Ten Weeks Earlier
Hassan Abdullah was twelve. Yet, he was more than ready to die.
A sharp pain tore through him and he felt as if he was being pulled from both ends of his body by two teams of ferocious horses.
His uncle, Patrick thrust into him again. And again. And Hassan’s brain nearly burst from its skull as a result of the mental-disorientating agony.
I want to die. God, please let me die.
He has been tired of living since the last ten weeks which now seemed like ten years to him.
Tears rained down his cheeks as Patrick continued thrusting and pounding into him like a vicious animal.
I want to die. Please, let me die.
Patrick stood up and stepped down from the bed as he kept on ranting and raving aloud in anger. Hassan remained on the bed, naked and chained to it by metals that felt as unbreakable as steel.
He knew what was coming next. The whip of hell.
On nights like this, when uncle Patrick had been angered by someone earlier in the day, the abuse never ended on a sexual basis, it concluded with injuries on his back, arms, buttocks and legs.
Please let me die.
Death was the exact reason he chose to replace his brother, Yusuf in Uncle Patrick’s bed tonight. It was the turn of Yusuf to be punished by Patrick, but, he couldn’t let Yusuf or his other brother, Muhammad to be here with the way Patrick was furious. He could probably tear a lion apart with his bare hands right now.
“Bastard!” Patrick screamed.
Wham! The whip landed. Hah! A sharp cry of pain welled up his throat but was muffled by the gag in his mouth.
Wham! He tried to move his body away from the harsh bites of the snake-like whip.
Wham! “Bastard!” Patrick’s voice thundered.
“Bastard!” He yelled louder.
Wham! The skin on Hassan’s back broke. And blood seeped from it.
His brain shook. And tears flowed from his eyes.
Ten weeks ago, he was having the best moments of his life that one could not possibly describe. He had thought that he and his brothers were about to have a little sister to boss over after years of waiting and hoping. He remembered filling his sketchpads with images of baby faces as he tried to predict what his forthcoming sister would look like. He even sketched a picture of the younger version of their mother while their father, Ali laughed at his eagerness.
Was it those same weeks ago, that he wrote an essay on his dreams of wanting to become a world-class artist before he was thirty? Now, he wasn’t sure that he would live to see that age.
One of the first things he drew in his life was Yusuf’s pet, Nona. Mrs. Rosie later saw the drawing and told him to join the art class.
“You would make a fine artist someday” she said. He laughed and smiled as he ate up her praise.
Currently, there was no more reason to giggle or smile in his life.
He had been plucked from the heights of happiness and plunged into a black abyss. He wanted death like never before, and knew in his heart that his brothers also wanted the same for themselves. However, it seemed as though he would be the first to depart (because of this night’s torture) and then, later they would join him even though he hoped that they lived and endured this nightly torment that his poor flesh could no longer bear.
“It’s your father’s fault!”
The lash came down on the left side of his back like an attack from a nest of a thousand livid wasps that were determined to penetrate deeply into his body and claw out his heart.
Perhaps, the wasps got him and dined on his heart. For at that moment, he felt invisible tethers breaking, invisible chains which were tying him to his muscles and bones, snapping. He suddenly felt buoyant and unrestrained. And he now stood at the end of the bed, watching his body on the bed as Patrick continued to hit it. He saw the cuts on his back and legs, and the blood around his anus as if a pair of tailor’s scissors had been used to cut him up in shreds.
Wham! Patrick’s lash struck again. But, Hassan felt no pain. Wham! And he still did not feel the fury from the lash. Was he free at last? His body on the bed showed no sign of movement or reaction to Patrick’s beatings. Was he dead at last? Had the torture finally grabbed him and snuffed breath out of him? If it was so, then it was good. His wishes had been granted. For he was eventually stepping out of a cold dark world that stole his joys and laughter.
Don’t call me a coward. There is only so much that a boy can take.
He felt a drop of tear on his cheeks for his brothers and wiped it as he crossed the invisible border between our world and the one beyond.
And so, at 3am, exactly ten weeks after he witnessed an unforgettable tragedy, twelve years old Hassan Abdullah felt himself succumb to the darkness.