- 20 Jul - 26 Jul, 2019
THE MAN WITH FOUR FACES
- 07 Apr - 13 Apr, 2018
Two weeks ago
Eruj was lying almost unconscious on her bed. Her eyes were open but it looked as if she was sleeping. Her son stood right next to the bed on which she was resting. He was trying to talk to his mother but she did not respond.
She did not even respond to the ringing doorbell, which was when her son started to shout, “Mom, some one’s at the door.”
She slightly moved and blinked her eyes but nothing more. Seeing this, her worried son left the room and rushed to answer the doorbell.
Two women of Eruj’s age stood outside the door. They were her neighbors. One of them asked Eruj’s son, “Where is your mother? Is she ok?”
“I don’t think so, she’s not moving,” he responded in a worrying tone.
“Oh dear!” she said when entering inside the house, “we must see her.”
They walked towards the room where she was lying. After seeing her the way she was, one of the women uttered, “Oh, this is serious.”
“Yeah, but what is wrong with her?” the other woman asked.
“I think, she has lost someone she dearly loved,” Eruj’s son answered.
“I don’t know, his name was Abdullah.”
“Abdullah?” one of them repeated. “She never mentioned his name to me.”
“Well, she met him at a grocery store”
“Oh, so what do you think happened to him?”
Eruj said while she was lying, “He’s died.”
They all noted the wrong grammar in her sentence but apparently they were surprised that she was still conscious.
“You mean to say, he’s dead?” the neighbour asked.
“Died and leave me,”
Eruj answered like an abnormal person.
“I think, she is seriously ill. We must take her to the hospital right away.”
They called the ambulance and planned on admitting Eruj in a hospital.
The same night, Omama walked on the streets around her building. She was very deeply depressed but stable. She was thinking about me and was upset about her thoughts. She wanted to get rid of the thoughts that were coming to her mind concerning me.
He couldn’t have betrayed me. She wondered. There’s something else that has happened.
She had faith in me. She knew that I hadn’t lied to her. But yet she was worried and had lost hope as I hadn’t contacted her for weeks.
The night was too dark and she was walking until she lost all the street lights. Moonlight was her only means of a clear view. She felt a bit terrified thinking anything might happen during this hour. She decided to head back for home but she stopped and wondered.
What will I do with my life when I return home? It’s way better to die here alone… without Saad.
She closed her eyes and waited for death.
“Omama!” she heard my voice.
She opened her eyes with astonishment. She looked around left and right and shouted, “Saad?”
She walked ahead searching for the voice and highly doubted that the voice she heard was mine. So she followed until she came back closer towards the street lights. There, she saw that she had returned back to the building where she belonged. She turned around to see if she really heard me but then again it seemed hopeless.
Farheen was counting the money she just received from her brother at her home. She was angry on her recent break-up and was wondering as to why I hadn’t contacted after that. She was dying to talk to me and was desperately waiting for my call.
I just don’t understand why. She asked herself. Why did he leave me like that? Was I not good enough?
All the while she was wondering about that, she heard the doorbell. She walked towards the door to open it.
The three students had almost completed their report. Their professor was having coffee while seated right in front of them, which is when one of the students asked him, “So, Sarim Waqar was murdered?”
“Yes,” Professor Zeeshan answered.
“And he was killed by Shehla?”
“No!” the other two students and the professor all replied together.
“It wasn’t Shehla who killed him,” one of the students explained, leaving the student confused.
“He was killed by Karwani,” the professor explained.
“Karwani? You mean Zubair Karwani?”
“Yes, see what happened was…”
“Not now, sir,” the other student interrupted and stopped Professor Zeeshan from explaining. “I have almost completed the report and I will explain it to her myself once I’ll be clear with it.”
“That’s even better.”
“But wait,” the previous student continued, “I just want to be clear on how did it happen.”
“How did what happen?” the professor enquired.
“How is it that Shehla was not the one who murdered Sarim and it was some guy Zubair Karwani who killed him? And who is Zubair Karwani anyway?”
“Your questions will be answered soon. Don’t worry about it.”
“He is not dead!” they all heard a woman’s voice.
They looked towards the woman who none other than Omama. She stood there with a nurse and a visitor who came to meet her.
Omama said, “He did not die. Saad was always alive and is still alive. I saw him myself. You people don’t know but he’s still alive.”
The three students were a bit surprised and confused after hearing Omama’s claims. The professor sternly said, “Just ignore her! She’s ill.”
But the students were secretly considering the possibility that Omama might be telling the truth and Sarim Waqar might be still alive.
Maybe it was true. Maybe not.
Two weeks ago
Farheen answered her doorbell. I stood outside her door and she was delighted to see me.
“So, you’re finally here,” she said with relief noticeable in her tone.
“Yup! Some people think that I’m dead but I’m not.”
“What?” she felt confused.
I smiled and chuckled and then asked her, “Will you please let me come inside your house?”
“Sure, of course,” she said leaving way for me to step inside.
After she shut the door, we walked towards the living room and sat on the couch together.
“So, what happened?” she asked me.
“I was attacked.”
“Doesn’t matter. I don’t feel like talking about that at the moment.”
“Oh! Anyway, can I say something about our previous meeting?”
“Sure, say whatever you want to say,” I nicely told her.
“I’m seeing that you are very troubled. Something about your past has seriously troubled your mind.”
“Well, you are right but it’s not that I’m not over it.”
“That story you told me the other day.”
“About being slaves of money. So, that young boy in the story, who was he?”
“You caught him right?” I said avoiding eye contact.
“So, it was you,” she asked me.
“Look, Farheen. I know I’m a miserable person and I’ve been through a lot. But now I’m ready to move on and start a new life.”
“And I’m glad you chose me to be with.”
I smiled back. Seeing me delighted she said, “Now, would you please tell me about the attack?”
Omama was watching TV at home and felt extremely depressed. Her favourite pasta dish was kept right in front of her on the table but she wasn’t even touching it. She could hardly think of anything except for the man she loved.
She received a call from an unknown number.
“Hello?” she said answering the call with the hope of receiving good news.
“Hello Omama, how are you?” I asked her. It was me who called her from an unknown number.
She felt extremely delighted.
“Saad, is that you?” she spoke hastily.
“Yes, it’s me dear.”
“Oh my God! Where have you been?”
“Can’t tell you right now about that”
“Why not? What happened?”
“I was attacked but now I’m fine. Can we meet?”
She got so excited that tears started rolling down her eyes. Before she could answer, she heard some knocking on the gate. It was a familiar knock and she was a bit surprised to hear it. She reluctantly went to answer the door, knowing who was on the gate.
As expected, it was her father.
“Dad, why are you here at this time?” she said to her father in a strange tone.
“Just relax and come with me,” her father said.
“Where?” she asked moving away from her father as if she was terrified.
“I have to take you to the hospital,” he said.
The two female compounders made their way into her house and held her through her arms.
“What are you doing?” Omama resisted. “Let go off me!”
“My kid you have been acting really strange lately. I have to take you to the hospital.”
“That was for a few days only. I was upset because of Saad. But now I’m fine, he just called me.”
“The guy you’ve loved for such a long time was not Saad.”
“His name is not Saad. And he doesn’t love you back. I knew him dear.”
“Don’t say that dad,” she replied in a sad tone, “you know nothing about him.”
Her father looked at the compounders and instructed, “Alright take her, I’ll come along later.”
She was taken away. Her father snatched away her moment of happiness after she had spent a long time of misery.
Her life was meant to be miserable as long as she expected happiness from me.
At her home while making a call, Farheen accidentally bumped into her TV trolley and hurt her knee. It was a hard hit and caused all the DVDs to fall outside the trolley.
“Oh no!” she annoyingly said, “... now who’s going to pick them up.”
She didn’t care and continued making the call. She stopped and went back to have a look on the covers of the DVD. As she looked at them, she panicked like never before.
Farheen held her hair tightly as she looked at the DVDs and said to herself, “No, it’s not true. No, this didn’t happen.”
She spoke with her teeth tightly closed. She kicked the DVDs and quickly walked away from them. Farheen was sweating profusely due to high blood pressure. Then she fell on her knees and shouted, “Ahsan! Save me!”
Slowly, she fainted and fell on the floor. It was a complete blackout.
Two days later, she opened her eyes and found herself in a hospital that was actually a mental hospice that she didn’t know about.
“Where am I?” she asked with a low voice.
She repeated her question raising her voice, “What is this place? Where am I?”
But she got no reply.
Professor Zeeshan and one of the students were seated at the cafeteria near the ward. Professor Zeeshan was reading the report that the student had just finished. After reading it thoroughly he said, “Very good, the report is perfect.”
“Thank you!” the student responded.
“You’ve done very well,” he encouraged her.
He took out a picture from his own file that was relevant to the case.
The other two students came up and one of them asked, “Is the report ready?”
“Yes, almost,” the professor answered.
“Well, there’s something interesting we just heard. I think we need to add it in the report.”
“Really?” he asked. “What is it?”
“One of the doctors inside just told us that Shehla, the woman with kids…”
“Yes, what about her?”
“The doctor said she has recovered from her illness or is probably recovering.”
Professor Zeeshan stood up in shock and asked, “Really? How come?”
“We don’t know how but he said that it seems she’s recovering.”
“Alright, then I must go and see her.”
He left his students and went inside towards the ward.
The professor walked towards Shehla’s room with the picture he just took out from the file. As he went closer, he saw that her room’s door was left open. Without any hesitance, he entered inside. There, he saw Shehla sitting on her bed. She seemed quite better than before. He asked her in a polite and careful manner, “Ma’am Shehla, do you know why you were admitted here?”
“And you are?” she asked just like a normal person.
“I’m a psychologist, my name is Zeeshan. But right now I want you to answer my question.”
“I shot my boyfriend with my husband’s gun in a public place,” she answered after a short hesitant pause. “People thought that I was insane, to do such an act in public. So, here I am.”
“And you don’t think you are insane?”
“Ok, even if I am, how will you prove it?” she asked.
“It won’t take more than a minute for me to prove it but I still want you to reconsider the fact that I am not saying this stuff for no reason.”
“I’m waiting for your proof,” she told him.
Professor Zeeshan looked at the picture he held before showing it to her.
“Do you know that the moment you shot your boyfriend Rashid was recorded in a CCTV camera that day? Do you have any idea about it?”
She seemed slightly worried realising that she was in trouble now.
One of the nurses came by and stopped outside the room. She was listening to their conversation attentively.
“Am I going to go to the jail?” Shehla worryingly asked.
“No!” the professor responded.
He showed her the photo and said, “This moment was captured while you shot him.”
to be continued...