Arham’s family, bounded to remain at home, was fasting for several days. Their empty stomachs were growling loudly out of hunger. Arham had already gone out, dodging the family members of his house. When Arham’s mother found out that he has tricked them to leave, she started waiting for him anxiously and prayed for his safe return. There was a curfew outside. It wasn’t safe for anyone to go out, especially for the young blood as Arham.
Duz–Duz–Duz, some guns opened their Mouths; meanwhile, Arham opened the door of his house with an immense jerk. He entered the house with discontinues breathing and sweated forehead, said, “Don’t worry my pretty sister. I’ve gotten something to eat_close the door! Close! Close! Hurry! The Cruel people are after me.” said Arham and locked the door himself.
“You are bleeding, brother,” said Annie, his sister who was of 7.
It was the first bullet that let him alive, touching the hair of his head, but the second one had made a hole in his shoulder, while the third one in the door.
“My beloved son,” said his mother, “I begged you not to go outside. Don’t you know it’s curfew? Come here now, let me clean the wound. You are bleeding!”
“It’s just a scar,” said Arham.
“You are shot, son,” said she.
“Don’t be worried. It is nothing.”
“Warm the cutlery!” said she to Hafsa, Annie’s elder sister, a 16 year-old girl, while Annie began to eat the bread that was smeared with Arham’s blood.
His mother took the bullet out with the help of the warm cutlery and began weeping, but none of them cried loudly as if it was a matter of daily routine. Meanwhile, someone smashed the door and out came Arham’s mother from the room.
“Who is this?” she asked.
As she was about to open it, that one broke the door into splits with a kick of considerable force. It was a soldier who held her by her braid, entering inside.
“What the hell you people are! Where is he? Tell me swiftly!” he shouted at them, placing a gun near her chin. But instead of answering him, she began to look towards the sky, as though she were watching God. When the intruder tossed her by her plait, she got her senses.
“What are you,” asked she, “talking about for?”
“You know very well, old woman,” said he, slapping and pushing her aside. She got injured and her head began bleeding. Ignoring her, the soldier entered the room and found Arham who was lying there. He didn’t move and remained lying in the bed.
“Hamm! Get up bastard. You stole the loaves of bread?” inquired the soldier in an offensive tone.
“I never did,” Arham continued, “rather, that is from my own shop. Eating from a dish that one owns is not called stealing.”
“The violation of law,” said the soldier, “is worse than robbery and you have committed this immoral crime. You’ll have to atone for this right now.”
“Did you get our land by law?” asked Arham in rage. “Is it democracy at all? Didn’t you deprive us of our right to vote?”
“We own this land by birth,” said the soldier. “No one can snatch it from us even your God. Why can’t you people understand this simple thing? What is your problem? Accept us as your Lords!”
“Pride hath a sudden fall,” said Arham. “There’s nothing eternal but the Supreme Ruler of Heavens. A mortal can’t be a lord. Your weapons and extremism can never fade away the severity of our passions for Lone-Breath. You can drain out every single drop of blood from our bodies: our hearts will raise slogans for peace come what may. Your cruelty fuels our determination with more intensity instead__determination__that can never be erased till the Day of Judgment. A day comes and you’ll banish yourselves by your own hands. You’ll get entangled into your own Net. Your downfall is not so far.”
“Don’t worry about our downfall. Recite your verses. Meet your God and tell Him your story of sorrow,” said the soldier, raised his gun in the air and pointed it at Arham’s head.
“I need not tell Him my story. He’s watching over all of us. I’m ever ready to embrace martyrdom and get honor; I’ll not turn my back. Let your finger be quick,” said Arham, closing his eyes; meanwhile, his mother entered the room and begged the soldier for Arham’s life.
“Don’t snatch his breaths!” said she. “I plead you! You must be afraid of God. Do not kill my son!”
The soldier didn’t listen to her and loaded the gun. When he was about to shoot him, his phone bell rang. He attended the call and answered the voice:
“Oh’ yes, my sweetheart, O’ baby! Your papa’s here–yes–yes—I’m coming soon–” he put the call on hold and warned Arham, saying, “I lend you your life for a few days. I’ll come back soon.” He cast a detestable glace at Arham and went out talking on the phone, kicking Annie who was standing in his way, while Hafsa had hid.
The Little Life fell down by her mouth and her delicate turbinate-bone and front tooth were dislocated by the impact the kick created. A Stream of blood began to flow from her mouth. The Earth began trembling, pressing the magma in its heart, but no one could feel its shaking and mourning. It cried as if the soldier had snatched its soul, but no one could hear its yelling. It was seeking an outlet to chill its wrath, but its strong and steady surface absorbed its anger. Its pleading for gapping mouth and swallow the soldier, had been rejected: no one could see its pinching of its own hair. It had a sharp blade in its Hands which could tear the soldier into countless pieces in a few seconds, but no one let it do it, but the Sky began weeping. The rain fell and it swept away the blood of this Little Life. His mother took a sigh of relief and expressed her gratitude to Almighty. She turned fast and tried to lock the door but vain because the door had already been broken.
Arham’s injury had to be healed without any professional treatment; for curfew remained in force for several days.
After a few days, a large crowd violated curfew and raised slogans against the savage, abstract government and received a bulk of bullets from the military forces. Many of them were shot dead. The soldiers also shot at the crowd with pellet-guns, many of them taking straight target of the victims’ body parts. As the result of this brutal display of power, most of them met God on the spot. A many of them either lost their legs, arms or eyes, but these unarmed people could only throw stones at their enemy. The innocent people raised slogans, carrying different charts to the independent nations of the world. Some of them read:
“Pay heed; otherwise, humanity will pass away and you will find your chests heartless. There will be no room for peace in this world.”
“HUMAN LINE IS IN DANGER. THERE IS NO FAIRER DUTY BUT TO SAVE A BREATH.”
“Look at our dripping blood, sitting beside your own children! Your hearts will suffer from unrest.”
“THE COLOR OF OUR BLOOD IS ALSO RED.”
Some old women were showing the pictures of their dead ones and lost ones to the news media. The presence of media was indicating their fearless, extreme brutality which was a slap on the face of the independent world.
The inhuman force made Arham blind of an eye in the crowd. When he was coming back home, placing his hand on the injured eye; he saw the same soldier who invaded Arham’s house. The soldier was lying still on the ground. As soon as he bent forward to observe the body, a jeep of the intruders stopped by the road side and an officer shouted orders:
“You! Stop there! Freeze! Arrest him–Arrest him–hands up!”
“You damn! How did you kill him?” asked the officer.
“I didn’t kill him,” Arham replied. “I just saw him lying here. You can see, there’s no scar on his body. For God’s sake believe me!”
“We have caught you red handed,” said another soldier. “Don’t create fables. It’s of no use.”
“I’m innocent,” said Arham, placing his hand on his consumed eye.
“He, surely, lost his eye during the clash with him,” another soldier whispered while two of them began hitting Arham with the butts of their guns. They chained his hands, threw him into the jeep and took him away, while Annie was hiding behind a tree. She has watched all of this in front of her very eyes. She gathered some courage and returned back home and told her mother about the happenings with dangling words. Hearing this, she fell down unconscious. Hafsa came weeping and took her mother inside the room. After some time, as she came into her senses, she began crying and beating her chest, staring upwards. The clouds rumbled as though the Angel was also gazing this sight, standing before God and seeking His permission to crush the brutes. Perhaps, he had to wait for a certain extent.
That day Arham died for his family because millions of the other innocents never returned after being arrested.
No sooner did a soldier throw cold water upon his face, than he opened his eyes. He found himself sitting in an arm-chair. They had already tied both of his hands. A soldier held him by his hair and said:
“Why did you kill our brother? He had a little daughter and a wife. Didn’t you know?”
“I didn’t kill him,” said Arham, “rather, I have lost my own eye. Can’t you see? Imagine how many fathers you have killed while their daughters are still waiting for them! How many wives have lost their husbands! How many mothers are still crying for their sons, and you are banishing the human race rapidly. Will you be ever able to fill the vacuum?”
“I ain’t here to listen to your sermons. We’re perfect in this world. No one can beat us. We have extreme weapons and the whole world is afraid of us. Tell me clearly! How did you murder him?” asked the soldier.
“Repetition of the same answers will waste the time of both of us. If you ask me this question again and again, I’ll give you the same answer–I DID NOT KILL HIM.”
“I think you won’t speak the truth easily. Now my tools will utter,” said the soldier and picked up a pair of pliers. He gripped Arham’s thumb-nail with the pliers and dismantled it out. Arham couldn’t bear the pain, yelled and fell unconscious. The soldier snatched the every nail of his body one by one, including the nails of his feet. He used to repeat this action every time Arham got his senses. The soldier had a passion of humanity; he served Arham with rotten pork-meat after four days.
Acting upon the laws of his religion, Arham had to eat the forbidden flesh to save his life. With a heavy hart, he put a small piece of meat in his mouth: the piece could not cross the Hurdle of his throat and came out. He renounced the idea of eating and saving his temporary life and began staring in the eyes of the soldier who was standing in front of him.
“Wouldn’t you,” asked the soldier, “beg for life or death?”
“Never,” said Arham. “A desire for death is disallowed in my religion; furthermore, I’m not a beggar. I, in my senses, forgive you what wrong you have done to me till now.”
“Eh? WHAT? What do you mean? All of which I–?”
“Yes, if you kill me,” said Arham, taking a deep breath, “I’ll even forgive you.”
“WHAT? Aww?” asked the soldier and lost in deep thoughts, “How? Eh– are you forgiving me before killing?” He didn’t blink his eyes for several moments. He seemed as though his conscience were wounding his insides with a sharp dagger. A thunder rose inside him; the color of his faced changed. The air became still for a moment. He took out his pistol and shot himself. Some other soldiers came having heard the noise of the pistol. They found the soldier who was lying dead on the ground and became wonder-struck.
Some other soldiers invaded Arham’s house. Hafsa couldn’t be hid this time.
“Who’s in the house?” asked a soldier, looking at Hafsa.
“There’s no body in the house,” said Hafsa’s mother. “Kindly, leave!”
“It’s good then,” they said, looking at one another.
They were drunk and they spoiled Hafsa till her death. Her mother tried her best to free her from the paws of the Animals but in vain. A sudden attack by them made her unconscious. When she woke up, she found herself odorous and both of her daughters dead. They didn’t even spare the little infant, Annie.
She saw a shadow as if it were the angel of death, sitting near the naked dead bodies, consoling them. As she saw this spectacle, she fell unconscious once again. It was night and she was lying as though she were waiting for her death.
Back in the cell, the soldiers examined his companion’s pulse, but they could not solve the riddle of his death, while Arham’s hands were tied up with the chair.
“HOW,” asked the first soldier, “did you kill him?”
“I—did—kill—none,” replied Arham.
“After killing him,” whispered the second soldier, “he might have bounded his own hands.”
“Is it so?” asked the first soldier.
“Get into your senses,” said Arham. “How can I tie up my own hands so tight? He committed suicide. It’s only the salinity of your minds.”
“You are a liar,” said the first soldier.
“They even possess magical powers,” whispered the second soldier.
“Is it so? You are a necromancer.”
Arham began smiling at this though he was suffering from utmost pain.
“Look at him!” whispered the second soldier. “He is making fun of us.”
“Is it so? Magicians often laugh at their victims,” said the first soldier.
They took him in a fictitious court and accused him of killing two soldiers by conjuring. One of them became the judge and two of them chose to be the lawyers. One lawyer played as the defense lawyer while the other played the prosecutor. The four of them became witnesses while there was no audience except the empty chairs. The Witness-Box surround Arham and he was standing inside, holding the bar.
“How do you feel after killing two of our great soldiers?” asked the prosecutor.
“I did never kill any being,” said Arham.
“You mean, you never kill any being by your own hands. It’s fine. How many men have you killed with black magic?”
“I don’t know,” said Arham, “any kind of black magic.”
“You’re a well-versed liar. I’ve four witnesses that saw you killing the two innocent soldiers.”
“No, I DID NOT…”
“Objection my lord, prosecution is trying to tease my innocent client, raising false allegations. You can see my client’s hands are nail-less: they removed his nails collectively. (Arham showed his nail-less fingers) What a brutality! They tried their best to kill him without any proof. It’s the insult of humanity. We’re also human beings. Moreover, he has a Nest to support. Your Honor, I need to ask the witnesses some questions. Kindly, allow me!” said the lawyer defense lawyer.
“Bring them fast,” said the judge.
“Did you arrest him red handed?” the defense lawyer asked one of them.
“YES, of course,” said they, blending their voices.
“How did,” asked the 2nd lawyer, “he kill the first one?”
“Ehh–umm–He killed them by black magic.”
“I asked only about the first one.”
“How long was the distance among you people and he, when you saw him killing?”
“He’s trying to confuse the witnesses, my lord. I objection,” said the prosecutor.
“Objection’s over rule,” said the judge. “Proceed!”
“Yes,” said the defense lawyer, “you were talking about the distance?”
“Yes–eh, I can’t tell exactly, but–It was one kilometer approximately.”
“It’s clear, my lord,” said the defense lawyer. “He had better visit a doctor who will, surely, help him check his eyes. My client had no instrument to kill them.”
“But he killed him with black magic,” said the one of the witnesses.
“Have you any proof?” asked the defense lawyer.
“Black magic ain’t concrete, my lord, while they’ve no solid proof. Furthermore, my client would have already flown away, breaking the fences of their brutal custody, practicing black art.”
“What about the second murder?” said the prosecutor, “The pistol was found near the dead body.”
“My client was sitting in a chair, my lord,” said the defense lawyer, looking at the witnesses, “while his hands were bounded with the chair, is it?”
“Again, my lord, my client don’t know any sort of black magic while I’ve four witnesses who are saying that they saw him tied up with the chair when the soldier was found dead there.”
“Objection, my lord,” said the prosecutor. “We can’t let go a criminal like that.”
“Objection’s over rule,” said the judge.
“Yes, my lord, my client’s entirely innocent. My efforts require crystal clear justice. They should be punished instead. These witnesses are supporting evil. They’re killing the most beautiful humanity to gain the beauty of nature.”
“Humm, have you anything to say in defense?” the judge asked the witnesses.
All of them remained silent.“Kindly!” said the prosecutor, “Give me some time to prove my claim.”
“It’s done. I’m done,” the judge said. “In the light of all the evidences, facts and witnesses, I find Mr. Arham entirely innocent; so, according to the article number 302, he must be hanged by the neck till death.”
An unpleasant noise disturbed the calm air around. All of them laughed except Arham.
“HOW… how?” asked Arham with astonishment, “But you’ve declared me innocent. Why then?”
“Yes, and your fault lies in your being innocent,” said the judge and all of them began laughing.
“Oh! Fine, I know you very well yet I won’t beg for life. There’s no escape from reality. Moreover, seasonal birds must not build castles to live for a short time. Peace-less hearts seek peace. Your barbarity has increased the worth of my ranks in Heavens. You’re going to face God abrupt after me and one can’t deny. Deceiving death’s a worthless attempt and I’m in my senses. Come, be quick with it,” said Arham with courage and his satisfied face was glowing. He was looking contended while the others became restless and their faces were hanging with their necks though they didn’t believe in Almighty God.
“What’s your eventual desire?” asked the executioner.
“I should be buried after death,” said Arham, “and you ought to give my body to my family.”
“Fine,” said the executioner. “We must burn you in our own way.” said the executioner and laughed along with.
Arahm’s eventual desire remained thirsty. Furthermore, the Serpents had already destroyed his Nest. The executioner pulled the liver and another Voice of freedom was pressed in the valley of Kashmir. Arham was the 100,000th Kashmiri who became the victim of their barbarism. He offered his blood to satisfy the beautiful lust of the valley’s dust. Arham’s mother still wanders here and there in search of her son.