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Short Story: Shadow

Written by Tayyaba Aziz & Saqib Hussain   After 30 minutes of struggling to focus on work, Moosa finally gave up. He stumbled in hi...

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Short Story: Shadow

Written by Tayyaba Aziz & Saqib Hussain 

After 30 minutes of struggling to focus on work, Moosa finally gave up. He stumbled in his heavy walk to the window, pulling out his pack of smokes. The storm had stopped and a cool breeze was coming in through the open window.
He rested his side on the window frame and looked up at the receding clouds. He was afraid he couldn’t fight the memories of that day anymore. He knew they would return now as they had every night since. He would once again relive the loss of another dear one leaving him just because he couldn’t say yes anymore.

He quickly lit a cigarette and took a long drag, hearing the click clack of her heels in his mind as he thought of her pacing away from him in the café. In the cold quiet room, each footfall felt like a magistrate’s mallet falling hard and decisively, the echo ringing of his failure.
The clouds must have moved; moonlight made a rectangular patch on the floor, but Moosa was lost in thought. He was growing angry again. He wanted to hit somebody or break things or maybe do a bit of both.
When he couldn’t keep the rage in, he punched the wooden frame of the window. It did no damage to the wood but Moosa let out a grunt in pain. His eyes began to sting with tears he had been holding back.

“You think they aren’t worth your tears, don’t you,” a man asked, entering the room.
Moosa turned to look at the only friend he’d been able to keep over the years.
 “I was afraid you might not make it tonight,” he said with a rueful smile.
Haaris gave him a smile that showed malice more than anything. He reached for Moosa’s hand, who gave him the lit cigarette. Haaris took a drag and said, “It was the storm. You should’ve known I’d come as soon as the sky cleared.”

Moosa only looked at Haaris passively and replied, “Yeah. I’m glad you could come. We need to talk about something.”

Haaris laughed and rubbed his hands together and said, “This is going to be good. Are we still sulking about your friend? What was her name?”

Moosa looked at him with loathing. He had made up his mind by now.

Haaris continued smoking and said smugly, “I think it’s time you understood I am the only one who will stay with you.”

Moosa turned to Haaris with a face devoid of expression, “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”

His friend laughed, and when he spoke, every word reeked of contempt, “Really? Am I getting a promotion?”

Moosa turned away again, looking at the moon.
The room went quiet for a few minutes. The night outside was still as well. The only sounds were the shuffling feet when the men shifted their weight from one foot to the other.
Haaris moved to the window and stood with Moosa.
“You’re being very quiet tonight,” he said with a worried voice.
Moosa turned to his old friend and turned back to the window with a smile, “I think I need to change myself. I’ve lived in enough misery for a lifetime. They need to know I’m more than their slave.”

Haaris was looking at him quizzically, realizing what was coming next and not believing it. He said, “But that’s not possible. You are still guilty. I can sense it. I am here, dammit!”
Moosa pulled away from the window frame, rubbing gently on his knuckles, and replied, “You won’t be the next time I step into light. I’ll make a new friend, I think,” he said, walking off into the darkness.
Haaris screamed, “Wait!!”
It was too late, though. Moosa had stepped out of the light and Haaris had dissolved into the darkness around him. He was all alone again with the weight of his sins, but somehow they felt lighter.