One day the four poles met: the north, the south, the east and the west. They gathered and communed, in the sanctified city of Jerusalem, amazingly calm and dynamic; elusive but intimate; separate but conjoined; utterly silent while resonating; invisible to many, while manifest to the few.
“Oh Lord, we have wronged our selves…” The Holy Quran
Foad Amson was in some serious trouble. For a start, his wife, Eve, was on to him and her suspicions were slowly leading her to the truth. Foad had been cheating on her. It was a woman from work who was strangely alluring and remarkably easy to seduce. After one thing led to another, Foad found himself booking a hotel room and engaging in an illicit rendezvous after work. When he returned home that evening, he made some excuse about his colleagues going out to a restaurant, and in the following days, he worked hard to cover his tracks and to convince Danya, the office temp, not to reveal their secret. She obeyed, and his persuasive powers seemed to be working, so he planned to meet her again, at intervals, over the next few months. Danya never invited Foad back to her place, which he respected, particularly as Danya was so gracious as to contribute to the cost of their hotel rooms and food.
An almighty, streaming, surging downpour enveloped Medina Baye, flowing onto the streets and roads, washing away the memories of past days. It showered through homes, upon the elderly, upon mothers and fathers, upon children, drenching them in a water that they could not see, and clearing the air, and refreshing the hearts…
Idris Wuld, with the troubles of the world resting on his shoulders, rushed by Medina Baye, on his way to meet an official of the municipality. A singular old man stood in his way, raising his hands in the air and rubbing his face, as if catching the rain. Idris halted.
“What is wrong with you, old man?” He asked unkindly, regarding the clear sky and shifting his shirt in the spring heat.
“Oh! the rain! The rain! It’s everywhere!” Cried the old man, once again, staring at the empty sky, and welcoming the air into his arms. Idris sighed with irritation and moved briskly ahead, “Crazy fool…” He muttered.
Two hours later, Wuld passed by Medina Baye again, a wide smile on his face; his eyes confident and contented. The meeting went splendidly, and his financial troubles had been taken of. And once again, the strange old man came into his path, shifting from side to side, raising his hands in the empty, stifling air, rubbing his palms on his eyes and cheeks, while the awesome, majestic minarets of Medina Baye, stood behind him, like tower giants watching them. Wuld stopped in his tracks.
“So, what is it with you and this rain old man? Have you gone mad?” He joked.
The old man lowered his hands and looked deeply and intensely into Wuld’s eyes. “You will understand the rain I allude to if you do this one thing…”
“And what is that?” Wuld smirked. “Go to Sayyida and say what needs to be said…” And he walked off.
Wuld stood frozen, as the minaret giants looked on. The old man had spoken the name of his wife, and of the thing which was hidden cancer in his soul: his pride. He understood immediately and rushed off.
At home, whilst the children played outside, and his wife was engaged in the labours of her life, suddenly, she dropped her work, for her husband, Idris stood before her; his eyes in a way she had never seen before for a long time. He spoke: “Sayyida, my wife, and the mother of my children…” She leaned against the washing machine, her fears growing- had he found another woman? Another woe upon the woe this man had given her. “What I mean to say, my wife, and I mean this, I have been a cold man to you, for a while, and you have been a good woman to me. Forgive me. Let me make amends. I will take you to see your mother and kin on the weekend…” His eyes were remorseful and true- she could see it… She could see the shame and discomfort in every trace of red in his eyes. Finally, he saw her, the way he used to see her before. And she collapsed in his arms, the tears not stopping, the pain leaking out into his frame, being replaced by warmth, and love, and cheer.
Later, Wuld, having lost track of time and place, since his revelation to his wife, wandered over to Medina Baye, and suddenly, without warning, water fell from the sky, enveloping the whole expanse, covering his head, and washing away the pride. He looked up, feeling the rain flow over his head and face. The old man appeared next to him. “I told you it was raining,” he said, as people walked by, regarding them whimsically, on this, the driest day of March so far….
This short story is loosely based on the plot and characters of William Shakespeare’s, Macbeth.
Parental advisory- this story explores adult themes and contains horror.
“Masha Allah Bro!”
After bursting into Sarfraz’s room, Zubayr and Abbas marvelled at the sight before them. Sarfraz sat piously, white skullcap wrapped around his head, a guidebook to Muslim prayers in his hand.
“I guess you won’t be coming out…” Zubayr began.
Sarfraz looked up from his book. He was reading prayers the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said to ward off evil spirits and Satan himself. He now glanced at his friends’ immaculately presented, tight, designer jeans, polo tops and gelled hair: “Depends what you mean by out.”
I don’t have much time, my sentencing is in a few days, so I will cut to the chase. I am sorry for not speaking to you or Benjamin throughout all of this. I have sent him a separate note… But now that I’ve had some time to think, I want to tell you about recent events from my point of view; from the way I have experienced things; in contrast to the secondary tales from social media (like The Net- I have much to say about them later).
As you know, your son, my older brother, has been spreading the news that I was attacked by a wolf and that I may never return. The wolf of insanity. He has told you all that he tried to help me, but I was dragged away by this fiend.
Adam and Hira had just turned twenty, when they realised, they were in prison. Now they could see four monumental walls topped with barbed wire to the north, south, east and west. Now they could make out the prison officer uniforms on men and women they had not noticed before. Now they could see other prisoners around them, looking and behaving much like themselves. Fear and anguish grew chains around their hands and ankles; the couple struggled to move as the realisation took hold of them; their breaths quickened and sweat trickled on their heads. How on earth did they not realise this before? Why were they prisoners? What had they done wrong? As far as they knew, they had lived an average life in an average town, following the law of the land, most of the time, and keeping out of trouble. Yet now they found themselves languishing behind towering walls and barbed wire.
In Islamabad arrivals, a great hullabaloo arose, like a volcano erupting. Hundreds of tired and disgruntled travellers crowded the luggage belts, struggling to catch sight of their possessions, like a flock of herons, frantically searching the water for fish. Faces scowled; babies wailed; ladies sat back, fanning themselves with their scarves. It had been two hours; their luggage had failed to arrive and, to make matters worse, the luggage of the next arrivals was beginning to appear instead.
“What the hell is this!” yelled a large, moustachioed fellow, in a rich, white salwar qameez. The officials, in blue uniforms, continued to play dumb, expressing platitudes: “we have some technical difficulties… One of the computers has malfunctioned, but it will be fixed, and your luggage will be here soon.”
Becalmed, the wide rubber raft floated aimlessly on the choppy waters, far from any sort of assistance. Huddled and shivering, refugees and migrants from a plethora of regions rubbed their hands and bodies. Mothers swaddled their children around their own meagre coats, while the irascible captain yelled and cursed at the steaming motor at the back. Holding his walkie-talkie close to his heart like a keepsake, he barked at his accomplices back in their base, demanding to know why his rescue boat had not arrived. Crackling voices responded, urging him to stay calm and wait.
“Hey, Mr Syria!” Yelled a young man, with deep dark skin like a killer whale and piercing eyes; the whiteness shone like the moon in the night. “We have some time. And we hear you can tell some stories….”
There once were two men: Abdul Razzaq and Abdul Ghani.
Abdul Razzaq was a faithful man, who was very resourceful, with a talent for acquiring wealth. By the age of forty, he had paid off the mortgages of three properties, rented them out and his portfolio continued to grow promisingly.
I was roaming outside on the vast fields under the tearful sky searching for my beloved one.
I lost her the previous night, while I slept, while I drifted through the valleys of discontentment in my dreams. When I awoke, she was gone… And realising my folly, I rushed out of my house searching desperately for her. Searching up trees, walking into caves, scaling the solitary hills of woe. I had not found her and I was becoming a nervous wreck of a soul. Before I left, I rang my teacher and asked him what I should do.