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A Murderous Adventure: No Rest For the Weary

A Murderous Adventure: No Rest For the Weary

Wu Doo

The following is a work of fiction.

I think I reached my breaking point last night. I think. Maybe you can be the judge of that? I saw this coming. Everyone saw this coming. I didn’t stop it. No one stopped it.

I don’t belong to a well-off family. This is not to say that we live in poverty. We’re just on the borderline of comfortable and uncomfortable, like a tightrope walker, who, if trips, falls down into the abyss of poverty. Maybe an example will help you understand where I reside on the financial well-being scale: my father works as a banker at a local bank and is the sole earner for our family of five. He has worked in the same position for the last 12 years. A country-wide recession, he says. So, while his job might be sufficient to live comfortably for a family of, say, two, it barely is for a family of five. I am the eldest at seventeen; then there’s my brother at 15; the two twins at 12 and the youngest at 5.

I don’t know who put it in my parent’s head, but they have big plans for me. They want me to go to college, make something of myself. The cynic in me says that they’re investing in me for a financial return on me someday. Children, to smart parents, should be seen as economic investments for when they’re old. I don’t blame my parents. I’d have done the same.

As for my dreams, I don’t know. I haven’t got any. Since I was 6, I remember being constantly fed my parents’ dreams for me. At this point, I really don’t even care. Sure. I want to go to college and make my parents financially stable when they’re old. That’s my dream.

I am told every year that if I do well in this grade, my future will be set. I’d easily get into a good college and then get a good job, a good wife, good children and that I’d be happy. I wonder why I’ve been told this since the 6th grade? Why do I need to do well then? As if failing the 6th grade is going to mess with the cosmos and fuck my life up. The messed up part of hearing this over and over again is that it isn’t stopping. Ever since I was first told this, I’ve been told the same thing over and over again for the subsequent years. Maybe that’s why we’re never happy.

My exams are at the end of this month, but my classes don’t end until two days before. My father has invested in the best school and tuition academy to ensure that his investment brings returns. Here’s what my day looks like from Monday to Saturday:

6 AM – Wake Up.

6:00 AM – 8:00 AM – Revise for school.

9:00 AM – Classes start.

12:30 PM – Break.

4:00 PM – Classes End.

5:00 PM – Lunch.

6:00 PM- 10:00 PM – Academy Classes.

11:00 PM – Dinner.

11:30 PM – 1:00 AM – Revision of Academy Classes.

1:05 AM – Sleep.

Repeat. Six days a week. No excuses.

My father told me that I needed to do well this year because college begins next year. I was surprised he confronted me this year; he hadn’t before. Before, my mother used to regurgitate whatever they would fight about every night, to me. My success in this year’s exam was a constant topic of discussion.

Then, right before he finished telling me how I had to do well this year, he said that his job might not get renewed because of downsizing in the company. He was old and disposable, and I needed to take over the reigns and contribute to the family’s earnings. If I didn’t do well, I was told, he’d kick me out. He said he couldn’t invest in me if I wasn’t going to give anything in return. Next in line was the second eldest who was to take my place after I was rendered homeless.

We weren’t very close to our cousins. Somehow all of them lived in a joint family situation, whereas my father was the only one who didn’t. Maybe he wasn’t able to achieve the same ultimatum I was given, by his father. Either way, if I were kicked out to the streets, I had nowhere to go. Although I never knew any real love from my parents and siblings, they were the only people I knew, period. I didn’t have any time to socialise with other normal teenagers my age. While our whole family detested each other on some fucked up level, we were all we knew.

I have only two weeks left to the exam now. I’ve gone over the syllabus a million times, I’ve been tested on it over and over again, but the classes don’t stop. I’m threatened that if I skip a class, they’ll stop my admission for going through to the exams. I can’t anymore. I need to sleep.

So today, after dinner, instead of revising, I decided to sleep in my bed, call it an early night. Although I leave the lights switched on to fool any late night inquisitors, sleeping with the light on does not bother me anymore. As I lay on my bed, staring at the ceiling, I am unable to sleep. It seems that my body no longer craves it. What am I? When did I become like this? I am unable to remember a single fond memory from my childhood? However, I can recall for you some obscure speech of one of the founders of this country from memory. I can also tell you the fourth clause in the first constitution of this country. If that doesn’t impress you, I can tell you Kirchhoff’s law. No, nothing? Doesn’t impress you? What if I tell you that I remember a poem from the second grade. Surely that will make you think of me in a different light, hopefully favourably.

The time is slowly ticking away. The two extra hours of sleep that I craved while I was awake are slowly withering away. I am adamant though, I will stay as long as I can, in this bed, until I get some additional sleep before my usual bedtime. As soon as I can feel my eyelids becoming heavy, I hear the youngest one crying.

I sit there in bed, my bloodshot eyes wide open. He has been crying for the last 10 minutes. Why isn’t anyone shutting him up? How can his cries be so rhythmic? Why are they following a repetitive pattern?

I wake up, as if unable to control myself physically and walk to my parents room. The child is wide awake, but not crying. I don’t see any tears either. I grab the pillow in his crib and place it over his innocent countenance. How can someone who has such a serene face, have been crying only seconds before?

He barely struggles. I know little guy, if I were you I wouldn’t want to live in this world as well. But I have an obligation to fulfil, whereas you have it easy. I’ll see you on the other side. His petite body stops moving. His face is so serene.

I walk back to my bed, elated that my little sibling will not have to go through the same troubles that befell me. I wake up in the morning to my father on the phone with my school. He’s ringing in to let them know what happened last night and that I might be away for a day or two. I know he’s lying. The only tragedy that’s befallen him is that he’s lost a future investment.

I can finally guarantee at least a week of no school work. My father would have sent me the next day had he not have to keep up appearances. I can only imagine the serenity I will feel in the coming days. Maybe I’ll feel remorse for the youngest one, maybe I won’t. I didn’t know him really well in the end, so maybe I won’t. At least he doesn’t have to live the life I’m living and I’ll be able to sleep for the coming days.

I listen in on the conversation that my father is having with the school administration:

“No no, he can come in today. Yes, he’s perfectly fine. Trust me, he’s my son. Yes, yes I understand. Yes, of course he will need time to recover. Yes, next week is fine. Yes, yes most definitely.”

I feel elated. I have never felt such happiness in my life. I can finally sleep. Sleep. Such a trivial thing that we often take for granted. I have a huge grin on my face.

I can hear my father walk up to my room. He opens the door with no care in the world for the closed-eye daydream I am under.

“The youngest one died in his sleep last night.”

No, you ungrateful bastard. I sacrificed him for my sleep.

“School is off for the next week.”

I can feel an erection popping up from under my sheets. I never knew thinking about sleep could turn me on.

“However, they’ve sent extra-credit homework for you for the time being, alongside all your other homework. And they expect you to Skype in for the classes starting tomorrow.”

My eyes spring open, bloodshot from last night. I slowly get up from my bed in the same stupor of my murderous adventure from last night.

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Read more from ProperGaanda: The rot that is Lahore’s Crème de la Crème


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