The Stranger by Furqan Tariq
Short Story by: Black Enigma
There was a stranger outside the house…knocking on the doors and whispering the names of every individual in the house. The house maid was closest and answered the knock. Though, a firm follower of rules she went against the usual: confirming the identity of the person from the mistress and then allowing that person inside, instead she secretly led him to her bedroom. There in the darkness of the locked room the stranger hypnotized her and their lips moved in unison repeating a pact the stranger had made with his master long ago. They then kissed goodbye…the man hid in the closet and the maid went to her mistress; a mission in mind. “What happened to you? You look all flustered…is everything alright?” the mistress spoke, taken aback and greatly disturbed by seeing the maid breathing heavily and her face all scarlet. “I’ve had enough! I have been loyal to you all my life, slaving everyday and taking care of everyone…and what do I get in return? Nothing but disgrace and discomfort! You have paid me less than quarter of what I deserve and your kids treat me as a dog. I may be a servant but I still have my dignity! This house is no longer the sanctuary it once was to me…more like a hell!” the maid said in one long breath which made her face turn purple; eyes bulging and hands flying wildly through the air. The mistress was horrified and as if confronted by a monster she started whimpering. Petrified, it seemed she would never speak again. At last after a few minutes she managed to speak in a barely audible whisper, “But you never complained before…you never did! And how many times I had heard you say that my kids were as your kids and you would take care of them without taking a penny from me! What has happened to you…it seems as if I am speaking to a stranger. Have you forgotten you loved us?” The maid laughed deliriously, “Love? I don’t even know what love is! I have only known pain and disappointment in this place…and yes of course I have learned patience. But it has a limit! I am leaving. Find another petty slave for your pompous children who will listen to their ranting about them being holier-than-thou and will survive on a few pennies’ fit for a little child!” With that she turned around, marched to the door and without looking back slammed it behind her. In the shadows of the house someone smiled… That night everyone was solemn. The going of their beloved maid in a way so unexpected had turned the house grey. As they slowly ate their food the stranger crept into the children’s room. The kids came back and sat dejectedly on their bed. It had hurt them tremendously that the going of their maid was largely due to their supposedly abominable behavior though they could not understand when they had been on wrong footing with her. The stranger came from behind and sat beside the kids. Instead of being scared at someone’s intrusion into their room they welcomed the stranger. He leaned closer to one of them, voiced the same pact of old at which the eyes of the little one lightened a bit. He passed the message to his siblings. It was like seeing Chinese whisper being played; a twisted version. The rebels began… Each day the children would retaliate against their mother and revolted against the unfair rules of the house that, strangely enough, they had helped write long ago. They wanted freedom and to do as they wished. The mother was maimed…her heart bruised to see her children who once used to sleep in her lap and made vows never to leave her and even when she would unfairly scold them they would say sorry and to bear her anger. Now where were those angels? It was as if her kids were strangers whom she had once bound with chains as prisoners and now was facing a mutiny. She was helpless and had not the will to fight against her children. She pleaded to her husband to make them understand but what she faced broke her to pieces. He was with the children and he supported their cause. He himself blamed her for all the mess in the house. He said he felt like being “caged” and wanted to be free from her. The stranger had visited the father before her… As the mother left the room the father smirked. He glanced to his right to see the stranger laughing insanely. That night the stranger met the mother. She was silently crying. She looked up to see a person with a distorted face, red deadly eyes and a cruel smile. “You are ugly,” the mother eyed him with disgust. “Your husband, kids and servant it seems thought differently,” he jeered. “The maid had found me mesmerizing, the kids saw me as a potential friend and to your husband I was an invaluable advisor” “You devil!” she roared. The blood running through her was boiling with unimaginable anger. She charged at him but collided with the wall. He was behind her laughing mirthlessly. “I am not the devil but just one of his creations…” “What are you?” “I have many names: hate, envy, lust for worldly things, selfishness, the annihilator of trust, the sense of dissatisfaction that makes a person think that everything in his life has been unfair, that feeling of revolt against all the rules that are supposed to keep a person on the right track…I am many!” he cried out aloud. “But why ruin my life? Why?” she was now lying on the floor crying uncontrollably. “There are no reasons to spread chaos in the world and you were just one of the many I have consumed. Yet you do not ask the question that is important…” She became silent. Then she stammered, “Why did you not corrupt my heart? Why did you make me the slaughter pig?” “Bingo!” the stranger jumped excitedly. “Simple: your soul is too pure! The others, I could sense, were restless inside. On the outside they were happy but their hearts never truly thanked the blessings they had and they wanted more. They did not have the courage to say that God had been unfair or in life never had what they wanted! I gave them the courage to retaliate! I gave them the way to vent out all there anger…on you! Oh you were all happy with everything. Guarding your soul by praying to Him and thanking Him all the time but they were not so good. I sparked the flame of hatred inside them! I gave them the freedom they sought desperately. Had they been like you, true disciples of God, I would have found penetrating their hearts an impossible task indeed!” The mother looked up at him, amazingly managing a smile and said calmly, “But then it shows that you have failed. Would you call success to overpower the weak? You failed to conquer my heart! The heart of the one who followed her Lord! This shows you have no power over Him but He has power over you for He protects those who follow Him. And now I know what evil befalls my family. I will pray to Him for their protection. And you know pretty well that He answers every prayer. Soon He will cleanse their souls and as you rightly said you would find penetrating their hearts an impossible task indeed!” For the first time the stranger looked scared. But the fear soon turned to rage and he roared, “There are only a few good beings in this world now…you are fighting a losing battle!” “But fighting we are and there will always be good you would not be able to conquer. Now be gone and tell your master of your failure!” With one last scream of agony the stranger turned to dust. As days passed by the house shrouded in gloom seemed to smile as it had done before the stranger came. God protected the family who now with their pure souls knew where they had gone wrong. And they were determined to never house any feelings inside them that the devil could use to his advantage.
Written by: Furqan Tariq
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