This guy wasn’t just any stranger, but actually me! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
“That can’t be me,” I whispered to myself. I heard someone knocking at the door.
“Who is it?” I asked the kid.
“Must be mom,” the kid said rushing towards the door. He opened the door. It was Kiran holding a shopping bag. She got somewhat concerned looking at me and rushed towards me and said, “Hannan! Hannan! Are you okay?”
“Look, please,” I said holding her hands as she was about to touch my face, “I’m not him. I’m not Hannan, okay?”
“Look, maybe you’re upset and you don’t want to be a part of this family anymore. But what happened is over now. The past cannot be undone.”
“Honestly speaking ma’am,” I said looking straight into her eyes without blinking, “I’m not a part of your family. In fact, I never was. You are mistaken. This guy in the photo is not me.”
“Are you sure?” she asked after observing me for a while.
“Yes. Would I not know who I am or where I’m from?”
“Can you prove it to me that you are not my husband Hannan Khan?”
“I am Jason Brown,” I answered confidently.
“That’s not enough. Do you have an identity card or something to prove this?”
“See that’s the problem. As I woke up here, my pockets were empty. I have no money, no cell phone, nothing.”
“But I have…” she replied immediately, “I have your identity card that will prove who you actually are…”
I don’t want to see it, but I will have a look at it.That is something that can satisfy either one of us.
She walked towards a showcase in the room and opened a drawer. She took out something and before closing the drawer, she came to me and showed me what she was holding. It was a Pakistani Identity card. It was mostly written in a language I couldn’t read. It had my picture with Hannan Khan’s name on it.
“That’s not me,” I said looking at the picture. She got a little fed up and lowered her hand that was holding the identity card. I looked at her. She was a little annoyed so I remained silent.
“Don’t make stories, Hannan. I have enough evidences to prove you’re lying,” she said.
“I’m not lying!” I got fired up.
“Then what explanation do you have for the guy who’s in the photo and the identity card?”
“I don’t know! Maybe that person is a lookalike, but not me.”I angrily turned around and walked away from her. I was quite stressed and wanted to run away. But I had no place to go.”
“How did you lose your husband?” I asked her.
“Two years back as you lost your mother” she started, “you were unable to cope with her loss and you left Pakistan promising me you would return someday.”
“Nonsense!” I answered with rage. “I never knew my mother. I never saw her. I don’t know what kind of a loss you are referring to, here.”
“Hannan, have you lost your memory or something?”
“No! I’m absolutely fine,” I said confidently looking at her, “I remember that I was an undercover cop in San Francisco, investigating my friends’ wife’s murderer.”
“What?” she asked feeling weird.She said something then. I did not pay attention to it and looked outside the window. I got an idea to work out this situation, so I interrupted her speech.
“Can you lend me some money please?”
“Why?” she asked.
“I’ve lost my wallet, please can you let me borrow some…”
“Okay.” And she went inside her room.
A minute later I was holding 500 bucks that were Rs. 500, actually. I headed to find a phone booth somewhere close, so that I could make a call to San Francisco.
I was outside the building and rather confused deciding which way to go; I turned right and started walking. As I was walking, a guy, my age was coming towards me cheerfully, and as he got closer, he raised his hand and said: “Hey Hannan, how are you?”
I couldn’t recognise him of course, because he was also mistaken. He almost hugged me but I was trying to avoid any conversation.
“Where have you been?” he questioned. “When did you come back?”
“Listen, I’m really sorry, but I’m in a little hurry,” I said politely without being irritated, “could you please tell me where I can find a phone booth?” He remained silent, feeling strange.
“You’re acting quite strange. Do you recognise me?”
“Yes, of course I do,” I lied trying to avoid the situation, “but can you please help me out? Tell me where the phone booth is.”
“Well there’s no such thing as a phone booth around but you’ll find a P.C.O. on your right; keep walking this way.”
“Thank you,” I said quickly shaking hands with him, “thank you so much.” I left him and rushed towards the spot.
I almost reached it, and was taking out money from my pocket. But before I could open the door, someone from my right side appeared, startling me by pushing me really hard. I got confused and terrified.
“Hannan! You brat,” I heard him while I looked down.
“It’s not who you think,” I said look. He didn’t speak another word and hit me on the face with his clenched fist. I was about to fall but managed to stand still, speaking painfully, “Listen Sir, there has been a misunderstanding.” He hit me again – twice this time. I fell.
When I gained consciousness, I saw that the money which I was holding was no more in my hands.
Why was this happening to me? Because of Hannan Khan. Who was Hannan Khan? My lookalike? Do I have to take the fall for his actions? As long as I don’t convince these people that I’m not him.
“I need more money.” I demanded Kiran as she opened the door.
“Oh gosh! What happened to your face?” she asked getting tensed.
“I’ve been mugged.”
“What? By whom?” she said touching the bruise on my forehead.
“By someone who thinks I’m Hannan Khan.”
“What do you mean who thinks? You are Hannan!”
“Alright fine!” I said getting extremely irritated. “Just give me more money. I need to make a call.”
“You can use my phone.”
“I need to call San Francisco.”
“Sure, that’s not a problem.” She left way for me to enter. As I entered, I looked at her. As she closed the door, she turned around and started walking towards the room. I followed. A minute later, I was holding her cell phone next to my ear. After a few rings, the call was answered.
“Hello?” it was Michael’s voice.
“Hey Michael, it’s me, Jason,” I said delightfully yet intriguingly.
“Jason is that you? Where on earth are you?”
“You won’t believe… I’m trapped.”
“You’re what?” he couldn’t catch my words.
“I’m trapped here, in Pakistan.” I couldn’t hear anything from the other line.
“Hello? Are you there?” I repeated. There was no response. The call had dropped and I couldn’t convey my message.
“Honey, please don’t think that you’re trapped here,” I heard Kiran’s voice while I was looking at the cell phone.
“Can you redial?”
“No, Hannan I’m not going to,” she said politely, “you belong here and I won’t let you go back.” I looked at her and seeing the love in her eyes I didn’t argue.
“Okay, as you say,” I said handing over her cell phone back.
“Umar is quite disturbed at your reaction.”
“Your son, Umar.” I was being welcomed as a family member, so I decided to calm down for the time being and not create too much trouble and work out a situation after a day by convincing Kiran politely.
I was living with this family as a silent father, and husband, with the sole purpose to have some food and shelter. We dined together for a day and we all slept together. They were happy, for their lost family member was back – but my plans were different. I had to solve this situation and find Hannan Khan before things could get worse.
In the morning, I was prepared. I had to work this out. I would use help of some detectives or lawyers to guide me. But where to start?
So here I was standing outside our building. Thinking, should I go left or right. So I turned towards my left and started walking. I had walked a mile when I felt that two men were following me. I knew they were mistaken, so I stopped and turned around to see the thugs. They were wearing jeans and jackets with chains hanging loose. One of them had long hair while the other had tattoos on his shoulders. Was I in trouble? It seemed so.
“Yes, what is it?” I asked showing aggression.
“Do you think we have forgotten you Khan?” Here we go again.
“Do I owe you something?” I asked straightforwardly.
“Do we have to remind you?” said one of them angrily taking out his penknife.
“No… no,” I uttered getting really terrified.
“When are you returning our money?” asked the other one furiously.
“Soon… soon,” words started coming out of my mouth, “really soon. You’ll get your money back.”
“We need it today!” I stood silent and closed my eyes thinking of how to save myself. What I did next was probably really stupid. But maybe I had no other option.
In a second, I turned around and started running as fast as I could. I couldn’t concentrate whether they were coming after me or where I was heading. All I had to do was run for my life. People were dodging me and I was making my way. Unfortunately, the worst thing you could expect happened. I tripped, and fell. While I was on the ground, I turned around to see. The two of them were obviously right behind me and one of them held me. They were really furious. The other one took out the penknife.
I was terrified morethan ever.
“We are not going to kill you,” said the one who was holding me. “We are just going to make sure that you never run away from us again.” The one who was holding the penknife leaped fiercely towards me and stabbed my left leg thrice in three different places – the upper thigh, the lower leg and worst of all, the knee joint. He did this all in an instance. I screamed out in pain and started crying.
The next thing I heard was: “We know where you live. Run from us again and your family will be our next victim.” I fell to the ground as if I was pushed.
“You have three days to return our money!” This was the last thing I heard before I fainted.
An hour had passed. I woke up and found myself lying on a bed. I looked around as my eyes gained a clear vision. I was at a hospital with my leg bandaged.
“It’s okay,” I heard a woman’s voice, “calm down.” I looked at her. She was a nurse. Everyone around seemed different, wearing shalwar kameez.
“Who brought me here?” I asked her.
“A few people found you lying on the road.” I looked straight and saw a police officer staring at me.
“Is he here for me?” I asked the nurse.
“I don’t know; maybe he wants to file a report on the criminal activity.”I was a little delighted. I knew only the police could help me out of this situation and arrange my ticket to San Francisco. I couldn’t waste any more time and had to sort this firstly. So I moved out from the bed and stood up feeling pain in my knee joint.
“You can’t leave right now,” the nurse said. I ignored her and started to walk. The cop looked at me as I was getting closer and stood up.
“I’m ready, let’s go,” I said immediately. He seemed a bit surprised.
“Very well,” he said putting on his shades, “follow me.”
I was sitting in the backseat of the car. The cops were taking me to the police station. They were not at all polite and I was observing some hostility in their faces. But what really mattered to me right now was that I had to convince them about my current situation and ask for help.
As we reached the police station, one of the cops sitting in front, stepped out. I stepped out as well. He came by my side and said quite rudely, “Show me your hands”.
“Sorry?” I got confused.
“You are under arrest!”
“Why? Why am I being arrested?” I questioned.
“Just do as you are told!” I got a little terrified as he raised his voice, I raised my hands so that he could put on the handcuffs. Things were just getting worse. I hoped I would get some help. But the doors of hope were turning out to be dead ends.
A minute later, I was sitting inside the police station when the police inspector came up to me.
“Mr. Hannan Khan, you never paid your penalty fee. You disappeared for two years, so now your fine has increased.” I should have known that. I was not being helped, instead trouble was surmounting.
“What was my crime?” I asked anyway knowing there was no point of resisting.
“You were charged with a hit-and-run case, remember?” Should I ask if they have any evidence? No, it would be of no use. I should cooperate with them calmly.
“How much do I have to pay you?” I was cooperating only to walk out of this situation easily. “Give me the exact amount.”
“Are you going to pay us right now?”
“No, you’ll have to call my wife.”
“Your wife?” he asked feeling weird.
“Yes, she is the only one who can pay my dues.”
“Okay, give us her number.”
“I don’t have it,” I replied.
“What?” he asked feeling really strange this time.
“Sir…” one of the cops said from behind, “there’s no need, we already have her number.” I looked at him feeling hopeful.
“Kiran Khan, right?” he asked referring to my wife; who was not my wife actually, but to get out of this situation, she was.
“Yes,” I answered.
“In the meantime…” the police inspector said, “you’ll be locked up in our cell.” At least I would get some time to think and plan.
In the lock up I was sitting on the bed. What I needed to do was to make an immediate call to Michael.
He was the only one who could save me.
In the meantime, I want to know who is Hannan Khan.
Wait a minute. I can find out.
to be continued...
This guy wasn’t just any stranger, but actually me! I couldn’t believe what .....Read Detail
Brodie picked up the cup I had just washed and began to dry it......Read Detail
Had she been a murderess, he would not have had it any other way. .....Read Detail