Please help me; I’m all alone

Published: September 27, 2012
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As I write this, they both lie dead on either side of me, in this bountiful place we found.

When the ship sank, we swam ashore onto a beach, six of us men, and three women who quickly moved away.

Conferring amongst ourselves we agreed that we should set off immediately to explore the place and see how best to return home.

Even by climbing a tree and squinting into the distance we saw no sign of land or ship anywhere on the sea that surrounded us, nor any sign of life on this little island: no smoke, no huts, nothing. But there were trees all around.

It was a bountiful land.

Like a gigantic orange vitamin-C the sun sank into the water, trailing indigo, deep blue and finally a rich velvet black, and still the women sat on the very edge of the beach.

Alone on an island, three women with six strange men, it was a dishonourable situation.  Sometime in the night when three shots rang out, we realised that honour had been restored. We were not allowed to touch them, so it was the tide that carried them away.

We scattered in silence to look for food.

The oldest among us was quickly successful. He caught three birds, and two of the men volunteered to prepare them.  The rest of us scattered again to look for water.

I had barely left when I heard shouts, and returning saw two of the birds dead on the ground, and next to them one of the men, also dead. The other man stood over him, a rock in his hand.

‘The dirty infidel!’ he spat, his voice a breathless snarl.

‘He twisted their necks in his filthy hands.’

He looked fiercely around at us.

‘We cannot eat these birds. They are not halal.’

We lifted the dead man and dropped him over some rocks, and threw some sand onto him. Then once again we walked away to search for water.

I pushed through some trees and found myself at the edge of a slight drop below which a stream flowed over some rocks. Soon I was joined by another man, the youngest.

‘You found it!’ he exclaimed, and together we slid and slipped down the slope right into the stream.

Laughing, we splashed each other for a while.

Then we found some large leaves, and scooping up some water, carried it carefully up the slope. When we got to the very top, my companion slipped and dropped his leaf.

‘Ya Ali!’ he exclaimed ruefully.

‘What a careless fellow I am! You go on,’ he said with a nod towards our camp.

‘I’ll get some more water and follow’.

He returned to the stream, but I didn’t move from my spot.

It was a while before I returned with the water. My companion remained in the stream, his body floating face up where I had left it.

The four of us ate only some berries and roots.  When two men got up to relieve themselves, the rest of us lay back and talked quietly among ourselves. Suddenly we heard a shout, and a loud report. We ran in the direction of the noise, and found the man (he who had shot the women) holding a gun, the other man at his feet, a small dark hole in his chest.

The uncircumcised ba***rd!’ hissed the man with the gun, and turned the dead man over with his foot.

A thin silver chain swung across the man’s shirt, its ornate crucifix coated with the owner’s blood.

We heaved the man over the rocks into the sea, and returned to our camp.  Nobody spoke, and when we settled down to sleep we lay isolated, each man within himself, rigidly estranged from his neighbour.

Early next morning we awoke for prayers. I noticed the man on my left shooting covert glances at me, so when I had turned my head to either side with a quick ‘Peace be on you, and the mercy and blessings of Allah,’ I asked him bluntly why he was looking at me.

‘You raise your hands to your shoulders before you kneel,’ he said, and I didn’t like the look in his eyes.

I looked at our third companion for support, but it was obvious where he stood.

We each of us moved, but I moved a little faster than either of them. Even though one had a gun, my knife was quicker.

As I write this, they both lie dead on either side of me, in this bountiful place we found. I shall cast this letter into the sea in a bottle I took from the pocket of one of these men.

If anyone reads this, help me please.

I am all alone.

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Rabia.Ahmed

Rabia Ahmed

The author is a freelance writer and translator.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://www.dimensionblogs.tk Dimensions

    Brilliant!!! Recommend

  • Hasan

    Brilliant! I knew where it was headed when the women were murdered though.Recommend

  • Imad Uddin

    Best ever on poetic lisence!
    I Think I have a helpful advice, rediscover the island. There is so much more on the island, there is a small village, with loving who lived there for centuries. But before you go on to search them, let me warn you that the villagers have been attacked by pirates twice. They feel very insecure hence can get aggressive…. They have now started mindlessly suspecting individuals of being pirates.
    Some of them are very bad….they have a theory that the best policy is to hate all the outsiders because pirates are outsiders. Most villagers to some extent or the other have started believing in that idea.
    If you started cursing villagers for their false belief all of them will turn against you.
    Be cautious.”Motivate” them to improve themselves, dont “curse” them to change.
    I have hopes good time would come if you remain persistent.
    Hope you stay safe. Try to have good relations with the women there, the women of that village are very caring. Recommend

  • Parvez

    Send this to Shoaib Mansoor and ask him to work it into a one hour movie in Urdu. This is the type of message that needs to be distributed far and wide in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Rashid Ahmed

    Unluckily, exactly the situation we are facing here :(Recommend

  • shuja ul islam

    no one can survive with this type of mind set..!!Recommend

  • ayaaash

    This has to be the best I have read on ET for a long time. It deserves to be made in to a short movie.Recommend

  • J.

    SO SO SO AMAZING..I love this piece..probably the best I have read on ET.Recommend

  • Pir Bulleh Shah

    The author can’t hide her anti-Islam prejudices under the pretext of creative writing. Such Islamophobic attitudes in this day and age are very annoying.Recommend

  • Midhat

    “I am all alone”.. This gave me chills! Looks like this is where we are heading to. Sad indeedRecommend

  • Humanity

    Brilliantly rips through the hollow veil of pride and so-called honor of the Pakistani mindset ..Recommend

  • Zalim Singh

    brilliant. dont bother about the naysayers.Recommend

  • http://pakistani-revival.blogspot.com Ovais

    this was good …. amazing Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Pir Bulleh Shah: Sir, your name and your comments are worlds apart.Recommend

  • O’reily

    What a wonderfully moving piece of writing! Recommend

  • Paki Existentialist

    Wondrous.true representation of the situation.
    @Pir Bhulay Shah
    Come on sir.at least change the nick. Or is ironic? As India tested a nuclear device in 1976 and codenamed it ‘Budha Smiles’. So you can defend fanaticism but don’t make a mockery of Bhulay Shah. Islamophobia is what you see in an piece of writing that is basically aimed at denouncing ‘sectarianism and schism’ in our society. Eat some chicken karahi and halwa and then get some fresh air dear fellow.Recommend

  • Paki Existentialist

    Wondrous.true representation of the situation.
    @Pir Bhulay Shah
    Come on sir.at least change the nick. Or is ironic? As India tested a nuclear device in 1974 and codenamed it ‘Budha Smiles’. So you can defend fanaticism but don’t make a mockery of Bhulay Shah. Islamophobia is what you see in an piece of writing that is basically aimed at denouncing ‘sectarianism and schism’ in our society. Eat some chicken karahi and halwa and then get some fresh air dear fellow.Recommend

  • yousaf

    @author::Thanks.After reading your article I no longer feel alone……….in this wilderness.Thanks again Recommend

  • yousaf

    @Mr.Pir-Bhulley-Shah::You do not need to change your Nick as advised by Paki Ex.(sorry Paki).Just RE-read the article again and again and then see the result.I am sure you will take a journey to Kasur to beg for Pardon from real SHAH,who throughout his life taught what the writer in his/her article wants to convey.Only the words are different.People don’t go to PIR’s grave to SEE him,they go there so that they can reminisce about their peaceful glorious past Recommend

  • Girl

    beautifully written! Recommend

  • arc

    What a poignant way of summarizing our situation. The author is advocating for the true Islam, involving gentleness, acceptance, and peace, instead of the false ‘Islam’ hallmarked by pettiness, rejection, and violence. Hope our “Pir” can see that now, and that he will learn to use the brain God gave him before he uses his mouth.Recommend

  • random1

    Uff awesome.. this is wonderfully written. Kudos to the writer!!!Recommend

  • yousaf

    I have read this article several times.The more I read it the more ecstatic I feel.God bless the writer and give wisdom to the…………………..alas,I doubtRecommend

  • vvd

    Very similar with the current Pakistan situation.Nasty end in the offing.Punishment is long overdue for all the nonsense committed by the people & state of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Vinit

    Brilliant Recommend

  • ZARTASHA

    Excellent!! wonderfully written Recommend