- 09 Feb - 15 Feb, 2019
The Red Piano
- 08 Sep - 14 Sep, 2018
After paying for the bus ride, I stepped outside on the footpath and waited for the taxi. It was taking a bit too long so I went to a nearby shop to have some water. I wanted to calm myself down and analyse the situation that took place earlier.
After around 30 minutes, I unlocked the door of the apartment and entered inside. I looked at the beautiful piano and felt relieved. I walked towards it and thought about not sharing the incident with anyone. I decided to keep it a secret. Then, I walked towards the restroom and washed my face.
Several minutes later, I started playing the piano. I kept on playing it and the more I did the less I felt stressed about today’s incident. Anyways, I was playing and enjoying the music until I remembered another incident of my life.
Five years ago, I was really jealous of Raheel. He had recently received a promotion at his work. I don’t know why I was jealous of such a nice and sincere friend of mine. Nevertheless, I knew his younger brother Raheem and wanted to punish him in order to disturb Raheel’s life, his peace and comfort.
I stopped playing the instrument while recalling the entire incident with the two brothers. It was really bad, indeed. I had stolen their neighbour’s expensive watch and hid it inside Raheem’s bag. He was returning home from university but I had secretly told the neighbour that it was Raheem who had stolen it.
Oh God, how could I? I wondered.
Raheel’s father was a heart patient. I didn’t know about it then. As the scene was created in the entire neighbourhood, Raheem was convicted as the culprit, since they found the watch in his bag. The matter worsened and their father was informed. He couldn’t believe that his son was found to be involved in theft and kept scolding him in anger. It was a matter of minutes and he suffered a heart attack.
During that time, Raheel was not in Pakistan. I, however, took the responsibility of taking him to the hospital. I dealt with the doctors and all the issues my mischief has caused, because the guilt of putting them through this hit me real hard.
Finally, the worst of what was never expected happened. Their father died. It happened because either it took us long to get him to the hospital or the doctors were not as serious as they should have been about his treatment. I knew that one doctor, in particular, who I felt was responsible for their father’s death. Justice was really needed there.
I stopped playing the piano and immediately stood up.
What am I doing? I can’t think of committing another murder… No way! I wondered.
I moved away from the piano.
No Amir, you can’t. You can’t murder another human being. I thought.
But that doctor is already a murderer of another human being. My subconscious mind kept pushing me to do the inevitable and I was convinced that that doctor was the murderer, who killed my friend’s father. Now, because I wasn’t ready to accept the fact that I, in fact, was the culprit, I blamed the entire incident over that irresponsible doctor.
What should I do? What is my responsibility here? I thought to myself.
I walked towards the piano and started talking to myself. It is none of my business. I should stay away from this responsibility.
I wish it was that easy. I was calm and continued playing the musical instrument. For the first time, I only played the black keys. The tunes were soft and relaxing. I was playing fine until my fingers touched the white keys and I had to play hard again. I kept on thinking about the entire incident while doing so and felt uncomfortable.
I was trapped between two choices: either I had to accept the responsibility of Raheel’s father’s death or I must go to the doctor and punish him the way he deserves.
I had already murdered one person and even got away with it. I couldn’t afford another risk again and I knew that I might get caught this time.
Convincing myself to stay away from the matter, I left the piano and went to have supper. I opened the door of the house and stepped outside without locking it. While descending down the stairs, I was afraid of myself and kept thinking about the thoughts I had about killing people.
I sat in the cafe after an hour and was done with my dinner; but now, I was afraid to go back home. It wasn’t easy for me to control myself, and I certainly couldn’t trust myself. Once I would get my hands on the piano, the next moment I would be tempted to commit a murder.
These are the kind of moments when I need somebody to be with me. It is times like these when I utterly miss my family. I really miss my mother and my sister. They were always my support. They would understand me. But right now, they are not with me. If there was a gym nearby, I would have exercised in order to get rid of these negative thoughts.
I felt my cell phone vibrating. It was Raheel who was calling me, so I responded. “Hello? Raheel?”
“Amir, where are you? I am so worried,” he said.
“I’m around my apartment. I’m glad you called.”
“What did you do with the gun?”
“Noth... Noth… Nothing,” I replied after a while with an obvious stammer. “It is with me.”
“Do you still need it?” he asked me.
“No, I don’t. Please take it away from me.”
“What?” he didn’t hear me clearly.
“I said, please take your gun back. I don’t want it around me, please!”
“But where are you?”
“I’m at that… I’m at that…”
I don’t know why I stopped speaking. I disconnected the call losing hope and stood up after a minute and left for home.
Next hour, I found myself lying on the mattress. I was tired and felt quite drowsy. As I shut my eyes I wondered, I wish I would never wake up after I sleep today.
I really wanted to end my life forever, but only if it were that easy.
I woke up nine hours later and my mind only kept thinking about the doctor who couldn’t save Raheel’s father. At the same time, I felt guilty but I was trying to suppress those feelings.
What should I do to relieve my stress? I kept thinking, for the only thing I felt in that moment was anger. This combination of guilt, anger and loneliness made me feel extremely frustrated. I just wanted to get to a conclusion that would help me get rid of all my problems.
It hurts being alone all the time. I am responsible for my own condition. I am the only one who can change everything and right now, I am about to do that.
I picked up my phone and ATM card, and most importantly, I picked up the gun and loaded it with bullets. I was leaving to murder the cardiologist, who had destroyed my peace.
As I opened the door, I saw Raheel standing outside. He was about to knock on the door, as I opened it.
“Amir!” he shouted with a concerned tone.
“I’ll catch you later,” I rushed and left the spot to kill the man who was the reason of my restlessness.
I was waiting on the footpath waiting for a taxi to pass by. As soon as I spotted one, I asked the taxi driver to take me to a specific hospital. He drove the taxi with normal speed. I gave him extra money to drive fast because I just couldn’t wait and wanted to get on with it. I didn’t know that Raheel was following me on his bike.
He kept an eye on me, as he was suspicious about my intentions.
An hour later, I was waiting outside the hospital’s main gate. The doctor was about to arrive, I knew this because I had already confirmed it from the guards standing outside. I was unaware of the fact that Raheel was also hiding around. Then I saw a white Corrolla enter the hospital’s premises. The doctor was sitting inside and that was when I got vigilante, and loaded my gun.
Then came 30 seconds of complete black out.
I woke up and looked around. My eyes felt blurry but as soon as I started seeing clearly, I saw the doctor lying dead in his car. The car’s glass was hit by a bullet shot. I immediately realised that I had just shot him on his forehead and fainted afterwards.
I felt like someone was standing behind me, I felt uncomfortable and immediately turned to see who it was. It was no one but Raheel. I saw him looking at me with a tensed face.
“Amir, why did you do this?” he asked me.
“I don’t know,” I replied, as I wiped the sweat off my forehead.
I got closer towards him and said, “Please take me home, Raheel. I don’t know what’s happening to me. I don’t know whom I might kill next.”
“What has happened to you Amir? You’re shaking.”
“I’ve become a murderer, Raheel. Please save me!” I pleaded to Raheel.
“Didn’t I tell you to be safe?”
“I’m sorry. I should’ve listened to you when I had the chance.”
“You just fainted,” he changed the conversation. “Was that something new?”
“This has been happening to me since for the past few days.”
“Should I take you to a doctor?”
“You!” the driver yelled and interrupted our conversation. “I’m going to report to the police.”
Raheel picked up the gun from the ground and aimed it towards the driver, warning him not to inform the police about the incident.
“Run away from here or you’re dead like your boss,” he warned the doctor’s driver.
He got terrified and left the spot immediately. I got a bit surprised at what Raheel was capable of, but since I wanted to leave the place as soon as possible, I ignored his behaviour.
“Raheel, please take me away from here. I’m worried, I might kill someone again.”
“I told you Amir. I told you to stay away from that place. You were given a place to stay, I had provided you with everything. But you... you did what you were warned not to do.”
I really hated him for talking like this. This guy had no sense of understanding the situation and then talking when it was appropriate. This was the reason why he was just speaking whatever he wanted to. However, I apologised and accepted my mistake. Then I asked him, “Can we go someplace else? I need to see a neurologist or a psychiatrist.”
“Alright, I’ll take you but after that you’ll have to stay with me.”
“You have to promise me that.”
Poor Raheel had no idea that his father’s indirect yet actual murderer was standing right in front of him. Yes, now I believe and agree that I am completely responsible for his father’s death. But he must never know and I shall have to keep my lips sealed regarding this issue.
Two hours later, we were sitting outside a neurologist’s room in a well known hospital. I was agitated in that moment but things went on according to Raheel’s terms and conditions. So I just asked him, “We are not telling him about the murders I have committed, are we?”
“Look Amir, you’ve done enough damage already, now please let me handle it on my own.”
“I’m just asking, man. I haven’t suggested anything.”
He didn’t respond to me but I was waiting for him to answer.
“Raheel I don’t think that we should talk to the doctor about the murders I’ve committed. He will involve the cops in between.”
“He won’t, you can have my word for that. He won’t disclose any information.”
“No, I don’t trust him.”
“Well, I don’t trust you,” he bluntly spoke while looking at me.
“Okay. I deserve it but this is my operation and I want it to be on my terms.”
“First of all, this is not an operation. And secondly, if you’ll be stubborn regarding what you want, then things will get worse. Just like they earlier did.”
“What am I asking for? What am I being stubborn about? All I’ve asked you to do is not disclose the facts regarding those murders.”
“Wait, hold on. You’ve been saying it for long but I just noticed it.”
“What?” I asked curiously.
“You have constantly been using the word ‘murders’ with an ‘s’.”
“Well, all I know is that you just committed one murder. When did the other take place?”
“That’s a long story, Raheel. I’ll tell you about that some other time.”
“Come on, Amir. Tell me.”
“But first, I want your word regarding my condition.”
“Alright fine, we won’t share it with the doctor. Now tell me about the first murder.”
“He was my ex-wife’s husband. He was the guy who stole my happiness, so he had to die.”
“He had to die,” he repeated after me. “Understandable. But what about the poor cardiologist you just murdered?”
to be continued...