The Desolate Souls

  • 31 Mar - 06 Apr, 2018
  • Kiran Ashraf
  • Fiction

Blood… that’s all he saw.

"Am I hearing noises?”

“Why am I hearing her screams? Stop! Stop! Nooooo!!!!"

The waterfall was gushing over the rocks, making its way down the serrated mountain. The rising sun caused a division of armed flies to swarm into the air. The glade green field, the sweet sounds of chirping birds and nougat smell of flowers washed over the premises. Summer is about to begin, bringing with it, a bitter twist. The nights are closing in on each other and the long days are faltering. Same as the fate of this glorious valley, whose atmosphere is now convent quiet. It was soothing and yet, still.

War on terror took a toll over the country, taking lives of innumerable brave soldiers and innocent citizens. Rumours of the government being toppled are part of everyday news.

“The government shall not hold back its armed forces now,” Jazib, read the headline out loud. “May God help us,” replied the eight-year-old Yasmin, his beloved little sister. Jazib was a brooding teen, studying Political Science at a local college. After the sudden demise of his father, he decided to take up responsibility as the man of the house.

“Where do people go when they die bhai?” little Yasmin inquired, while her big brown eyes were allowing her curious nature to worm its way into the big brother’s heart.

"Evil ones with wrong intentions end up in hell, while the ones with goodness are granted a place in heaven where angels like you exist,” he explained, kissing the little one’s forehead. And to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, they marched downstairs towards the dining hall.

The dreadful day arrived when he came back home to smokes and flames. His house was shredded to pieces and remains of the butcher drone were lying in the corner, laughing at his misery. The very universe of Jazib came to a halt. Scenes of rubble and wreckage were not for the faint-hearted. What people witnessed next was a youthful lad turning into a mercenary overnight.

“Stand like a rock against the oppressors! Torment is what we received from this country and destabilisation is what we will give in return. You, my brothers, are the soldiers of paradise! The very blessed souls who are promised heaven. This is your day! Kill them and ease your path towards afterlife!” ordered the callous fundamentalist. And the self-proclaimed warriors walked towards another ferocious slaughter.

It was a hellish two-hour siege. The tyrants barged into every room of the community school, recently rehabilitated by state funds. The pool of congealed blood splattered on the balcony.

Screeching police sirens were circulating on the premises and the counter-terrorism unit was armed in position. The brutal battalion knew they had limited time. Just as Jazib was about to leave, he heard a crack coming from the closet. “You a man or a mouse? Quit hiding you scoundrel and show me your face,” he shouted harshly. Nothing moved. He infuriated, self blatantly opened the ruthless fire on the closet. Minutes later a small lifeless hand dangled out of wrecked furniture. The firing stopped, a small body emerged. Covered in bloodied red uniform, she had a stunned and weary expression. Almost felt like she would come alive for a few seconds to ask, why?

And then he saw it, the thing that made his blood run cold and his very nerves froze. Her name tag, Yasmin… it read Yasmin, she shared the name of his late sister.

Jazib’s body started dripping in sweat. The blood felt like snails crawling over his sleeves. His throat went dry and a sickness build up inside his stomach. He could barely remain standing for a moment. A small, stifled cry came from his lips echoing in his head. He was running wildly around the room searching for something to get the blood off his hands. In his dismayed state, he started rubbing his palms together frantically over his shirt.

“Bhai?” He stopped. “Bhai,” the sweet voice echoed again. “Yasmin… Yasmin! Is that you?” he yelled helplessly. Clothed in an angelic-white, radiating linen robe stood the little rosy-cheeked Yasmin. But she doesn’t seem happy. The thin line between reality and hallucination evaporated, as the merciless killer ran to embrace his long-lost sibling.

But all in an instant, everything changed.

Her bones started cracking up and Jazib saw a smashed and disfigured body of his sister. Her eyes all swelled-up, poured blood. She tipped her head upside down and a crimson carnage erupted from her scalp. She raised a finger to him. “You killed me!”

Gazing at his bloodied hands, he looked up to witness being surrounded by the unfortunate souls whom he brutishly choked, killed and discarded over the years. All pointing their fingers at him humming, ‘Murderer.’ All his years of built up trauma, frustration and guilt made his whole-body sting with anger, it starts building up into this massive fire. He never tried to find an escape in forgiveness. Although it broke him down to pieces, darkness is where he tried searching for solace. He doesn’t know how long it has been, but the world has stopped working now. In the haunting silence around him, he heard a wavering paper heart, gently break.

“Have I killed my Yasmin? This time with my very own hands? Did I? Did I kill her? But I killed all of you too! Stop the noise! Please stop!”

A thousand voices howled in his head, creeping inside his conscious. His eyes turned black and his body fell limply on the floor. He lay still, staring at the cold ceiling. His face motionless. No words emitted from the dying lips of the once powerful assassin.