People of Color Friendship Fantasy


The fist struck my face. Again and again. As he did until there was nothing but blood clouding my vision, bruises dancing across my pale skin. Until I was nothing but a ragdoll.

This isn’t abuse.

Kai’s a difficult trainer after all. For two years, I begged him to teach me how to fight like he does. He only agreed this year. Thing is, though, he's an unforgiving snake.

I’ve shown up late to his lessons over the last few months. And then, we exchanged some choice words. To sum it up, I said I was already good enough to beat him.

We fought.

I lost. Like a sad ass bitch.

So I got out of there, like a dog, with its tail between its legs.

“Yo, you okay?” A high-pitched, chihuahua-like voice grates against my ears.

I’m at the Fligh Cafe near my Portland University where I major in Engineering. It’s my second year.

And, yes, I didn’t bother to conceal my injuries.

I tilt my head up to look at her.

She’s short and dark-brown, compared to my pale-tan, tall. With a petite nose, a unibrow bushier than Anthony Davis’s, big boobs, but no butt, and shaggy pink hair, she looks as if God decided to mix-and-match.

She repeats her question again. “Hey, you alright?”

And that’s when I notice everyone in the cafe witnessing our exchange with such vigor it makes me shiver.

I stand up , knocking my chair to the ground. “Follow me,” I say, as I drag the mix-it-up girl out of the cafe.

“Hey, where are you taking me.”

I don’t answer, and keep running all the way to the synagogue by my University, where I requested Kai train me.

Rushing in, I roughly push her in and follow behind. As we walk into the main center, I notice her looking in awe at the opulent structures.

The large domed ceiling. The many ornamentations adorning the place. The excessive menorah in the front. And the bright shining light that makes it look as if I died and went to Heaven.

We take seats on the hard mahogany pews.

I turn to face the girl. “Right, so what did you want?”

She looks at me in disbelief as if I asked the strangest question in the world.

Making gestures at me (some rude ones too), “You are legit covered in blood and bruises. It looks like you just got out of prison.”

“Wait, but who comes out of prison...covered in blood?” I say in a confused tone.

She runs a hand through her hair. “That’s not my point. I mean, what happened to you?”

“My name’s Joelys Trujillo-Fontanez. What’s yours?” I stick my blood-soaked hand out for her to shake.

“Um, my name’s Rochelle Thomas,” she wrinkles her nose, but still accepts my crimson handshake.


Joelys is a strange girl.

And I don’t mean that in a bad way. What I mean is she doesn’t focus on a topic for too long, overreacts, and is way too happy.

Not to mention, she’s tall and skinny, with long, wavy, brown hair, pale skin that shows her veins, and injuries as far as the eye can see, making her look like a butchered black-widow spider.

Right now, we’re in the most beautiful synagogue I’ve ever seen. She’s talking non-stop with her cute Puerto-Rican accent. I lost her around when she started talking about why she looks like she was in a bar fight (her words, not mine).

“Hey, Rocky (Rocky?!). Are you listening to me?”

I blink to see her face a centimeter away from mine.

An ear-splitting grin finds its way onto her face. “Hey, you wanna see something cool?” she asks in a hush-hush whisper.

“Uh, sure.”

She gets up so smoothly and gracefully it makes me jealous.

Motioning me to the front of the synagogue, she steps up to a big, dusty scroll and a huge, peeling book.

“This is my latest passion.”


The Torah stares up at me, with the Hebrew Bible sharing its space. Its words are indecipherable to the regular human.

Thing is though, I can understand it. Fully. Even though it’s in Hebrew.

The smell of dust and blood mingle in the air around us. I can taste the book’s fear on my tongue. Feel the scroll’s excitement on my skin. An audible aura of battle fills my soul.

“Hey, Joelys. What is this?”

Rocky breaks me out of my trance. My trance to the other world.

Blinking hard to clear the haze, I turn to see her looking in a mix of horror and awe at the Hebrew words swirling languidly in the air above the scroll.

Annoyed, I tamp down my anticipation and the swirling words slowly descend until they merge with the words on the scroll.

“The year is 1000 B.C.”

Rocky takes a step back as if I’m scaring her.

I probably am.

So I inhale deeply to calm my nerves.

Rocky cautiously walks forward, as if I’m a caged, pacing animal she’s trying to soothe. “Okay, so tell me what that was you did. Just now”

With a sharp and quick movement, I whip out a necklace from my sweatpants pocket.


The necklace Joelys takes out is old and red with rust. It’s shaped like a lyre, with it’s u-shape and vertical strings. You can tell the original color was gold.

She passes it to me.

Instantly, I feel an ominous and ancient presence. It’s heavy and cold. As if it was real gold.

“This is my link,” Joelys says, making no sense.

My first instinct upon hearing the necklace vibrate as Joelys speaks is to throw it into a fire and get out of there.

But something, specifically, Joelys, makes me stay.

So I ask a question I should have never asked.

“Your link to where?” I ask in a wary voice.

Joelys’s face, which was fighting between seriousness and irritation, widens into the biggest grin I’ve ever seen. The scariest too.

I want to take back the question because that’s when the necklace starts to glow a harsh, white light and pull me to Joelys before clasping around her neck.

Like a chokehold,


The words on the scroll start lifting off the page again, except this time they take off immediately, with no warning.

I look to Joelys, but I can tell she’s already in her revelry. She’s glowing and grinning with a serene look on her face. Her hair’s blown back, making it fly behind her.

The words are flying so rapidly around her that it looks like several black lines.

And then I notice me.

My skin drips with a blood red color. My mouth fills with water. My stomach tosses and turns like it’s on an elevator ride.

Horrified, I try to spit out the water and try to reach for Joelys, only to realize I can’t move. Nothing is working correctly. From my nerves to my organs.

What is going on?

And then with a bright gray flash, I’m blinded.


Sand blows across my body and I wake up with a start.

Someone has their smiling face so close to me, as if they were happy I was unconscious.

Except something about the audacity is familiar.

Her skin is a beautiful, ebony color and her hair is black in six long plaits that fall all around her head. When they sit back, I see she has a short, athletic body.

“Hey, Rocky, are you okay?” the girl says in concern.

Moving back quickly on my heels, I ask who she is.

Shockingly, she lets out a big belly laugh. It’s melodic and deep like her voice.

After wiping her tears, she looks at me with an abrupt seriousness.

“You really don’t know who I am?” she asks in a hurt voice.

I shake my head. No. Am I supposed to know you?

“Well it’s me. Qadira Amir. Or in other words…”

She takes a pause. (A rather unnecessary one.)



Rocky is now transformed into a tall, lanky boy with bronze skin and shoulder-length, wavy, black hair.

The person she now is is Kadri, son of Judah. Handsome, if I do say so myself.

I can tell she’s confused, so I keep the straightest face I can manage.

You know, for laughs.

“T-That’s not possible,” she says slowly, in a tone that shows she doesn’t believe what she’s saying.

After all, her skin did turn to blood.

“On the contrary, my mismatched friend,” I twirl around, laughing. “Guess where we are?”

“Where?” she drones in an annoyed voice. Most likely at my carrying on.

“We’re in Israel. In the year 1000 B.C.”

Understanding dawns on her face before anger—no fury—consumes it. “Well, take us back immediately.”

“But I can’t.”

“What do you mean you can’t?” she says in a scarily-quiet voice.

Somehow I’m scared.

“I mean not yet,” I say in a placating voice.

Rocky waits for an explanation.

“This is the year and the day King David conquered Jebus, now Jerusalem, from the Jebusites.”

I can tell she doesn’t want to ask her next question.

“What does that mean for us?”

With a flourish, I stand and march over to Rocky. I extend my hand out to her, and with a look of fear, she accepts it.

“It means we’re going to WAR!”


Exiting the abandoned house we were transported to, Kadri struggles against my dragging.

“But I don’t want to die!” he screams in a panic, attracting the gaze of onlookers.

In this time, actually, in any time, it must look weird to see a short girl, pulling a tall boy, who’s screaming.

Turning back to look at Kadri, I hold my finger to my lip. He quiets down, but still struggles.

“FIne, you won’t go on the battlefield. Which is why I’m going to take your place,” I say, as I discreetly pick up a dagger and a breastplate off a merchant’s stall.

“But why, do you have to, Joelys?”

“My name’s Qadira, so call me that, okay. No one knows that name here. It’ll sound weird. On second thought, when we get into the army encampment, call me Qadir.”

“Hey, Kadri, give me your clothes.” I order, grabbing an old shawl off a rickety stall. (Ooh, that rhymed!)

WHAT?! Are you crazy, or stupid, or just plain off your rocker?” Kadri says with a look combatting between astonishment, horror, and irritation.

Rocky really fits the boy persona well.

“I mean, do you really think that in this day and age, I’d not be killed if they so much as saw me signing up for the battle?” I gesture to my hair wrapped in the shawl I just took, and my long cotton dress which covers the dagger and breastplate.

Fitting, that he has the decency to take on an embarrassed look for asking such a dumb question.

So Kadri son of Judah consents to me Qadira Amir ducking us in one of the alleyways, taking my shawl and dress, in exchange for his tunic and rope belt.

He follows me all the way to where the men and boys of the city are gathering to join King David in Jebus.

Tears in his eyes, he sadly waves goodbye as if he’s a little boy and I’m a bird flying away.

A bird flying away only to die.


My tearful gaze was enough to fool Joelys (she’s always going to be Joelys to me) into walking away, thinking that I was going to stay right where I was.

Yeah, no.

I follow the rowdy and boisterous crowd that Joelys was swallowed up in. I smell the stink of men who haven’t washed in days as they prepare for the blood and glory of battle. Somehow I think they’ll smell the men’s body wash on her skin.

The smell of Joelys really did get transferred onto Qadira. And yes she really does use men’s soap.

As I follow from a distance while the mass marches through the main street, I catch a glimpse of my face in a small pool of dank and dingy water.

An Adam's apple that moves up and down is the first thing I notice.

Next thing I notice is my beautiful unibrow separating into two thick eyebrows.

Last thing I notice is the ‘snake’ I feel under the dress Joelys gave me.

That’s not what makes me screech like a banshee.

Instead just as I’m about to move on I notice my gorgeous, carefully cared for hair is now a blue-black instead of my usual hot pink.

So of course I scream. Really high-pitched.


I know I look crazy but there’s no need for everybody to back away as if I’m a leper.

As I proceed to look insane, the army is gradually getting away.

I can’t let that happen. What if Joelys dies?

So I grab armor from an affluent looking stall.

Struggling to put on the arm guards, I hear a voice shout.

“Hey, what are you doing? Thief! Thief!” A short, stout man with lots of jewelry, a glistening bald head, and a long beard that hits his round piggy belly raises the alarm.

Me. A thief. Didn’t Joelys take stuff too? And then I realize my mistake.

Joelys took from people who wouldn’t dare raise an alarm.


There’s a commotion behind us.

I don’t concern myself. I’m too busy defending myself against a churlish boy who looks a little younger than me. He thinks I stepped on his sandal.

And then I hear Kadri’s voice, yelling my name. Joelys. Not Qadira. Or Qadir.

That’s when I know he’s—no she’s—in trouble. Some life-threatening-dangerous-gut-wrenching trouble.

I fight through the crowd to see Rocky facing a man wielding a large sword. In the process of cutting her down with it.

I’m in a trance. It feels like I’m moving in syrupy sap. At the same time it feels like I’m above my body, watching the chaos unfold.

I see the crowd watching the duel. The very unfair duel.

I see Rocky raise her hand to defend against the blow that’s sure to come.

I see my legs run as hard as possible.

I hear my voice saying “Hold on”

I see my face morphed into a mask of utter shock and horror (unusual for me) as the sword comes down.

And then I’m there.

Taking the blow.

For her.



She’s suddenly in front of me. I get a feeling of relief.

The sword slashes against her and the feeling is replaced with a feeling of anguish and dread.

Her crimson blood drips from the wound. She looks up at me and a small smile graces her face.

I’m screaming and carrying on, shaking her awake. Her skin is still warm, but is gradually getting cold as the blood leaves her.

She’s mouthing something. As the tears stream down my face, I put my ear close to her mouth.

“I’m so glad I saved you.”

And then her necklace flashes, and the sand swirls around us.


I can tell we’re back from the smell. The air no longer smells of blood and iron and now smells of sterile air.

My eyes are closed, but I still hear the bystanders’ shouts and yells for help.

Most likely help for us.

Rocky’s supporting my tall body against her short one. I can tell she’s struggling, so I try to stand up, but I almost collapse.

EMT’s rush out to help us.

“She lost a lot of blood,” Rocky says, in a trembling voice.

They don’t ask what happened. They only lift me up onto one of those portable beds and wheel us inside.

Rocky’s following us inside.

They offer her help, but she waves them off.

As they are wheeling me away, I finally open my eyes and see a tired Rocky.

A look of pain eclipses her face, and she grabs her head, as she moans.

She kneels.

And then she screams. Long drawn out screams of pain that don’t stop

The pain in her head is probably killing her. That’s what happened the first time I went and came back. Only thing is I was transported back to my apartment.

The necklace knows what it’s doing. All the time.

Rocky looks crazy right now, as people rush to help her.

She’ll be okay, I think as I close my eyes to fall into a deep and peaceful sleep.


I wrote this story at first to let people know that the white Jews in Israel and around the world aren’t descended from the Ancient Hebrews, but that the original ones after the Israel Diaspora and Exile went to Africa and Asia. And I am one of them.

But now, it’s bigger than that, somehow this turned into a better story than I could have imagined.

Interpret this any way you want.

Know that this isn’t the end of Rocky and Joelys.

October 03, 2020 03:20

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Elizabeth Inkim
22:11 Oct 07, 2020

Zuriel! Congratulations on your dynamic characters, I appreciated seeing the different representations of ethnic, culture, and religion. I think that people often stereotype or treat race, religion, and heritage with a very narrow view point; they picture one indivisible as a monolith for their country rather than a person. Thank you for writing about people of colour, they are a rare commodity in fiction, keep writing. I found your story through the Critique Circle, and here are some notes. I think the pacing of the plot was a bit jagg...


Zuriel Wurah
15:14 Oct 08, 2020

Awww! Thank you so much for reading my story and giving ACTUAL feedback. And yes there is such a lack of people of color in stories except historical fiction and a few other exceptions. It's hard to see the lack, but when I 've been looking for realistic fiction or fantasy or action books to read, I notice that there aren't people who I can really relate to. Also, thank you for loving my characters just as much as I do! And yes the pacing was definitely a little strange, but I think if I had revised and edited with a little more time, it...


Elizabeth Inkim
15:31 Oct 08, 2020

Yes, thank you, and be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments. I love feedback any kind.


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