February 16, 2008
By Myra Ahmad, Sialkot, ZZ

Once upon a time, in a city high up in the mountains, lived a happy family consisting of a mom, a dad, and little girl, Hina. But the future is so unpredictable. The once happy family - now a disaster. The once happy family - now torn apart. It is all so sad...
Hina used to go to school like a normal little girl. Her father used to bring goodies for her like a normal father does. Her mother used to make refreshments for her and her father like a normal mother does.
It really started when Hina was just an eight year old girl. Her father had a deal with another company and his company made a lot of profit. Then for some reason he broke the deal. Hina and her mother decided to have a little party at home, just the three of them. So the next day, when Hina's father was at office and Hina was at school, Hina's mother went to the market to buy her some ingredients for baking. She was going to make her famous zinger burgers that Hina and her father loved a lot. the weather was very hot and the first thing she did after returning home was of drink a glass of cool lemonade which she found in the refrigerator. She didn't remember putting it there but in her desperation for something cool she drank it. Soon after that she felt a little dizzy and deciding that it was because of the hot weather. She turned on the Air Conditioner but it didn't help. Now panicking, she phoned her husband to come home. He immediately came home and called the doctor. The doctor gave her some pills and told her to rest. But by evening instead of getting better, she was getting worse. The doctor was again called, but this time he gave some grave news. He said that Hina’s mother may not live. All hopes shattered when these words were spoken. My mom, poor mom, will she not live? If she'll go then who will make those delicious treats for me? Who will care for me? Tears ran from Hina eyes when these thoughts flooded her. But things go as they are decided by God. Her mother only lived for the next six hours. Hina doesn't remember what happened next except the view of the funeral of her mother through watery eyes and a broken heart. She only remembers the tears stricken face of her father as he held her close to him...
Days, Months, maybe years passed but she couldn't recover from the shock. But as they say that nothing can happen if you don't make an effort, Hina soon realized that crying over the loss of her mother won't make her come back, perhaps it might even make her feel sad, where-ever she is. So, now in a new light, Hina decided that she would not cry any more but start a new life. And she now also had a new mission. What-ever happens she had to take care of her father. It wouldn't do if her father also - oh, it was too horrible even to think.
She soon returned to her normal routine but it sure was taking a lot of time for her father to recover. But just as
Things were beginning to get normal; Hina started noticing that her father was a little worried. This went on and started to get worse. Sometimes he would even forget about his meals. Then, sometimes he would come running home and shut and bolt the door from inside and then slide down the wall on his back, with sweat all over his body, with occasional untidy hair and sometimes even broken spectacles dangling from his nose. Hina began to get afraid of her father and kept clear of him.
One evening when Hina was upstairs in her room doing homework. She heard someone come outside. Looking out of the window, she saw three big, burly men downstairs. She knew them as the people with whom her father had made and broke a deal before her mother's death.
"Must be dad's co-workers" she shrugged as she returned to her never-ending plus boring geography homework.
From the noises she heard from downstairs, she could guess that her father had showed the men into the drawing room. Soon the voices of the men could be heard. They seemed to be addressing her father in urgent voices. But then their voices rose to shouts. They seemed to be angry with her father. Silently, Hina crept to the door of her room as to hear what the men were saying.
"So Mailk you thought you would pay us back, did you?" someone said.
"No... I tell you...It's all a mistake..." It's dad! Gasped Hina.
Mistake? You call this a mistake? You knew what you were doing!"
"You thought you would show us who's boss? Well, let me tell you something Malik, YOU CAN'T!"
"No...Please...Let me explain..."
"Shut up!"
"Please...I can explain..."
"Of course, you can explain. But that is, to God"
"You know what, Malik, you are a little off the head. You shouldn't have broken that deal with us. That way we wouldn't have poisoned your wife. But you guessed it, didn't you? Did you thought that telling the police about us would make you smart? Well, no. It will only result in your death."
"No...Please...What'll you get if you kill me?"
"Revenge, of course"
"No...I'll do anything you say...anything..."
"Sorry. No time..."
SHOT! Hina knew before she saw it. Her father was dead. Killed. Murdered. She could hear the men quickly escaping. She could hear the neighbors gathering outside her house, wondering what had happened here. But she couldn't move. She doesn’t remember anything else, except that soon after someone came and took her in his arms. Except that she was soon taken in care by her aunt who lived in a house near the beach in the south of the country...she couldn’t remember...anything...
Now, she is an orphan. A forced orphan. She still lives with her aunt. But deep down, she died when they killed her father. She is rarely cheerful. People think her mad.
But there is just one thing she says for herself:
“I wish that this has never happened..."

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