The absence of Noor
It was a day like no other as Hannah walked down the road. Hannah was A tall thin Asian girl with fair skin as white as paper and contrasting jet black hair, her eyes were the brightest blue imaginable. She left the house to search for her sister who had not returned from the corner shop just down the road, she’d been gone for quite a while when it normally takes five minutes to leave and return from the shop.
Pemberton road wasn’t its normal boring self, where everyone was placed in the places they were supposed to be, there were sirens and people screaming, the scene was a picture of bomb destruction. The gas cooker had exploded. The corner shop which was normally plastered with posters of events and old movies was aflame, the windows were charred and firemen raced in and out trying to tame the fire. The houses nearby on the terrace street were also affected down to the third house. The residents of the nearby houses t came out to see what was happening. As Hannah was taking in all this information she didn’t notice her sister come limping towards her.
“Hannah…..” she groaned “Hannah pleeeeeees……” and she toppled over, silent and still. At that moment Hannah turned around and saw her sister, she ran towards her and stopped abruptly when she saw her leg. It was crushed, although it was there, it shouldn’t have been, blood was everywhere and the bone was visible. Hannah’s sister was sixteen and the most beautiful girl she had ever known. Her eyes were green and she had chestnut hair, a long sheet of silk reaching her waist.. She had a smile which made her whole face glow and everything in her midst would seem perfect. Her name was Noor, which meant light in Arabic. Hannah couldn’t bear to see Noor like this, she ran forward to her sister’s aid. Almost suddenly a paramedic also noticed her. But it was too late, Noor was gone. The paramedic disappeared unnoticed, into the ground, similar to the effect of a drill and a wave of silver glitter erupted from the spot.
Hannah had kneeled herself beside her sister’s lifeless corpse. “Noorie! Noorie pleeeeeees, Noorie don’t go….” The last word ended with a soft moan, the truth was that Noor had gone. Hannah stroked her face with her cloth to clean away the soot. She peered into those green eyes that she would never see again, those eyes which she would search for all the time she needed someone. Noor had gone to the shop to buy some drink for Hannah. Hannah was pained of the fact, that where Noorie was now, should have been her. Her tears dripped onto Noorie’s face as she thought of the misfortune that had separated her from her sister forever.
It had been many weeks now since the tragic incident, but it still seemed like yesterday. The negative effect of the absence of Noor in the house was ominous. The family of four had been reduced to three. Hannah was middle of three siblings. Noor was the eldest, Hannah a year younger and her little brother was fourteen. Their father died when they were very young, in a tragic car accident.
With the grief of Noor’s death, her mother had become depressed and was recently diagnosed to have bipolar depression; a disorder in which one would be either very low or very high. Nurses, social workers and many people of that sort would visit regularly, and sometimes a nurse often stayed with Hannah’s mum for most of the day, to administer drugs and so on. Her mother was regularly injected with sleeping drugs or something of that sort to keep her calm. Hannah’s brother, Haroon, had become part of a major drug dealing gang following the death of his sister and retardation of his mother. They had no other family here, any other cousins or aunties and uncles lived in Scotland and rarely visited. Hannah’s parents had been somewhat disowned in their youth. All in all, her home life became dismal and she only ever had her friends to look forward to.
Hannah was in the bedroom, getting ready to go meet her friends after school one day. She pulled on some khaki coloured combats and zipped up her McKenzie top to half conceal her face. She combed her straight, shoulder length, jet black hair through with her fingers in an attempt to neaten it. She ran down the stairs in her black lacoste trainers and out through the front door.
She walked a few blocks, it was six o’clock in the evening but the sky was as dark as it was deep in the night, the air was freezing cold, when she saw Becky and Sarah perched on a wall across the street. They were in deep conversation with Danny and zain and Hanni. Hannah's heart enlightened at the sight of her friends. Sarah Malik looked pretty as ever, she was wearing a blue headscarf and a diamond broche on the side, her eyes were the darkest brown and when she spoke she would bat her extremely long thick eyelashes. Her outfit was a blue trouser and kameez and some black dolly shoes. She was deep in Conversation and she swung her legs as she spoke. At school every guy would ask her out, everyone would want to be her friend.
Becky was wearing some stonewash skinny jeans and a borrowed white kurta from Sarah; she had curled her hair into lovely blonde ringlets which bounced against her back as she spoke. They were all evidently perched on a wall near a lamppost so were clearly visible in the night. Danny or Danish khan was one of those lads, who was very much like a girl, and wasn't fond of being friends with boys. He was wearing a shirt and vest top underneath his pleated coat, Hannah guessed. He liked to be different to all the other lads who walked around in the dark streets in tracki’s and tops and reflecting their Rockport shoes. He was just a bit different than your stereotypical British Asian lad. Hanni was wearing his black jeans and black top; he was very tall, it gave the black clothing often made Hanni looked even taller and thinner than he actually was. Zain was just a random guy who seemed to follow their crew around. He was a typical guy in trakis and Rockport’s, black today.
As Hannah approached them, she lost the thoughts of them.. She could now hear their conversation
“ I wanna play tig tig” Sarah was saying
“no way, I’m always on” Danny was saying
“why do you like acting like babies” said Becky
“ lets go get sum food man, am starving” said zain, who was obviously not paying attention to the conversation.
“Hi!” shouted Hannah who stood there unnoticed for some time. They all got up to say hi, Sarah, Becky and Danny greeted her with a hug. Zain nodded his head, his way of saying hi. Hanni give one of his cheeky comments and a cheesy grin, his way of saying hi.
The six teenagers went to get some fish and chips from the takeaway up ton the main road. As they walked, they talked about current events. When the girls and Danny reached Hannah’s street they hugged each other goodbye and promised each other to come online to chat straightaway when they reach home, and then they departed home.
Hannah didn’t have to make no effort to open the door, there was a gust of wind and it opened itself, even though it was locked previously. It didn’t concern her, being an absent-minded individual many things could occur around her unseen. She went up the stairs to her bedroom, and after hours of instant messaging on the internet she finally settled down to sleep.
The next day at school Hannah failed miserably in her biology test; double science was such a bore to her. She returned from school to find her mother who was particularly violent and had thrown a pair of scissors at her and barely jus missed her eye.
Face throbbing in pain, and eyes watering, Hannah went upstairs to her now lonesome bedroom which was once shared. She dabbed at her wound, a deep gash just under her eye, with a cloth and sat down on her bed. Her blue eyes were sunken in her pale skin, her clothes sagged, and she was tired of the misery. Her G.C.S.E exams were nearing, it was January and only a couple of months remained. In January GCSE threats become more apparent. All anyone could talk about was career interests and seeking advice from career advisers. She never really knew where she was or what she could be or would be. She was loaded with stress, and now, also a pain.
Hannah looked around her room, in an attempt to take her mind off her pain. She shared this room with her sister for three years, when they moved in. Her sisters bed was in the far corner against the window, empty. It was a fairly large room containing a desk, two beds, a large wardrobe and apparently a closet which has never opened. The closet wall: The far wall had a length of mahogany doors across it, but doors that were nailed or glued shut. It was never taken notice of, all the furniture was propped up against it, the desk and the two beds for instance. The girls’ wardrobe was on the opposite wall. There was a long window to the left of the bedroom, the side which was Noorie’s side. The desk lay in the middle between both beds. The walls were carelessly painted aqua in places, Noorie and Hannah had painted it together.
Hannah got up to open the window, the room was suffocating. She didn’t know whether it was because she was hot or fed up. This room was torment to her, so was the house and family now.
Outside the window she expected to see Emily ward and her brothers playing in the garden, laughing and giggling, but the neighbours children sat on their porch, stone faced and quiet. That was odd, thought Hannah, these children never rest and they were always out doing mischievous things. It was the most peculiar sight seeing them look, near normal. Emily looked up, they were at the house opposite Hannah’s, Emily was staring at Hannah’s window for ages and. did tears well in her eyes? momentarily Hannah could have sworn she saw Emily’s eyes sparkle before she suddenly got up and ran inside. That was very strange, thought Hannah, what happened to Emily?
Strange as it was Hannah left the thought and departed down the stairs to get something to eat. All this thinking was making her hungry. She walked past the living room; her mother had fallen asleep on the floor. She dragged her mother onto the sofa and went to the kitchen to find something to eat. There was nothing special, no bread, no milk, no crisps or chocolate. There was nothing to eat at all. So after putting an extra large plaster across her cheek to cover the wound, she went out to buy some takeaway. The neighborhood, PrickleFoot, seemed somewhat eerie. It was evening; the weather was freezing cold but alas no snow. Children would normally be playing riding bikes even though it was so cold but they all just sat on their porches staring out into the air. She never really cared about looks and liked being the tomboy she was, if Sarah never gave her endless lectures of ‘try to look decent’ nothing would have stopped her looking like a scruff. Walking out, nobody stared at her, nobody noticed her face although most people would have naturally found it weird to see a large plaster covering it.
She reached the takeaway It was only a few blocks away, on the main road. It wasn’t packed with lads as it normally was, in fact it was thankfully deserted. The guy behind the counter had fallen asleep and was drooling on the worktop behind the glass. He awoke with a start when she entered; he stared at her for a while, completely ignoring her order of chicken and chips. She thought of the notion to slap him for looking at her so but the thought had gone, She froze in fear, she had a seen a yellowish glint in his eyes. It suddenly vanished as quickly as it came. He gave her takeaway box in a plastic carrier like nothing had happened, smiled and opened the door for her to leave. She was sure she had seen a twinkle in his smile, not normal twinkle more like….glitter. She turned away from the shop and walked home at a brisk pace almost a run. Why was everyone acting so weird? She felt like the whole world knew something she didn't, something strange but fabulous, scary but amazing.
It was almost dark now and the children were still at their positions practically glued to their porches, all directing their vision to the tops of their streets. When she reached her street she realized the children of the street opposite hers were facing her bedroom window. They all wore expressions of hungry zombies as they sat and stared without a blink.
Hannah swung open the door of her house and bounded up the stairs, her heart racing. She sat on her bed ad opened her box of chicken and chips. She stared at the window and put her hand in, she screamed, something bit her. When she looked down a load of butterflies flew out of the box, circled the room in a stream and vanished through the wall of the closet. Still in shock she looked into the box and found it was empty, she threw it to the ground. She was so hungry but now fear leapt at her ankles and traveled up her spine. She shuddered; did she just imagine the pink glittery butterflies? Did she imagine their disappearance through the closet wall? Things like this never used to happen when Noor was around. Maybe the children are taken by a grief in the absence of Noor? But Noor only knew the few children in their street, not many streets around. The window which the children continuously stared at, was Noor’s window, she used to love the light pouring in early in the morning. Even the atmosphere was dismal and grey, and that was not because of the weather. Was Noor a special part of everyone? Did she have some kind of power which nobody had? The questions circled in Hannah's mind.