Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, February 07, 2008


· Advice: what we ask for when we already know the answer, but wish we didn't.
· Architecture: the art of how to waste space. (Phillip Johnson)
· Alarm clock: a small, mechanical device to wake up people without children.
· Baby-sitter: a teenager acting like an adult, while the adults are out acting like teenagers.
· Bachelor: the only man who has never told his wife a lie.
· Benign: What you be after you be eight.
· Boredoom: The state at which a person is so incredibly bored, they lack the desire to do anything.
· Calcium Anthropology: the study of milkmen.
· Capitalism: the astounding belief that the most wicked of men will do the most wicked of things for the greatest good of everyone.
· Cell-phone: a way to speak to yourself without anyone noticing.
· Celebrity: someone who works all his life to be recognized, and then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.
· Chemistry: Physics without thought.


The silence had become almost unbearable, crushing me under its dead weight. Somehow it had transformed into a loud, and intolerable growing noise bouncing from one side of my head to another. I had no clue as to whom I would meet here, or worse, what I would meet here. Just then a sudden shrill penetrated the stillness of the room; a voice more dead than alive. The door swung open and a gaze of light hit my eyes. Then I felt it; a gripping, seizing feeling which felt as though my own heart was lurching out and I was sharply wrenched back into my own dark and lonely body. I sat there unable to move, fearing to decide. It spoke

'You have offended us, you vile being! Do you doubt our decision?'
The voice was menacing, colder than the nauseous feeling I felt in my stomach.
'You wish to keep your silence, do you? Very well, you are to pay you loathsome creature!'
The feeling then left as quickly as it had come. My body lay serrated on the mattress, no more dead than those on an eternal slumber. I stood up, regretting this very move. The moon was as bright as a flaming torch and it revealed the very awkward words etched onto the wall in crimson. 'Only Man' I trudged out the instance I felt my sore limbs. Now, I stepped onto the wretched place. I opened my mouth wide enough to let out the faintest of cries. The place was in ruins, not one street light glowed, not one soul walked. I slowly turned to stride away again, but a sudden cry drew my attention. No sooner did I find myself entering an alley, lifeless and empty as the town itself. And then it happened. A cold hallucination now clutched my mind, drawing me deeper and deeper into oblivion.

'Please, have mercy!' a woman shrieked 'I beg you, please'
Her face was a blur. I struggled to drive out the burning sensation out of my head. A gun shot echoed twice, thrice and my own ice-cold face popped out of the darkness. And this was when I crept out or at least tried to. I heard more voices, ones that were vaguely familiar. And this time I made no move to restrain them.

A child giggled…
'Look at my Christmas list daddy, Santa's going to have a hard time'

He did. And I remembered how upset she was the next morning to find a toy car as her only present. The biter cold embraced my pale face and my ghostly breath floated within the air. Her laughs trailed away. I ran towards her fading voice, and hit a dead end. And I fell to the ground. Couldn't move… Just then I felt the ground under my bare feet move away. I found myself in the same hospital I stood twenty years ago, the very one I would always remember. I saw myself, weeping by her death bed, hiding my face with the worn out sleeves of my waist coat.

'Mum, are there angels where I'm going?'
'Yes honey, loads of them.'
'I'm scared daddy. Won't you come to visit?'
'Don't worry sugar; I won't let anything happen to you. I promise…'

And I felt my last kiss even more discreetly. My legs refused to budge. Not before a tear spilled over I felt it again. My head spun and this time I was dropped onto a corner of a room. I realized what would come next.

'You couldn't get the money, could you?' my wife's sobbing voice howled 'you couldn't save her, you couldn't…' she continued sobbing and this was when I heard myself pull the trigger. A sudden rage now took over; a malicious urge to annihilate my existence. But I couldn't. For this was what I had created.

By Shehzeen Samarah Hussain


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