That evening Waqas was at home, watching television with Basil. Basil was bored, watching TV.
“There was a call for you today,” he tells Waqas.
“Really? From whom?” Waqas
“It was from the restaurant; they were asking when will you be rejoining.”
Waqas stays silent, wondering why he wasn’t receiving any calls from someone he was expecting.
“Why isn’t Waseem Uncle calling me?” he asks Basil.
“I don’t know. Why don’t you call him?” Basil suggests.
Waqas agrees with his son, puts down the television’s remote control and gets up. Basil picks up the remote immediately. Waqas takes out his cell phone from his pocket and finds his brother’s saved number. He dials it but after a while he finds out that the number is powered off. So he disconnects the call annoyingly.
He suddenly remembers the story that was still pending. So he leaves everything and goes to his room.
A minute later, he was sitting at his balcony, holding the magazine. He continues reading from where he left.
“These animal fights continued for seven days. I was obsessed with blood and destruction. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else besides these fights. In school during recess, I used to draw animals, and then finish the black and white drawings with red colour which had become my favourite.
That night when I went in my room to sleep I was thinking about the recent dog fight, until I heard my mother screaming. I left my room and saw my elder brother running towards the kitchen. I followed him and all of a sudden I saw my brother getting knocked out by a thug. I got really scared and hid under the dining table where I could hear my mother’s and two thugs’ voices.
“Where is he?” one of the thugs enquired about my father’s whereabouts.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” my mother cried.
“Tell us or we will kill you right now!”
“I swear I don’t know where he is. Please don’t harm my children!”
Next thing I heard was a painful slash followed by my mother’s painful scream. The thugs had left.
I came out crying after a while and went straight to the kitchen where I saw my mother lying dead. It was a punishment of my sins.
Yes, I deserved this for all my doings with the animals.
But the good thing was that this incident changed me forever.
I became a better person.”
Waqas completes the story. He was amazed at what he had read and was thinking about the author of
“Oh my God!” he utters.
He goes back inside his room, shutting the balcony door. Samina was inside the room.
“Did you call them?” she asks him.
Waqas doesn’t pay attention to
“Waqas!” she raises her voice.
He gets distracted and responds: “Yes? What are you saying?”
“I’m asking you, did you call back?”
“Call back? Who?”
“Basil told you about the call from your office, didn’t he?” she confirms.
“Oh yeah, he did,” Waqas remembers, “I haven’t called them yet but I am joining tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow? That’s too soon!”
“I think I need to stay out of the house as much as I can.”
“What about your bandage?” she asks, looking at his head.
“We can remove it later tonight.”
They talk for a while then hit the bed.
The next morning, Waqas was wearing formal clothes. He had no bandage on his head now and was looking at his wound on his forehead in the mirror. He was trying to avoid looking at it as it reminded him of the last confession story.
After having breakfast, he picks up his car keys and briefcase, and leaves the house, walking towards the car parked outside.
More than 30 minutes later, Waqas was sitting in his car parked
outside the restaurant. He makes
a phone call.
“Hello Waqas,” Ishaaq answers.
“Ishaaq, I’m waiting outside. Please come and pick me up.”
“What is it? Are you nervous?”
“Okay, I’m coming.”
Later during the afternoon, Waqas and Ishaaq were having lunch together.
“Thanks Ishaaq, for everything today,” Waqas remarks.
“No need to mention it.”
“Anyway, how’s everything at home?”
“Good,” Waqas says casually, coming to the point, “The stories… the confession stories…”
“What about them?”
“Tell me something, are they real or just a work of fiction?”
“What do your instincts tell you?”
“What do you mean?” Waqas
“What do you think? Are they real or fictitious?” Ishaq says then continues with a chuckle, “Can’t say… they can be true or otherwise.”
“The second story was about an unusual obsession,” Waqas brings up, “which is messing with my head.”
“I don’t know but I’m seeing blood everywhere. I’m getting terrified of cats and dogs whenever I see them around.”
“Then read the final story,” Ishaaq suggests. “You will then get over the previous stories.”
Waqas stays silent looking at him.
“You see that employee of ours?” Ishaaq points his finger at a waiter.
“Yes?” Waqas answers, looking at him. “I haven’t seen him here before.”
“He’s new here. What I want you to know is that the third and last confession story that you are going to read… was written by him.”
“I see,” Waqas says, getting interested.
The waiter had hints of cowardice in his eyes that could be easily noted.
At 11 o’clock at night, Waqas was trying to dial his brother’s number. However, the call was forwarded as the number was powered off.
“I don’t understand why I can’t get in touch with him,” he wonders.
He keeps his cell phone aside and sits on his bed. He finally takes out the magazine, Sinful Confessions 2014 Edition, something that he had been anticipating for long. He opens the magazine and reads:
“Controlled by Superstitions by Imran Ali”.
He starts reading the story.
“It was an ordinary day when I was returning from work. I was tired, so I sat for a while at a footpath. On my left, I could see an old man sitting on the ground holding papers with complex designs. I ignored him and stood up. On my right, there was a shop. I went inside it.
A few minutes later, I was sitting at the same spot of the footpath having a soft drink. I was thinking about my life, it was not so good but it was comfortable. And it was about to get very uncomfortable after my next move.
I went to the old guy and asked him regarding the papers: “What are these designs?”
“Fortunes,” his voice was somewhat unique.
“Are you a fortune teller?”
“How do you tell fortunes?” I asked curiously.
“I read fate.”
“How much do you charge? Would you read my fate and tell me?”
“What’s your name son?”
“Is your father from Sindh?”
I got really surprised as to how he knew it.
“Yes, how did you know?” I asked.
“You have an elder brother?”
He was correct again. I was stunned, so I asked: “How do you know this stuff about me?”
“If you want to know about the upcoming events of your life then come and see me day after tomorrow.”
This was our first conversation, and
I have to admit, there was something about this guy’s personality that made him look wiser than anyone. He seemed more honest than anyone can sound. But he was about to change my life forever.
Two days later, I met him again. I was expecting a detailed conversation that would last for several minutes. But it turned out to be a brief, yet an influential encounter.
“You need to take some precautions,” he mentioned.
“Your life might hit a negative phase in which you might face a loss that would be irrecoverable.”
I was really terrified.
“What do I have to do?” I asked.
“For one whole week, try and avoid looking at the shadows.”
“Shadows of humans… either on the ground or on the walls. Just turn your face away as you see them, for one whole week.”
“And then?” I asked getting worried.
“Then you have to come and see me again.”
This was it. No sight of shadows for a week to escape from an upcoming loss in life.
The upcoming week was really something. To be honest, I could see nothing besides shadows. As much as I was trying to avoid looking at them, they were appearing in front of me in abundance. Shadows were everywhere.
The first day, when I was at the bus stop waiting for the bus, I couldn’t help but look at the ground and shadows of people standing next to me. I just closed my eyes thinking about the possibility of loss. That evening, while I was returning home from work, I was in my friend’s car and while looking outside, my eyes accidentally saw a shadow of mine against the car. I was really trying to avoid it but it was appearing everywhere.
On the third day, I was really panicked as I was tired of trying to avoid looking at something that was constantly appearing before my eyes. I was sitting inside a taxi that was escorting me to work. I looked outside at the people standing on the footpath. And instead of looking at them, my eyes were focusing more on their shadows.
The fifth and sixth days of the week were just awful. I was walking, looking up towards the sky. I wasn’t looking at the ground in fear that I might start looking at shadows. Yet, my eyes were being distracted by ordinary shadows on buildings, and that really bothered me.
I finally went back to the fortune teller and asked him what happens now.
“How was your week?” he asked. “Did you cross any shadows?”
I started to speak with reluctance.
“Tell me honestly,” he said, “if you need accurate results.”
“Well I… I really avoided every inch of any shadow I could see, but I couldn’t help noticing them.”
“You mean you saw shadows?” he asked, getting concerned.
“Yes, at least once every day,” I replied getting worried.
He remained silent looking at me carefully.
“What’s going to happen now?” I asked.
“I’m afraid son, but you will have a bad week.”
“Bad week?” I got really worried now. “You mean the upcoming week?”
“What can I do now?”
“Just stay at home and wait till something happens, and after it does, come back to me. I’ll try and work out a solution.”
I left and went back home as sadness and fear surrounded me.
And he was right. A huge, irrecoverable loss knocked me down.
My childhood friend and I were at a restaurant. We were having dinner. I was feeling low, so he asked me: “Imran, what’s troubling you?”
I looked up at him and casually smiled: “Nothing”.
“But you seem to be upset.”
We had a long conversation about it. This friend was the closest friend of mine. I admired him because of his generosity and honesty. But unfortunately today was his last day on earth.
As we were stepping outside from the restaurant, he tripped and fell over his head in such an unfortunate manner that he died on the spot. I know it sounds strange but it happened, he died there, right in front of me.”
Waqas stops reading feeling ridiculed, “This can’t be true!” he utters, getting irritated with the story.
He keeps the magazine aside and stands up.
Some stupid author must have made up this story, he wonders. People don’t just die like that!
He opens the drawer of his side table and sees that the other two magazines were not there. He gets a bit surprised, thinking where they could have been kept. He shuts the drawer and walks towards the door.
Downstairs at the dining table, he sees his wife, Samina and son, Basil reading the Sinful Confessions. “Honey, where did you find these magazines?” Samina looks up at him and asks.
“Give them back,” Waqas says getting a bit angry.
“But where did you find them?”
“I said give them back!” he yells.
“Dad, who gave you these?” Basil asks.
Waqas comes closer and claims: “Look, I’m asking you one last time to return them!”
“Why?” Samina asks angrily. “What are you going to do with these?”
Waqas gets fuelled up but tries to remain calm.
“These are not mine, Ishaaq gave these to me,” he says.
Samina moves backwards and immediately tears off the magazine that she was holding, and Waqas yells.
“What are you doing? Are you insane?”
Basil tears off the magazine that he was holding. Waqas gets distracted and looks at his son, getting really tensed and enraged.
“Waqas… this story ‘Unusual Obsession’…” Samina speaks up. Waqas listens to her angrily.
She continues speaking: “This was mine. I am the author of this story!”
Waqas gets shocked listening to this and utters: “What? No… that can’t be true… you’re joking right?”
“No, I’m not,” Samina says, looking straight into his eyes. “I swear it’s
Waqas gets stunned at hearing this and keeps staring at his wife.
“And this was my story,” Basil reveals.
Waqas looks at him and asks: “What did you just say?”
“This bully… the 20-year-old guy, was me… this was my story years back. How did you find this magazine? And why was this story marked specifically?”
Waqas was getting really confused at what he was hearing. He couldn’t believe that the stories he had read were written by none other than, but his own family members.
He turns around holding his face in shock.
“Dad?” he hears his son’s voice.
to be continued...
Wouldn’t it be less drastic just to buy a light therapy lamp, ......Read Detail
That evening Waqas was at home, watching television with Basil.......Read Detail