Sunday, July 31, 2005

18. Ayaz

Dragging Aamir out of the car he broke into song.

Some obscure ditty that he had heard as a child.

Something about falling snow and a long way to go.

He pulled him towards the rest house, dragging him by the hair. Half way to the main door, tired from the exertion of trudging through the snow with an unconscious carcass in tow, he stopped. Kicked his burden a couple of times in the stomach and marched back towards the car for the bottle of J&B he knew he had brought along.

He came back taking swigs from the bottle, singing in hushed tones, swaggering from the alcohol corroding his blood.

“Oye” He calls to Aamir.

“OYE” he yells louder. Takes a long sip and spits it out on Aamir’s face.

He stirs, and slowly opens his eyes. Closes them immediately as the blood on his face mixed with the alcoholic spit stings his retinas. He raises a hand to wipe the grime off his face and feels the wind blow out of his lungs as Ayaz’s army boot clad foot lands squarely on his chest.

“Good morning, friend.” Ayaz sings out.

“How does it feel to be fucked over?” he continues laughing. It’s too dark to see his face, but Aamir can see the moon’s light reflecting off the snow on the ground shine in the madman’s eyes.

He tries to get away from under his foot but can’t, he has hardly any strength left in him. His body already subjected to abuse while his mind was too unconscious to register pain refuses to move when he wants it to.

“You know, you almost pulled it off.” Ayaz continues. “Fuck, that was the best piece of acting I’ve seen in a long time… “ he takes another swig. “But then you came along with that unbelievably dumb ass story about the girl in the market and DUDE. I was pissed off. Like how freaking dumb do you think I am?” Another kick, another swig, another satisfied gasp. “I mean, okay fine… I had a feeling I knew who you were last night, yeah Rida showed me your picture… but I figured hey maybe just maybe, this guy is someone else. Just fucking coincidence you know… then your whole story about Bhatti… that was a gem. I mean Credit is given where it’s due, right? That was one good move, my friend of a friend.” He steps off of Aamir and turns his back, silent. The only sound is the snow falling through the still night and the whiskey rippling in the bottle. Aamir still unable to move, lies waiting helplessly for Shahnawaz to show up sooner than planned. He hopes a miracle is on its way.

“And you know… what really won me over?” He waited as if Aamir really would follow up on his prompt. “It was the way you sat stone faced when I told you about your wife. That was class man… pure class. I mean whoa! I had respect bro. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.’ He nudges him in the shoulder with a foot. “You had me then… you had me. But you fucked it UP. “ His voice getting hostile and loude,r he leans over Aamir’s bloodied face. “You fucked it up. Even if Shahnawaz hadn’t come and squealed in my ear about your plan, your plan itself was a dead give away. I mean, seriously you thought you could fool me? And with that lame ass story? YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD BEAT ME?” This time he kicks him in the head. “You don’t make Major by being fooled. You don’t make millions by being fooled. And you thought you could come here, make an ass out of me, and avenge your whore for getting what she had been begging for. Did you know she smiled when I kissed her? Yeah mother fucker, she loved it. She loved it when I tied her up and she loved it when I turned her over. What were you gonna do? What the hell did you think you would do huh? Drag me out here and put a bullet through my head? You stupid fuck. Now this is what I’m gonna do to you…” he began to pour the whiskey on Aamir. “I’m gonna bathe you in booze… then I’m gonna light up my cigarette and then I’m gonna throw the match on you and then I’m gonna watch you burn. Pacino style” He placed a cigarette in his mouth and dragged a match box from his pocket. “And while you burn the night bright, I’m gonna sit back and watch you scream… just like your wife did when I stuck it up…”

The sharp crack of metal on skull shut him up. As his body fell beside Aamir, he saw Shahnawaz standing there with the gun from the car in his hand.

“Where the fuck have you been?” Aamir wheezed propping himself up on his elbows looking at Ayaz lying face down in the snow with blood coursing from under his hair and the unopened match box in his hand.

“I’m right on time, you were early.” Shahnawaz said helping Aamir to his feet.

“Just like a soldier, never use your own fucking brain. You talked to him, you saw me come in. Couldn’t you have guessed we would be early?”

“Hey, the plan worked, all right? I’m here now. He’s out cold. So you took a few hits, just like a fucking civilian, always pin it on the soldier.” Shahnawaz said grabbing hold of Ayaz’a feet

“He almost set me on fire, you brainless… appliance. You’re like a toaster, all of you fucking soldiers… can’t think for yourselves, once the timer is set, come hell or a fucking slap in the face, you still don’t know what to do but wait for further orders.” He knew he had a right to be angry and he knew he had a right to take it out. He felt like a Molotov cocktail just waiting for a match.

“Ayaz could think for himself, would you rather I be like him?”

Aamir reached over to grab the arms. “No. But you didn’t do yourself any favors by following his orders either, did you? Didn’t make any difference.” The anger suddenly absent from his voice as his focus resets on the twist of fate that had him dragging a body through the snow in the middle of the night to an abandoned building where he could exact a revenge that he deemed fitting for the pain the women he had never thought he would loose had suffered.

They dragged Ayaz’s body inside the rest house in silence, careful not to spill any blood on the snow.

Propping him up in a chair, they bound him with the duct tape Ayaz had thought was destined for Nida’s wrists. Aamir poured whiskey in a paper cup and dropped one pill of rohypnol in it.

“Leave” Aamir told Shahnawaz as Ayaz began to stir back into consciousness.

“I have a score to settle with him too” He replied, defiant.

“I have one to settle with you too.” Aamir reminded him ending the argument before it began leaving Shahnawaz no option but to follow his command.

“I’ll be outside…in case something goes wrong.”

“Stay by the car… not an inch closer.” Aamir said picking up the glass of spiked whiskey and walked towards Ayaz.

He wakes up just as a door slam shut behind him.

Unable to move, he struggles to free his hands tied behind his back while Aamir places the brim of the glass and kicks him in the groin. His mouth opens in a scream. But it’s drowned under the rush of liquid flowing hungrily down his throat. He almost chokes and coughs till his eyes water.

As the drug starts to take effect, he begins to drift out of lucidity. His legs go numb as he feels the strength drain out of him. Ten years of the most extensive survival training in the world and he sits helpless, unwilling to move, at the mercy of the man in whose eyes he sees a dementia much more chaotic than his own. For the first time in his life, Major Ayaz faints out of fear.

He stumbles back into consciousness at the sound of a snap. His vision blurred by the drug and the alcohol reveals a distorted figure before him putting on what look like transparent surgical gloves. Slowly his mind clears and he sees Aamir Khan standing before him with a butcher’s knife in his hand. He shakes his head to clear his mind of the absurd vision before him. It’s no longer the actor that he sees, but the knife is still there, in the gloved hands of a man whose picture he had seen in the hands of the last woman he remembers making love to. He knows what the gloves are for, to keep the blood from staining the skin. So he knows what the knife is for, to make him bleed. He gasps trying to imagine which part of his body is going to be subjected to the blade first as the man with blood shot eyes and a familiar face devoid of any feeling whatsoever closes in on him.

He mouths a no, as he sees the man bend down.

He yells stop as he feels his powerless legs being spread.

He screams in anguish as he feels the knife hack away at his penis.

He passes out from the pain as blood gushes out from his groin.

It’s raining. He thinks as the whiskey is splashed on his face to bring him back to unwilling consciousness. His eyes open bringing his mind back to reality. And the searing pain rising from the emptiness in his groin sends tremors through his body. He screams, realizing all of a sudden what has happened to him, seeing his penis lying on the floor next to his feet and a pair of blood stained rubber gloves resting on his bare thighs. His own blood pooled on the floor and the seat of the chair he is sitting in. He feels colder than he ever has. As if winter has come inside him this time. It rises from within, like dread, like fear. He tries to get up but even if his muscular legs had the strength to support his weight, his arms lack the force to break free from the duct tape binding him to the chair.

He looks up to see a man standing against the wall before him, puffing away at a cigarette with a psychotic smile on his lips. He comes closer, Ayaz looks into his eyes and for an instant feels like this is exactly what he deserves.

He opens his mouth to speak, to apologize, to reason with this man, to tell him that he had done enough. That he had not only avenged his wife but every other woman he had ever abused. That he had already saved so many more that would have suffered from his perversion. But even as he thinks these thoughts he knows he’s lying. He knows it was never the act itself but the ability to get away with it that had him intoxicated. The power he had felt, the ability to choose a life to destroy and getting it done without fear of repercussion that had made it impossible for him to even recognize what he was doing as wrong.

He sits there speechless; mouth ajar in a silent scream, a silent apology, a silent appeal. His eyes open wide with terror and pain, he can’t look away from the face of the man standing before him, looking down on him with a hatred so utterly complete that there is no room for negotiations, or forgiveness.

Blood drips from his open mouth as the internal bleeding from the slip shod surgery rises up his throat. He finds it harder and harder to breathe.

The man comes closer and without uttering a word puts on another pair of gloves. Just before Ayaz can even begin to wonder what he has in store for him now, the man picks up the bloodied gloves off his thighs and one by one shoves them into his nostrils. Already suffocating, Ayaz finally let’s himself scream and beg for mercy. But no mercy is forth coming as he sees the man bend down and grab his severed member of the floor.

He clenches his mouth shut as soon as he realizes what fate his murderer has in mind for him. But his resolve is no match for the pain that the kick in the groin induces and his mouth blows open to yell.

The most blood curdling scream he has ever heard, worse than any of the women he had raped had ever been able to manage, comes from his own throat. But it is stifled by the bloody mess of flesh and throbbing vein and crippled muscle being stuffed into his mouth. Before he can even contemplate shoving it out with his tongue, the murderer seals it in with duct tape.

As he chokes on his own penis, unable to breathe through his nostrils clogged by rubber stoppers soaked in his own blood, he sees the man who has killed him relax. He lights up another cigarette, watching Ayaz’s face drain of blood. His body convulsing until it stops and settles into the restless calm of the dead.

Just as his eyes begin to loose vision, surrendering him to infinite darkness, he sees the man with the cigarette in his mouth flick a burning match towards him.

The last thing he feels before passing away into the depthless void of death is his creased but immaculately starched army shirt catch fire.

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