Redemption

Redemption

A Story by Usman Muhammad
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This is a story which revolves around three characters. It is their conquest against God.

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              REDEMPTION




27th May, 2006

JOSEPH

My mom tells me that I am very lucky to have a twin brother. She says we both are special and a blessing for her and that she loves us. We both are lucky to have such mom who cares for us so much.

I love my brother more than anything else in this world. He is elder than me in terms of seconds only. He is like a silent guardian to me. I learned this word today in my English classroom. I like how I used it for my brother, he will be glad to see it. He is very caring and keeps my secrets “Secret”

Mother wants us to study hard to become doctors but we have other plans. We have decided to become cops. Actually it was his idea and I chose it because I can’t leave my brother. He says it is the only way we will live together.

While playing in house we both pretend to be cops and neither of us agrees to act like a thief. I tried to change his role but he is a genius and he found a real good solution to this problem. Now we both help each other in catching this imaginary Mr. Wrong. I feel good to act as his assistant because it helps me to understand my mistakes.

 

28TH May, 2006

JOSEPH

I hate everyone. I don’t want to live anymore. Isaac died today in a road accident. We were coming back from a local store when this happened. I don’t remember what exactly happened but I saw a lot of his blood on the road. My brother is no longer with me now. I want to die, just like my brother died. Mom used to tell me that we both, he and I, together make one. I am very sad and I don’t know what to do now with my life. All I can think now is to kill myself.

 

29TH May, 2006

JOSEPH

I don’t know what to do with my life. My mother has been admitted to hospital. Doctors tell me that she is in Coma. I don’t know what “coma” is? I guess it’s bad. I can’t kill myself because it will be unfair to mom after everything she has done for us. She needs me, and I need her even more.

 

30TH May, 2006

JOSEPH

I saw a dream last night. It was about Isaac. I don’t remember the details but I remember him asking me for help. When I woke up, I was sweating. I was frightened because I have never felt anything like that.

For once I thought Isaac was back and everything was going to be good again but something woke me up….it was fear, I don’t know what is happening to me. I am scared.

 

31ST May, 2006

JOSEPH

My dreams are getting worse. My life is not anymore mine; it’s like I am just passing it away. There is no one I can talk to. My mother’s condition is very bad. It seems to me like she has died too with Isaac and is now looking at me from above…from stars. Whenever I see her in the emergency room, I see her motionless. When I was young, I used to ask mother what death is, and she would tell me that when your heart stops breathing and your body stops moving, that is when you die. Doctors think I don’t know she is dead, but I do know that.

 I heard doctors telling nurses that her chances are very low. They are pretending that my mother is alive. I hope they are not pretending and that my mother is alive.

Last night, I asked God why He did that to me, to my brother and my mother. No reply came back. I guess He doesn’t care for us anymore. Maybe He has left us when we wanted Him the most.

I remember how much I used to play with my brother and when I would get tired he would call me a coward. Many times a day, I call him by his name, thinking he might be hiding behind the wall or below his bed but he never shows up. I miss him very much.

While crossing a street today, I read a word “Revenge”; I asked an old man what it means, he said “To hurt someone for what he did to you.” So this is what I am going to do, I will take revenge of my brother.

 

28TH May, 2006

SAMUEL

Birth of a child is the most wonderful gift for parents. It brings hope, love and a reason to live for. I am very happy today. My son David has got admission to Harvard University in the department of Biomedical Engineering. I am very proud of him. He worked hard throughout his life to achieve his goal. I am happy to have him.

Sometimes I wonder how everything changes. Time is something which is beyond my understanding. When you are living in it, you wish to live it quickly and when you look back, you hope you could have stayed a bit more. I wish I could control time. If I could, I would go back in time to tell my wife how proud I am of our son. I know what she will say, “I knew my Davey was special.” But then the time….

Our days of poverty will be over soon. His hard work is paying off. Yesterday, when he came to house, he hugged me and said “This will be soon over, father…..You have done more than enough for me. You are the best father in the world.” He was crying and I was too. I wish my wife could have been here with us. I had never experienced anything like that in my whole life. I would usually cry when I am alone but when he hugged me it wasn’t me whom he hugged; he hugged a child, because I couldn’t stop myself from crying. I believe this is what we call Happiness and today I have felt its enormous power. After losing so much in life when someone sees anything like that, he comes to understand the value of his hardships.

Now I believe in God….that He exists. He listens to our prayers. I regret saying bad things about Him when I lost my wife. I think He has forgiven me.

Life is too uncertain. It is what you would expect least in the most unexpected moment. Life is always trying to surprise you, sometimes with happiness and sometimes by taking away happiness. And that’s why I blame life, for it is unexpected in its existence.

 

8TH November, 2010

Samuel

Just when things are about to move in a good direction and when your hard work starts to pay off, things happen which are beyond justification.

Last weekend, I was thinking how things will change when David got a job and here I am now, trying to understand how badly things have changed.

I used to believe that everything happens for a reason but I see no reason in what happened to me and my only family.

It is me against God now. The only difference is, I have no power. First He took my wife and then my only son. He thought I would move on just like I did when my wife died but how could He expect the same after taking my son’s life.

David died four days ago. That day he called me in the morning telling me to be ready in evening as he would take me to dinner in a nearby restaurant.

I thanked God for helping me out through thick and thin. I told Him that without His help nothing would have been possible.

David took me from home. We went to Al Fresco. When he was parking his bike in the parking stand, a car crashed into motorcycle. I don’t know what happened when that car hit us. I was taken to a hospital and when I came back to my senses, doctors told me something for which I was not ready. I knew from their expression what they wanted to tell me. I wanted to stop them. Hope was there, urging me to stop them from telling me the unbearable truth. But I couldn’t do anything. A female doctor said “Sir, we are sorry to inform you that your son has died because of a head injury. Police has told us that they have got a lead on the suspect. His name is Joseph and they are trying their best to catch him.” And just like that she finished everything I created.

My life was over and so was I. I don’t know for how many days, I lay there, motionless. I wanted them to end my life but they were trying their best to save me. Maybe, they were also a part of God’s scheme in which everything was written against my will. They wanted me to feel the pain…the pain of losing a son. They kept me alive because they wanted me to become a monster so they can prove that it was all my fault. That I was the only reason for what happened to my Beloved Ones.

 

3RD November, 2014

SAMUEL

It has been four years since the death of David. Since that I have been looking for death, but it is nowhere to be found. I have started to look at things with a different perspective. A perspective in which I have diffused my thoughts with hatred. I have come to this understanding that this “GOD” uses death to play with us. He makes our lives miserable by hiding death.

People think I am mad. I have told them to leave me but they keep asking me questions about my past. Most of the times, I remain silent but, sometimes, I can’t control myself and when I am done with answering their questions, they call me a Heretic. Some go too far to even spit at me but I don’t mind….I don’t care.

 I like how God plays with us. He uses people as an element of torture, the worst degree of torture. It leeches to your soul for the rest of your life and keeps adding on pain.

God thinks He has planned everything, and for me He has planned the worst. But after playing with God for so many years I think I might have found a solution….an obvious one.

 

4TH November, 2014

PATRICK

I am writing this letter to state the guilt I have been suffering for almost eight years when I killed an innocent boy because of my drinking habits. It was an accident, a horrible one. I wish I could have saved him but it was his time. Everything is written as our fate. We can’t ignore it.  At the same time you can’t escape pretending that it was written, you have to realize what made you do it.

I have been going to the same place for many days where I killed him, with revolver in my pocket. I want to end this all. Every time I try to do so, some invisible force stops me from doing it. I believe this force is my life, even though I can’t live that life anymore. It keeps stopping me.

It’s not that I don’t want to live anymore, it’s just this guilt which is urging me to give away my soul. Some people would think after reading this letter that I should be thankful to God for living so many years after what I did in the past but I want to tell them I would be happy only if I could break away from this cage of my life.

I am here, left with a revolver, few bullets to take my own life. And I will end this all tomorrow.

 

5TH November, 2014

PATRICK

God has many ways of protecting us. He even protects us from ourselves. I think He manipulates our lives in such a way that we think whatever is happening to us, it’s unfair. But when time comes, He opens new doors to us and gives us everything we have desired for. He forgives our sins which we did in the past and gives us a clean slate to start again.

I was ready to kill myself today. I went to a nearby dumping site which has been sealed for many months. A perfect place to execute myself. When I got there I saw an old man sitting on a bench, looking at me curiously. I was hoping that he would go away but he kept sitting there. Things were not going as planned. After few minutes of this silence, he stood up and started coming towards me. I got afraid and went for my revolver in my pocket. He gestured me to calm down and asked my name. I said it was Patrick. He said “So, Patrick, I wonder what you are doing here. And by the way, my name is Samuel, I am pleased to meet you.” I was getting this feeling that he might be a cop and was here to arrest me. “I am here just breathing in air, sir,” I said in a hesitating tone. He smiled “Breathing? ..... In this dump kid?” he replied waving his hands towards the site. “Yes sir” and with that I knew I was in trouble.

He was an old man around his fifties or sixties. He was tall, had brown long hair and a scar below his lower lip. He was wearing a leather jacket and looked poor to me. I broke the silence, “I don’t know what you are talking about, believe me, I just came here to refresh myself. I am not feeling well these days.” 

“Neither am I, young boy. Neither am I,” he said. Air was getting heavier and heavier and we both knew things were coming to an end. He put his hand on my shoulder and said “I am too old for these games. Don’t waste my time as I already have suffered a lot. Me and you…..” He pointed the finger of his other hand towards me, “We both know why we are here, those who come here….they come here to set themselves free.” He showed me his gun, “I have already suffered a lot and you will help me to end this all.” I realized he was right; he knew why I was there. He was like me…broken, unsatisfied and was tired of his life.

“So what do you want me to do?” I asked him. “Nothing, just take out your gun and point it at my forehead and I will point mine at you and here take these letters,” he put his hand in his pocket and handed me few letters. “What for?”  I asked. While checking bullets in his gun he answered “I don’t want to die with any burden on my chest. I want to fly like a bird, without any burden.” I took my revolver out, I could feel the metal surface of my revolver. I cocked the pistol and aimed it. “Remember son, from now on, there is no chance of any mistake. If you missed, I will beat you to hell so nobody can recognize your face. We both want peaceful death. Don’t we?”  Then he asked me if I was ready and I nodded in yes. He shouted “One, two and three” Bullets made their way through the gun. I remember hearing two gunshots, I remember watching him falling on the ground and looking at his smile with which he was looking at the sky although he was dead. He was smiling at the fragility of this world and had every right to smile.

But he broke his last promise….a liar, he missed his shot. I saw God when I saw him dying. I saw death making its way through his body to capture his soul.

He missed his shot intentionally. But why? I wish he could have told me the reason.

 

6TH November, 2014

PATRICK

Everything in this world remains constant or they follow a constant pattern. I mean God, His creation….everything. But there are few things which are not constant. These are our emotions, feelings and observations. If we look at our lives, we are always under the influence of our emotions. We depend on them to live our lives because they keep us moving and changing. Changes in these factors are very unrealistic and that is what makes us different from others. Our observations about someone changes every moment based on the facts we are given. We always are in need of some different perspective to look at things and with that our observations change.

Today, in news it was told that during police raid, two boys were killed. One of them was Joseph, who killed the son of that old man whom I killed yesterday. I was happy that the old man got justice. I hope, now, he will rest in peace.

With every passing day, my believe in God is strengthening. With each day He is showing me signs of His infinite wisdom. I have realized that His justice is eternal. I wish this incident could have happened a day before when Samuel gave his life. I wish I could have saved him. He was a nice old man.

 

7TH November, 2014

PATRICK

I read the letters Samuel gave me. He gave me those letters on purpose. He wanted me to understand the reality about God. After reading his letters I have come to this conclusion that God created us just to play with us. From Samuel’s letters I have come to know that he worked throughout his life to help his son get good education. And just when things were about to turn in his favor, his son was killed.

In the letters, old man said that he believes God is his enemy. He is right; cruelty and injustice are little words to describe what happened to him. I wonder how he survived all this.

Now, I am feeling the pain of own guilt too. It’s becoming too strong. Flashes of that incident are making me mad. I have never felt such tormenting pain. I have to stop writing now.

 

8TH November, 2014

PATRICK

This will be my last letter. These few days have been very painful for me. Each and every incident which occurred these days, it went back to the incident in which I accidentally killed that boy. I imagine all these incidents connecting themselves to a web I created. I created this web and God fabricated it; He played with it. I never created this web; it just happened, but God used it as a reason to take others life. He fabricated this web in such a way that I was made responsible for everything. whereas He was just catching His preys and for that, I admire His wisdom.

I know you might be thinking I am talking nonsense. But let me conclude everything and then, it will be up to you to decide who was wrong, me or God. That whether He plays with us, with our emotions or not.

In news bulletin it was told that a letter was found from Joseph’s pocket. What he wrote in the letter was something like this:

Mother, Isaac, I miss you. I know you are angry at me. I know you don’t even want to hear me, but let me tell you Isaac, I died that day with you. I prayed to God to take me to you but He deceived me and kept me alive. What was I supposed to do without you?

Do you remember our dream of becoming cops? I know that’s why you are angry at me that I have involved in drugs but what I was supposed to do alone. I can see you up there, shining in the sky. When you don’t show up I cry because my past becomes my present. I miss you Isaac….I miss you.

I am looking for that b*****d who killed you. No matter what happens I will find him and there will be no mercy that day. I would never forget his face, his jeep and his cowardice.

Isaac, never ever think that I have forgotten you. Sometimes, I see your face in a crowd and I run after you but you always outrun me. That’s not fair. You used to tell me that you will always protect me but I don’t see you anywhere and when I do, you run away.

I remember when mother told me that you and I together, make one, which is not anymore. I still ask God questions but He never answers back. I never speak ill of him; otherwise mom would get angry on me but I want to know if He exists. I want to know that He was watching everything when my brother was killed. I want to know that after watching everything He refused to help us and deprived us of justice. I just want someone to tell me that He exists.

Your Twin brother Joseph

Now it’s up to you to decide who was at fault. I am going to countryside to live rest of my life in peace and harmony. Unlike God I will help others. I will do what is right and will not fear God anymore.

I wish I could have saved everyone but it was not in my power. When I am gone to the countryside, you will get these letters. I hope you will not make a bias decision because of the fear of God. I hope you will do justice.


© 2016 Usman Muhammad



Author's Note

Usman Muhammad
This is my 4th story in 2 months. I never thought of going this far.
First of all I would like to thank Edmund for helping me out with every story I have written. Without his help I couldn't have been here. Thanks Edmund.
[Reader]Your constructive review is what I will be looking for, because today, I am here just because of your support. Your reviews are a real support for me.
One last thing that Patrick wanted me to ask you who was wrong? Him or God?

My Review

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Featured Review

Its just speechless as i did not really think any story will exist in such a way... Firstly, i got completely lost in it that i did not even realize the end.. Again i started reading the last part to get the end... Words used are beautiful... And the thought is really interesting as well as wonderful. The characters linked at the end brings a lively effect in the story... It is perfectly playing the roles, describing the perfect emotions in each case... After reading the story, i am very sure that you have improved yourself a lot. And as Edmund is responsible for this, i really respect him. Its not less than a miracle to form a story in such perfect and simple way... I loved it, as it has become my favorite story now...
Nice formation of words and sentences too!!! well done friend.... I want ti write more, but i don't get enough words ti describe........ If its your imagination, then i really respect your skills... Good job!!!
And about the question, life is totally uncertain, and sometimes it becomes impossible to judge god... Like i said u, we should trust ourselves more rather than god... Patrick, if we see reality, should not have drunk so much, but it wasn't his fault though.. It was circumstances which were created by god again... Life is really uncertain, good times give happiness nd bad times give sadness, both r important in life...
Anindita

Posted 1 Year Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Usman Muhammad

1 Year Ago

Such a kind review! Thanks Janvee, I am glad that you liked my story.
This review means a lo.. read more
Anindita Janhabee

1 Year Ago

You are most welcome 😊👌



Reviews

Telling a story in epistolary format can result in the feeling that we're reading a report.

Look at the opening from a reader's viewpoint. We don't know who we are, where we are in time or space, and have no idea of the backstory that led to the events. So when you say, “My mom tells me that I am very lucky to have a twin brother,” Who’s speaking?” How old is this person? It appears that they’re young, and the speaker appears, based on word knowledge, to be less than eight, given that they don’t know what the word “revenge” means.

The problem is that you’re informing the reader, but while the future is unrevealed as we read, it’s immutable fact—to be presented in its turn. So there’s no uncertainty for-the-character.

But for the reader, uncertainty is what generates the curiosity that keeps us turning pages. For the reader, what’s going on in the mind of the character, in the moment they call now, creates the empathetic connection that keeps us reading.

In the first entry we learn that someone we know nothing about has a twin and that they both want to go into police work someday. If they’re seven, they may want to be firemen next year, or engineers. But if they’re seventeen the decision is more serious, and relevant to the story. But since we don’t know…

What you’re doing is taking a single event: an accident, and viewing it from multiple viewpoints. Why? We’re never in the moment, and hear only a recap of conversations and events, dispassionately reported, in the form of a history.

Story happens, and does so in real-time. It must engage the reader emotionally, not factually. Facts only inform. Emotion entertains.

In reality, your reader cares not at all for the backstory of the character, because that’s history, not story. They’re not interested in a fictional character's philosophy of life. They want to know what the problem is, and what steps the character will take, in the moment they call now.

They want emotion-based writing, not fact-based. They don’t want to be told the story in an author-centric way. They want to experience it in a character-centric way.

Instead of, “I want to the store in the snow to get some fruit, and met my friend Jack, just before the market’s roof collapsed,” the reader wants something more like:
- - - - - -
“Hey Jack,” I called as I came into the vegetable section of the store. “Stocking up for the snowstorm?”

“Oh hi Sam.” He waved a hand to indicate the crowd of shoppers around us. “Of course I am. Who isn’t? There’s six inches out there now, on top of last week’s drop. This will be a bad one, I think, and— What the hell was that?” His words had been cut off by a sharp cracking sound from above.

Before I could respond, the sound was followed by another, then another, continuing in a series that gained speed and intensity until they merged into a single…
- - - - - -

See the difference? We’re not being informed of what happened by a narrator whose voice we can’t hear, we’re observing it in the persona of our protagonist, within the moment that character calls now. We're learning what matters to that character in the moment, not as an overview. So instead of being with the storyteller, we’re in the supermarket experiencing the event in real-time. And that’s where the story takes place.

For the first method all the reader can do is say, “Uh-huh,” as fact follows fact. In the second, neither the reader nor the character know what’s coming next and must react “on the fly.” The first is history, the second story. And it's the uncertainly we generate within the reader that keeps them saying, "Tell me more."

So focus on involving the reader, not informing them. As the great Alfred Hitchcock said, “Drama is life without the dull bits.”

Hang in there, and keep on writing.

Jay Greenstein
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/category/the-craft-of-writing/



Posted 9 Months Ago


Usman Muhammad

9 Months Ago

Thank you for this review. It means a lot to me. I hope it will motivate me to keep on trying. Every.. read more
I really, really liked this. I haven't been able to review much (or log on at all) for a while, but this story was a very well written piece to come back to. Well done!

Posted 12 Months Ago


This is a long read......

Interlocking stories are always difficult to write; mainly because it is very easy to fall off the storytelling path while trying to maintain cohesion. You have written a deeply disturbing story, one which illustrates how the mistakes of one person can impact on the lives of others. You have managed to keep the story flowing quite well and have avoided straying from the path, ensuring the story is told properly and has an impact on the reader.

Kudos, Usman for attempting such a difficult write. The story is well written and makes the reader think about choices and actions. And to answer your question....i believe Patrick is to be accountable for his actions. God has nothing to do with the outcome. It is all based on human error and failing.

Posted 1 Year Ago


To begin with, the storyline and the structure is quite lucrative for a reader. It is difficult to predict what is coming up. Absolutely fascinated by how the story of one gets entwined with another.

Coming down to Patrick's question, I suppose there is no definite answer. I am not saying it for the sake of a neutral judgement, but because I believe, as one my school teachers told me years ago, that "Death is certain, life is not." Nothing in life is certain. We are living in one moment and gone in the next. We are smiling one minute and within split seconds a certain something can leave us in tears. Having said so, I too have a question. When so much about life is uncertain, is it fair to blame God? He is the Supreme Power and the All-Knower. So, even when all seems dark there maybe something good in the making that we may not be aware of. It is, of course, unfair to have been tested and tried time and again and to have encountered irrecoverable losses. But who knows what lies ahead tomorrow. I shall not claim myself to be a very optimistic person. But, looking into the lives of the others I suppose it cannot be all so bad. The blame game shall only make it worse.

Marvelous writing, once again!

Posted 1 Year Ago


This is- this is wonderfully beautiful. I have no other words. The only thing I would say is that on the entry if 3rd November 2014 of Samuel, death is said twice in cosecutive sentences. Maybe change one to passed away?

This is amazing, though.

Posted 1 Year Ago


Usman Muhammad

1 Year Ago

Thank you so much for reading it....I will definitely look into these sentences. Thanks for pointing.. read more
Usman.......i took my time to read this story.......and now i am going to be honest with you.......
your concept is great.........writing is mostly error free.........sentence construction simple......easy to follow......and revealing.........
every word takes us forward......
but, i feel the language is constrained........maybe you were in a rush to complete this.....maybe you were afraid to not reveal too much too soon......maybe you were afraid people will loose interest..........
i will tell you one thing.....which i have learned........"tell the story you would want to read.......and tell the story how you want to tell it....."
or maybe i am wrong........
all i am saying is.......this is good......but this could be so much better.

about the question that who is right.........no one........its just life.........why blame God.........can we really judge God?..........

well written......great subject.....
i really liked it!!!!
:)

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Usman Muhammad

1 Year Ago

Thanks Pushkar for reading and reviewing this story. I understand what you are trying to point out.<.. read more
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AUU
You were successful in creating a tragedy. I liked how you linked everyone together.

My one criticism would be voice---all the characters sound the same. It's something that's easy to overlook. They were written with the same punctuated sentences and similar religious views. Different voices could only ma As another user pointed out, this makes it hard to care about anyone. I was hooked with Joseph, but by Samuel, the effect was diminished. Different voices, and writing each character in a different voice is challenging, but it would make for a more compelling story.

I of course still liked it. Keep at it!

Posted 1 Year Ago


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hi
ok i like it but to be honest the characters were to weak foe me to care about them...or maybe iam a cold person, but either way i still like it but not my kind of story

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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LM
Captivating story. You pretty much took excerpts of the trauma of each individuals life and sowed them together beautifully. I really felt for each character and their inner tribulations in which we all struggle with from time to time regarding concepts of God and why things play out the way they do regardless of how unjust it is. Very well crafted and very well done!

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is your best story till now according to me. Although I have reviewed this once, again I am supposed to because this is the 16th time I am reading this. 16th is my birthday, if u remember... : )
I don't know why but I always feel like writing such a great story like this. Bit till now I haven't... I hope one day I too will. This story has really got some capacity to move into my heart...
Keep writing... waiting for the next one...
Jaanvi : )

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on June 11, 2016
Last Updated on June 19, 2016
Tags: Regret, loss, doubt, hatred, hope, vengeance, consequences

Author

Usman Muhammad
Usman Muhammad

Islamabad, Pakistan



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A Story by Usman Muhammad



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