20 - 26 June, 2015

If Gibran didn’t start adjusting in social spaces he will turn into a hermit, she thought. I’ll push him to go.
The thought of the Ouija board brought shudders to Gibran since the day they had mentioned it. He tried distracting his mind.
I wouldn’t be a part of their game no matter what, he committed to himself.
As soon as he entered the living room he was welcomed by a strange pungent smell. Gibran recalled what Fatima was saying… they leave foul smells… and second thought flooded his mind was that hooded demon had grown stronger at least now everyone would believe him.
He found his mother looking up to him. That is strange; he thought as his mother was usually resting at this time. He greeted his mother and sat down with her.
“How was your day Gibran?” she asked.
“Fine mother,” he said promptly, he felt something was wrong but didn’t know how to get the hint of it. Gibran did have a mind for manipulation.
“Ali’s mother called today,” said Aliya cautiously, “and she has invited you over to Ali’s birthday.”
“Hmm okay mom but I don’t want to go!”
“That I know, you lied to Ali about a family gathering.”
“Yeah mother I don’t want to go.”
“Why Gibran?”
“Mother don’t push to me you know I don’t like going in such parties.”
“I know you don’t Gibran but I know my son wouldn’t say no if I insist, if you don’t try making friends you will be left alone. Hamid and Huma look at them do you know they have left for a camping expedition in the northern areas, you should buck up courage to involve yourself too in such activities. I am not criticising you Gibran,” she said stroking him gently, “I’m just requesting.”
“Mother! Please I don’t want to,” he said pulling himself back.
“Gibran I have told Ali’s mother that you will come, now don’t embarrass me,” said Aliya playing her last card, she knew Gibran would never say no if she put it this way.
“If you wish to embarrass your mother you may stay at home. I’ll drop you at Ali’s house tomorrow evening and her mother said she will make sure to drop you back home when the party is over.”
“Let me know what you have decided tomorrow, it won’t be that bad!” she said putting him on his bed as she left.
That night Ali dread every minute that passed along into the next day. He knew that they would play the Ouija board somehow and make Gibran a victim to their play. Gibran didn’t sleep that night and strangely enough neither did the black hooded demon show up. Mother must be right he thought I think too much, he thought before dozing off at 4pm.

* * *
“Okay guys this is the plan,” said Ali to the group, “I really don’t know what the Ouija board is but I know it’s used for summoning demons so this is our ultimate plan of freaking out the poor guy,” he finished laughing.
Ali explained the trick they were going to play on Gibran and they all agreed.
Fatima drew out a rough sketch of the actual board from a real picture Ali picked from the internet and they brought candles into the attic.
“Fahad you are supposedly very sick okay and in other words you are the evil demon.”
The door bell rang they all looked down from the attic window and saw their prey.
“All set fellows! Lets party!”

* * *
A huge Ferrari cake had been specially ordered for Ali by his parents and party planner had themed the whole patio as a Ferrari race course
After dinner and playing around Ali’s mother came and said she was going to a late night NGO meet up and that the driver was available to drop whoever needs to go home and she left.
“Okay mom.”
With the coast clear Ali suggested they all go to the attic.
The attic was very dimly lit with candles in each corner and in the centre a low-lying table was set with a white sheet with many symbols on it. Gibran retracted his step.
“Ali can you please ask your driver to drop me home,” he said.
Ali was on cloud nine seeing Gibran in distress, his other friends were also enjoying.
“Oh come on Gibran! Don’t be a chicken… it’s just a game.”
And he pulled him inside. They sat around the table and Ali interjected, “I wish Fahad was here he would have loved this.”
Fahad was infact safely hiding behind the old boxes stacked at the corner.
“Okay the rule of the game is that everyone will be blind-folded because it is said that if you open your eyes the sight of the ghost will blind you so we will have to open this big window motioned Ali towards a huge window at the opposite corner.”
“Okay the rest chimed in.”

The environment was really creepy even Ahmed felt goosebumps on his arms as he opened the tall window the gush of cold air filled the room and his legs shivered.
Fatima brought black straps of cloth to blind fold them and Ali turned over the coin in his hand and placed the board over their laps.
“Okay guys make sure no one opens their eyes.”
They all placed their fingers on the coin Ali felt his heart racing.
“A word of caution, if anyone of you mistakenly opens his eyes he would be possessed by the spirit and the spirit would cut his finger into half so don’t open your eyes at any cost.”
Fatima tied them blindfold one by one and made sure to tie Gibran’s blindfold loosely so that Fahad could easily open it as part of their plan.
Ali kept a bowl of ash nearby and said that if the demon tried to touch you, throw it at his face.
This was getting serious, Gibran felt his heart would burst with fear any second.
Ali slowly started moving the coin round and round the board and said strange words that seemed inaudible against Gibran banging heart.
“Oh good spirit come to us… tell us what you know…”
Suddenly Gibran felt cold water trickle down his spine, actually it was Fahad sprinking cold water as he had adjusted a room cooler.
“Al…Ali I want to go home,” murmured Gibran almost in tears.
“Sshhhsh,” said Ali, “don’t speak he is coming.” The air blew naturally from the large window and it added more to the effect. Just at that moment Fahad carefully tiptoed towards Gibran and pulled the knot of the blindfold simultaneously shaking the wooden plank on the floor.
“Out fear Gibran opened his eyes and screamed in fright as Fahad was standing before him, white in the face with make-up and a get up that was hard to recognise due to the dim light, the shadows made it more convincing to frighten a sane child. Gibran in commotion turned over the ash bowl and the whole powdered filled his face and eyes. He went wild with fear when he could see and Fahad started approaching him. Gibran started screaming and pushing himself back and mistakenly tripped and fell out of the open window.
Ahmed yelled seeing this, “Stop! You’ll fall,” but Gibran was already tumbling over the roof and had fainted with fear. The last he saw was a dark shadow scoop him from beneath as he hit the grass below.

* * *
Gibran woke up and found himself in a peculiar environment.
Was this what it looks like when you die? Gibran thought for a moment but then he caught a glance of his mother hover over him and went unconscious again.
Gibran remained hospitalised for a week. He had fractured a leg and arm and had multiple stitches on his head. Thanks to Allah the grass was soft and the roof rolled down to the first floor which slowed down his fall and lessened the impact. Ali was reprimanded and the whole group learnt a very good lesson. They all were crying outside the hospital seeing Gibran in a sick state and pledged never to bother him again.
They realised that little acts of carelessness could result in catastrophic outcomes and Ali started having nightmares after this event out of guilt and fear.
Huma and Hamid rushed back home early from their trip knowing about Gibran’s accident. They confessed to their mother that it was them who had been scaring Gibran every night.
Her mother was furious and distressed at the same time, although Gibran was out of danger the doctors said that he had undergone severe emotional trauma for which he would require psychological therapy.
“Mother we are really sorry,” said Hamid as they sat by Gibran’s bed.
“I’m ashamed of you two,” she said amid tears, “look at him, look at him you two, I wonder how disturbed my boy was… I have failed as mother, in school they were making his life miserable and you two didn’t let him be at peace in home too.”
“Is this what elder siblings are for…” she said angrily breaking into more sobs.
“We are sorry mama,” said Huma with her head hung low.
“What is the use of this sorry now?” she fired back, “look at him! Look at him.”
Huma looked up at her little brother who was dressed in bandages all over, she felt worse, if she would had befriended him at least he would had confided whatever he was going through at school and they could have put a stop to it before this happened.
“Mama you know what we learnt a lesson anyway we have been punished too.”
Aliya looked up towards him red eyed.
“What punishment?” she said alarmed.
“While we were on an excursion in the forests something strange happened. We were in a deserte village and a friend needed to use the washroom, he went in and when he came back he looked shell shocked and frightened. We tried asking him but he remained silent throughout the journey. In the middle of the night he started grunting and then suddenly he started shouting in the most hoasre and evil voice I have ever heard. Mama he took hold of me and shook me be bad. I was looking into the eyes of a real demon. I recited duas and that made him more angry when I finally finished and blew it at his face he fell unconscious. The guide took him to a soothsayer who said he had been possessed because of going to a filthy place and then we sent him home. I don’t know what it was but for a moment I realised how it feels to be afraid.
I have been the worst brother ever mama. I haven’t been able to sleep for the last three nights. The face wakes me up whenever I try closing my eyes.”
Aliya listened to him in awe – such serious and sensible realisation coming from Hamid was really a change of events. She was glad he had learnt a lesson.
“Come here my son,” she said wrapping him in his embrace.” The hearts in which there is fear of Allah can never be hurt by evil spirits. You three can all sleep with me for some days. It has been difficult for each of us.
“Remember whenever something unusual or unexplainable happens we should take it in a positive direction that is what our beloved Prophet (PBUH) has taught us.”
“Did the salt work?” asked Aliya to make the environment lighter.
Hamid gave a hearty laugh, “yeah mama it is was delicious sprinkled on the fried fish. Hamid said pulling a serious face, “Jinns aren’t very handsome after all.”
Huma also cheered up with the last tear rolling down her cheek.

* * *

Gibran was discharged from the hospital after two weeks’ treatment and counseling. He was better emotionally and physically now.
Aliya approached a therapist who also worked on his phobia of ghosts and it helped him a lot.
“Try to attach him to a positive figure,” told the therapist “and in your house if your mother-in-law as you told keeps feeding superstitions, lay them off casually. Children have immature minds, they unconsciously process information into their mind.
“Gibran is much better now but to help him completely recover from his phobia, it would take some time. The presence of a spirit is a reality which I don’t suggest should be denied but it shouldn’t be overwhelming.”
Nothing dimmed daadi’s spirits she was adamant as ever and kept following her old rituals around the house. She even tied a black thread on Hamid and Huma’s hand to ward off the evil eye.
“Haye my children have lost their liveliness it must have been the evil eye,” she used to moan day and night.
She rubbed Gibran all over with spices and burned them over every day. To her, it was a way of burning the nazar which had caused Gibran’s accident.

* * *
One evening in the silence both son and mother were lost in their own thoughts and the only sound was of the ceiling fan whirling in circles above them. Gibran lay tired on his mother’s lap with his left leg and arm still in plasters.
“Mother, I’m sorry.”
Her mother went quiet for a while and then stroked his hair affectionately; “it’s all over Gibran… now you can relax. If you would have tried sharing it with me earlier you wouldn’t have gone through this entire ordeal,” she said reassuringly.
“I’m always there for you. I will never make fun of you. Why didn’t you tell me they had been bullying you for so long? You shouldn’t have hidden it from me.”
Gibran lips quivered apologetically a tear slipped from his eyes. He regretted every moment.
“Mother is this my punishment for being disobedient?”
“No my sweetheart, it isn’t your punishment. Allah has the most unique ways of teaching us. This was just part of the lesson.”
“Now close your eyes and rest. Your arms and legs will heal better if you rest properly.”
“Mother just one more question.”
“Yes dear.”
“When I slipped off the roof I felt a dark loud hover beneath me before I hit the ground. Mother do jinn exist and if they do why did they hurt me?”
“They do exist my child and they never did hurt you, you fell off, you do know that it was all the trick of your friends and that shadow must have been your guardian angel that saved you from any major injury.”
“Guardian angel? Who is that mama?”
“Angels that protect good children from harm.
Allah has created both jinn and human to dwell on the earth but we have made a misconception that they hurt humans. They are commanded not to, but some which are disobedient at times do mischief but our Prophet (PBUH) has told us duas to remain unharmed of their mischief.”
“Okay mama, teach me those duas.”
“I will…” she said kissing his forehead.
Just as she glanced sideways through the bedroom door, a dark shadow rushed across the living room.
“Guardian angel,” she told herself.

to be continued...

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