An unknown, fear with glowing green eyes, nagged for my attention. Was the devil warning me, or was it signaling his clan about the tempting smell of hastily dried blood covering my still weepy wounds?
I strained hard to get some form of spatial feel, but failed miserably. The ominous darkness colonizing the confinement cell made it impossible. I heard water trickling down the damp walls.
Was it the sewage water? Why did the place smell so musty? I wondered.
The fetid air in the cell was suffocating. What can I expect from these kafirs (non- believers)? It is my Jihad (fight for a noble cause) which has failed me and brought me alive in the hands of these kafirs.
The tear above the eye cried out fresh blood as I struggled to open my swollen, crusty lips. My dehydrated throat itched for some soothing redemption, but the plea was indifferently rejected by my mind. I was ready to face hell in India. After all, I, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab was the only jihadi caught alive after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
Aaqa (master) had said, if you kill a hundred kafirs the angels would usher you to the gates of heaven.
Alas! My jihad was incomplete. Wish my body too glowed like a jihadi’s, radiating fragrance after shahadat (martyrdom).
“Khushboo ( fragrance)!”
I was nauseous. The disgusting medley of rotting feces, stinking urine, and revolting smell of death, strangled my senses. My racing heart was the only testimony of life within me as my numbing limbs soon betrayed me. Blacker than the darkest gloom, the dimensions of the confinement cell stretched into infinity.
I knew they wanted to deaden my mind into a paralyzed obeisance.
Aaqa, why did you not accept my jihad? Shoaib, Nazir, Javed must be in Jannat ( heaven) now. Why am I left in this hell?
A frightening chill sprinted down my cold body. A cold, mephitic blast sneaked into the room, too palpable to go unnoticed.
Thud! Thud! I heard my heart complain loudly. It seemed my sixth sense saw something which my other senses couldn’t notice.
“Tauba! (forbid)” I was taken aback.
A murky, deformed apparition stood dangerously close.
“Who are you? How did you come inside?” I spluttered.
“Bhai ( brother), it’s me Shoaib,” answered the figure.
I peered into the darkness. I knew I was hallucinating. The exhaustion, trauma, and fear were playing nasty tricks with me.
“Bhai, kitni bheed hai bahar! ( Brother, a big crowd is outside,” exclaimed Shoaib.
Now, this is getting too weird.
“Shoaib, aren’t you dead?” I asked courageously.
“You were remembering me, so I came to see you,” Shoaib replied solemnly.
“But, I cannot see you. Why can I only hear you?” I was baffled. “Which crowd are you talking about? This place is dead silent,” I confronted him.
“Does death ever make any noise? It just slays through silence and robs life.
The corridor is full. Hundreds of deformed, revenge-seeking dead souls are swarming the place. You see how dark it is in here! They are the ones blocking all light of hope from creeping in,” Shoaib announced.
“Bhai, they await retribution. I saw a mother with burnt flesh, clinging to the door. She refused to let me in. She held her five-year-old son’s hand and insisted on collecting the remaining parts from you.”
“A blind man with a limbless torso also seized the entrance door. He wanted to be in first. He wants to claim his limbs and eyes back from you,” Shoaib spoke so solemnly that I almost believed him.
“Bhai, Aaqa conned us. We were made puppets to play a dirty game of hatred and violence. Aaqa lied to us. Hoor( angels)! He said hoor will honour us at the gates of heaven. We will be dressed like kings. Bhai, he misled us,” howled Shoaib.
“Forget about heaven, even the gates of hell are sealed for us. The fire of guilt threatened to scathe us to ashes. We could not even escape this dimension and are left to linger on as remorse struck, shattered souls waiting for redemption.”
“The inky infiniteness of the wait, the stinging emotions of hurt, and the burden of sins would never let us pass to another dimension. We are left to wander here, in the vacuum. Hungry, thirsty, incomplete, and regretful. Bhai, I came here to do one good deed. I want to enlighten you so that you serve your sins here on Earth. It is easier to serve punishment here and shorten your wait to hell. Yes bhai, that is the only place meant for us. Jahannum! (hell)” sermoned Shoaib before dissolving into the deathly infiniteness.
I could only hear my faint heartbeat. The numbing encounter with Shoaib had stripped me of any sensations. Sleep, exhaustion, and shock were fast blurring my senses. My numb body slipped down lifelessly.
Death paid a friendly, reminder visit as rats crawled over my remains, nibbling into the open flesh. The life in hell had begun. I knew many bloodthirsty souls awaited me outside the door. The long wait, the black vacuum, and the wait for redemption had started.
A blinding morning light cut through my nightlong reverie as the guard opened the door.
Coldwater slapped my dead senses into faint alertness. The guard pulled my spent remains out of the cell. The heat of the overhead light bulb thawed me out of my numbness. My ego soon melted onto the paper as I confessed my sins.
“Aap jeet gaye, main haar gaya (you won, I lost)”, I stuttered, hoping for the divine exculpation.
“Sahi hai! ( You are right)”
“A night in the solitary confinement cell always works,” the investigating officer chuckled as he closed the case.
The author has written a fictitious episode using the lone living accused of a real-life terrorist attack as the protagonist of her purely imaginary work.
Photo Credits: Pixabay
This is an entry for the event #Supernatural #UniK-7 being held at Writers Room | Room8.
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