I looked at her swelled red face and called out her name. She opened her eyes and ran to hug me from across the room.
"Mano, you came... I thought you would leave me like other friends." She said in between her sobs.
"Leave?.... why would I leave you?" I was unable to understand.
"Because of the same reason, everyone does... they don't want to be with a person who is soon to be the wife of Black Eagle's second command."
"Forget about them. If they can't stand with a friend, they are not a friend at all." I patted her back and make her sit on the bed.
"Auntie said that you haven't eaten anything since last night?" I asked.
"I am not hungry."
"But I am...the first thing I do is run over here. I haven't eaten breakfast yet... Alina, bring us something to eat please." I said to her thirteen-year-old sister who is standing behind me looking at her sister worriedly. As soon as I told her, she dashed out of the room to bring food.
Both Alina and I manage to make her eat a little but her sobs never died down. After breakfast, we gave her medicine as she was complaining about a headache. I put her head on my lap and started stroking her hair.
"What should I do, Mano? I don't want to marry him... he is not the Ahad I loved... he wasn't as cruel as him... do something, Mano. Please do something... I can't marry a criminal... do something."
"Did he talk to you yesterday?"
"Yes!.... he clearly said in front of college staffers that he is my fiancé and we are getting married in two days."
"TWO DAYS?!" I shouted.
"That's ..... that's so soon, Kanwal."
"Ye-" before she was able to complete the sentence, Alina came in.
"Kanwal api... Ahad Bhai is here to see you." I felt Kanwal's body froze.
"Tell him that she has a fever and she is resting." I answered in her place.
"Now that's not very nice... you know you shouldn't teach a kid to lie."
We all jumped on hearing this masculine voice. Our head turned at the door and found Ahad standing there with a few shopping bags in his hand. Kanwal quickly sat up and grabbed her dupatta from the side to cover herself.
"Assalam o Alaikum ladies...... oh! And look who we have here... isn't it, our little tigress, Kanwal?" Everyone kept quiet. Kanwal was looking at her hands on her lap, while Alina and I are glaring at Ahad.
"You've become quite beautiful." He complimented, which annoyed me even more.
"What do you want, Ahad?"
"Oho! Since when did you start to disrespect your elders?" He smiled at me, then, put all of the shopping bags on the floor.
"I don't consider a criminal as my elder."
"Watch it, Tigress. You might regret it someday... anyways I brought your wedding dress, Kanwal... I want you to look beautiful tomorrow...for me." He gave a warm smile to Kanwal and left but she sat on her bed numb... the only movement was her dripping tears.
I spent my whole day with Kanwal. It pains me to watch her crying like this. But I can't do anything for her... nothing.
Oops! Sorry, Allah very sorry.
I facepalm myself for cursing. Cursing is bad... cursing is bad. I started to pace on the roof like a mad person. I feel frustrated about not being able to help Kanwal.
Damn you Black Eagles!
Uff! Sorry again...
I slumped on the floor, not bothering about my clothes getting dirty and start eating chips. I have this odd habit of eating when I am tense. After eating two large packs of chips, I feel much better. I looked around and start wondering why am I on the roof, sitting on the floor and ruining my clothes?
Quickly, I got up and start dusting my clothes, that's when I heard the piano.
Allah! It's the pianist from yesterday ...
Without thinking, I slump back to the floor again to enjoy the music.
Wait! This melody sounds familiar...
"Eternal Snow!" I mumble and close my eyes. I feel like letting go of everything and so I did. I match my breathing with the notes and as it gets high, warm energy builds up in me and flowed through my entire body like blood, making me at peace. I heard that melody several times but I never feel like this way before. People say that music is a language of unspoken feelings that spoke by chords and it differs from person to person. Maybe that's what I was experiencing.
"Enjoying the music, huh?" I got startled by Bhai's voice.
"Bhai, are you trying to kill me?" I said glaring at him but don't know since I didn't turn on the light.
"Don't worry! You won't die... evil doesn't end easily." He said sitting beside me.
"Here you go my Mano Billi (cat), your milk." He handed over a cup to me.
"Jazak Allah." I mumbled.
"Bhai, make a random guess... Where is this piano sound coming from?"
"There is no need for guessing ... it's coming from the house behind us."
"Huh...? That house has been abandoned for ages... I have never seen anyone there."
"Then how do you know?"
"The sound is coming from the house... you can figure it out if you go close to it but I wonder who would be playing if no one is ever seen there... maybe a ghost?"
"Bhai, there is no such thing as ghosts... and by the way, why are you here? Do you want me to press your clothes again?"
"Na! I don't want to burn my other clothes. I was just ... worried, Ami told me about Kanwal. So, I thought you might need someone to talk to." He said in a serious tone.
"Thanks, Bhai... But even if I talk to you, I can't do anything except for sitting here and sulking."
"Bhai, wouldn't it be better if Black Eagles never came here in the first place?" I asked after a moment of silence.
"To be honest, I don't know... They are better than drug and land Mafias." He sighed.
"But you cannot justify their doings." I said abruptly.
"No, they shouldn't... force decision on others and use them as they please. It cannot be justified by any means." He sounds defeated and got up.
"Let's hope for the best... for your friend and for others... Allah knows better what is good for us... Anyways, I am going... You also come down soon. I don't want my only sister to be taken by our neighbouring pianist ghost." He took the cup from me and climbed down the stairs.
Allah, you know better... Please have mercy on my friend...
I quickly prayed in my heart and run down the stairs. Crazy or not, I am really afraid of ghosts.
*Jazak Allah: May Allah reward you [with] goodness.
* Asalam o Alaikum (Peace be unto you) greetings among Muslims