Tag Archives: thriller

The killing…

I grip the knife in between my fingers as tightly as I can. My palms are so sweaty that I’m afraid the knife will slip through and clatter on the white marble floor. After every minute that passes by I rub my hands on my pants, trying to remove the moisture that’s gathered on my flesh. I inhale sharply but quietly making sure to not make any sound with my uneven breaths or with my tiptoeing.

He’s peacefully sleeping on the king-sized bed with the blue bedsheet. His chest is rising and falling as he loses himself in his slumber. I envy him for his tranquility. How can he be so calm when he’s caused a thunderstorm in my chest? Sleeping like that he looks like an angel who’s here to make the world a better place, but when he’s awake even the demons run away to hell. His brown hair is covering his forehead and parts of his eyelids, and his bulging muscles are ripping through his white t-shirt. His stubble has been growing for the past few days and he hasn’t put in the effort to shave.

Unlike our small prison-like-cages, his room is as big as a children’s playground. The walls are different shades of blue, each one changing its hue with the reflection of the sun. On the left there are sofas with a glass table in the middle and on the right there’s the bed where he’s lying. Ahead there’s a balcony from where you can see the city buildings tower on top of each other.

I inch closer to him until I’m standing by his bedside, hovering over his head. His eyelashes are so long, and his face looks so innocent that I’m convinced he’s not the monster I’ve seen in him.

Maybe he’s had his reasons. The voices in my head try to reason with me, but that part of my chest that’s bleeding in red says otherwise. I’m trying so hard to convince myself that he’s not a bad person, that maybe he still has a part of himself that cares.

But he kidnapped you. Tortured you. The thoughts swirl in my mind like a tornado. He killed Sammy and Nate and Anna. And what about all those other children… what about Kenny. What about Aly?

But he fed you, didn’t he? Another voice yells at me.  He was just following orders. Katty said he’s incapable of feeling emotions. He’s mentally ill.

“Slit his throat.” Becky’s voice is cooing in my ears with such clarity that I’m convinced she’s standing by my side.

“No stab him in the heart.” Mickey is yelling at me.

I raise my hand and hold the grip of the knife, above his chest with so much force that my nails dig into my flesh.

I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this.

If I kill him, I’ll be the killer. What difference would there be between us? But he killed good people and I’m killing the bad people. Does that make me a good person, or does that make me a murderer like him?

I lower my hand a little to retreat, but all the memories pulse through my brain, reminding me of every ache he’s put me through. The time he burned my hands, the time he whipped me and Esha with his leather belt. The time he shot Nate in the chest. The time he…

Before the thought can erupt through my brain, my arm plunges straight down with such force I didn’t even know I had. I hear a crack, a moan and then wheezing. His eyes fling open and perplexed he stares at me like a stray cat. When his eyes process what’s happening, he tries to jump out of bed but fails miserably. I quickly pull the knife out of his chest and take a few steps back in fear. His shirt, the bedsheets, my hands everything is painted in red. Pressing onto his wound with both of his hands he slides off the bed and tries to make his way toward the side table. He opens the first drawer and rummages through it. He’s looking for his revolver. Hamani said she took it and hid it in the back garden beneath the mango tree. When he finds nothing, he tries to jump toward me, but I take a leap back and he falls on his stomach. Blood soaks the carpet beneath him.

“I will kill you,” He says through his clenched teeth, expanding every word. I watch him bleed for a while, and very slowly I take a few steps toward him. He’s breathing heavily now. In his eyes, for the first time, I see anger dressed in fear. A tear drips from his eye and cascades down his cheek.

Guilt takes hold of my body and I start shaking and crying like an infant. I drop to my knees and my grip on the knife loosens making it clatter on the floor. I don’t want him to die. I don’t want anyone to die.

“Go call Mike. Come on please.” He says pleading. “I’ll protect you. I promise.”

Part of me wants to believe him and unconsciously I rise to my feet. But as soon as I spin on my heels the door bangs open and Hamani comes rushing in, covered in blood. She has a slash on her cheek, and I see fire dancing in her grey eyes. She pulls me back like a lioness does to her cub and pulls out the revolver she hid in the garden.

Before I can open my mouth, she pulls the trigger and the bullet cuts through his head. Blood pools around his body like a small puddle formed after rain. The loud bang paralyzes my body and I start sobbing.

The last thing I remember before passing out is Hamani saying, “We have to leave before the other gang members come.”

Photo by Ivandrei Pretorius from Pexels

 

Planning a murder

Her whip hits me on my back between my shoulder blades, right beneath my neck. I wince in pain, but like all the other kids I clench my jaw as tightly as I can. The lesser I scream the quicker it will be over.

I try to focus on the yellow grease spots on the tiled floor in front of me, but that doesn’t help. The pain is numbing out all my senses and I’m afraid I’ll pass out like last time.

She hits me with accuracy because her leather whip touches the same spot it touched last time and the time before that. Maybe she has practice or maybe I’ve gotten used to the pain that now it hurts the same in every spot.

Her name is Nilana, but everyone calls her Didi. She’s very ugly because she has that huge scar on her face. It starts from the middle of her forehead, crosses the bridge of her nose, and cascades down her chin. I feel disgusted by her, not because she’s ugly, but because she smells like the sewerage drains. Like someone who hasn’t taken a bath in weeks.

Half of Didi’s face is burned. The other kids say it was Wasi who did that. He caught her having an affair with some guy outside of our district. So, he threw acid on her face and burned her.

Didi catches me staring at her burnt flesh. Her anger transforms into rage, and the whip this time collides with my face. A deep slicing pain cuts through my cheek. Tears start to well up in my eyes, but I refuse to let them fall.

Every limb in my body feels numb now, but I don’t move. Not even an inch. I stare at the ground and wait for her to stop. She does when she gets tired. My white face is a mosaic of different colors and shapes. I look more like the other kids now.

Everything around me is spinning; all I see are black and blue circles and the blurry images of the kids leaning against the walls.

Didi moves away from me and goes on to the next girl. The whip from her hand loosens and she heaves in a breath. She’s tired now, and all the other kids are spared.

The first person to be hit is always injured the most because that’s how Didi takes out all her anger. The rest of the children get away easy because Didi gets tired after the first few children. Didi doesn’t always hit us because she’s mad or we did something wrong, sometimes she hits us just to give us these scars.

According to her logic the more wounds we have the more money we’ll make.

“People will pity you,” she would say when she felt bad for someone. “Rich people have a soft spot for kids. They’ll feel guilty and guess what they’ll give you more money.”

I hate Didi and everyone here. The beans I ate from the cart in Koyla Bazaar are coiling in my stomach. I try to get up on my feet, but my knees sink beneath me and I fall. Darkness is starting to invade my vision; no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to focus.

The pain from my back is radiating up to my stomach, and I throw out everything I ate in the past few hours. Everything around me dissolves and I am welcomed by a soothing black abyss.

——————————————

I wake up to Sahil sitting across from me. His legs are crossed, and he’s chewing on a piece of tobacco.

“I don’t like you.” He spits on my face. He’s the same age as me maybe a little older. Like me, his clothes are ripped, and he has bruises and scars scattered across his face. A few of them are old but a whole bunch of them are new.

Sitting upright, I lean against the wall hoping he would go away but he doesn’t. He suspiciously stares at me for a while. I do the same.

“How old are you?” his voice softens now.

“Ten,” I say looking at the cuts on my arms. New bruises are starting to appear while the old ones are fading away.

“I’m twelve. I’m the oldest kid here. Everyone listens to me. Do you understand?”

Nodding my head, I inch closer to the wall. He senses my uneasiness, but he doesn’t seem to care. Instead, he moves closer to me, and I can feel his warm breath fan my face.

“Rule number one don’t ever stare at Didi’s face.  Rule number two don’t make friends. Rule number three if you want to survive then keep your head down and become invisible,” he says his rules with such authority that I find myself nodding my head even though I want to ask him a bunch of questions, but I’m scared to open my mouth.

“What’s your spot?” He’s asking me like he actually cares.

“Lihari street. The big signal, in front of the Oxford building, close to Madiha library,” I say trying not to make eye contact, but my eyes drift back to his.

“You’re a newbie. I work in the Sigrat community, in front of the Bahriya complex. I’ve been here since I was five,” he says it like he’s proud, but I see a glint of anger radiating in his eyes.

Most of the kids here start begging on Lihari street, it’s the only street where no one really cares. It’s crowded and it’s filled with impatient people. The girl that was blind in one eye was hit by a car the other day and no one cared. They walked right past by her as if this was nothing but a minor inconvenience. No one even stopped to check if she was okay.

They buried her body in a cemetery near the sewage in Lihari chowk because no one came to claim her body.

Begging isn’t hard. All you have to do is make a pouting face and cry. No one really cares and because of that no one really gives money. But the more money you make the more food you get. As time progresses you’re given a new spot to beg on.

Foreigners, especially people from Europe are the easiest to persuade. They sometimes care, and they ask questions. But the answers Didi taught us are all lingering on the tip of my tongue. The lies come easily. My parents died. I have no place to live so I beg, even though that’s not true.

My Maa and Abba got a divorce. Abba didn’t want to keep me and Maa couldn’t afford to. So, she sent me to the city with Saad. He promised her that he would put me into a school so one day I could be something in life, but he lied, and she believed him. It’s been six months since I’ve last talked to her. At first, Saad took me to the PCO in the nearby village every week so I could talk to her, but then gradually he stopped.

“When did you get here?” the boy asks breaking my chain of thought. There’s a fine layer of dust resting beneath the tips of his nails and he’s chewing on the tips. He’s disgusting. He smells worse than Didi.

“About a year ago,” I whisper glancing up at him.

“Do you wanna go back home?”

Home 

The word seems odd. I feel something warm brew in my stomach.

Home.

Yes, I want to tell him. I do. But instead, I nod my head.

A smile tugs at his lips and it’s not the genuine smile that people give when they are happy for you, it’s the one that has something selfish hidden behind it.

“Fine. I’ll make a deal with you. You help me and the other kids, and I promise I’ll get you back home.” He extends his hand, bending his elbow a little to not hit my face.

“What do I have to do,” I ask shaking his hand.

“Nothing much,” he says encouragingly. “Just help us kill Didi!”