panic; not seeing Warren in the yard where he had last left him caused Gavin's breathing to increase with the onset of heart palpitations. “I'm checking the road, Dad,” Sandra yelled as she stepped out into the street. Her worst fears were realised when she saw her son slowly rise to his feet, mere meters away from the front bumper of a stationary panel van. A crowd had surrounded the scene. “Dear God!” Sandra gasped upon spotting the blood pouring from a deep gash on Warren's forehead. His left arm was bent at an unnatural angle, clearly broken. With a heartrending scream Sandra ran to Warren, reaching him just as he tumbled back to the ground. “Mama. Van bump Wallen,” he said before passing out. “Ma'am, ma'am. Please, let me put him in my van to take him to hospital,” someone said to a distraught Sandra. She looked up at the stranger, her brain making the connection that this was the driver who had knocked her son over. Before Sandra could fling recriminations and curses at him, he said, “He came out of nowhere, I swear!” Picking Warren up gingerly, Sandra said curtly, “Take us to the closest hospital,” not trusting herself to say anything more. Sandra felt she had buried her heart with her little boy. She stared at a framed photograph of Warren, tears streaming copiously down her cheeks. “How can I go on without you? You were the love of my life, Warren, my whole world,” she sobbed on the third night after his interment. Minutes later she fell asleep, only to wake to a warm glow in her room. “Mommy, I'm here, always. God loved me so much He wanted me with Him, but He told me my spirit will be with you forever.” Sandra stared in disbelief at the vision, convinced that she was dreaming. But then she felt Warren's small, soft, baby hand wiping away her tears, and with his touch, a profound sense of calm descended upon her. “Be happy for me, Mommy. I am whole now,” Warren said, smiling that special smile of his. He embraced Sandra in a comforting hug before slowly vanishing from her arms. As if her beloved, departed son's touch had healed her broken heart, Sandra's tears welled up anew. This time, they were ones of gratitude for the merciful miracle she had been granted. Six months later, Sandra sat beside Warren's grave, holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers she had lovingly created. Sandra gently replaced the wilted flowers in the graveside vase with the fresh arrangement. “Hi, beautiful boy,” she greeted Warren. “I feel your presence nearly all the time; I know you're no longer in pain. I've got news for you,” she added with a smile. “I'm getting married next week, and I'm pregnant. You were my special gift, Warren, and this new baby will learn all about you. I promise.” Sandra left the cemetery with dry eyes, her heart overflowing with immeasurable love and peace. Image: Courtesy of Nancy Herrendoerff
A PILLARJan 15, 2023 2 months ago
Lean on me; yes, harder, if you must. I shall not falter, fall nor fail. Protect you I shall, in tempests or blizzards; Through doubts and bedevilments; Against foes too numerous to count, Your pillar of strength when yours fails. Confronting your detractors together We will present a wall impregnable, A stalwart, sturdy barrier invincible. When bitter resentment, acidic spite Threaten to corrupt your zestful enthusiasm, Cloak yourself protectively in my loving words. Soar, my friend! Touch the sky! For I am forever the invisible wings That shall hold you eternally aloft. Image: Les Anderson (www.unsplash.com)
CALLING CARDJan 15, 2023 2 months ago
The terror was a wildfire, spreading through the shanty town so rapidly that every scruffy, down-on-his-luck, poverty-stricken inhabitant knew within the hour that any one of them could be next. A deep foreboding descended upon the settlement like a shroud of gloom. “You sure the pattern's the same as the other two? No deviation in the method or routine?” Detective Solomon asked the policeman who had called him to the scene. “Find any clues or tracks?” he queried. “Just the usual. This,” the policewoman stated, holding out an evidence bag to the detective. “It's what seems to be a red cherry,” she said. “It was placed inside the victim's belly button,” she added. “Interesting…” Detective Solomon said as he rotated the clear bag to look closely at the tiny fruit. “There's another letter carved into the berry,” he told the policewoman. “Here, at the top of the fruit,” he indicated, pointing to a tiny marking that looked like an A. “This makes it the third letter, doesn't it? The first two letters seem to indicate that the logical conclusion we could come to is that the word being spelled out is death,” Detective Solomon theorised. “The problem is: I think it's way too pat. Something about this doesn't feel right to me,” he admitted, instinctively reluctant to accept such an obvious assumption. Three nights later, his instinct was proven right with the discovery of the fourth body. “Where did you find it this time?” Detective Solomon brusquely asked the policeman standing guard over the grotesque corpse. It was another vagrant, this time a male. He had been garrotted, the stark red line running across his neck a flagrant proclamation of the manner of his murder. “It was placed inside his right eye socket, Detective. The victim seems to have lost that eye years ago, according to the forensics expert who examined the body a few minutes ago.” Detective Solomon only briefly glanced at the dead man's hollow eye socket before focusing on the planted fruit. It was a small green grape. “The letter appears to be an R. It certainly dispels the notion that the word the killer is spelling out is death. D-E-A-R. Dear? Dear what? Dear who? Is the killer actually trying to write a note using the corpses of his victims as his method of communication?” Detective Solomon spoke aloud, trying to make sense of the enigma. It was his usual habit to do this to help crystallise his insight. And then it hit him like a bolt of lightning. He knew who the killer was. “So you watched Minister Dearborn kill the victims, and you were the one who placed the clues?” Solomon asked the legless beggar seated on his wooden wheeled platform. “Yeah. Nobody sees us. Ah was invisible ta him, but he wasn' ta me. Knew ah had ta let yer know somehow who da murderer was without revealin' ma own identity.” “So why come forward now?” “Gettin' all them fruit was hard, man!” Image: Heather Gill (www.unsplash.com)
The Quality of GratitudeDec 29, 2022 2 months ago
Joanne considered her options for supper: chicken soup with garlic bread, beef vegetable casserole with fluffy white rice, or some crumbed chicken fillet filled with pepper sauce? The thirty-two-year old college lecturer rolled her eyes heavenward, struggling to decide what to eat. “Nick!” she called to her nine-year-old son watching Jurassic World: Dominion on Netflix in the bedroom they shared. “What would you like for dinner tonight, buddy?” “What are the choices, Mom?” Nick asked as he walked into their tiny but neat kitchen. Joanne and Nick were living in a one-bedroom separate entrance since her divorce three years ago. Kevin, her ex-husband, had run up such huge debts that they couldn't continue staying in the house they had been renting. Once Kevin had lost his job, his behavior had changed. He became frustrated, started drinking too much, and developed a truly tempestuous temper. It was crystal clear to Joanne that their marriage was doomed. Divorce seemed the best route for her and Nick. Kevin had disappeared out of their lives after the divorce had been finalized as if he had only been a figment of their imagination. Nick had long ago stopped to ask after his father. “Well,” Joanne said, “we've got three leftover choices,” she said, listing the three dishes. During the Christmas season, Joanne tended to cook a number of dishes which she could warm up, saving her from having to cook every night. They often had a surplus of food though, forcing Joanne to either give away whatever they hadn't eaten to street beggars, or discarding the food. “Hmm, those are really hard choices, Mom,” Nick complained. “I know, honey, but choose one, please.” “Actually, I'm not all that hungry tonight. Can't I just have some milk and cookies, please?” Nick asked pleadingly. Before Joanne could answer him though, her cell phone rang. She was surprised to see that the caller was Simon, one of the senior students she was mentoring. He was a polite nineteen-year-old of whom Joanne was quite fond. “Simon, what a nice surprise to hear from you,” Joanne said, simultaneously nodding at Nick to let him know he could have his milk and cookies. “I'm really sorry to bother you this late, Miss Harper, but I wanted to ask you for something,” Simon apologized. “Nonsense. It hasn't even gone eight yet. What can I do for you?” Joanne asked. She intuited that Simon was embarrassed about whatever it was he needed, so she waited patiently for him to formulate his request. Clearing his throat a few times, Simon finally said, “I'm in a bit of a fix tonight, Miss. I feel truly bad to turn to you for help, but I didn't know who else to ask.” Joanne remembered that Simon lived on his own in a rented room in a house shared by other students. She was also keenly aware of his financial difficulties, thus she expected him to ask her for some money or a loan. What he asked for brought her nearly to tears. “Miss, do you have some food for me, please? I'm really hungry tonight. The only thing I've had all day was a bowl of cereal and a cup of tea this morning. If you don't have anything, it's fine. I'm very sorry to bother you, Miss.” Unbidden, an image of her stocked fridge and the dinner options she and Nick were deciding on swam into her consciousness. A well of deep shame opened up in the kind woman's heart; her motherly instinct to nurture set her soul ablaze with contrition for having taken for granted that others had three meals a day as she did. “Say no more, Simon. Please, come over right now. I have more than enough food. Have supper with me and my son and I'll pack some leftovers for you to take home as well,” she immediately said. There was a long silence on the other end of the line, making Joanne wonder if Simon had ended the call. “Simon, are you still there?” she asked just as she heard soft sobs coming over the line. Her heart broke anew; she realized that Simon was weeping. “Miss, you have no idea how much this means to me. I can't thank you enough, Mom,” Simon said, not realizing he had referred to Joanne as ‘Mom'. Simon's slip of the tongue stunned Joanne. Heroically, she collected her scattered thoughts, stilling her heaving heart. “I should be the one thanking you, Simon,” she said, her soul drenched in pure gratitude. Image: Marcos Paulo Prado (www.unsplash.com)
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