I awoke as soon as the morning sun hit my eyes. I sat up and looked around to orient myself. And then I noticed the footprints leading up to the pit. As I followed the trail into the pit, I noticed a bunch of bushes and rocks as well as most of the dirt was thrown back in.
Dammit! Who's the idiot sabotaging my efforts? If I find that bastard, I’ll give him a serious ass-whoopin’.
I wiped my face and with a renewed sense of commitment, I quickly removed all the rubbish and returned to the gas pipe. As soon as I opened up the hole again, the voices returned. This time, I didn’t run away, but forced myself to listen.
Is someone inside there calling for help? But the voice sounds just like mine?
Not only was the voice my own, but those exact words were mine as well! Words uttered in anger. Some with envy. Some with disdain. Others with an all-out hatred and venom that can only be described as hideous.
Broken hearts and broken promises. Principles overcome by desires. Convictions overruled by passions.
The intense, biting pain caused by the memories and the circumstances of these words caused an extreme heaviness inside me. I felt a sense of disgrace and humiliation that I had never felt before. I simultaneously felt a need to turn back and run away.
But I yearned to see what this container was and what other mysterious powers it had. With a rage curiously building up inside me, I quickly whacked at the tiny pin-sized hole to make it bigger.
All the while, the voices were getting louder and louder.
I need to get inside and see what the hell is going on. Keep pushing yourself. No time for rest.
True to my word, I didn’t stop this time around. I kept at the metal object, oblivious to the pain in my shoulder and the calluses on my hands. And then suddenly, when I burst open a hole the size of my fist, a filthy pus started uncontrollably gushing out. I jumped back and covered my face to protect myself from the splashing grime.
Once the pressure let up, I noticed that the slime was a thick yellowish pus mixed in with dirty brown blood and had an unbelievably disgusting smell. Unable to control myself, I jumped out of the pit and let out a stream of vomit next to the piles of dirt.
I turned around and as the sickening mixture continued to slowly flow out and spill into the pit, I noticed a bunch of thick index card-sized booklets floating around.
I felt so disgusted by the smell of the pus, I wanted to just bury the whole mess and pretend it never happened. But the voice inside me continued to badger me to continue my mission.
So I unbelievably jumped back in, with the pus coming past my ankles and bent down to carefully pick up one of the booklets, caring not an iota of the filthy slime getting all over my hands and clothes.
I began leafing through its wet, heavy pages. I could make out some of the illustrations in the book and what I saw caused me to drop the book and let out a childish scream.
It couldn’t be! I must be imagining.
It was full of images with no text. And to my horror, I recognized every single image.
With chills and goosebumps, I picked it up again and with an indescribable pain shooting from my stomach to my lungs, I forced myself to look at the images.
Second and third glances. Magazines. Movies. All images I wish I had never set my sight upon. Gazes of indulgence, of jealousy, of spite, of disgust – all cast by me.
Then there were the images of the eyes.
Eyes of disappointment by the father whose expectations I never lived up to.
Eyes of pain bore by the mother who should never have had to suffer such indignities.
Eyes of a broken heart by the one woman whose heart I vowed never to break.
Countless pairs of eyes, some with anger, some with hurt, many with overflowing tears.
And there were images of me, images of mockery, images of contempt, images of conceit, images of fury, images of ugly. All images I had so desperately tried to distance myself from.
How could it be? How did they get in here?
With my mind reeling, I continued to flip through the booklet and I continued to relive the brutal memories. My breathing had accelerated and I felt as though I was going to pass out.
What in the world is this deeply buried object, out in the middle of nowhere, that is uncovering my most ugliest of memories. I thought I had buried them deep into the recesses of...my heart...
Wait...it couldn’t be...oh God...
My legs began to tremble, unable to hold up my weight, until they buckled and I fell to my knees. Looking at the booklet, my hands were shaking uncontrollably, until the realization came around once more.
No! No! No! It can’t be! Nooooooo! I screamed and buried my face into my hands, sobbing hysterically...
“Uhmm, excuse me. Am I interrupting, Naeem bhai?”
Part 1 - The Beginning
Part 2 - The Discovery
Part 3 - Memories
Part 4 - The Opening
Part 5 - The Caretaker
Tuesday, April 21, 2009