Into The Night
By: Ammar Ahmed Khan
The full moon was the only shed of light in the city of Islamabad. The city was silent and also felt as if it was lifeless. A young couple began to walk a dark street, smiling and laughing together. They suddenly turned to a dark alley which immediately got them to a dead end.
Confused, the young couple turned around to leave, but out of nowhere, a small group of thugs approached them, looking excited to see what they referred to as “fresh-meat”. The couple tried to escape from them, but eventually the thugs caught up to them and separated them. The boy was being punched to the gut on one side of the alley while the girl was suddenly cornered, unable to move away from the thugs.
Suddenly, the group tormenting the girl heard a series of large grunts. They turned around to see a shocking view – The boy was on his knees, injured while the thugs tormenting him were on the ground unconscious. Nothing else could be seen.
Another large series of grunts were heard and One of the thugs, the leader, turns around and suddenly realizes that the girl suddenly disappeared and the rest of the group were on the ground, grunting in pain.
The thug was suddenly terrified of this turn of events. He slowly began to walk away from the unconscious bodies, hoping that this wouldn’t happen to him. As he walked away, he felt something blocking his way.
“You’re not going anywhere.” said a deep, terrifying voice. The thug slowly turned around and saw a tall figure, shrouded in a dark cloth, covering his head and face. The only thing seen through it were the figure’s eyes, crimson red with anger.
The thug began to scream, terrified at the figures appearance. The figure seemed more furious as the thug screams. In order to shut him up, he let out a punch to the thug.
12 Hours Earlier.
It was an ordinary morning for the people of Islamabad. The streets were all of a sudden crowded with shoppers, school kids and the most common of all – Beggars. Other than that. Many of the shops in the area were beginning to open. All except one shop which has remained open over night.
The shop was relatively small in comparison to the rest of the shops, but it was considered as the best and only IT shop in the district. The name at the top of the shop read “Saifullah’s IT repair and Purchase.”
The owner of this shop seemed a man quite young and was wearing a greyish colored Shalwar Kameez. He looked tired, as if he had been standing behind the counter all night and hasn’t moved since.
Finally, after what felt like hours of standing, Saifullah walked to the back of the shop for a little rest. As he walked to the room, he felt a slight of sadness in him. The entire room looked as if it was destroyed – the walls were looking old with no paint, just worn out bricks, the floor was marbled, but really unevenly and as for the bed, there wasn’t any, just a pile of sheets in the corner.
“What did I do to deserve this.” Saifullah thought to himself as he walked to his closet. As he walked towards the closet, he opened it to find the one thing he loved the most – A black and Grey overall with an ‘S’ logo on the top left of the chest area of the overall.
Saifullah, as he looked at it, began to remember the time he got it as a present. It was his 18th birthday and his parents gave it to him. However even memories have tragedies. On the same day, his parents went on a business trip after which they were never seen again.
Since that day, Saifullah has been living in a shop, trying to make a living, but even he was starting to think that it wasn’t enough.
“I’m DOOMED!!!” said a voice from across the room. Saifullah quickly enetered the room to see a man in a black suit, looking worried with a laptop in his hand.
“I need you to fix this quick!!!” said a man as he gave the laptop to Saifullah. “How soon can you do it?…Never mind, just call me when you’re done with it!” said the man as he gave the number to Saifullah and left the shop.
The man ran from the shop in the limo and suddenly his phone began to ring. The man was suddenly scared by the phone.
“Please don’t be my boss.” the man thought to himself. He answered the phone, his voice sounding rather weak. “Hello?”
“I’m done.” said the voice.
“Who is this?”
“You gave me a laptop to fix five seconds ago and you immediately forgot who I am?” said the man on the other line.
“But how did you..?”
“Since I did I fixed in a such little time I’m only gonna charge you Rs. 200.”
“You can come out of the Limo now.” said the voice as he hung up the phone.
The man opened the window of the limo and found Saifullah holding the laptop in his hand, smiling at his great success.
“How did you fix it so quickly?” asked the man.
“I’m really good when it comes to IT technology, but seeing that I never went to college, no one would offer me a job.”
“How about I offer you one.” said the man, smiling. “My name is Andrew Swaltz.”
“Andrew Swaltz?” said Saifullah in complete shock. “The same Andrew Swaltz that’s in-charge of Swaltz IT Inc.?”
“That’s right.” Said Andrew, smiling as he gave his business card to Saifullah, “ This card has my contact information. If you ever decide to take the job just give me a call.” Andrew continued as he closed the window of his limo and drove off.
Saifullah suddenly found himself looking at the business card in his hand, wondering if this decision would change his life around if he would accept the offer, but he doubted he would ever get the job.
“Give us your stuff!” Saifullah heard from far away. He saw two thugs trying to mug a young lady, the woman was resisting, but they were successful in taking her belongings from her.
“HEY!” yelled Saifullah as he walked closer to them, “Give her back her stuff!”
The thugs began to laugh at him. Looking at him, they couldn’t believe that Saifullah could do anything to stop them. One immediately marched towards him in order to attack, but Saifullah quickly moved aside, making the thug’s attack miss and making him fall.
The next thug tried afterwards, taking out a mini knife and trying to slash Saifullah, but Saifullah managed to swiftly dodge each strike.
“Hold still, you freak!” said the thug as he continued to slash him, but Saifullah still managed to dodge all the slashes until the thug felt a sudden pain in his stomach. This pain was too much for him to bare. The thug looked down to find Saifullah’s knee in contact with the thug’s stomach. He couldn’t believe it.
“How….the..hell..” said the thug before he fell to the ground, unconscious. The woman ran towards them and found the thug on the floor. She was suddenly shocked at the sight.
“How did you do that?” asked the woman in confusion.
Saifullah didn’t answer. He simply turned around, picked up the purse and bags and gave them back to the woman.
“Here you go ma’am.” said Saifullah. before the woman could say anything, he walked back into his shop.
Inside the shop, Saifullah was laying on his piled up sheets. He was thinking about what he just did not long ago.
“Pakistan is in a crisis because of this.” Saifullah thought to himself, “And yet, no one has a single audacity to do anything about it.”
He turned his head towards the closet and saw his black and gray overall. He also noticed that there was a long, dark sheet floating across the closet. It hanged behind the overall and was hovering in the air because of the wind.
Looking at the overall and sheet in such a manner, Saifullah began to smile. He immediately got up from the sheet pile and picked up both the cloth and the sheets.
“If no one will make a change, I will.” Said Saifullah.
12 Hours Later
The thug opened his eyes, everything was beginning to look blurry, his head was hurting badly. After a while, he regained vision, seeing that he was suddenly upside down in the alley. His body completely tied up by a rope.
He struggled to move his body in order to look towards the back of the alley, but no one was there. The thug was suddenly confused. The thug tried to move his body back, facing the front, but he saw the same person who he remembered punching him, his face still shrouded in the dark cloth.
The thug was scared by looking at him. He was so traumatized that he couldn’t even speak. The shadowy figure wore the cloth like a cape, which fell to his feet. He was wearing a black and gray overall which had a ‘S’ on the top right area of his chest.
“What’s going on here.” asked the thug, terrified and confused. The figure started walking away, not even looking back.
“Your gang has caused enough problems in this area.” Said the figure, his voice sounding dark, “The police are on their way.”
“Who are you?” asked the thug, it was then that the figure stopped at his tracks. He turned around to see the thug.
“Spread the word…” said the figure, “to all the gangs in this city. When darkness falls, and if any innocent people get hurt, I’ll be waiting to strike. Like a shadow in the darkness.”
“A Shadow?” asked the thug, as he looked down at the unconscious thugs, when he looked up the figure disappeared. It was at that moment that the thug was immediately terrified.
On that very night, the figure walked into a shop, which was empty. He lifted the hood which was covering his head – It was Saifullah.
“Good to know I can do something to change the world.” said Saifullah, with a smile on his face. “But I have more thing to do.”
Saifullah picked up the card which was given to him by Andrew Swaltz. He picked up the phone and dialed the number. The phone began to ring and after a few beeps Andrew was on the phone.
“Hey it’s me, I fixed your computer a couple hours ago.”
“Hey, how ya holding things up?”
“Pretty good….Listen I wanted to ask you about the job offer.”
It was then that Saifullah paused to think about it. He began to wonder if this was the best idea. After a while of thinking, he finally came to an answer.
“When can I start?” asked Saifullah with a smile.
The Next Morning
The morning was beautiful, and was more beautiful as the sun slowly rose up to the sky. A truck was seen heading towards the newspaper stand by Saifullah’s shop. The man got out of the car, looking tired.
“I hate this.” said the man as he picked up the newspaper from the back of the truck. “I don’t mind doing this job at all. But why did the newspapers have to make a last minute editing, making me stay there all night?”
The man put the newspaper on the stands. After which he simply got back into his truck and was walking away.
Immediately, one of the newspapers was blown away by the wind. It was floating in the air for a moment until it landed on a mat of a house. The headline was written:
“The Shadow haunts the streets at night.”