Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Death - Last Breath

This story was highly inspired by a senior in her fourth year while she narrated a similar story to the entire madrasah during the presentation of Kitaabul Janaaiz by the first years.
May Allah bless the students, ex-students, the asatidhah and Madrasah Mu'einul Islam.  Amin.


This is a story of a girl.  A teenage girl, Fatima.  She just turned 17 two days ago.  As usual, her family would celebrate her birthday by throwing a birthday party.  Everyone would be there.  Everyone besides her ‘extreme and boring’ elder sister, ‘Aaisha – well, at least that’s what Fatima thinks of her now. 

All these years, ‘Aaisha had also been like Fatima – a party freak, loves to go out shopping, watching the movies and all.  Whatever they were up to, they always did it together.  They were inseparable. 

But somehow, now, she’s changed.  She’s changed so much after being in madrassah, and Fatima hates the new ‘Aaisha.  She just abhors ‘Aaisha.  She can’t seem to connect with her sister anymore.  At times, she would purposely do things to irritate and spite her sister.

“Don’t do that, Fatima,” ‘Aaisha would remind her when she turns on the music full blast in their room.  “It’s not befitting to be listening to music.  It’s not just haram but – “

“Yea, Yea. Bla bla bla.  It’ll make you go deaf.  Hot lead will be poured into your ears on the Day of Judgment. Hypocrisy will grow in your heart,” Fatima would retort back, annoyed.

“Come on ‘Aaisha.  Just because you’ve been to madrassah, don’t expect everyone to change their lifestyles overnight.  I’m still young.  I need to enjoy life.  Haven’t you heard of the saying that – “

“Live life to the fullest,” ‘Aaisha said, completing the sentence.  Again, she would be told off by her sister.  “But Fatima, what’s going to happen if the Angel of Death comes knocking on our door today?  Do we have enough good deeds to face Allah?  How will we then face Allah?  Death does not know age limits.  The young and the old – it makes no difference to the Angel of Death,”  ‘Aaisha said in a concerned tone to her sister.

“Oh ‘Aaisha shush!  If you don’t stop, I’m gonna turn on the volume ‘cos apparently, if you haven’t noticed, I’m not able to listen to my favorite song with you yapping away about death in the background!” threatened Fatima, looking at her sister in a disrespectful and challenging manner.

‘Aaisha sighed, feeling defeated yet again. “Ya Allah!  Please don’t disgrace my sister and give her the taufiq to become a good, practicing Muslimah,” would be the supplication that she’d constantly make whenever she sees Fatima do things that were breaking the commandments of Allah.

Seeing this, Fatima smiled triumphantly. “Good!  At least that kept her quiet,” Fatima said to herself with delight.  She relished the times that she was able to make ‘Aaisha fall speechless and silent.  A sense of sheer satisfaction would flow in her body.  She rocked her head to the beat of the blaring music and totally ignored ‘Aaisha’s presence.

That’s how their conversation would be like regularly.  Whatever good advice ‘Aaisha would give, Fatima would turn a deaf ear to it.  She just couldn’t stand the constant ‘nagging’ whenever ‘Aaisha comes back from madrassah during the weekends.  It felt like World War Three each time they were together.  It was obvious that they were drifting apart from each other.  The intimacy and closeness they used to share was rapidly fading away.

Fatima was anticipating eagerly that day.  It was a Saturday afternoon.  Her three best friends had planned to spend the time together with her by taking her out to the movies to celebrate her birthday.  She was looking forward to hanging out with them.  At least she wouldn’t have to stay at home and listen to the saint preach.

“Ring!  Ring!” Rings Fatima’s mobile.  Immediately, Fatima reaches for her mobile and answers it.  “Hello,” she says.
“Hi Fatima!  It’s me,” says the person on the other end.
“Oh my God Sumayya!  Where are you?  Do you like, have any idea how long I’ve been waiting for you guys?” Fatima asks exasperatedly, flopping herself on the bed.
“Sorry bout that.  What’s up?  Why you sounding so…annoyed?”  Sumayya asks curiously.
“You know, the ‘usual’,” Fatima tells her, looking at ‘Aaisha acidly.
“Oooh, ‘thaaat’.”
“Yea, you know how it is.  It’s sooooo depressing living with boring and mundane people you have no idea whatsoever!” Again, Fatima looks at ‘Aaisha with her cold eyes.
“Don’t worry, Fatima.  I understand your pain,” Sumayya says to her friend, trying to sound empathic.
“Can’t you like, hurry up?  I’m dying out of boredom here at home.”
“That’s why I phoned.  Just wanted to let you know that we’re gonna be at your place in 15 minutes, so be ready.”
“Cool!  Who else is there?”  Fatima asks excitedly now that her friends were on the way to pick her up and go out.
“Umm, it’s just us the usual gang - Mariam, Husna and myself,” Sumayya replies as she looks at the passenger seat and at the back seat while she drives.
“Kay.  I’ll be ready,” Fatima says with a smile on her face.
“OK girlfriend.  See you in a bit and don’t be late!”  Sumayya reminds her.

Fatima hangs up and goes to her closet.  She changes her outfit.  A tight brown top paired with white jeans.  She applies heavy makeup and brushes her shoulder length hair with burgundy streaks to the back.  She puts on blue color contacts and sprays some perfume on.  ‘Aaisha coughs a few times at the overwhelming scent of the perfume.

“Oh please.  It’s only perfume.  It won’t kill you,” Fatima scoffs looking at her sister who was reading a book entitled ‘Lives of the Prophets’.

‘Aaisha looks up at her sister and says, “Fatima, your belly’s showing.”  “Why don’t you put a light cardigan on?  It is quite cold and chilly outside,” ‘Aaisha says subtly trying to send the message to her sister to cover up her ‘awrah.

“Umm, nope I don’t think so.  I need to look good when I go out, ya know.  Plus, it’s the new top Dad just gave me for my birthday.  If I don’t wear it now, when else am I gonna wear it?  Thanks anyway for your concern,” Fatima says as she looks at herself in the full length mirror.

“What time will you be back from the movies?”  ‘Aaisha inquires her sister who was putting on a pair of high heeled shoes.

“None of your business,” Fatima replies arrogantly.

“Of course it is.  I’m your elder sister.  I just wanna make sure you’ll be back safely insha Allah,”  ‘Aaisha says trying to make eye contact with Fatima.

“Look ‘Aaisha, it’s my day out with my friends.  If Mum and Dad haven’t said anything about what time I should be home, then you shouldn’t be concerned about it,” Fatima says with her hands on her waist.

“Fine.  But please don’t be home late. I’ll get worried if you’re not home by night time.”

Fatima lets out a sigh of boredom.  “If you’re that worried, just give me a ring on my mobile.  What’s the big deal?  I’m not a kid anymore, ya know.  Gosh.”

“Can’t you at least put on a cardigan before you leave?”  ‘Aaisha suggests, trying her luck again.

“Nope, sorry.  I got no time for this.  I gotta go.  See you later.  Assalamu’alaikum,” Fatima greets her sister before she hurriedly rushes out of the room with her handbag in her hand.

Fatima sees her parents in the living room and gives each of them a peck on their cheeks.  She tells them that she’ll be home early – before seven.  The doorbell rings.  Fatima walks briskly to the door and opens it.  Her friend Husna greets her parents and then together with Fatima, head toward Sumayya’s car.

All four of them chat heatedly on the way to the cinema.  They laugh and joke with each other.

“Ohhh!  I love this song!  Turn it up Mariam!”  Fatima instructs her friend Mariam who was sitting in the front passenger seat next to Sumayya who was driving.

“Yea!  This is my favorite song too!” chirps in Husna.

The four of them began singing to the song.  Sumayya purposely sings it out of tune to amuse her friends.  The others laugh at her.

“Sumayya, the movie starts in 15 minutes.  We need to speed it up girl!”  Reminds Mariam.

“Really?  No problemo.  Everyone, hold on tight!  Sumayya the Speed Star is about to accelerate! Wheeee~!”  Sumayya says as she hits on the accelerator.

“Alright!”  Chimes the rest. 

They continue singing to the song.  Ahead, the lights had turned red but instead of slowing down and stopping, Sumayya steps on the accelerator more.  The car just passes the traffic lights when suddenly, from the left, a trailer slams into the car. 

“Aaaaaagh!”  All of the girls scream in unison. 

Sumayya hits the brakes but the impact was so strong that the car skids to the other side of the road, where traffic on the right was moving.  A car from the right side was moving fast and the driver hadn’t had time to apply the brakes.  This time the car was hit from the right.

The four girls scream hysterically in fear and shock.  The window screen shatters.  Pieces of glass come in contact with their bodies.  Both the sides of the car were smashed badly.  The car moved a few meters before it finally comes to a halt, just in front of the trailer that hit it earlier on. 

Fatima could feel hot blood trickling down the side of her left forehead.  She tries to move her legs and arms but to no avail.  She forces herself to open her eyes but she had no strength to.  She hears the honk continuously going on. 

“Sumayya’s head must be slumped on it,” she thinks to herself.  “Ya Allah!  This pain is so intense!  Somebody help!!!”  She screams loudly but could hear nothing.  Her mouth wouldn’t co-operate with her.  It wouldn’t open up.

A few minutes later, Fatima hears the siren.  She could hear voices.  She still couldn’t open her eyes but was able to hear every single word uttered by the people.

“Oh my God!  What a wreck!” Cries one lady.
“Do these kids have IDs on them?” asks a male’s voice.
“Not all of them.  Just this kid – Husna Khan,” replies his colleague.
“Khan?  So that means she’s a Muslim, right?” the man asks his colleague again.
“I guess,” he replies with a shrug.
“What about the rest of them?  Are they Muslims too?”
“What do you mean? I am a Muslim!  Can’t you tell?!”  Fatima asks angrily in her heart.
“Can’t really tell.  It’s not like they’re in hijab or anything.  If you asked me, I’d think they’re non Muslims.  But hey, you never know these days.  Muslims, non Muslims, they all look the same!”
“Their families are going to have a shock when we notify them.”
“What a pity.  And such young kids too.  What a waste,” the lady says as she looks at the four girls who were involved in the accident.
“What a waste?”  Fatima asks.  “What are you saying? I’m not dead you know!  I can still hear you!  It’s just that I’m unconscious, that’s all!”  She says heatedly.  “Just these people wait!”

Soon, Fatima’s body is lifted into the ambulance and taken to the hospital.  About twenty minutes later, her parents and sister arrive.  She could hear loud sobs and cries from her mother.

“Fatimaaa~!”  Wails her mother in disbelief that her daughter is no longer there.

“Mum, be patient Mum.  Say ‘Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi roji’un’ and insha Allah, Allah will reward us abundantly,” Fatima hears ‘Aaisha speak to her mother affectionately.

“What is wrong with you too, ‘Aaisha?  I’m not dead!  Stop acting like I’m dead already!”

“Bring her back doctor!  Bring my Fatima back!”  Demands her father as he grabs the doctor’s collar.

“Please, Sir.  There’s nothing I can do.  She was killed instantly at the scene,” the doctor tells her father and everyone else.  “You need to calm down.”

“Wha-??!!”  Fatima says to herself in disbelief.  “I’m dead?  I died?  But I’m still young!  I’m not supposed to die!  I can’t die!  I don’t wanna die!  Oh Allah!  Please grant me life again!”

“Fatima,” her parents call out her name helplessly.  ‘Aaisha consoles both of them.

“Fatima, I’m sorry,” she hears ‘Aaisha speak beside her with her usual soft, loving tone.  “Forgive me.  I hadn’t been a good sister.  I should’ve tried harder but now it’s too late,” laments ‘Aaisha.  She cries together with her parents.

“No!  No!  I’m sorry!  I should’ve listened to you, ‘Aaisha, but I was being spiteful and stubborn.  I wasn’t taking heed of your advices at all!  ‘Aaisha! Please forgive me!  Please!!!”  Fatima weeps terribly, knowing that now no one could hear her any longer.

Next thing she knows, she could feel her clothes being removed.  Fatima could feel several hands on her body.

“Ouch!  What are you doing?  Can’t you be more gentle?  It hurts!”

Warm water was being poured onto her body.  She then realizes that ghusl is being performed on her.  The slightest of pokes and grips would hurt her very much.  She screams in agony and pain.  Thereafter, her body was carried elsewhere.  She was then enshrouded by 5 pieces of cloths.  

“We love you Fatima,” she hears her father whisper in her ear lovingly.  He gives her a kiss on her cheek.

“No!  I don’t wanna go yet!  Please!!!  It’s too early for me!!!”

Then, her body was lifted.  The atmosphere was somber and solemn.  She doesn’t know what else to do.  She knows that by now, she’s being taken to the grave for burial.  She tries to lift her limbs, hoping, just hoping that she could come back to life.  She screams desperately and cries but no one hears her.

“Wait!  No!  No!  Please!  Ya Allah!  Have mercy on me!”

She feels her body being lowered into the ground.  Six feet under the ground.  The fresh soil being dug especially for her arrival.  Then she hears the soil being thrown onto her. Not long after, the voices above her subside.  They were becoming more distant.  She could hear the footsteps getting fainter and fainter. 

Suddenly, there was total silence and darkness.  She was all alone.  She was scared.  Scared and lonely.  She couldn’t see anything at all.  Not a single light in the grave.  She shudders and becomes anxious.

Out of nowhere, she sees two pairs of eyes in the dark.  She was panicking.  The eyes were of a very dark blue color.  Dark icy blue.  She couldn’t think straight anymore.  Before she could say or ask anything, she hears a loud thunderous voice.

“Man robbuka?”  Was the question posed to her.

Fatima freezes.  She didn’t know what to answer.  Her throat turns dry.

“Man robbuka?”  The question was asked again, this time in a more commanding and demanding tone.

Fatima tries to give an answer but the only thing that comes to mind was the lyrics to her favorite song… 

P/S:  Now try reading the story with Ahmed Bukhatir's 'Last Breath' playing in the background.  The effect should be eerily instantaneous.

1 comment:

  1. Heart breaking, especially when it IS the reality for some people...