The Shadow Zone

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
A dark psychological tale of two brothers.

Submitted: May 30, 2012

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Submitted: May 30, 2012

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Prologue

 

He climbed the stairs like a prowler, his body growing tense from the negative emotions. With care, he tugged the heavy curtain covering the window that led to the roof. None was allowed there. He climbed out, wiping the sweat from his neck. His adversary sat on the edge of the roof, dangling his legs and exhaling smoke. He bent his body and approached with stealth. Raising both hands, he pushed the nonchalant figure and scampered back. His face broke into a devilish grin as he heard the bone crunching thud.

 

***

The striker of the ball ran towards the goal post, his eyes determined. He paused for a fleeting second before striking. Veer Suri tried his best to save the goal, but it arched and hit the net. The team shouted with delight and hoisted the striker. Veer watched with sinking spirits as the game ended with the opposing team’s win. He squatted on the ground and cupped his hands to his face, feeling safe in the dark hollow of his palms. It was his way to retreat from reality as the darkness acted as a shield.

 

His team mates came over. “You did your best. That was a difficult goal to save,” one of them said. “But we gave them a good fight.”

 

They left, chatting animatedly. Veer gave a tiresome smile and stood up.

 

“That was a vigorous match.” A female voice called out. He turned and recognized Gehna, a girl in his neighborhood. His face grew flush with embarrassment.

“I…I didn’t know you were watching.”

“I’m a football enthusiast. You play good.”

He ground his heel on the grass, unsure of what to say. “I got to go.”

She nodded. “Let’s hang out sometimes.”

He turned, perplexed. Was she inviting him on a date?  With a half nod, he scurried away. What did she want? A strange mix of fear enveloped him as he approached the dressing room.

 

Dario was watching from the sidelines and followed Veer.  “Football is not your game. You couldn’t stop a simple goal.”

“Not now Dario. Not now.” He was used to his twin brother putting him down for everything.

 

In the shower, he lowered his head and placed his palms on the wall, allowing the scalding hot water to sting his back. Wasn’t saving two goals good enough? So what if they lost the match? Dario’s belittling comments caused a solar plexus in his stomach each time. How I wish I never had a twin, he thought.

 

Coming out of the shower, he heard the boisterous voices of his team-mates. He dried his hair and felt fresh. He saw his friend Issam Ansar, ogling at a poster of a girl. “What a voluptuous figure. Check out her legs man.”

How cheerful they are. After all it is just a match for them, Veer thought.

 

Dario stood near the wash basin, watching him.

“Hey Veer. Let’s have a drink at the pub,” Issam called out.

“Don’t you dare go with that bunch. They just wanna deride and make fun of ya.” Dario whispered. “Remember, Mother is waiting.”

Veer glared at him and walked over to his friend, “Carry on guys. I need to get back home.”

“Don’t be a tight ass. Be a sport man,” Issam said.

Veer glanced at Dario, who stood cross legged, his arms folded.
”What’s with you Veer? Why act weird?”

“Some other time, nyan.” Veer said and made a hasty exit.

 

Dusk fell as they trudged up the cobblestone path to the house. Veer was twenty eight and held a job as a desk clerk, in the Indian town of Neral. A light breeze played with his long wavy hair. He was tall and lean with a square jaw and a slender nose. Behind his horn rimmed glasses, hid a handsome face.

 

He opened the door to a dank smell. Holding his breath, he raised a window to let in some air. His cat mewed and rubbed against his feet. He picked it up with an embrace. “You are so warm,” he said. It was the only thing that made him happy.

 

He avoided Dario who watched him surreptitiously. Of late, Dario spoke only when to berate or reproach Veer.

 

His mother Seera, lay on her bed curled in a fetal position, her upturned face causing her to snore. He shook her gently. She stirred in her sleep, her hair falling over her face.

“Wake up ma. Time for dinner.”

She opened an eye and mumbled. The medicines made her drowsy all the time.

“Ma, you must eat. Where will you get your strength otherwise?”

Reluctantly, she got up and looked at him, like in a haze.

“Where is your father? Was he angry? He fought with me today. Did he leave?”

“We’ll talk about it later ma.”

He looked around the room with a desolate look. Clothes were strewn everywhere. The water bottle had tipped spilling its contents. A dinner plate with dried food lay on the table. The air hung heavy with misery. Everything in this house smells of defeat, he thought.

 

He heated the food and set the table. We must have a semblance of a normal life. The least we can do is, have our dinner together. Seera came to the table and stared at the chair, before sitting. She suffered from acute schizophrenia and her movements were unsteady.

“Ma, I got a call from a lawyer who informed me, Grandfather died last month.”

“Father visited me last night and forgave me. How can he die?” she looked askance.

Veer gripped his spoon and tried to control his emotions.

“In his will, he bequeathed everything to us. We’ll be able to afford things, ma,” he said.

She looked lost in thoughts and the news didn’t seem to register.

“Veer lost the game Mother,” Dario said.

She jerked her head. “Life is full of failures. Look at me. Being alive is a curse, a punishment.” A weak smile lined her face.

“That’s what I told the fool. He isn’t good enough for anything.” Dario said picking at his food.

“Failures, unhappiness and misery, that’s life,” she snarled.

“There is always a silver lining, ma. Not everything is lost, nyaro” Veer said.

“Stop with this ‘nyaro’, ‘nyan’ thing,” she said.

Veer thought about his toy giraffes that he had lost several years back. Saying their names comforted him. The conversation made him sick and he tried to gulp the unsavory food, but it stuck in his throat. He pushed away his plate, cleaned the table and retired to his room.

 

He threw himself on the bed and buried his face in a pillow. The sound of crickets and night flies filled the dark. He looked out the window at the starry night, his cheeks glistening with the flow of tears. He was fraught with melancholia as thoughts of his mother filled his mind. When he was eight, his mother had told them her life story. Seera was a beautiful, shy introverted girl whose passion was dancing. She put up pictures of famous dancers in her room. Her father was a strict disciplinarian and denied his family simple pleasure. He was enraged on discovering them and burnt the pictures.

 

A fair once arrived in her town. One of its major attractions was a dance troupe, of which a young man was the choreographer. She gathered courage and went up to see him. His brown eyes melted her heart and she surrendered to his charms. One night she reached home late and was horrified to see her father pacing furiously, waiting for her.

“I will skin her alive. How dare she go against my dictates? I had warned her to stop this dancing crap,” he thundered. He gave his frightened wife a resounding slap. Seera stood terror stricken, watching her father’s rage. Without thinking, she ran back to the young man and begged him to take her with him.

 

They moved to another town. A year later, he tired of her clinginess and refused to marry her. One day she returned home to find him in bed with a girl. She was sickened by his unconcern and begged him to allow her some dignity. But he rebuked her for being a nag. Each day, she endured humiliation and turned into an embittered, lonely woman. Despite everything, she clung to him.

 

When she informed him of her pregnancy, he quietly left town. Wounded by the betrayal, she became delusional and her pregnancy became fraught with complications. She had no money and no job. Life had kicked her hard.

 

She repeated this story to Veer and it battered his young mind.

 

When Veer was eleven, he returned home, holding a trophy he won for a spelling bee contest. He bounded to his mother’s room and found her lying unconscious in a pool of blood. Thinking her dead, he rushed out shrieking fitfully. The incident left an indelible mark on his fragile mind and damaged his young psyche. He grew close to Dario in his grief and together they took care of her. Seera was diagnosed with schizophrenia. A Non Government Organization took them in and helped with their mother’s treatment. Veer became a loner. The boys at school picked on him, so he dropped out and spent time brooding. Dario’s influence grew stronger and he filled Veer’s mind with negative thoughts of resignation and defeat.

 

When Veer turned eighteen, he struggled with odd jobs and saved enough to move into a small house far from the city. He was happy to see his family together again. This tiny achievement brought in him a sliver of confidence and sprouted desires. But Dario hung like a cloud questioning and impeding his every move. His mother supported Dario as she identified with him.

# # #

 

The following week, Veer returned home carrying groceries. I now have Grandpa’s inheritance and can start life anew, he thought. But first, he had to deal with Dario.

 

He entered Dario’s room and paused to adjust his eyes to the dark. Everything in his room was in black; from his bed covers to clothes and his footwear.  Hideous looking paintings lined the walls. “Who am I?” “I am tired,” “Beginning of the end,” “Last ray of twilight,” were scribbled on the wall.

Veer sat on the bed and roused Dario.

“Dario, we’ve been through a lot,” he said.

“Cut the mushy talk and speak the point.” Dario said.

 

“During bad times, nyan, you took care of me. You made me take refuge in the darkness, and also taught it as the solution.” He hesitated unsure of Dario’s reaction.

“Today I feel victimized and pity myself for what I have become. I’m a nervous wreck, with no friends and no life, a hapless loser. But now…” He wavered. “Things are different. We should… move on.”

“Umm…Whadaya want from me?” Dario asked in a barbed tone.

“That we…”

“Say it!”

“I am buried in a heap of monstrosity, nyaro and need to find my own way.”

Dario slapped his knee and hooted. “You gullible fool. Just because you got some dough, doesn’t mean you can live on yur own. Want to dump me?” He spat on the floor with vengeance, “Some things never part.”

 

Back in his room, Veer tossed on the bed. Unable to sleep and desperate for air, he decided to take a walk. The ferocious barking of dogs rent the balmy air. Dario is playing with my head. Why can’t I leave him? It’s more complex that I think. He pressed his palms to his eyes to dull the anguish. I have to seek a release from my demons.

A girl jogged in his direction, her hair bobbing. As she drew near, he recognized her. Gehna stopped for breath.

“Hey Veer. Jog with me.” Sweat flowed from her neck and trickled down her heaving bosom.

To his horror, he found himself blushing, and he quickly averted his gaze.

“Nyaro, some other time perhaps?”

“How about tomorrow evening then? I’ll come get you.”

She chuckled at his sheepish grin and continued to sprint.

 

Veer shut the door behind, inhaling deeply. His breath grew warm, as he placed his palm on his chest and felt his nipples harden. He had watched her at the mall the other day, where she was hanging out with her friends. She squeezed a guy’s butt, slapped another’s back and licked ice-cream from another’s cone. The ringlets in her hair danced as she strutted and laughed.  Her free spirit was palpable and he admired her. He moaned as his hand slid to his groin. To his amazement, he discovered a massive hard on. She had aroused desires and feelings that were alien to him.

 

The next morning, he woke up with a boulder in his head. He rubbed his eyes, but stopped midway as his eyes froze in a glassy stare of horror. His cat was plastered to the wall in its own sticky blood. A deluge of pins and needles attacked his body. With his pulse pounding, he threw away the covers and rose. He staggered from the trembling in his leg and fell. He looked up, wild with fear, his stomach turning to ice. There was no doubt about the tormentor of the animal.

 

He stormed into Dario’s room and shook him with violence.

“You killed a defenseless animal!” he hollered.

“Not the first time, but almost.” He smirked. “Umm, remember Ronish?”

Veer’s face fell. He remembered the class bully who had beaten him up. Several days later, Ronish had fallen from the roof of the school building and was in coma for the past several years.

Like the cold breath of a grave, Dario’s words seemed to cut his soul. “The cat is a warning. Don’t even think of separating.”

His brother was a murderer and unafraid of anything.

# # #

Tired after the days work, Veer stood under the shower. The doorbell sounded. Damn! He waited; hoping whoever it was would go away. It sounded again. Grabbing a towel, he stepped out, dripping. Shivering from the cold, he opened the door and recoiled at the sight of the visitor.

 

“Well… aren’t you going to invite me in?” She ran her eyes over his half-naked body. Water trickled from his forehead and she reached out to wipe it. He drew away.

“I…I forgot you were coming.” He fidgeted seeing her wicked smile. “Come in. I’ll be right back… ”

 

He returned dressed in a white shirt and blue jeans, his hair tousled.

“You are a beautiful man.” She patted the place beside her.

He was aware of his handsome looks, having acquired it from his mother.

“Do I intimidate you? You are squirming!”

“No, Not at all. I…I am not used to having visitors.”

“There is certain vulnerability on your face that I find appealing,” she flirted.

Veer stole a glance at her, taking in the low cut red skirt.

“I heard your mother isn’t well.”

He nodded not wanting to dwell on the topic. “We’ll be moving soon. We have acquired some money.” He smiled wanting to impress her. “Can I get you something?”

 

He handed her a drink and she enwrapped her palms around his hand. Her touch burned his skin. She tilted her head, and brought her lips to his. Veer stiffened and shut his eyes. Images of tied hands flashed, and he rubbed his wrists.

“Did I do something wrong?” she asked.

He shook his head vehemently. She took his hands in hers and whispered. “It’s okay to tell me. I can help.”

The sincerity of her voice touched a raw nerve, “I was abused...” He said furrowing his brow.

She patted his hand encouraging him to continue.

“Some of the older boys at the facility I was in...” he said and clammed up.

 

She looked at him with a softened expression, and then took his fingers and placed them gently in her mouth. The tenderness and warmth of the gesture ignited passions in him. As his body relaxed, he opened his eyes. Her sweet breath and the softness of her bosom felt invigorating and he surrendered to the sensations.

 

Dario watched their slithering naked bodies hidden behind a curtain. He felt flush with desire. His eyes unflinching, he undid his pant buttons and played with himself vigorously. The explosion of emotions propelled him into dimensions beyond and he lay panting. A feeling of guilt tinged his pleasure. Why did he enjoy watching them? Shouldn’t he be worried about the girl’s seductive charms stealing Veer away? He had to separate them. But wait. He had reveled in seeing the sexual romp. Damn! Just one more time, he promised himself.

 

“Umm you are intense.”

“So you were watching! Allow me some privacy next time.”

“Be careful. She is pure evil.”

Veer went down on his knees and implored. “My life is barren Dario. I beg you; allow me this one thing. She has released me from a curse today.”

Dario walked out. Veer frowned. That was easy. Why did he not say anything?

 

“Something is different about you, Veer.” His mother said at the dinner table.

It’s time to broach the topic of Gehna, Veer thought. “Ma... I have met a girl.”

He looked at the hapless sight of his mother, looking at him, bleary eyed. Dario watched from the corner.

“I am in lov—”

“Don’t utter those disgusting…vile words. Your father…I… I loved him…gave my life and yet…” She started weeping. “Those … whores...no love in this world...only lust…”

“Ma, everything doesn’t turn out the same for everyone, nyan.”

Her face went blank and she turned her gaze to the ceiling. Without warning, she picked a dinner plate and smashed it to the floor.

“No Veer!” She pierced her forehead with her fingernails and ran across the room, her hair thrashing in the air. Veer ran behind. She seemed blinded with emotions and knocked against a wall. Her brow bled as she held onto Veer’s shirt collar and wept. “Why are you angry? Why did you abandon me—?”

“Ma, I am Veer.”

Her eyes turned bloodshot. “I am alone… No one loves me.” Her grip weakened and she blacked out.

# # #

Veer listened to the doctor who informed him, that his mother had suffered serious brain abnormalities. With medication and therapy, she would be able to control her symptoms and gain independence. This entailed a long term stay at the hospital.

 

Dario withdrew into a deep and brooding resentment. His strength, his mother was gone and it squeezed his life. He hid from the stifling presence of his brother. Why did Veer have to tell mother? He is selfish and wants happiness for himself. My power over him is weakening. He will try to get rid of me too. Veer doesn’t care as long as he has that bitch.

 

He looked at the sleeping Veer. How can he lie calm and peaceful while mother is battling her life? He could feel his heart race as he pulled out a knife. Veer awoke with a start and saw Dario’s shadow creeping on him.

“Nyaro!” he shouted. He held on to Dario’s arm and struggled before wresting the knife. Dario pushed Veer to the floor and pinned him to the ground.

“Ya kno’ who took your ‘nyaro’?” he sneered.

 

The startling truth filled Veer with rage. With a surge of strength, he freed his hands and plunged the knife in Dario’s stomach. Dario fell in a heap. Gasping for breath, Veer dragged himself from the baleful silhouette. What did I do? Murdered my twin?} He gnawed at the back of his hand. Shaken, but aware of his senses, he made a decision. No one would miss Dario, as none noticed him. He dragged Dario to the backyard, dug a hole and pushed the body in. I needed you, but not anymore, nyan.

 

The next day he met Gehna.

“Will you marry me?” He implored her with puppy eyes.

She looked surprised. “What? I hardly know you. And what’s the hurry?”

“I…I love you and want you in my life. You make me feel alive.”

She looked uncertain.

“My mother is in hospital. This place haunts me. We’ll set up a life elsewhere. Let’s move to Bombay.”

“But what about your—“

“Just say yes. Trust me. I am rich. You can live like a queen. Take my all. I only need you.”

 

A year later…

 

Gehna pushed away her drink. It was too sweet for her liking. She adjusted her coolers and checked out the backside of a guy passing by the pool. Hmm, nice.

 

She pondered on her life. Veer was a good man, a bit too good perhaps. He had extreme moods; brooding, silent, sometimes full of vigor. At times he looked scared like he had seen a ghost. But he was too dull for her liking and she rued her decision to marry in haste. The lure of money was too powerful to refuse. She felt guilty at her thoughts. I can’t have everything; a dashing rich guy with humor and charm. Veer is not too bad though. I should make it work, she thought. Just then, the person she was waiting for, walked in, and her heart skipped a beat.

* * *

Veer looked in the mirror and ran a brush through his hair. Marriage had worked well for him. He gained weight and became a regular in the football club. His heart gave a lurch. Why couldn’t he embrace happiness? Why did the memories of his troubled past still surge beneath? The shadow of Dario haunted him. At times he thought he saw him, but dismissed it as a figment of his imagination.

 

Gehna was a good companion. Sometimes she gave the impression that, all she was interested in was his money. Of late, she would be gone for hours, and when asked, she would smile and chide him for being possessive. He was filled with panic as thoughts of her leaving him, filled his mind. I am determined to be happy unlike mother and Dario. Gehna makes me happy and that’s it. Nyan!

* * *

Issam strode into the pool-side. He visited Bombay for his business trips and dropped in at Veer’s house.

 

On one such trip, Veer was away to visit his mother and Gehna was alone. She insisted he stay the night. They had dinner on the roof and were enjoying the evening. Before her marriage, Issam had pursued her, as he had found her sex appeal irresistible. Before anything happened, she put an end to his dream. Of course she chose money, he had thought.

 

The evening air was balmy and passions were stirred. Before long, they found themselves in each others arms. Unable to control their emotions, they met a couple of times. Each time, his conscience pricked him, as Veer had helped finance his business and was a good person. He felt extreme remorse at his behavior and decided to end seeing her. We must do something unforgivable in life. That’s how we go on living, he thought.

* * *

Startled at the sound of the door knob, Veer dropped the brush. His body tensed at the premonition and he cupped his palms on his face.

“Till when you’ll escape me, bro?”

Cymbals crashed in his mind. With quivering lips, he widened the crevice of his fingers and saw Dario standing with his arms outstretched. His eyes were death-like and his face looked hideous.

“And you thought you killed me?” He said circling Veer. “What a sloppy job! In your heart you wanted me to be alive and hence the half hearted stabbing, the superficial burial. Umm, in your eagerness to see me dead you gave me life.”

Veer braced himself against the wall avoiding his eyes. Nyaro! He was perplexed that some part of him was happy to see Dario.

“I have bad news. Can we talk, umm?”

 

* * *

“Gehna we can’t do this any more. I feel so wretched.”

She chewed her lips. “Sit down. Let me order something for you.”

Issam put his hands in his head.

Her forehead wrinkled. “I called you for the same reason. I feel repentant too. It’s unforgivable. But what’s done is done. Lets pretend it never happened and go on with life.”

 

* * *

“Where’s your wife umm?” Dario asked.

“Don’t dare talk about her,” Veer said in a low voice.

“Do you know what she’s been upto?”

“Stop that nyaro! You are frustrated and want to muddy my life too.”

“Umm. She is cheating you bro.”

Veer’s face crumbled.

“This is her mobile bill. Check her calls. She is seeing, Issam,” Dario said.

Veer gave him an agonized look.

“I followed her to Issam’s hotel. Not only that, I saw them here, on your bed.”

 

Veer looked at the bills and broke down, “Why did you tell me? I am happy in my world, even if it’s fake.” His face clouded with worry, “What if she leaves me?”

* * *

Gehna was placing her order with the waiter when Issam’s mobile rang. “Hey Veer…Yes I am in town… What?”

Issam gave a short laugh “Gehna? No she isn’t here…Why would she?”

He looked at Gehna and put his finger to his lips, motioning her to be quiet. He pointed to the phone and silently mouthed that it was Veer. He paced around the pool. “Outing? Tomorrow? No Veer I am busy…I have to fly back…Oh. Ok man… Anything for you.” He clicked the phone shut. Putting his hands on his hips, he stared at his shadow. “He has invited me on an outing with you.”

“What? He didn’t tell me about it,” Gehna said.

“It’s a good opportunity to make amends. Then I’ll disappear from his life.”

* * *

The sun shone on the gushing water of the beautiful Kune waterfalls. It looked like a vast sea of shimmer. The place was deserted, it being the off season. After a quick game of football, they sat down to enjoy the huge spread of food.

“Being amid nature, nyan, increases my appetite.” He said munching.

“It’s nice to see you happy,” Issam said.

Later, Veer lay resting on the mat, his hands under his head. A plane traced its path in the distant sky.

“Why don’t you get married Issam?”

“Not so lucky am I? Marriage ties one down.” He said biting into an apple.

“Yeah that’ll give you a reason to mess around.”

Issam gave a nervous laugh. “All the good girls are taken man.”

Veer moved his fingers through Gehna’s hair. “Yeah like my wife. Do you regret marriage, sugar?”

“Don’t talk rubbish.” She admonished Veer and glanced at Issam.

A fork of lightning flashed, causing a crack to form in the sky.

“It’s amazing how weather changes. Like people. What do you say?” Veer looked at both.

Issam arose, dusting his trouser. “Looks like it will rain. We should leave.”

“C’mon,” Veer drawled. “Let’s take a walk.”

 

They were silent as they approached the falls. It started to drizzle.

 

The earth jutted from the ground to reach out to the water from the falls. Veer stood near the railing and spread his arms to embrace the water spray. “C’mon you both. Don’t stand gaping.”

The roar of the water was deafening. The three of them stood awkwardly admiring nature’s beauty.

 

“How dare you screw around with my brother umm?”

Gehna and Issam whirled. Veer had moved behind, his eyes crinkled and burned with fury. The veins in his neck throbbed as he gnashed his teeth and screamed in a raspy voice. “You are a bitch Gehna! My brother worships you, and you gladly spread your legs for this trash?” Veer pointed to Issam.

They stared at him, confusion writ large on their faces.

“Veer, what brother? Whose brother?” she stammered.  “You sound creepy with that changed voice.”

The rain turned into a downpour. Issam squinted at him. “Man, I knew something was wrong with you.”

“You phoney bastard. He helped you, and in return you screw his wife.”

Issam looked dumbfounded. He reached out his hand to Veer. “I…I wont deny it man. We are guilty and deserve your scorn—”

Veer flailed his hands in the air, “Don’t touch me! You deserve nothing but death!”

“Look Veer—”

“Umm, I am not Veer. I am Dario, the powerful one. Veer is a weakling. From now on there will only be me and not that nincompoop.” In a swift movement he drew a sharp knife and stabbed Issam. Stunned by the blow, Issam clutched his stomach, staggered and fell.

Gehna shrieked. “Is anyone there? Please help.”

Veer held her throat in a vice like grip.

“Baby, I am so sorry.” She begged. “Forgive me this one time. Veer…I…promise to be a good—”

“Umm. Shut up hussy!” He yelled, “I am not Veer, that wuss!”

“I’ll never do it again. I beg you. Believe me.” She folded her palms crying pitiful tears.

 

He looked at her with a dark gaze and then, grinding his teeth, he pushed her. A piercing cry rent the air as she fell into the water. Veer watched with glassy eyes. Turning around he leapt in the air, and clapped with glee. He looked at Issam and blinked his eyes. His face broke into concerned expression.

“Dario what have you done?” He cried looking at Issam. “You tricked me Dario. Nyan!”

“Who is Dario? I don’t see anyone else.” Issam quaked.

Veer’s voice changed to a raspy tone. “Look bro, I set you free from all of them. No more pain. I am taking over fully, umm?” He looked like a zombie mumbling to himself. From the corner of his eye, he saw Issam speak on the phone.

He snatched it, shouting. “Did you call the police? No...No…No...” he stamped his foot. “They’ll put him away. I need him. He needs me. Dario…oh Dario!”

 

Three years later…

 

He looked at the doctor, uncertain why he had come. Although Veer had tried to kill him, Issam felt guilty and blamed himself for what happened. He remembered that fateful day when the police had arrived and taken Veer into custody, and later to a psychiatric facility.

 

“We are discharging him this week. He has done a full recovery,” the doctor informed him. Leaning on the table, he said, “He asked us to contact you and gave consent to discuss his case.”

Issam gave a terse smile. He wanted to help Veer in whatever way he could.

 

The doctor said, “Let me explain his condition in a simple way. Veer is a normal person but he had a very troubled childhood. He never saw his mother happy and was traumatized when she tried to kill herself many times. As a young boy it was too much for him to handle. He feared for her life and had separation anxieties. His mother is a schizophrenic and was not of any help. Thus, perpetual fear became his undoing.

 

The doctor referred to the file on Veer. “Fear is the path to the dark side. It leads to anger and anger leads to hate. He was separated from his mother and put in a facility where the older boys abused him sexually. Unable to cope, Veer began lapsing into a self-hypnotic state, called disassociation.  It is a defense mechanism that protects the child from feeling overwhelmingly intense emotions. It’s like disconnecting and locking the memory or pain in a suitcase and storing it in the back of the brain. These distinct emotions and thoughts however developed into a new personality with its own memory and characteristics which we refer to as an ‘alter’. Veer identified him as a twin brother – Dario – his father’s name. The ‘alter’ thrived on hatred and became darker and acuter with time. Veer took refuge in him as he felt safe.

 

“With time, Dario grew stronger and rebelled against everything Veer did. He fed on Veer’s fear and eventually wanted to suppress him completely so as to become the ‘main’ personality.

 

“Dario discouraged him from socializing and having relations or friends. His mother supported him as Dario, as she identified with his character. Dario’s behavior began to take on a malefic streak. He resorted to physical harm when he sensed danger.

 

“After acquiring money, Veer gained in confidence and wanted to be in charge. His conflict with his alter grew. He found a ray of hope when he discovered, he was capable of love with Gehna. Dario tried to thwart his plan, so he fought and killed his ‘alter’.  But the dark side never goes away. It has to be constantly suppressed. Dario re-surfaced when Veer feared Gehna would leave him. Many times the ‘main’ cannot remember when the ‘alter’ takes over and at other times they are fully aware and have conversations. Unknown to him, Dario began to watch Gehna and you know the rest.

 

“We treated him with long-term psychotherapy, hypnosis and developed a trusting relationship between him and his ‘alter’. Once that was established, both were encouraged to communicate with each other in order to integrate and come together.”

 

The doctor looked at Issam who was listening with keen interest. “Are you ready to help him Mr. Ansar, considering the history of your relations?”

Issam cleared his throat, “Yes I’ll. My business is thriving, and it’s all because of his help. I owe him big time.”

# # #

 

The next day Veer walked into the waiting lounge. He looked lean and his hair was cropped. When he saw Issam, he smiled cautiously. His eyes were moist as he fought to control his emotions.  They stood for a while, trying to blur the passage of time between them. Issam came over and they hugged.

 

“I have arranged for your accommodation. You can stay there as long as you like.” Issam said in the car.

“Thanks. It means a lot.”

Issam revved the engine and started driving. Just then, another car sped past nearly colliding with theirs. He brought the car to a screeching halt.

“You crazy asshole!” Issam cursed clenching his fist at the driver. “Are you alright Veer?”

 

Veer sat with his palms cupped to his face feeling safe in the dark. Nyaro!


© Copyright 2018 heyfarooq. All rights reserved.

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