As the fire burned, the putrid smell of flesh filled the room. Screams of agony were everywhere. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. In pain, there was a purity that could be found nowhere. All pretence dropped the moment a human being experienced true agony- the kind which threatened to pull out one’s guts with its overwhelming presence. A hysterical young woman ran past her, trying to douse the fire burning merrily on her arm. She came upon the bucket of water where a woman was already trying to save her burning child. Some shoves later, the young lady dipped her hand in the bucket, only to find that the water had vaporised leaving behind superheated steam. Her wails reached a new level, succeeding in providing further entertainment to the already amusing night. Human beings were so pitiful! Even in their last moments, they wouldn’t let go of their self-centeredness. A room full of burning people. All trying to save themselves, their righteous masks peeled away. But I have to give it to them that even as their skin melts off, they have hopes of survival. I can see it in their eyes; the hollowness I want to witness there so badly doesn’t come even in their last breath. Maybe, starvation would give me the result fire failed to give. For there is no dearth of “guinea pigs” for my experiments.

 

Kayenat Khan

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