• 25 Apr - 01 May, 2020
  • Salaar Laghari
  • Fiction

Twenty One Years Later

During midnight, two aged men with long white beards were standing outside a graveyard. The younger among the two, asked the other,

“What are we here for?”

The elder one did not respond as he was sharpening the pry bar’s edge. The younger man was a bit terrified and he looked around making sure nobody was watching them. He was also feeling quite hot, therefore, he wept off his sweat and urged,

“Can we go somewhere else?”

“Don’t! We have been assigned this task, we cannot leave. We have to stick to this place.”

“I don’t even know, what we are here for?”

“It doesn’t matter why we are here. It doesn’t matter what we are here for. What matters is that, we need to get this task done as soon as possible.”

“But why? Why doesn’t it matter that we are doing?”

“Because we have been promised a huge amount.”


“Yes, and we cannot leave this place unless, we accomplish the task that we are here for.”

“Wait, what is this pry bar for?”

“We have to break inside the graveyard.”

“At this time of the night?”

“Yes, because money is not the only thing that matters. Our safety also matters. We cannot accomplish this task during the day time.”

“Oh, I see! So, this means we are doing something unethical?”

“Not just unethical, it is illegal as well as irreparable.”

“Irreparable?” asked the younger one.

“Just forget it! Now don’t talk and just focus on the job that we are assigned.”

“Hey listen to me, don’t tell me to focus here. You haven’t even explained the task properly and now you’re asking me to….”

“…Alright, just shut up,” he interrupted, “Let’s just get done with this task and then, we will move out of this place.”

Few minutes later, both of them were standing inside the graveyard. They had broken inside quite easily since, there was no guard at the gate. It was completely dark inside. The younger one asked the elder one,

“So, what are we doing now?”

“Now… we have to find the grave. The grave that we are here for.”

“What do we have to do with the grave?”

“We have to crush it.”

“What?” the younger one asked getting shocked. “Yes.”

Both of them, heard a sound of hissing. As they looked at the direction from where the sound was coming, they saw a snake crawling towards another direction.

“Oh, my God!” uttered the younger one.

“Just forget it, we better hurry before something happens to us.”

The elder one rushed towards the graves. The younger one followed him and asked,

“Wait, are we really doing this?”

“We have to, we can’t go back without accomplishing this task.”

The two of them, finally reached the grave. The elder man said looking at the tombstone of the grave,

“This is it, we are not very far now, from accomplishing our mission.”

The younger one read the name on the tombstone,

“Tariq Yasar.”

That moment, the younger one felt a sort of sting on his leg. He turned and looked down on the grass. There, he found the snake lying on the grass.

“What happened?” the elder one asked him.

“The snake just bit me,” he replied with fear in his eyes.

“Oh, no!”

A noise distracted them and then, they turned to look at it. Some tall heighted guy was coming towards them. He was holding a large stick as if he was coming to hit them.

“Let’s just get out of here,” the elder one said.

“Who is he?”

The guy came closer and showed his face. He was none other than Khattab Razzaq. He held the stick tightly and asked,

“What are you two doing here? By this saint’s grave.”


Next morning, Rizwan Tariq, who was in his late forties, woke up from his sleep. He sat up with his eyes shut. He held a rubber band and tied his long hair on the back. As he stood up, he saw his wife standing in front of the mirror. He called her out.


“Yes,” she answered with respect.

“Where is Omama?”

“She is leaving for school.”

“Leaving or has she left?”

“No, she’s having her breakfast.”

That moment, he rushed towards another room as if he left everything behind to go and see her daughter.

Rizwan found his daughter having her breakfast. He went closer towards her and called out her name,


“Yes Dad,” his nineteen year old daughter stood up and replied to him.

He bent towards her and kissed her forehead. He whispered to her,

“Take good care of yourself.”

His wife Alia was looking at the entire scene. She wondered,

He does this almost every day. What is this matter with him? Why is he so worried about her since her childhood? And whenever, I ask him about this, he gets furious.

Rizwan then, looked at her son who was on the other side of the table. He said to him,

“Rahman, you are a very brave boy. You have to take care of your sister.”

“Sure dad,” Rahman said to his father.

Rizwan smiled and then, left after patting Omama’s head.

One hour later, while Rizwan was dressing up and getting ready for work. He heard Alia coming closer towards him. He looked at her through the mirror. She asked him,

“Can I ask you something?”

“Sure!” “Promise me, you won’t get angry.”

Rizwan smiled and answered,

“Do I get angry quite often?”

“No, it’s not that. But, whenever I talk about this, you lose your temper.”

“About what? Wait, are you bringing Omama’s discussion again?”


“Look Alia,” he turned and said to his wife, “I can’t. I cannot spend a whole hour again on this discussion. I have to leave for work.”

“I’m not asking for a long discussion, I’m just saying that you are extra sensitive about Omama. Why does her safety and security matters to you a lot more than anyone else’s.”

“Look, if you are asking a father about why he is so worried about his daughter then, that’s just ridiculous.”

“You know exactly what I mean. You can’t get away by answering like this.”

“Alia, just stop here, okay? I do not want to leave home like this.”

Rizwan left the room without properly dressing up.

Few hours later, Khattab came and stood outside an office building. He was asked by the security guard,

“Are you here to meet Rizwan?”

“Who else do I know here?”

“Well, if you really want to meet him, then I must tell you that he wasn’t in a good mood while he came here.”

“Oh, it doesn’t matter. He is a close friend of mine, we will talk the issue out.”

“Well, you are the only one who comes and pays him visits. His other friends don’t usually support him, the way you do.”

“Yeah, that’s true! It’s because of his father.”

Few minutes later, Khattab was seated at Rizwan’s office. They hadn’t started their conversation yet, and so Khattab began,

“Well, I’ve been told that you are a bit steamed today.”

Rizwan chuckled on his words and responded,

“No, its nothing like that. You know I get a little cranky at times, but my anger cools down sooner than you can expect.”

“That’s one thing Rizwan, I’m saying that you were angry, which means you had a fight with Alia today.”

“Well, yeah! But it wasn’t much of a fight.”

“So, I’m guessing it was the same reason why you two usually fight.”

“Well the thing is, she is curious,” Rizwan clarified.

“Curious? About your concern for your daughter?”

“Exactly, now you tell me, how can I explain this to her?”

“I understand. It is your father’s prophecy that scares you.”

“Yes, and I can’t share it with her,” Rizwan said feeling upset. “She won’t be able to bear it. My father’s prophecy costed me Sidra’s life.”

“Yes, she left you.”

“If the prophecy wouldn’t have been disclosed before her, things might have been different.”

“I understand that Rizwan, but that doesn’t change the fact about what would happen to your daughter.”

“Oh, God! Please no. Look Khattab, I think I can prevent it.”

“No Rizwan, other prophecies did happen, so these would also.”

“But Khattab, it has been more than twenty years. Twenty years and we have seen nothing of that darkness.”

“That’s because your brother Hannan is away.”



Rizwan got a little furious hearing his brother’s name and said,

“Look, just forget him. He escaped, and he is never going to return. At least, that’s what I assume.”

“It doesn’t matter what you assume, the prophecies are going to come true. You’ll see. Although, I hope they don’t, but trust me they will.”

“Hannan was a liar. He was a two faced person who captured the land that did not belong to him.”

“I know, he doesn’t belong to us.”


In the same city at a distance, the taxi was making its way from the train station to the center of the city. The car had a normal speed but it slowed and then, stopped by a building. The passenger said to the taxi driver,

“Take my family home. My wife will guide you the way. I have to step outside here.”

He opened the door and stepped outside. It was none other than Rizwan’s notorious brother Hannan Tariq. He had grown a little healthier, but slightly dark skinned.

He shut the door of the vehicle and said to his wife,

“Stay at the hotel, I’ll be there after seven o’clock.”

The driver slowly drove them away. Hannan turned and looked at the building. It was a small building and quite an old one. Hannan walked towards it and wondered while walking,

It has been two decades and I haven’t seen this place. For more than twenty years, I was out of this city. I was too guilty, I was too afraid. But the fact is, I cannot just keep on living like this. I had to return someday. And today, I’m back.

He entered inside the dark building where there was no electricity at all. He started climbing through the stairs and said feeling a bit exhausted,

Oh dear, I have to make it all the way to the fourth floor. Well, that’s where the top of the building is.

He kept on climbing holding the side support of the stairs until, he felt tired and stopped for a while.

Oh, this brings back some memories. But, those memories are too painful to remember. My father is not alive anymore. The last time I was here, I was here with my father. He is no more. He passed away leaving our entire family heartbroken. And not just heartbroken, permanently broken away from each other.

He then, continued climbing up the stairs. In the meanwhile, he was wondering,

I have returned to this city for a purpose, and I have to stick to that. I cannot let any other thing come in my way and distract me away from my objective. So,

I better note down my objective before it gets really late.

He finally reached the top floor. He opened the door and entered the floor with no roof at all.

He felt very nostalgic, as he saw the walls and other spots of the floor. He felt his heart getting tender, so he tried to control his emotions. On the walls, there were still some signs of his childhood. He shut his eyes and remembered, how he and Rizwan used to play there. He walked with his eyes closed and felt something metallic under his feet. He opened his eyes and saw a broken yet sharp knife. He commented,

This ought to do it!

He picked it up and rushed towards the wall. There on the clean wall, he started writing down something through the knife’s sharp side. He told himself while writing,

I am writing down the main objective for returning to this city.

to be continued...