Pounding the tarmac, she bolted down the garden path like an Olympic champion at the start gun. She quickened her pace to an all-out sprint, whilst the springing graceful steps of twenty miles earlier had long since disappeared. The slapping noise of her flip-flops resonated around the vandalised walls of the housing estate with a clanging echo. She didn’t know where she was nor did she know where she was heading; but she knew she had to get far away from him. Flashing in her eyes, an image of a wedding dress consumed her thoughts. She wanted to tear it and rip it up and throw it at him; throw it at the man that she could never marry. For God’s sake I’m only 16; I can’t get married she thought. Tears blinded her and she turned, running as quickly as her long legs could carry her, she bolted down the alley. The pounding noise of her flip-flops reverberated off the walls of the alley along with a clanging echo that matched her heart throbbing inside her chest.
Filling up with acid, her legs couldn’t go on anymore. There she saw it: a barn; it blossomed on the hill amid the grass and the meadow flowers, as if one day it sprung up from some precious seed. I have to go in there; just for a little while and I will go back home soon she thought. Opening the door, the smell hit her first as she lugged open the unwieldy, russet-painted door adorned with its tired hinges that creaked like the moaning of cantankerous old men.
Collapsing down, her legs couldn’t carry her anymore they were filled with toxins. Lost in the rhythmic percussions of her steady breathing; she closed her eyes and imagined herself in college and getting a degree; however that dream seemed so unrealistic.
Invading her steady breaths, a sound of murmuring pervaded the ambiance and it was coming from outside. Lifting herself up, she carried herself forward and looked out of the cracks in the door. In the middle, a man was begging on his knees. She saw that his face was bearing with the congealed blood and his clothes were in an utter mess. However, they showed him no mercy. Surrounding him, a tall man was clutching onto his shirt and ripping it apart. In front of him a much slender man gave him a red eye. His left eye was swollen, he couldn’t be seeing a thing out of that and his face was more purple than brown. She couldn’t look, her eyes widened and lip trembled. Plummeting onto the floor, the man laid there….
He was dead.
Calling out from a distance she could hear a voice telling them to bury him there. Nevertheless, she couldn’t see who it was and couldn’t seem to recognise this voice. Just like minions, all the men dug holes with shovels and buried the man leaving no evidence behind.
Tears burst forth like water from a dam spilling across her face; the muscle of her chin trembled like a small child. Salty drops fell from her chin, drenching her kurti. Many thoughts pervaded into her mind, she had never seen these people before even though she lived in a small village in Pakistan.
Going towards the way she came, she ran back home. I can’t be here anymore she thought. Howling wildly, the rain lashes the concrete breeze that made her lose control. She ran through a maze of buildings and winding side streets as the sky rumbled, and heavy rain bounced off the cobblestones. A storm smothered the sun, greying the world around her. Drops of rain beat against her skin like hammers. Reaching home, she ran up to her apartment and banged on the door. Getting inside, she ran to her room and closed the door. Overpowering all her emotions, the face of the dead man haunted her. Playing the story over and over again, she fell asleep and let her thoughts turn all her dreams into nightmares.
Waking up in the morning, she turned on the news and waited. There is a kind of waiting that feels like gentle onshore breezes kissing salty stones nevertheless this is not what she was feeling today. The news finished and there was nothing about this missing man. How strange she thought.
Months go on and there is no sign of this man. Befuddlement infiltrated into her mind. Who was this man? And most importantly: why was he dead?
After months of waiting she saw it: sitting there on the sofa, she saw it on the news. It was exactly the same man that got killed and apparently he was missing. So they didn’t know that he’s dead she thought. Her mouth pursed and slightly loosed she looked up at the TV. Her eyes fixed as if this was the only thing that mattered in this world.
She had to go.
Running forward she had to stop .She wheezes as her burning lungs gasp for air. Her legs feel numb and unsteady, painfully sore. Her throat felt dry, so uncomfortably dry. Clothes long blonde-brown hair were clinging onto the tarmac, no different that if she runs through a rain-storm. Unable to go on, she stopped running gasping for air but she knew she had to go on.
At the corner of the road, there lay walls as thick as the medieval castle and windows almost as mean. There’s no flicker of light within and the thick wooden doors were closed.
Going into the police station, she felt a soft panic growing inside of her. The steps she took were just increasing this amount. It will fade if I back away, but then I have to do this all again another time. It will grow if I let these thoughts swirl into a vortex of stupidity, eating their own tail. Or I can breathe real slow, let the thoughts leak into the ether and be the real boss of myself she thought.
Approaching the Officer she sat down and told him about what she had seen that night. She told him about the beating and about them burying the dead man. Walking past him, a tall man looked at her and suddenly she remembered him; it was the same man that clung to his shirt that night. Getting up off her seat, she pointed at the tall man. Sweat trickled down her face and etched marks onto her skin but she had to do this.
“Miss, I think you are getting a bit hysterical here, this man works with us and he would never do such a thing” said the Officer whist he examined her up and down; he couldn’t understand her she looked like she was telling the truth but Hasan couldn’t have done this I do trust him thought the Officer and he was part of the Commander League and is soon to get promoted into Officer. Telling her to wait in the courtroom he dismisses her so that he could talk to other members of the department.
Just stepping into the courtroom is making her breathing rapid and shallow. She can feel her pulse pounding in her temples. It's a relief to get to the chair otherwise I would’ve tripped she thought. Now only silence lingers in the air. She shivers in the claustrophobic common room and waits for the signal, but a small sigh of anxiety leaps out of her mouth. Tersely, her eyes flicker to the buildings whist she bit her nails to the core.
Beckoning her to come in, the same Officer takes her back into the office however they go further in and it’s like nowhere she has actually ever seen before. The fear sits on her like a pillow over her mouth and nose. Doubting her decisions, she tells herself that she had made the right decision. Once again fear found her. It spoke to her in its cackling voice. It told her legs to go weak, her stomach to lurch and her heart to ache as that is what happened to her. She knew she had to keep going because the truth was just seconds away.
Stepping into an exquisite office she could see the posters hanging and the files stacked up neatly. Getting introduced to the other officers she sat down and in the process she saw the slender man and recognised him immediately because he was the one who punched the dead man and instantaneously she got off her seat. “This is the man who punched the dead man”.
Laughing hysterically, all the officers got up off their seats and surrounded her just like they did with the dead man.
The officer who she met first started talking. “I believe that it is you who killed him” said the Officer. “Isn’t that right Commander Abad?”
“Yes” replied the commander. The voice sounded so familiar in her head; but why she thought. Then it clicked in; he was voice who told them to bury the dead man. Feeling an overwhelming feeling of disgust, she stood up and went towards the Commander.
“You did all of this” she snarled.
“No I didn’t, officers can you please put her behind bars and that is an order” replied the Commander.
Locking up her hands, the officers grabbed into her shoulders and took her away. Trying to justify her case she had no luck. The constricted feeling grew inside of her, as if she was strangled by just the air about her. She glances upward to the surface and her heart rate rises. The voice of caution whispers softly not to rise so fast, but it can't break through the scream for unfiltered rays and fresh air.
From the moment she saw it, it repulsed her. These walls cannot hold a prayer, nor can hold a spirit and I belong here she thought. Surrounded by four white walls, there was nothing else to do but stare at them. To look at the paint that had started to chip off as time passed, or gouged by other prisoners - anything to pass time, slowly going mad, theorizing absurd meanings from the wall's blank stare and this is what I would be doing here she thought
Getting thrown into prison she screamed and shouted like there was no tomorrow and flung her arms across the cell. I can’t stay here she thought and not for something I didn’t even do.
“I did not kill the man, it wasn’t me” she shouted; but no one heard her, no one ever did.