Cover Photo:  Sebastian Siggerud
Sebastian Siggerud

Hopscotch and Hellfire

“A red dot blossoms on the screen. Eric presses the trigger on the joystick and his hand tremors. The countdown begins.”

Weapons have been confirmed.

This is why we’re here, . To protect. Mehsud is bad news.

Sixteen seconds.

Six seconds.

Two seconds.

The screener knows what he’s doing.



Aankh Macholee.



noorChuppan ChuppaiBaraf Pani

This must be it,A trick of the devil. That master manipulator. This is my aazmaish—my trial—she has come at lastWrapped in a pink cotton chador, the perfect picture of innocence, she provokes me to anything but.

Copper tendrilsMurky eyes


But it was only once. The first gaze is fair game.

Isn’t it?

There is no sin for the first glance but if you don’t avert your gaze immediately, then you have sinned.


It wasn’t a first gaze. How I wish it could have been

Sauleha Kamal is a fiction writer, essayist and academic researcher. Find her work in—or forthcoming in—Herald, the Oxford University Press Anthology I’ll Find My Way, The Missing Slate, The Express Tribune and Postcolonial Text, among others. She holds an MPhil from the University of Cambridge and a BA from Barnard College of Columbia University, where she won the 2015 Axinn Foundation Anna Quindlen Prize for Writing. She wishes she had attended the latter back when Edward Said was still a professor there.