He fired the gun.
The shots permeated through the silent night, crisply marking their territory as if an instinctive animal.
The fear was gone.
His hand no more wavered. Nor did it quiver with apprehension. The apprehension with which he had held the heavy metal that gave a faint glint in the streetlight, only hours before.
Something stirred behind him. His mother had heard the gunshots and rushed up in her night-suit, sleep-stricken, panicky and shaking head to foot. At once, she enquired about his dubious act in the middle of the night that was bound to have awoken the neighbours.
She swallowed nervously. She had to admit, she was afraid. Of her own flesh and blood. Of what he had become.
“I am tired of this world,” was his honest reply, after several seconds of prolonged smiling. “And its people. I hate everybody.”
His mother gulped – and then there were flashbacks…
The father worked for an oil company in the Middle East. His untimely death left his closed ones shocked and upset. He was survived by his widow and their two children: a son and a daughter.
The three moved to Pakistan, their native country, not soon afterwards. The children were enrolled in the best of schools in the city.
Despite the rich educational environment, the son fell into wrong company.
It started off with smoking. Aggravated with the abuse of drugs.
Drugs. The reason he attacked his grandfather, who refused to give him the money to buy some.
The grandfather outlived the wound. In his appearance at court, he spared his son’s only son, by lying that it was too dark to describe who his victim was.
They said he used wicked magic.
They sent him into rehab.
They said he had been cured.
They got him married. The girl divorced him.
His sister got married, then.
And it was her who had invited their mother and a few other people round her place for a religious session, the next day…
They had a quiet breakfast. As normal.
He spoke to her about his job prospects. She talked to him about working with his cousin.
They discussed interviews. They discussed the possibility of another marriage.
He was cheerful.
He felt at ease.
He had been sober for a while too, now.
He laughed and grinned as his mother told him about eligible girls.
She enjoyed the moment as well, and pushed to the back of her head the fact that he owned a gun. That he had fired into the naked sky.
Instead, she admired his face. Pearl white. His dazzling grey eyes. And his million-dollar smile.
He was beautiful. And she knew it.
After breakfast, he bid her farewell as he departed to meet a friend who was to arrange for his work.
Half an hour later, the sister arrived, to pick their mother for the evening.
The mother left him the spare key, as she locked behind herself.
She got into the car, and the pair drove off. On the way, they discussed him. They loved him. As did a lot of other people. Such was his persona.
Or, may be, so used to be…
The mother had stayed over the night at her daughter’s. The function had gone on till late, and she had missed her.
It was midday. She unlocked the front door.
The house stood still, just as she had left it. The spare keys were gone, she noticed. Her son must be home, then.
She called out to him, to see if he was awake, yet.
He did not reply.
She checked the phone for voicemails. None recorded.
She put the food that her daughter had packed for the son in the refrigerator, drank a glass of water, and went to wake up her son.
She knocked his door. Turned the knob, but it was locked.
She rapped again. Louder this time. Called out his name, too.
No reply from the other side. No sound of any activity.
Her heart flipped a little.
She didn’t waste any time, and went to get the neighbour’s boy, to help her shove the door open.
The neighbour came, and knocked the brown wood. Hard.
They called out his name.
Still no reply.
He threw himself against the door. Trying to force it open.
It took him three thrusts.
The door burst open.
The moment froze. As did their eyes.
Blood flooded the room, like water. It soaked the entire bed.
And in the pool of the dark, clotted blood, lay a body.
Next to it, lay a gun. The gun that had been fired, the other night.
And in the mesh of all the remains, sat a part of his brain…
He had been practicing. Driving up the courage.
And now, he had shot himself. In the head…