Archive for the 'Friction Fiction' Category

The bloody stranger

Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

It was the screeching screams, the slammed metal doors that turned peoples’ heads.
Later, they realized.

The car hit him and the pain was nothing like he had expected it to be. Heroism is never thought, but always done. Pain is never best described but better felt, experienced. Satisfaction, you cannot buy, too expensive yet easily obtained with a single action. A thousand neurons exploded within a single instant, a roaring fire that consumed his being, his mind, his thoughts vanishing forever. No regrets.

He knew had done the right thing. He just wished he could have tried explaining it to his family. Tried. They would have argued endlessly with him and then poof! silence would have overtaken them all; they knew he was right. What do do. What to not do. Take me instead everyone prayed silently. He would have prayed the same.

He lay on the road, struggling to breath. This is what death felt like, he thought from the far back of his mind, a chasm, a void that had ripped apart his mind from his body. He tasted his own blood, he felt it flowing down his right hand that lay limp on the hot yet strangely comfortable road. Aaahh, it felt good to lie down. He was tired. He just needed to rest a little bit, then he would be ok. He had to be ok. He was invincible. Wasn’t he young after all?

Too young, the press argued. This should not have been, friends cried out. This isn’t fair, Life isn’t fair, old women tearfully prayed. Life isn’t, yes. God, however is. They held memorials for him, for the city had loved their social hero. The man who had moved them. The child who had symbolized their hope, their life, their future in visual existence. Gone.
Damn you for making us love you, lovers cursed falsely.

His beautiful blue gray eyes worked furiously to focus. He had to know. Sounds. He heard some. No, words. They sounded like words. Somebody screaming. Somebody yelling. Words. He needed all his energy to comprehend but failed. There. He moved his head and he was tired again. Too much, too much, better to close your eyes.
But he had to know.
The 5 year old boy finally came into view. Silent tears pouring pouring, he squatted down besides the bloody stranger, his hand caressing saphire covered cheeks, blood here blood there, so much blood. He himself wanted to bleed for this man, who had just saved his life.

The funeral took place with thousands in the audience. People demanded to help bury him so they took a longer route. The city itself mourned and turned mute, a pain too painful to express but in jagged breaths. There there, he would have soothed them, all comes from Him, and to Him all returns. Tearful painful smiles, the people cried even more and begged God for His Mercy. Begged madly.

The boy didn’t know what to say. The bloody bloody man could barely speak.
His last few breaths, the man wanted to say something meaningful, to make it all alright for this child.
La ilaha illalah… … … mu…muh…hammd… he tried whispering but the sound wouldn’t come. The boy read his lips. And repeated it out loud for the two of them.
It was the last thing he ever heard. From the boy who would be the most brilliant islamic scholar the world had ever seen.


Wednesday, June 30th, 2004

She put the book aside and glanced over at her husband and son, both crashed out on the couch. The drowsy heat half filled the house, the fan set to the lowest setting. Smiling patiently, she went and got a blanket and draped the two carefully. As she was leaving, she glanced over at him again and at the last moment, her eyes averted to that spot on his chest. She couldn’t see it but she knew it was there.
Despite how much she tried not to think about it.

She walked back to the kitchen and sat on on the table. Running her hands through her hair, she thought it over carefully. It wasn’t that things were bad, they never were. He had made sure of that. It wasn’t that he didn’t care or loved his family. That was blatantly obvious, especially to her blind son. Esepcially for her blind son. No, it wasn’t that, she never doubted that. Time is one of the best of assurances to honesty, sincerity and loyalty. And she had been with him for time enough.
Not every man marries to literally save you and your children from a possible death.
Not every man gives up his life for a widow from the war torn lands of Palestine.
No. Such men were few and rare, such gifts were few and barely there.

She got up and fixed herself a cup of black coffee. She walked about the house, sipping, from room to room until she finally ended up in his study. This was her 2nd favourite room, to be able to just finger his things, to just touch his books, his maps, his work chair. Pictures of her and the kids were plastered to a small corner of the room, a perfect view from just one unique position. He didn’t like to simply declare it all instead choosing to firmly state his point of view, a rock solid image that he carried with himself, that he-
She froze, her breath momentarily snarled into a jolt of fear.

The small desktop calendar.
His careful small handwriting.
Just barely legible.
The number 14.


Wednesday, July 30th, 2003

The card had lain hidden below the old radio for months, years now. Age had turned the edges brown, the blue ink a memory on the card itself. No one knew the card even existed, except for her. Thus it lay, dust covered, a patient tablet in the desert of a house.

Misfortune its other name, death its calling card, the address now lay in front of her on the study desk. She had brought it out after fajr, having finally conceded to what she knew to be the truth. She held the card with care and blew at the dust. It took off lazily, confirming her intentions at their departure, the dust seemed to almost shrug its shoulders before becoming the wind invisible.

To not write now would be dishonest to her own soul and she had learnt long ago the consequences of such lies misunderstandings.

After all, it had been but fourteenYears- yet some lessons never seem to end.


Saturday, July 26th, 2003

When he entered the room, he wasn’t expecting his eyes to find hers. Or her.
He had come to the house for the deathbed, perhaps for the funeral to come.

His breath came jagged, silent, like the prayer of the dying man that lay in between the two. His heart beat didn’t race, it didn’t increase. It simply paused, it did not exist.

Her eyes bled of tears. Her face spoke of exhaustion and shone in the hundreds of candlelights that bathed the room in the everlasting dance of fire and shadows. Despite floods, more could come. More would come.
Life was like that. It didn’t always give you enough room to breath.

It had been fourteenYears but her tears were the same.