Hey. Hi. Hello. Salaam. Bonjour. Salut. Ciao. Ahoj. Bog. Marhaba. Ola. 😀
GUESS WHAT, GUESS WHAT?!?!
Today marks exactly two years of Troubled Illusions!!💃🎉🎈😀
JazakAllah, shukran, thank you, dankie, gracias, merci, vielen dank to each and every one of you who have made this journey such an awesome one. You have no idea how much your support means to me and I cannot aptly describe it to you but please always remember, that from the bottom of my heart, I truly appreciate it. ❤💙💚💛💜
With that being said, here’s a post to celebrate! 🌸💕
I couldn’t seem to get the flow right in the first part of the post but I hope you’ll enjoy it nonetheless. Bold writing is thoughts and parts in italics are the characters speaking in their heads.
Troubled Illusioner. ❤
As narrated by Lubna:
“Well, your night is only starting!” Shiraz laughs cheekily, winking at us.
I feel my cheeks colour and glare at him.
Faizy grins, pulling me closer to his side.
He turns to look at me, his eyes shining.
My face heats up more and I duck my head shyly.
A second later though, a squeal of tires rings through the calm night, grabbing my attention.
I feel myself falling and then everything turns upside down.
The world is in black and white, moving slower than usual.
Silence falls for what seems like eternity and a prick of panic prods me, unsettling me.
Why is it so quiet?
A moment later I hear Faizy’s voice and immediately I wish the silence had stayed instead.
Filled with heart-wrenching agony Faizal is screaming my name.
Why is he yelling?
‘Stop yelling love, what’s going on? I’m right here, ssshhh.’
Ignoring me he calls me again, a little softer this time.
‘What is it, love?’
And then, something touches my cheek.
I know his touch for I have memorized every inch of his skin.
He says my name again but this time I barely hear it.
It reaches my ears slow and dragged, a faint whisper as if he is far, far away.
Where is he going?? Why is he leaving me?? Why can’t I see him??
‘Faizy, love!’ I call, reaching for him.
But my hand refuses to obey my command and opening my eyes, heavy as lead, feels impossible.
‘Faizal!’ I call again, desperately this time.
He doesn’t answer, causing a wave of panic to wash over me, snatching away my breath.
God, what the hell is happening??
A burst of adrenaline accompanies the panic and a fleeting moment of energy enables me to open my eyes.
I almost laugh out aloud.
My brain doesn’t register the desperate look of panic and shock in Faizal’s eyes. It doesn’t question why everything it still in black and white. It doesn’t register the fact that he’s leaning over me. It doesn’t question why his lips are moving yet I can’t hear what he is saying.
It simply registers that he is there.
Faizal is right there, right in front of me, his eyes staring into mine.
‘You’re such an idiot,’ I say to myself. ‘He would never go anywhere without you. He would never leave you behind. Look, he’s right here.’
Using every ounce of my energy, I lift my hand to touch his face.
God… why… why am I… so… tired…
He takes my limp hand in his, squeezing it hopefully.
‘What’s going on?’ I try to ask, one more time, but I don’t know if her hears me or not.
Darkness pulls me into its embrace and my eyes flutter close.
Third person narrative:
Uncle Ismaeel swallows his mouthful of food before swiping his finger across his phone screen to answer his son’s call.
“Dad,” says Rameez, after replying his father’s greeting. “Please can you come to fetch me?”
Something about the tone in his son’s voice makes Uncle Ismaeel stand up immediately.
“Where are you?” he asks, reaching for his keys.
Rameez gives him the address before taking a deep breath and adding, “Could you bring the police and paramedics too, please.”
Briefly explaining to his wife, Aunty Aadila, the situation Uncle Ismaeel rushes out.
Buckling his seat belt into place, he floors the accelerater and puts his phone to his ear.
“911, what is your emergency?”
Speaking rapidly but clearly into the phone, Uncle Ismaeel explains what little he knows.
A long blast of a hooter screams as he skips a red robot, but he barely hears it.
Removing his phone from between his ear and shoulder, Uncle Ismaeel taps in another number.
“Ismaeel. Assalaamualaykum boss.”
“Wa’alaykum Salaam. Listen, I got a code red emergency which involves the little man.”
“I’ll be right there.”
Uncle Ismaeel states the address before cutting the call.
As narrated by Uncle Ismaeel:
“What happened, Rameez?” I ask.
He looks at me blankly.
I shake his shoulder before repeating my question.
“Focus,” I say, gently but firmly. “I need to know what happened.”
“Someone shot her,” comes a voice from behind.
I glance up at all the fancy theme dressed youngsters.
“Nobody is allowed to leave,” comes a loud, stern command.
I breathe a sigh a relief.
“You’re here,” I say, turning around to shake Sulaimaan’s hand briefly.
“What the jeepers happened here?” he asks, looking around.
“Trying to figure that out myself,” I say, shrugging.
“Right. Listen here, buddies. No one is allowed to leave. I want you all to gather there,” instructs Sulaimaan, pointing to a spot away from the bleeding girl and safely away from the road. “Stay put. Am I clear?”
Some nod solemnly, while others begin walking to the instructed spot. The girls lean to the boys for support and robotically they do as they’re told.
“Aren’t you going to help her?” comes a choked voice.
I look at the speaker.
Her make up is smeared from crying and her eyes look terribly afraid.
“You’ll can help by following instructions,” Sulaimaan says, not answering her question straightforwardly.
Rameez speaks then, his voice an empty whisper.
“She’s dead. She can’t be helped.”
The only sound that can be heard is sobbing.
“The person who shot her is unknown. For all we know the subject might strike again. You need to move away from here,” Sulaimaan says kindly to the shell shocked young man.
Faizal, his name is, according to one of the fellows.
He doesn’t seem to hear.
A group of paramedics rush forward and Sulaimaan is left with no choice but to move the young man away himself.
“No heartbeat,” I mention as the paramedics crouch down.
One man looks up, a questioning frown showing that he is slightly annoyed at my remark.
“Doctor Ismaeel Varachia,” I say, notifying him who I am.
He nods in apology before concentrating back on his task.
“NO!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!” comes a yell, as they pick up the girl’s limp body.
I rush over to Sulaimaan where he struggles to suppress the trashing young man.
“NO!!” Faizal screams again, pushing Sulaimaan away with raging force.
Stumbling over his own feet, Faizal makes a dash for Lubna.
Sulaimaan grabs his collar firmly, tugging slightly.
Swearing, Faizal jabs his elbow backward, but Sulaimaan sees it coming.
Stepping backward to the side, he pulls at Faizal’s collar again, successfully dropping him this time.
“LEAVE HER ALONE!!!” Faizal screams as he falls.
In a flash Sulaimaan is on him, but against the young man’s blinding rage, he’s a moment too slow.
I pull his hands forcefully away from Sulaimaan’s throat, entrapping them strongly above his head.
“LEAVE ME ALONE!! I WILL F#%@&$* KILL YOU!!”
“Doc!!” I call to one of the staff, cupping my hand in front of my mouth.
“GET OFF ME!! I WILL KILL YOU, I SWEAR!! DON’T TOUCH HER YOU #@$%&^*!!!” he screams hoarsely, fighting against mine and Sulaimaan’s hold.
Two men hurry over to us.
“PTSD,” mutters the one as he holds down Faizal’s arm.
Expertly the other pushes a needle through his skin, holding it for a second before withdrawing.
“What about witnesses?” asks the slim police officer.
“Those kids over there,” replies Sulaimaan, indicating to the group of young adults.
“Don’t know if they’ll be very helpful though. They seem pretty perturbed,” I say.
“Usually there is someone who handles everything better than the others,” Sulaimaan says, looking at me.
“I work in the medical field, not the brave guys field,” I say, shrugging.
Sulaimaan grins a little.
I follow the three policemen, walking some space behind them so as not to get in their space.
We reach the group of youngsters and I see that some of them have fallen off to sleep, some are still crying, some are silent, and the rest are talking quietly to each other.
I spot my son sitting a little away from them all, his back against the wall, knees drawn to his chest.
His head is leaned back, gaze focused on the sky, a blank look on his face.
I watch him for a moment, knowing exactly what might be going through his mind, knowing how much harder this must be for him than the rest of the kids.
I walk up to him, slightly unsure as to what would be the best way to deal with the situation.
“Rameez,” I say.
He looks at me.
“Dad, please can we go home?” he pleads desperately.
I sigh inaudibly.
‘Sulaimaan is not going to be happy about this,’ admonishes a voice inside my head.
‘I’ll deal with him later,’ I reply to it silently.
“Come on,” I say, offering Rameez my hand.
He takes it, stands up and runs a hand through his hair tiredly.
Couple minutes later we’re in the car.
Strapping in my seat belt, I drive off.
Rameez doesn’t say a word at all. He simply stares out the window, dumb silent.
That’s why, when I take a turn and he yells out, abruptly breaking the silence, I startle considerably.
Slamming the breaks, my heart skips a beat.
“THERE!!” Rameez yells again, pointing. “DAD, GO!! THAT CAR!!”