QB Short Stories


“Religion or humanity, terror strikes everybody down. It kills the ones who were from the very religion being fought for, along with the ones who were nothing but humans.”

I heard her say those words very bluntly. It seemed like there was so much of emotion in her heart that it did not even pour out of it. It was somehow stuck in there. It was somehow brutal enough to be stubborn to have made a home in her heart. I’m just writing all this down because her words, her eyes and her voice has made me so broken, I can’t live with all this inside me the way she has been living for years while I can not say a single word to anyone about this. The only way to let myself go of it is to write it down.
“24th May 2004.”
She started with everything she had buried deep inside her.
“I was with Zoya, my younger sister, at the clock tower in London. She was twelve and insisted on going there for a walk. Mom and dad were not home and so I agreed to take her out. I was twenty-one.”
While she was talking, tears were starting to go down her cheeks from her eyes, but the one thing that I couldn’t understand was how on Earth was she crying without having her voice choke. She still continued the same way.
“We had gone out and were just walking. I was playing with her every now and then. I could see she was really happy. She looked at me once while I was holding her hand and walking ahead. She called out to me and I looked at her with a broad smile. She said something after which, she somehow managed to go beyond human possibilities and flew into the air, as if someone had given her wings to fly that high. Only those wings were meant for using them once in your life. They make your life end in the middle of a sentence and even before you realise it, the joy of flying high in the sky gets vanished for you go so high, there remains no loophole to come back. But she did. Her body did. In my arms. The moment she had been hit by the terror of the blast, I saw her happy face which told me that she loved me.
“I had my mouth opened for quite a while. Even though I too had got hurt, but all I had were wounds and marks of blood on my body whilst the one on my heart lay there in my arms. There was chaos.”
She did not speak anything for the next fifteen minutes and I didn’t ask her anything. We had been sitting on a bench in her backyard. She got up and walked to the fence, stood there, looked at the stream flowing and started talking once again.
“I kept looking at her. I looked at her for so long that for the next few months, all I remembered of hers was that face painted in red. I don’t remember how, but I do remember that there were people who came to me, took me by my arms and walked me away from her. I didn’t say a word. I wish I did. I wish I’d asked them to let me stay there for one more moment. To hug her for one last time before she was completely gone. When I came back to my senses enough to be able to look around the place where I was, I realised it was no police station or any news studio. Neither was it a hospital. I was scared to death to find myself in a detention centre.
“A man came to me, asking me for my name which I gave to him as ‘Zoeena Zafar’. The very moment, I was taken to a lockup. My clothes were ripped off. God bless the soul who did not permit the cops there to take away the lingerie from a woman suspect’s body. They beat me up as much as the capacity of a whip would be. It wasn’t my body that was to be torn to be the ultimate level of torture, it was the whip that was to be torn. Every suspect was to be beaten up until the whip would get torn down. After a week had passed, I stopped feeling anything touching my body every morning.
Beyond that, what I remember is, I have no identity of my own, I am scared of my own name, my own face, my own house and the place where I live.
Two years later, when a disguised angel, whose name was ‘Ruhani Sheikh’, got evidence in favour of me and got me freed from the detention centre, I walked back home. As per technicality, it should have taken me thirty minutes to reach home, when instead, I stepped at my door ¬†two hundred forty minutes later. Four hours to walk up to a place I had grown up in, from which, I was kicked out. Mom and dad gave me papers of disowning me and the stuff that was already packed was thrown at my leg which made me fall.
“It took me three weeks to figure out something and reach Scotland, nearly a year and a half to rebuild my life and no certain amount of time to get Zoya’s face out of my head. She still plays in there. The police department had no idea who they had arrested and who they had not. What I know is that the people who were responsible for this new life I lead were the same religion as me.
“Religion or humanity, terror strikes everybody down. It kills the ones who were from the very religion being fought for, along with the ones who were nothing but humans.”
I still don’t know how she hasn’t cracked her voice as yet but what I do know is that I love this woman to the core of it. For a wrap, the one last thing that she had said and smiled, I really do mean, she had managed to give a genuine smile, was – that was all past, I hate it. You are the present. The third life I have got. This one, I love.

Shubhrika Dogra

Shubhrika is an emotional person and portrays that in her words. She is a coffee lover and hence an intrigued writer. She loves to play with words and twist them as much as she can, that is her way of writing. But mostly, she loves creating suspense in her writing. She would never let the real story come out until the last part of her writings. Writing is her life and her heartbeat.
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