Years of planning had gone down.Months of training and numerous lessons.All of it , was about to be paid off.
I felt out of breath. My destination was anywhere out of this now turned cruel place, Kashmir, once called home. Leaving my father behind ached my soul, but knowing he was there to help other Muslims comforted me. There were Indian soldiers everywhere. So was blood. So was pain. So was agony.
It had been going on for fifty days now. Kashmir was under attack by the Indian government, claiming their power by torturing, raping and burning Kashmiri Muslims. I was told by them that there was no escape, but my father found us, Kashmiris, a way out. I was running towards the mountains where on the other side I’d find Pakistan’s border. Oh, how it sounded like heaven.
Five in the morning, I left the shelter and headed out. Once I’d reach the border my uncle would help me out. It was approximately 7:00am now. My feet sore, and my legs had almost given up. Thankfully, I was in a crowd of trees, my muddy clothes would conceal me if any beast was around. I sat by a tree, panting, heart beating fast and thoughts running through my mind.
Will I ever make it? What if those predators saw me? Will it be the end of it all?
My knees were bleeding by the numerous amounts of times I tripped on hard rocks, only trying to bear the pain by picturing myself being shot on my legs. I didn’t know how much longer I was to run to get my prize but I got up and started walking.
“Come on Noor, you can make it, for your father and for the helpless souls”, I told myself. Every now and then I’d hear a living thing either walk, or breath. But I told myself it was an animal and tried not to be steered back by the fear.
There was a pleasant breeze. A beautiful sight. Only to make me wish it made me happy. Instead it broke me. God’s creations are so majestic but so are they cruel and heartless.
Now came the river. I had to find a way through. The water was ferocious. I knew if I tried to find a way through it, I’d be crumbled and clenched by the rocks. I then ran to the end of the river where I saw big rocks which led my way over the river. I jumped onto the first one. My heart raced. One wrong step and I’d be eaten up by the river. My bare feet bled. The freezing cold water numbed them. The pain felt never ending.
I was over the river after about fifteen minutes. It must have been eight now. The Indian forces would be changing shifts just about now. I had ten minutes.
I ran like anything. Like everything I ever needed stood miles away. It was all I needed. My feet were on the verge of giving up.
But there it was. The border. My soul felt enlightened. I wanted to scream with pleasure. I had reached my destination, achieved my prize. Freedom was my prize.
The sun was at its maximum and was glaring angrily at the fifty two thousand people sitting impatiently in the stands. They were waiting for something to begin. Something that brought tears of joy in their eyes. Something that made their throats dry but they didn’t care. Something that gave them butterflies (actually birds) in their stomachs.
They were waiting for twenty two players to come out so they could cheer them on.
It was the soccer world cup final of twenty ten.
Now these fans were so stressed out. Imagine what the players were feeling. Brazil versus Argentina. A match between the two greatest teams in the world. A match between twenty two of the greatest players in the world. Lionel Messi. Paulo Dybala. Thiago Silva. David Luiz. Neymar.
At nineteen years of age, this was Neymar’s first world cup and first world cup final. Neymar was sweating madly, not because of the sun, no. They were sitting in a fully air conditioned room. He was nervous. All his teammates had told him not to be nervous. Youre going to do fine. Its going to be okay but how could he not be nervous.
“What if we lose? What if I miss a goal? What if I get injured and cant play? What if I embarrass myself.” These were all the thoughts going through Neymars head. But then he thought…
“What have I done to get here?”
Soccer was his passion, his life, his best friend! Never as a child had he thought that he would one day be playing for Brazil, why he hadn’t even thought he would be this rich. And he was thankful for each and every think had got because of sacrificing so much of his hard work. Neymar answered his own questions.
So what if we lose? We made it all the way to the world cup final. If we lose, we’ll lose in the best way possible. So what if I miss the goal? Brush it off and score an even spectacular one. I’ll get the chance to experience the world cup. And if I embarrass myself? It doesn’t matter. All I’ve got to do is focus on the game, not the people.
With these inspirational thoughts, Neymar walked out of the changing rooms into the stadium feeling a great deal more confident. He sang the Brazilian national and anthem and felt that playing as a team is what really matter.
Playing as a family is what matters.
The whistle blew. The match started. In the first forty five minutes of the game, nothing happened. Chances were made but no one scored. It was becoming very frustrating.
The referee blew the whistle again and the second half started. Nobody scored. Both the teams were just playing to good (or too bad maybe?)
But just when ten minutes of the game were left, Neymar was brought down in the penalty area. Penalty to Brazil. And guess who was going to take it? Neymar.
Neymar stood behind the ball, waiting for the whistle to be blown. The whistle blew and …
Neymar was devastated. This had been their chance. His chance for Brazil. Sighs of relief and frustration could be heard from the fans.
Two minutes to go and Neymar saw a chance. He dribbled his way past the Argentine defenders and shot in the top left corner.
He had scored and they had won. He had won.
And while holding the trophy in his hands with his team, with tears of joy streaming down his face, he thought “ this trophy wasn’t his prize. Winning for his team and family and getting this level in his career after all that hard work was his prize!
It was insanely manic. Grayson pressed hard on the poorly made speeding pedal in this bland, rundown vehicle. A little more pressure, he thought, and the seventies style roadrunner would surely falter his faith, but he couldn’t stop. Indeed as he looked back continuously, flashes of blue and red greeted his vision as he remembered what he did, what he was pushed towards doing, what his being didn’t at all regret the slightest.
“Where in the world is Tim exactly?”
He felt the words usher out of his mouth in a frenzy. Tim, his ‘assistant’ in this wild hunt, was nowhere to be seen in his equally drab, equally run down, white, god knows what vehicle. Just then a pristine blur caught his eye in the rear. Tim it was, gracing him with his appreciated egotistical presence.
“Just do the damned thing we signed up for.”
Grayson’s anxiety was creeping up, up and up his vision where he felt tears prick his eyes. There was a difference between regretting something and not wanting to do something, Grayson agrees strongly with the latter. He absolutely had to do this, even if it was the epitome of unjust- call the man and his actions bad, but the reason? Don’t even try to.
He has indeed, as stated before, signed up for this. His wife and unborn daughter were counting on the long-term profits stealing medicinal drugs would give them; only if they knew the nature of his earnings just this once, and then maybe, just maybe they would persuade him to stop his unjustly self crusade.
“Speed up loser! And turn right,” came a shrill shriek.
Tim could be seen on the edge of his persona. Grayson listened but this didn’t stop the holy red and blue that bled justice through the highway with the aim of putting their hunt to a halt.
Grayson caught a glimpse of Tim in his car conversing with someone. He did not know whom. Just then the sirens that followed him came to a cease stop, but not before a large crash greeted his eardrums. Grayson did not dare to look back, because whoever Tim was conversing with had stopped talking and a sight of metal, as well as blue and red tinted streets had displayed itself onto the rear view mirror.
“One of my ally’s just gave her life for you. Try being grateful for once.”
Grayson was seething. ‘Grateful?’. He was grateful for many things. Things like the brown package that decorated his passenger seat and the fact that he actually lived the heist- grateful that because of the demon that called himself Tim he would surely live to see his wife again. Oh his wife-who importantly this was all for.
He found himself calming down with every passing thought of her graceful, gorgeous being and their unnamed and unborn daughter who would now live to see the light of day. However Grayson was indeed grateful for the sacrifice that had been made in his favor, although he would never admit it at the moment; delight crossed his features.
His seventies style roadrunner and Tim’s white vehicle sat at the junction of roads. Grayson and Tim themselves were positioned in a drab and disgusting alleyway, where Grayson was sure that this had happened before-the place was fitting for such an exchange.
“The deal is done. You keep the medicine and I keep the non-medicinal drugs, and alas I take the credit, happy?”
“Of course,” came Grayson’s bland response to his literal partner in crime, Tim- yet another scandalous revelation to anyone’s ears other than theirs.
Therefore both parties had agreed to never speak of this or to never think of this event ever again. As Grayson went home he was greeted by the stunning, beautiful, ethereal, dying face of his beloved. As he handed her the brown paper bag he recalled the challenging event that had occurred mere moments before.
The challenge of coming to terms with mankind’s limit, a limit that he had passed. Grayson had also come to terms with the challenge that was to come, that of his daughter’s arrival; the challenge of fatherhood would be the most difficult challenge he would face.
But before that. The greatest challenge of all was him coming to terms with what he did. This challenge was something he lost, lost with his sanity, sanity that would never come back. The man was deeply scarred- he had seen and experienced too much. This was the last thought that stood idle in his mind and had engraved itself into his being the moment he willingly stepped inside the dreaded Arkham Asylum.