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The Divine Key

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The silence was eerie. The darkness was sinister. After his great feat, he had expected joyous celebrations, pompous gifts and that elusive key, his mentor had promised him. He was sure he would get the award of all awards.

 

His mind reassured him that the silence and the darkness were temporary. Therefore, he decided to wait…

 

He had lost count of time. He, however, realised a long period must have elapsed. He was not a person who let fate decide the course of his life. He carved his own future with grit and blood. He took matters in his hands and decided to find his way to the key.

 

He took a step.

 

Where were his feet? He had no feet! Yet, he had somehow moved. He was falling into an abyss that had a rough and rugged surface.

He raised his hands to break the fall, to stop!

 

Where were his hands? He had no hands! Yet, something disrupted his downward fall. He saw his body bounce up! He tried to swim through the air but, he could not feel his hands. Where were his hands?

 

Like shooting stars, arrows pierced his body. He tired as he may, but he couldn’t figure out the damage the arrows had done to his body. He widened his eye! Without hands, he couldn’t rub them. Then he figured out he had no eyes, although he had eyesight. He could feel the sight… But he couldn’t see.

 

Before he could deduce what was wrong with him, he was drowned in a coagulating liquid which had a pungent smell that he remembered. What was it? The liquid was suffocating him. He tried to swim out but, the lack of limbs had constricted him. Sadly the overwhelming smell of blood… Was it blood? He had smelled enough blood to recognise it. Strangely, he couldn’t smell. He had lost his sense of smell.

 

He thought he heard hoofs of angry bulls running towards him. But could he really hear them? Or were they only vibrations? He strained his ears to hear until he realised he had lost his sense of hearing.

 

Suddenly, like a pendulum, he swayed. He burnt in one end and drowned in another.  And then his body started bobbing in the viscose plasma that stifled him. Suddenly it dawned upon him that he could not feel anymore.

 

Bereft of his five senses, he tried to remain confident about his faith and beliefs. He tried to peer through the troubles.

 

What was wrong with him? He was frantic. He thought he was losing his mind until he realised he had lost his power to perceive and think!

 

But he was a warrior, he wouldn’t give up. Slowly he tried to reach this destination. The place where that divine key hung. His master had told him that he would possess the key when he performed that blessed feat.

 

He wouldn’t give up. He tried again until the momentum made him queasy. It made him retch, but, nothing came out. At that moment, he realised he had lost his body, yet, he felt it all!

 

The realisation struck him like lightning. He had lost his senses and his body. He probably was dead. It was only his soul that was facing all that torture.

 

He remembered what his master had said,
‘The blood of your non-believers will help him procure the key to heaven. That key would lead you to a penthouse of affluence and glory.’

 

He had killed a mass of innocent people to get that key. Where were the divine ushers? They hadn’t arrived yet! Didn’t his master tell him that the divine ushers would lead him to the angels and the land of opulence?

 

Robbed of a body and senses, what was that penthouse worth? Had he been fooled?

 

Although he was confused and scared,  he wanted his penthouse! He didn’t want to be a soul without a body. How would he enjoy those divine perks, otherwise?

 

There was a reason he had agreed to be a suicide bomber. He was promised the key to heaven by his master. Without a second thought, he had agreed to bomb them. But where was the key?

 

He was suctioned into a ball of fire. He was burning but not dying. Had he misunderstood his master? Was his fight against the infidels worth it?

 

Were they really infidels?

 

The jarring sound of the alarm woke him up. He was thankful he was still alive and blessed that he was not dead yet. He was honoured that life had given him a second chance.

 

Right then the alarm beeped a second reminder! He looked at his kit. The bomb would explode in the next hour. His master had given him the task to bomb a contingent on the move. His master had promised him that this act would lead him to the key that would direct him the penthouse called heaven.

 

He was in a dilemma. He didn’t know if he should forsake it all or give humanity another chance. But then the bomb beeped another urgent plea.

 

Trusting his master and ignoring his inner voice, in greed of that divine key, he wore the bomb and walked to his target – Death!

The Perfect Shot_Short Story

The Perfect Shot

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Fable
Mohsin looked at his watch moving like a perfect shot! He noticed the hour and minute hands kissing each other between 1 and 2. He has been on the deck of the two-floor corner guest house near Chiktan Fort in Chiktan village, Kashmir for straight 24 hours.

 

The sun was almost on top of his floor and head. He could feel the heat entering through his eyes and traveling through his spine to his feet. It was -10 degrees Celsius but he could still wish to escape the sun rays hitting directly on his minimal exposed skin. He found himself at the edge of two wars simultaneously. One was his body which was losing the immunity to stand still. The other was the armed security personnel of the Army at the Fort gate.

 

The Army guarded the entrance and militant coup in the area.

 

His hands could not bear the weight of the Norinco assault rifle- the Chinese version of AK-47.  This 9 lbs weapon felt 10 times heavier.  Holding it for straight twenty-four hours made the ammunition heavier than it actually weighed. Mohsin was a part of the rebel group which was fighting against the national establishment. The so-called war of independence for Kashmir from India was the agenda. He left his house at the age of 19 after being influenced by a religious preacher he had heard online.

 

The ideal visions of the inspirational speaker lured him into believing that the local government shouldn’t be the one formulating laws in his side of the valley.

 

He remembered the argument he got into with his father, a day before eloping. The discussion over the table was about the myth of Kashmir’s independence. Zia- ur, his father, was a son of a martyr who fought alongside Gandhi for the country’s independence. He clearly understood what bloodshed of the lost was at the cost of freedom. He tried to explain to Mohsin the mindset of fundamentalist and their ideological character. The lecture wasn’t frictional as this was a learned experience of a senior officer in the state-controlled police department. Zia- ur, had been fighting with the extremist agitating for their so called free Kashmir movement. Mohsin couldn’t agree to the litigation objections raised by his father. His father explained to him that a fight against once own land and people wasn’t freedom.

 

Hurting and killing one's own people wasn't independence.

 

His mind was in a deadlock. Mohsin couldn’t relate to a word his father uttered that day.

 

Mohsin was the elder to his 12-year-old sibling. Shabana was his only prized possession. He adored her, almost raising her after their mother’s death. Walking by the lake across the Snow Mountains and collecting Chinar leaves, Shabana would tell her stories.  Mohsin would ask her questions to intentionally argue with her. He'd burst into laughter later!

 

Each day his schedule pretty much involved Shabana. She had the lion’s share of his time! A couple of hours with his father, he practiced shooting and enjoyed a two-hour evening stroll with Nafeesa, his charming love interest daily. His life wouldn’t be less blessed; if he could have only made it a little more worth! Sadly, it sketched out like a scattered plot.

 

Mohsin tried to make the flashbacks fade away! His cause was greater than any of the rosy thoughts of the past.

 

While his head mused about these thoughts, a bullet brushed past his ear- the distance of snail’s length. The shot was fired by the army man from the fort wall. The images of the valley, the river, Shabana, his father shouting him at shooting range started to diminish. It took him a round of second’s hand to regain his senses and get hold of his artillery and peruse the sight for his mission. He felt like being teased that nomad of a bullet; as if it was amused at his failed objective. He rested the rear end of the rifle against his shoulder and leaned back a little.

 

He took a good calculated guess at the target distance which approximated to around 300 meters. A target shot was something he had never been able to achieve in his life since started practicing from back in the day.

 

He loosened his muscles and relaxed the grip of his rifle. Mohsin slipped low and rested his back against the wall to hide his visibility. Placing his mind to work and he formulated the strategy to shoot down the target in the defense attire. The binoculars locked his sight and brain; releasing one the lenses from the front by cracking the tripod adaptor from the middle. He stood up once again and placed the Gun at the edge of the wall, circled his index figure around the trigger tightly to take control. To ease the resistance he felt from his hand, he took off his glove and tried again.

 

He detached the lens from the binocular and moved it towards the target so that the sun rays reflected at an angle creating a distraction. The trick worked and the officer in the array of rays moved above the covering wall at his side. Mohsin contracted his finger twice and shot two bullets straight at him, one holed onto the shoulder and the other in the face. The officer tumbled forward.

 

Hitting the roof of a floor, the adversary fell- finally resting on the pavement.

 

Mohsin leaned back again, unfreeze his grip, kissed the rifle and put it down to rest. He uncovered his face and took a heavy breath. Focusing his eyes away from the painful sight, his blood flow started running to normal. He felt proud of his shot. This, he believed was no less an achievement. He wished Shabana could have witnessed his subtlety. Mohsin also felt respect for his enemy who almost had him until eventually, the man had surrendered to the darkness!

 

He collected his stuff and moved towards the fort to take it into control and notify his fellow fighters. Just at the gate, he found the body of his trouble maker covered with streams of oozing blood. He bent forward to smile at the martyred face. Mohsin's smile was that of a winner. He relived the entire shot in his head and the brilliance of execution. His chest pumped with the thought of it! He turned the unresponsive body of the only witness of his act and looked into the eyes of his dead father-

 

Author: Muflis Musafir

Our Song Recommendation for this Short Story!