Tragic Thrillers

  • 11 Feb - 17 Feb, 2023
  • Salaar Laghari
  • Fiction

Present Day

While at the cafeteria, Professor Zeeshan was holding my photograph. He showed my picture to the three students who were sitting opposite to him.

“Let me show you a little experiment,” he spoke while showing my photo.

“Okay,” one of the students answered.

The four of them stood up and left for the ward. As they arrived inside, they saw those four women Omama, Shehla, Eruj and Farheen sitting together on separate chairs. They were sitting silently and peacefully, but they appeared upset. Professor Zeeshan asked his students to stand back and watch.

“Ladies, I’m going to ask you something,” he said to the four patients, “and I need your one-word answer on that.”

He showed my picture to Omama and asked:

“Who is he?”

Omama made an angry face and replied looking aside:


He then showed the picture to Shehla and repeated his question. She started to act weird and wanted to express her anger, but she couldn’t speak up.

“Just tell me his name,” the psychologist spoke.

“R-Rashid,” she hardly spoke with an unclear voice.

He then quickly moved to Eruj and asked her:

“Tell me his name quickly!”

Eruj started weeping and then answered with tender voice:


Shehla stood up and was losing control. The nurses came and held her from behind. The professor then quickly showed the picture to the last patient Farheen,

“Tell me this guy’s name,” he said while showing it to her.

“These all women are lying,” Farheen argued, “he is not Saad, Abdullah or Rashid. This guy’s name is Ahsan.”

The three psychology students were quite amazed looking at the patients and their responses. One of them asked:

“Why are they all calling him with different names?”

“Maybe they all were betrayed,” guessed another student, “maybe this guy in the picture played love with these women and hid his real identity.”

“Why didn’t they know about his real identity?”

They had a mystery before them.


Two Months Earlier

It was raining heavily during the night and I was rushing towards the building. I was feeling quite cold so I climbed up the stairs inside the building as fast as I could. Omama was standing at her gate waiting for me to come.

“Come on in quickly,” she spoke.

“Thanks,” I said as I entered inside.

Now while we were inside, I was cleaning the dirt on my hands and face with the towel. She was holding a cup of coffee and offered it to me:

“This is for you.”

“No, thank you dear.”

“Come on, please take it,” she insisted.

“Okay, I’ll drink in a while.”

We sat on the couch and then for a moment looked at each other. Feeling awkward I turned my eyes on the left. She took a breath and said:

“So, how are you Saad?”

“Yeah, I’m better.”

“Was the journey difficult?”

“Not at all…”


I then eased into what I wanted to say:

“Omama…I came here to say something today.”

“Okay, what is it,” she said paying her utmost attention.

“Look you know, we’ve been together for a long time and you also know that I have always liked you.”


“So, I don’t know how to convince you except by being completely honest.”

“Go on…”

“I am in love. Truly in love with you. I really can’t stop thinking about you.”

She was smiling and listening impatiently.

“I haven’t felt like this for anyone,” I continued, “you are the…”

“…I accept,” she interrupted delightfully, “I’m willing to marry you, because I also love you.”

I felt a bit confused and then cleared:

“No, I didn’t say that we should get married. I just wanted to confess my feelings.”

“Wait, what?” she felt weird on my words, “you’re saying that you don’t want this relationship to proceed into a marriage?”

“Well, I’m not ready for it at the moment but my feelings of love were something that I wanted to share. And the good part is that you love me too.”

“How can we call it good? You’re talking so strange!”

I didn’t answer. She stood up and went to pick up the coffee cup for me. As she turned around after picking it up to look at me, I was gone.

“Saad! Saad!” she called me out as she saw the exit door open and realised that I had left.

She angrily put down the cup and picked up the towel. To her surprise, the towel was totally dry and clean. No stains whatsoever.

He didn’t even use the towel she wondered by herself. He was just pretending. Maybe he was pretending his love also, which was why he got scared when I suggested getting married.


Next day, I was at Eruj’s home. She was cooking lunch for both of us. As she came from the kitchen, I asked her:

“So, where’s your son?”

“He’s at school and about to come.”

“You know I really like that little guy.”

“He likes you too,” she lied courteously.

There was silence in the room for a moment while we both were smiling at each other. She however, asked something showing desperation:

“If you don’t mind me asking, how often do you think of having a family?”

“A lot actually but I don’t want to enter in this ship.”


“Love is a good feeling but not for me. I’m too weak to handle it.”

“So, you don’t want a family ever?”

Seeing the disappointment in her face, I made it easy for her:

“Look Eruj, I know where you’re getting with this. You want me to be a part of your family, with your son. You’re very kind to think like that, but let me tell you something, I also want to have a family with you. But it’s not easy.”

She was surprised at the moment learning that I was also serious with my commitment towards her. However, I continued:

“Tell me something how hard was it for you to move on with your husband’s death.”

“It was awful.”

“Do you want that to happen again?”

“How can you assume that it would happen? And secondly, the guy responsible for my husband’s death is in jail. That’s what makes me happy.”

“Well, it’s easier to hate than to love. That’s all I’m trying to tell you.”

“I agree but why are you assuming that the worst would happen. There are more chances that we would live happily after we get married.”

“But I’m still not ready.”

“Come on, think about it please. As you’ll be with me I would gain strength. Then you and I will curse my dead husband’s killer.”

“As I said…” I smiled, “easier to hate than to love.”

“Oh God…Now you’re irritating me.”

“Wait Eruj…Can I share an interesting story with you? I’m sure you’ll like it.”


“There was a columnist once, in his columns he used to spread hatred. This man used to hate every other person. People he envied, people he disliked because of their characters or people with profane languages. He hated all of them. And through his words he used express his hatred for others.”


“Besides ordinary people he used to hate politicians and all the celebrities. He didn’t spare anyone. Because it was easy for him, so he enjoyed it. But one day his life changed. He got married. And one year after he got married, his wife was expecting twins.”

“I see,” she gained interest.

“Now, one day he lost his wife in a car accident. And also his expected children.”

“Oh God!”

“He was devastated. He started to curse his fate because he had lost his sanity for few days. But after he gained stability of mind, he realised something. For several years he was not able to move on.”

“But what did he realise?”

“He realised that all those people he hated didn’t stay in his mind for quite long. People he envied or others like them were soon out of his mind. He was bothered with them for six to nine months. And eventually he forgot them. But people he loved, like his wife or upcoming twins. It was not easy to overcome them. Their memories haunted him for years and he had no option but to commit suicide.”



“So, what are you exactly suggesting here? Should I not hate my late husband’s killer or should I not fall in love with you?”

“Actually both, but don’t worry I won’t dump you. If there is love between us, then we will sort out a way.”

This was my complicated love for her, suggesting not to love and yet giving hope to her feelings.


Nights later at a shopping centre, Shehla and I were walking by the shops. We weren’t really shopping but were just enjoying each other’s company. She had left her children back at home as she wanted to talk about something personal today.

I bought some ice cream for both of us but she said immediately:

“Not for me Rashid, I’m not feeling so good.”

“You okay?”

“Uh yes, I am fine but something’s bothering me.”

I got curious and looked at her,

“May I ask what’s bothering you?” I asked gently.

She didn’t speak anything but her gestures showed that she wanted me to console her.

“Alright, tell me what’s bothering you,” I asked her.

“…I…I think…” she answered reluctantly, “I think you’re not completely honest with me.”

“Not honest?”

“I feel that you have other friends besides me and I don’t like this.”

“Wait, what kind of friends are we talking about here?”

“Look maybe I’m…” she stammered again, “maybe I’m falling in love with you. I know there’s no commitment between us but I seriously like you and I can’t tolerate you with anyone else.”

“So you are in love?” I smiled showing signs of welcoming her love.

“I don’t want to get heartbroken again. If you don’t want to continue this relationship then just tell me now. I don’t want to raise my expectations. For the sake of my children’s happiness I can’t get my hopes too high.”

Seeing tears in her eyes while she was talking, I stopped her and said looking in her eyes:

“Shehla, don’t think like that. We will continue this relationship, and on a serious note. Don’t think that this is your one sided love. I love you too.”

She believed my words as I was maintaining eye contact with her. Feeling a bit guilty she apologised:

“I’m sorry Rashid for suspecting you.”

“It’s okay, just don’t be upset, please.”

She was moved and fooled by my words. The consequences of such relationships were not meant to be good.


At a public park, I was standing and looking at my watch. Some woman I wasn’t expecting called me from behind. I turned to see, it was Farheen. I gave expressions of delightfulness and said:

“Hey, how are you?”

“What are you doing here?”

“I don’t know just, hanging around I guess.”

“I also came here to just walk by myself. But who knew, we found each other.”

“Yeah that’s great!”

We started walking and we were also talking as usual. She wasn’t so upset the way she always used to be but I wasn’t speaking much as I was listening.

Unlike other girls, her way of proposing love seemed quite different and weird. Out of nowhere, she asked directly:

“So, when are we getting married Ahsan?”

“Excuse me?” I felt confused.

“I’m just asking when we are getting married.”

“Excuse me but I never said we were committed.”

“But I do know that you do love me and were planning to propose for marriage someday.”

“What made you believe in all of this?”

“Come on, we’ve been together for a long time, you are single and I’m the only woman you hang out with.”

“Don’t you think you’re inappropriately being too straight?” I finally asked what I should have had earlier.

“No, absolutely not!”

“Well, then pardon me for my straight answer. My answer is no.”

She looked at me for a while and then spoke:

“Is that your final decision?”

I was a bit surprised on her reaction but answered anyway:

“We can still be friends.”

“No! If you’re not willing to commit for a relationship, then it’s over. This moment, right now is a good bye forever.”

I raised my eyebrows making sure if she really meant what she spoke.

to be continued...