Surviving the night

It was a strange feeling. Seeing myself surrounded, I was in a state of shock. Pathetic.  I was afraid. What exactly is going to happen next?  I had no idea. It was a colourless, cold night. I felt a strong shiver in my bones. I was not able to think. It all just stood still.  I did not complain, yet the sky threw flares of lightning and thunder. The horses were running off the road. I, too, wanted to run. But I was caught by the night. The night was dark. Not as dark as their hearts. I was in deep trouble. It was different this time. It was real. The helplessness was creeping into my heart.  I was so sure of my death. Their knives and the other weapons were hungry for my flesh, thirsty for my blood. They were just doing their duty. The time started to slow down. It all came back. My brain brought back all the memories about my childhood, family and friends. It was time. They put a mask on my face and dragged me. I had heard the stories. Thousands of them. Now it was my turn to live the tale. Would my tale be told by mothers to their children so that they will take caution and won’t leave their home? Am I just another bolt in this never-ending loop of gothic tales? I kept asking what had happened. What was my mistake? Why was I being punished? They didn’t want to hear anything. They didn’t answer. They had no answer. They kept beating me till I collapsed on the ground. Merciless. They were all set to hunt me down. I was their prey caught in the net on the banks of Jhelum. Death was at my doorstep. But there was a certain kind of tranquility flowing through my veins. I was drowning in a strange kind of joy. Happiness I never felt before. It was a divine feeling. They couldn’t prove me guilty. I was protected by my mother’s prayers. I heard her from the bird living in the Prophet’s minaret.