Hell on Earth

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Curiosity Killed the Cat

The laughter continued and panic once again consumed Fariya. She vehemently searched for any apparent signs of a child and his tormentor in the washroom but everything was stationary at its place. The only thing that could indicate any such actions were the voices. Suddenly everything became silent. As it is said, “pin-drop silence” prevailed. Fariya could hear her frantic heartbeat. She rushed out of the washroom to inquire whether other members of her family have heard the commotion or not?

She was startled as everyone was busy tending to Zoya. Everything seemed normal apart from the mocking bruise on Zoya’s neck.

She needed answers and the best way to get them was by either finding that injured boy or investigate from the neighbouring buildings. It was past 3 a.m. so she couldn’t go to the neighbouring buildings or shops. Trying to find the injured boy seemed stupid as she believed that it was a spirit or a ghost, but she decided that at least she should give it a shot.

She took her cell phone. She removed the keychain from the keychain holder. It contained keys to all the apartments. She covered her head with a dupatta, recited “Ayat-ul-Qursi” and blew on herself. She silently exited her house to avoid the attention of her family. She examined the dimly lit passageway. Light casted an elongated shadow on her right side whose head was directly in front of the abandoned second apartment. She cautiously moved towards its door which seemed as if it could come off the hinges with a slight nudge.

“Almighty Allah please protect me!”

With that, she proceeded to open the lock. She cringed at the amount of dirt present on the lock and with a distorted expression inserted the first key in it. It wasn’t the right key. She kept trying and finally she heard a click. She removed the lock and put it against the wall, opposite the door. The door creaked and flew open as she pushed it. She clapped her hands slightly to remove dirt.

She cautiously entered the apartment and soon regretted it as she coughed badly due to excess dirt. She covered her nose and mouth with her dupatta while coughing to avoid further intake of dirt. As her coughing ceased she squinted her eyes in an attempt to decipher her surroundings. The dim light of passageway wasn’t doing a good job of illuminating the apartment so she turned on her cell phone’s torch.

Dirt clouds swarmed the apartment as it probably hadn’t been opened for more than a decade. Fariya noticed that similar to all other apartments in this building, this one also comprised of three rooms and a lounge. The lounge was scarcely furnished. There was a desk next to the door on the left side. She noticed that it resembled a reception desk as there was a line phone. A revolving leather chair was placed behind it. It was completely covered with a thick coat of dirt. There were two black sofas, one was placed against the wall opposite the reception desk while other was placed against the wall on the right side of the reception desk. Both were also completely covered with dirt.

Fariya proceeded towards the first room which was opposite to the reception desk. This room seemed like a classroom. Wooden chairs with attached small desks were scattered haphazardly in the room. Most of them were broken or were lying on top of one another. Each one of them was completely covered with a thick coat of dirt. Her nose and mouth were still covered with her dupatta so this time she was saved from the wrath of dirt. Fariya remembered what the women from the neighbouring building had told her.

This surely seems like tuition centre.

She was pulled out of her thoughts as she heard a scrape from the next room.

Panic consumed her as she shook from fear.

She cautiously moved out of the room and entered the lounge.

Run Fariya! Run!

Her inner voice that belonged to her heart cautioned her and pleaded.

But what if it is that injured kid?!

Her brain argued.

And what if it is the one who was laughing at the child’s agony?

Her heart argued back.

Be brave! You have recited Ayat-ul-Qursi, nothing will happen.

Her brain assured her.

“Who’s there?!” She asked in a shaky voice as curiosity won and she decided to investigate the voice.

No one replied and silence prevailed.

She took a shaky step towards the room where the voice had originated.

“Who’s there?” She asked once again but as usual, silence prevailed.

She cautiously entered the room and shone her cellphone’s torchlight.

A silent gasp escaped her lips as she saw the back of someone whose hair was tangled and seemed pitch black, seated on a chair and facing towards the window.

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