[SMC Magazine ‘নোঙর’] Piece one: Little Sue – Audity Binta Tareq
The same unblinking eyes seemed to bore into my very soul every time I looked out towards the sky. She was a bedraggled sight in the midst of everything. Her wiry, stringy hair hung limply down her back, barely covered by the rags she wore. Yet what stared insolently from the pallor of her face was a pair of intense eyes framed by dark circles of fatigue. Where her entire being looked lifeless and worn, the eyes remained focused and alert, undaunted by the wrought iron gates.
She had remained in that same position every single day for the last week whenever I was within the walls of my immense mansion. Each day only caused the burden of guilt weighing me down to intensify. My face now manifested the wretchedness that was swallowing my heart and soul leading me to wonder how long before the brunt of it would simply shred me to bits. The moment was captured like a grotesque picture, eternally imprinted in my memories.
The gaunt and elderly gentleman had just stepped off the pavement. The little girl by his side was, fortunately for her, a little slower and thus saved from harm as I watched with numb horror, my speeding form crash into the man with such tremendous force that he was flung off a few meters ahead. The girl’s distraught screams and the thud of human bone impacting heavily on the hard road surface rung in my head like hell itself. In that moment of utter trepidation and panic, selfish thoughts were all my willpower and weak judgement could muster. Simply revving up my Porsche engine I drove away the guilt, fear and shame multiplying and proliferating.
The erratic thumping of my heart driving me into a deep set panic, I could still see the headlines splashed vividly across the front pages as I held the newspapers with trembling hands. They ranged from the speculation of the irresponsibility and heartlessness of the hit and run driver who had robbed little Sue of her only living relative, to outright condemnation of her cowardice at fleeing the scene. It was fortunate that our little neighbourhood could hardly trace this unidentified person and it was with guilty relief I found out that little Sue was vocally impaired. The accident bore no eye witnesses. Not that I was too particularly worried, the local police department was too busy settling their own internal differences and it would be simply foolish for them to try and arrest the single sponsor who has been funding and pumping in enormous amounts of money for them.
Her speech may be impaired but her drive was relentless. She would not rest until I had paid for the death of her beloved grandfather; she was determined to trail me until I realised the full enormity of my crime, even if that meant that she might eventually die doing it. Her blind relentlessness was born of a chillingly simple understanding: this heartless creature must and would pay.
It was something I was only beginning to understand.