Dom-dom-dom-dom-dom…the band marched out of Aminiya School gate turning north on Chandani Magu lined up of spectators. A band followed by the route march of Girl Guides dressed all white to join the parade to celebrate the Independence Day of 1975. The Drum Major holding the mace was a tall fair girl in thick white coat and green skirt with a skiff and white gloves. She threw the mace skimming in air by every turn and a series of exposures from camera flashes flicked their faces. She was proud to be the bandleader and not ever nervous to march on public roads. In fact, they waited for this superb day to shine and dress for the occasion. Somewhere, the bandleader felt someone with a camera flash turning up at every corner, focused on her face for close-ups and he followed the band. She concentrated on the headlong direction smartly. At one spot when the band performed a stationery episode of instrumentals, the photographer reached within inches to her face and flicked the flash blinding her eyes. She didn’t even blink but continued to lead the band as conductor. A second time, he took a close-up shot but without a flash quite unexpectedly and in the nick of her eyes, she caught the face of a petite man holding a large flashgun. She knew him somewhere.
Quarter an hour later, they turned a corner, her eyes grew blurred in vision and she couldn’t make faces of the sightseers. She threw the mace and it revolved five times in air. It came fast hitting the ground. She saw blackening forms around and her feet too tight in white tennis shoes. She fainted.
She woke up to find herself lying in a clinic bed with bright lights that lit the room. Her white coat of the band costume removed from her body and left in her petticoat with the green skirt turned up and her panties rolled down to the knees.
On the second bed that stood two yards to the left, she saw movement. A nurse seated on the elevated mattress with her frock turned up hugging a man in his unbuttoned shirt. Brown knees clutched around his hips and arms grasping his body. She was a brown girl. This man stood on his back engaged in sexual intercourse with his grey trousers dropped to the ankles.
“Where am I?” the girl patient muttered.
The nurse looked down at her, “In the hospital. You’re under sedation. You’re supposed to sleep.”
“What happened to me?”
“You fainted.” They disengaged hurriedly. The nurse dropped her legs and straightened. She corrected her short white uniform and the man turned a dreary face. He was a familiar doctor wearing glasses in black frame. He pulled his trousers and buckled up. The girl saw weirdness grown on him. He was Dr Kalil Arshyd who studied in the UK and married too. He picked his robe from the marble-tiled green floor.
The nurse reached the patient’s bed shaking a thermometer and thrust it deep into her genital to read a core body temperature, “Stay calm! Let me check your bougie mucosa!” She read the time on a slim wristwatch.
“Where’s my stepmother?”
“They were here before. You’ve got to rest.”
“I want to go home,” the girl said meekly.
The nurse removed the glass tube and put it in her mouth closing lips around and wiped in a salivated slob, took the reading, “103˚ Fahrenheit, too bad!” She flicked the tube several times and immersed into the girl’s mouth. “Wish you could…if you sleep well.”
The doctor returned to kiss the nurse standing behind her. Shaky hands grasped the brown girl’s thighs to bring her short white frock much too high to reveal she wore no panties, “I love you, Nisa!” his voice deep and low.
“I love you too.”
His fingers clawed into the nurse’s full-frontal so exposed in the eyes of the girl lying in bed two feet away. The nurse reacted quickly to bring down her frock and turned around but to flash her buttocks under the white cotton uniform.
It happened so fast and the flashes were gone. They turned the lights down and left the room in total darkness. It was very quiet. Gradually it glowed from the walls of vivid scenes in bright lights of an operation theatre where doctors and nurses carried out a surgery of a Caesarean on a pregnant female. At times she could feel scopes of lights on a ring hanging on the ceiling up above her head going on and off automatically.
She saw light coming from the bathroom door. She got down from bed and entered the toilet. Her eyes in the mirror were white without those brown irises. She could only believe what she saw in her drowsiness that night was nightmarish.
Juman Shakir was a tenth-grader studying at Aminiya who turned seventeen this July. Her biological mother died long ago. She lived with her father who was an honourable minister married to a woman of a caste family to whom she called stepmother. She stayed at the lady’s house with two half-sister twins but in a bedroom located in the backyard of the house where some other cousins, aunts and uncles dwelt in the rows of rooms opened to the porch. Mostly, those relatives belonged to other islands and this house often piled of islanders on visits to the capital. All the maids and servants slept in the backhouse.
Next morning Juman told one of those cousins about the images she saw last night and she was pretty sure of the sighting but her cousin felt uncertain and stopped her from talking nonsense – her stepmother would go mad about it. Dr Kalil Arshyd attended on her in the afternoon and released her. He pretended to be totally innocent and never occurred to him that he did something wrong in her consciousness.
A week passed, she could not get those images off her eyes or brains. She found herself disturbed in sleep of haunting dreams or nightmare. Her stepmother insisted to see the doctor again but she refrained while her complaints grew day by day. She kept quiet of that incident she had observed between the doctor and the nurse.
Moreover, by rules of tradition, odd behaviours and disturbances were blamed on the occult and thus her stepmother already knew she was taken by a spirit – an invisible being. The only cure was doing a fanditha – black magic – the usual method applied for traditional remedy or done in embarking on any task. Meanwhile, this neighbourhood told a tale of sighting a handi or a spirit in the backyard occasionally. They called Anzala Fahsha or Fariké Handi – this again underlies a scourge of beliefs among island folks.
It was a large villa covered of creepers, tropical flowers and palms in the backyard. Her room located in the backhouse to the north portal. There stood a water-well behind the trees and a fence where the maids and servants bathed in the backyard gifili – open-air shower garden. For this reason, the back gate remained locked. And this back gate stood to the narrow lane in front of Alvia School.
On the eastern side, the main gate led a drive to the portico in front of the main hall of the house. By the driveway, hidden in the trees, there stood a pavilion where the family members of caste climbed in the late afternoons to watch passers-by on the focal road called Evergreen Magu.
In mid seventies, western tourists or Europeans of the white race walked naked on the narrow lanes of the island capital because nudism wasn’t banned during those days. For them it was a paradise of the ignorant in the Third World – islands in the sun.
Often these caste families characteristically got domesticated, disciplined, aristocratic and shy. At times pretty loud and shrilly, girls quickly hide and never talk to a stranger. Conversely, on the pavilion, all the young girls teased by passing comments in undertone to each other to express downright sarcasm at poor chaps and weather-beaten fishermen wearing cloth of worn mundo or sarong tucked under the crotch in the manner locals called fugelun. Usually they enjoyed teasing when elders weren’t around and strictly not in presence of Juman’s stepmother. Hush!
If girls got company of a low-class somebody, they enjoyed ridiculing passers-by and listening to filth those caste tongues were forbidden to speak.
One afternoon this whole family was up on the pavilion watching the street over the wall. They were all silent because Juman’s stepmother was present but the girls teased and pinched behind somebody’s back and hold back giggles and laughter. A fisherman got nerdy to observe those pale faces of the caste people that the sunlight had forgotten in the islands of the sun however gazing at passers-by with stern eyes every day. In a shy gesture, he tucked his mundo into his mouth trying to hide his face in mean gimmickry. And while he did so, pretending to be ashamed of girls, his wrap got lifted too much to disclose his lando hanging between his legs like a pendulum. The horrified girls stumbled down the pavilion shrieking frantically. Her stepmother took her eyes away instantly from indecent exposure.
Since then, those panic-stricken girls ran down the pavilion and hid behind bushes whenever they saw this particular fisherman approaching.
Months later in November, Juman came out of the main hall to find her stepmother and the extended family with other folks talk about a strange sighting. It happened as her father, the aged minister, turned into the drive he caught sight of a topless manjé – an island girl – floating towards the gate as his car approached the portico. It was cloudy and a solar eclipse took place in the new moon that day.
They wished not to link this matter to Juman’s mental disturbances but it was pretty clear, they all got same thoughts unspoken but in their minds. Juman got uneasy to read their faces and she knew obviously they were nervous. She climbed the pavilion. Nobody joined her. All that talk about seeing a spirit of a ghost inside the house crippled the extended family.
It was sundown – six in the evening. Suddenly, a man on a bike turned by the corner from the narrow lane lying north; a mosque and a graveyard contained the north block. He raised the bamboo stick to reach a clutch-switch on the light post and clicked the roadside lantern while on the move non-stop and simultaneously he caught sight of the girl leaning over the wall – all at the same time as of instinctive nature. He even took the U-turn on his bike as of habit to cut her by – upfront.
She lowered her head promptly to hide behind the wall because she knew now he was interested in her and took the photographs during the route march over three months ago. It was his routine to appear by the corner six in the mornings and six in the evenings to switch on and switch off the roadside lights.
This particular day he threw the bamboo stick demonstrating a Drum Major’s mace because there was no other face. She saw it skimming in midair over the wall as she remained hiding with her big eyes watching above.
Shockingly, someone grabbed her by the ankles and she turned in deep shrill, overwhelmed to make any sound, hands on the chest and heart pounding, at first thought it was the manjé – fear contained in her soul.
“Oh! I’m sorry!” Buki realised Juman was scared and begged frightfully to calm down, “I did not mean to scare you!” She was a neighbourhood girl performing Bandiya Dance in the resort islands often in miniskirts to entertain the tourists. She got two kids, married to a fishing captain. She generally wore motherly dresses or maximum robes of the type faskuri-hedun except during dance performance.
“You nearly killed me! Why did you do that? I’m scared!” Juman hissed lowering on heels to sit on the pavilion platform. She wore a silvery green mini frock glittering to the hips and long-legged to bare skin.
“I’m sorry. What’s wrong with you?” Buki asked patting her knee.
“You heard? Father saw Fariké Handi today! It’s that damn girl! He saw her standing in the portico.” she whispered and released a shiver, “He saw her floating towards the main gate when he turned up the drive. He climbed down from his car and followed but the handi crossed the lane to the mosque yard and just vanished behind the tombstones.” She turned to Buki who wore a slothful face indifferently. Juman frowned, “Buki! I am serious!”
“Alright, alright…take it easy!”
“It is all true! Ask my stepmother if you do not believe me! It’s the same girl who wore a black kandeki and the golden ornaments, silver girdle and she appears topless…”
“Let it be! Anzala Fahsha is watching you. She’d be standing at your door tonight…”
“No!” cried the girl, “Don’t scare me! And don’t call her by that name. They talk about Fariké Handi and not that name, seeing around this area because she lives here behind those trees.”
“Come on!” uttered Buki. It was falling dark and cloudy in the sky.
“I have a bad feeling she’s got something to do with me. I cannot sleep!” she started to sob, “She comes closer to me if I think more of her…so they say. I can’t drive it off my mind…” She buried her face in the palms between knees.
“Let’s go out tonight!” Buki suggested an idea to distract her from bad feelings. “I can take you to Ice-gé for an ice-cream.”
“You mean both just sneak out without telling my stepmother?” Juman asked in partial shock.
“Precisely, you and me, we go and forget about the whole thing. I’ll come around nine. Your stepmother will be sleeping. We tell nobody.”
“What about my cousins? They go to dance and if they see me!” She meant all elder girls and boys in the extended family.
“If you want to dance, go on dance in a corner. Nobody sees in the dark. Come on! I’ll show you tonight. Nobody will find out.”
“Wow! Thanks, Buki. What shall I wear?”
“Nothing, I mean, that’s okay…”
“They dress well for a ball. You wear costumes for dance…”
“You are not silly to go there dressed in golden robes! Juman! Folks will notice you and stepmother will come to hear about you. This dress you are wearing is fine. I can see your pink panties.” She laughed teasing the big girl because of her diminutive clothes. She was a domesticated girl. “There are so many schoolgirls who dress simple for a night out. You sit and watch from the dark.”
“Okay. Leave the back gate open.”
That night she was thrilled to go for a dance. She hurriedly had dinner on the table with the family and stepmother. She returned to her room, locked the door and painted her fingernails in silver, wore lipsticks outlining thin lips. She was little unhappy because she could not wear her best dress. She picked an astounding choker; the moonstone that belonged to her mother. She placed it around her neck. She wore earrings and only the rich could wear such jewellery.
Juman was aware that in public places people knew her family well and so she needed to keep a casual manner and sit in the shadow. As time struck, there was some lightning and distant thunder.
Buki came in a pink faskuri-hedun – top-tight maximum gown worn by elderly women. Soon the two girls sneaked out of the back gate heading for Ice-gé but the rain started and they got soaked.
Juman’s sparkling frock turned transparent to obscure its silvery green to show off skin and her boobs got exposed to reveal the nipples. A pair of broad pink panties shot out to flash underneath the silvery fabric. The girls sat in a corner and had two coffees instead.
Afterwards, they walked same distance towards home and entered the narrow lane called Hakra Goali without a lamp and in the twist and turn of Sikka Goali they paused in the driving rain.
In one-hour downpour, sandy roads flooded. It was the darkest corner on the island. A man approached on a bicycle grinding its dynamo against the tire-ware. He saw two girls alone and stopped. In a flash, Buki got engaged with him kissing and hugging leaving Juman to stand there to watch the nightlife.
A motorcycle turned up and in its beam she saw the shadows on the wall. The dancer seated on the steering bar of the bicycle, her back to her and facing the guy on the saddle, her top-tight gown raised over the waist to stand on whitish yellow legs touching toes in the floodwater. A silver girdle fastened around her broad hips in several folds shimmering to the light. She wore no underwear like any native islander.
Juman observed many couples fumbling in the rain, their faces hidden in flesh, standing side by side and queued in rows on either side of the narrow lane by the whitewashed walls painted with filthy graffiti. They were prostitutes and on these lanes sex was unpaid but done for satisfaction to save time and money – liberate from hectic wives and domestic trouble.
Another light turned up signalling for someone on the hook. “Aye!” he pulled by and got occupied with some hooker-on-waiting. It turned to drizzle.
Moments later, still another came on a bicycle. He noticed her standing by herself next to an occupied couple. Somebody robed off her kandeki or unrobed her cloth to stand on two naked legs – she got no bottom. He flashed a torch on her from hips to toes to shine on wet skin. This girl raised her hands to hide her identity and turned to face the wall.
He switched off the lamp and pulled the bike to block her against the wall. “Kamblo!” he said and kissed the shy girl gathering her against his body while seated on the saddle. “Why are you here? What’s happened to you?” He picked her hand and deliberately placed on his fly which was open and he was holding an erection too. She made contact and pulled off in a stiffen reluctance. “You’re soft. Are you new around?” The girl nodded but he could hardly make her face.
He reached for the light and she stopped him quickly, “No, don’t look at me!” She could only tell that he wore a mackintosh.
“Come on! Dooni! It’s alright!”
“No. Don’t look at me, please!” She dropped her face and began to stimulate orally in a bizarre amateur fashion to lick the tip of. He knew she was new around but he let go such thoughts. In her mind she thought he would not suspect her for an inexperienced first-timer.
His hands stroked her shoulders down to the buttocks and he discovered she wore a pair of panties decorated in embroidery. Only girls in an academy wore them. “Wow! You’re a schoolgirl!” He could feel her soft body but to find no girdle on her waist. She was utterly a contemporary teenager. He slipped his fingers under her panties and touched a slimy flow. He could feel little bites of her teeth and saliva leak. “What’s your name?” She wore a necklace. He felt the stones.
Suddenly, she bit his penis and pushed him off the bike. He grabbed the choker. She tore away from the wall and ran towards east in the flood.
“Alifanoì!” the man cried painfully, “Wait! You bitch!” He staggered to hold his balance, tossed his dick and zipped awkwardly. He turned the bicycle to go after the girl.
A woman cried, “Juman!” It was Buki who saw her run away.
A block around the corner, she ran through the narrow lanes towards the back gate. He saw her rush in through the back gate but he was too late to make her face. He stopped outside the back gate of Highland.
Buki arrived a second later to find the lantern man on the bicycle. His name was Batthi. “Did you see the girl freaking on Hakra Goali! She’s from this house. Do you know her? You’re wet too! Did you go there?” he asked.
“Hey! Who are you? How do you know the girl’s from this place?”
“Someone called her name – Juman. I know her name. I can tell by her height. I saw her run through this gate. Now it’s locked. She’s the daughter of…”
“Stop man! Cut that talk! What do you want?”
“Were you out there with her?”
“No,” the dancer lied.
He hid the choker in his pocket. “I’ve got some photographs of her taken during the Independence Day parade. I want to ask if she’d buy them.”
“You know the time? It’s past midnight. She’s a schoolgirl. She’d be in bed. You call her in the morning.”
He laughed, “She was there tonight. She sucked me.” He realised it was a terrible mistake and corrected, “I mean, I talked to her just now.”
“Why then she ran away!”
“I don’t know. I didn’t see her face clearly but nobody enters this gate of Highland. Only she could. It’s that girl dressed like a princess.”
“Well, there are many girls here.”
“Somebody called her name!”
“Maybe a girl from this school,” Buki suggested.
“Why run in through this gate?”
“Oh man! Check all that tomorrow. I’m going.” Buki left him there but she knew something went wrong with him and Juman that she must find out. Why did Juman run away? Buki was quite sure even in the dark that Juman got engaged with him for a moment in her back, perhaps talking. Why did she do that in the first place? If she didn’t like, she could have stopped him.
Juman entered her room and the first thing she did was to look in the mirror. Juman saw her eyes were white without those brown irises. She dropped in bed, scared and wet, in her soaked frock of silvery green. She lay face down discovering that she lost her late mother’s choker – the moonstone.
Buki observed from a dark corner and when the lantern man left the gate, she entered her house which stood adjacent to the north wall of Juman’s backyard and the shower garden. She was worried about the silly girl and the manner she behaved with a guy she never met before – a stranger.
Buki was a loutish girl, sometimes hilarious, in flush skin and twenty-six years old. She tried the back gate and found it locked. So she turned to the narrow lane behind the mosque with the tombstones in view and reached the main gate facing east, walked pass the drive to the back garden. There was no sign of anyone awake. The house was dead.
In the backhouse of the extended family and the maids, few rooms got lights on but the foreground lit up the pathway and she saw prickling strokes of the falling rain. A gloss of light in Juman’s window fitted with obscure glass told the curtains were drawn.
She paused in the rain and remembered what the girl told her on the pavilion – the tombstones in her subconscious mind. She decided to scare this silly girl by playing a mockery of Anzala Fahsha and ridicule her. She entered the gifili and took off her pink gown. In fact she got nothing underneath except the silver girdle that glittered even in the dark with many lockets of amulets to protect her from evil according to the beliefs of the indigenous Divehin.
She moved slowly creeping behind the bushes and reached the path in front of the rooms that stood in a row under the portal shelter. Plenty of light from the backhouse reached the bushes. Buki remained hidden behind a bush not to cross the pathway exposed in the light because someone might see her stark naked.
She picked pebbles and threw at the window. Some hit the glass making a clink of noise. There was no response.
“J-u-m-a-n! J-u-m-a-n!” she called in a cavernous scary voice.
In the meantime, Juman’s father, old minister, came out of the main hall and lit a cigar on the portico in front of the house facing east. It was quiet apart from a faint drizzle. He heard noises and tapping on glass. He moved up somewhat and observed the back garden. He saw someone hiding in the bushes and a hand throwing stones at the backhouse. He stepped back sensing the thick smoke around him from the cigar might reveal his presence to anybody in the backyard.
Juman was scared to open the door or to get up from bed. She heard pebbles thrown at the window. She pulled a pillow in her ears, turned the blanket over her wet body and lay crumbled in bed. She knew it could be no other but the guy who seduced her that night. And he stole the necklace – something irreplaceable.
“J-u-m-a-n! J-u-m-a-n!” Buki thought of crossing the trail and knock her door to reveal herself or leave the girl and go home when suddenly someone tapped her shoulder from right behind. She jumped up in fright and on her feet knowing it was definitely Anzala Fahsha and this time for real. She started to scream. She did not look back but screamed out of wits. “Help me! Help me! Fariké Handi is eating me alive! Somebody help me!”
She screamed and screamed, tapping her feet on the ground just like a child, shaken and ringing like a vibrating alarm clock. Her shrieks woke up a full house and they gathered around this big naked woman with eyes closed flashing in flesh – blindly.
“What are you doing out here at this hour? Stop that screaming!” Mr Shakir said.
Buki did not stop. She shook her boobies and screamed. Juman jumped from bed and rushed to the door. Family members and the maids gathered around a woman who stood stark naked with a wide open mouth, throwing tremendous tits and stomping her legs on the ground to throw a flush of skin and her arms stiffen to spread out ten fingers straight.
“Fariké Handi! Fariké Handi!” Buki cried. “She’s eating me alive!” Some of the servants caught her arms and lowered to the white wet soil.
“Hey! Buki! Control yourself,” one guy tried to calm her down. Juman’s stepmother joined them with the twins and all other cousins.
Mr Shakir said, “Look at you, woman! You are naked! What the hell do you think you are doing?
Finally, she regained some breathe and said, “I tried to shake her…I am sorry.” She folded arms across her tits to cover the flush of nipples. She came to scare the girl and got scared out of wits. Soon she was carried to the house next door without a garment except for the silver girdle.
Juman’s stepmother noticed her fingernails and toenails painted in silver, wearing makeup and partially washed from the rain as Juman approached the stricken crowd. “Where the hell have you been?”
“In bed,” she lied.
“Why are you wearing makeup? You two are up to something!”
“No, stepmother!” she uttered.
Juman’s stepmother picked her arm and led to the bedroom. She was thrown to the soaked bedspread. “Don’t ever lie to me! Where have you been?” She picked a broomstick and spanked her back.
Juman admitted going out with Buki to Ice-gé and had coffee. She was punished adequately – stripped off and beaten to flush her buttocks. The twin sisters watched to their satisfaction. Juman managed to keep few secrets from her wicked stepmother. She didn’t say she had an affair with a stranger or the moonstone was stolen.
Following day the two girls discussed overtly and to find many things entangled to their story. Juman was going through her final exams and felt reluctant to present herself to the lantern man because he followed her taking photographs. Both knew by now. Eventually, Buki convinced her to go and face him for the sake of the moonstone.
Buki found his address and two days later, the girls headed to a house in Mafannu to meet Batthi.
Thursday morning, Juman joined Buki in her school uniform after the exam that day. She didn’t enter her house to change clothes because technically she was at school. She even carried books, a folder and a pencil case.
They were ushered to a raggedy room under a leaking roof and to her astonishment face to face with the nurse who had that sexual and illicit affair with the doctor. She disappeared fast as lightning leaving behind her shadow – ran out of the narrow corridor to the gate. Buki paused at the door shocked of the girl’s behaviour. “I came to see Batthi!” She told the brown girl in a nurse uniform sitting on a bed inside the cubicle combing her hair getting ready for duty.
Nisa Ali eyed scornfully, “Who’s that girl? Why did you bring her here? What’s the matter?” She got up from bed and stood leaning on a side to keep her hair straight.
“Do you know her?” Buki asked shocked again.
“No,” the nurse hastily denied, “Who are you?”
“Where can I find him?”
“In the backyard,” Nisa raised her voice, “Batthi, someone to see you! A woman…”
He came in towel wrap, “You! Why? Now what’s wrong?”
Buki hinted swiftly that he was trying to avoid his wife from finding out his unfaithfulness. “I came to get my choker.”
“Oh crap! I don’t even know you!” he said.
“What happened to your necklace?” asked the nurse.
“He snatched it from me.” Buki expressed.
“How come!” asked the nurse.
“All lies! I don’t know her!” he said furiously.
“Do you want me to tell what you did?” Buki warned.
“What did he do?” asked the nurse.
He hurriedly reached the cupboard, unlocked a drawer and picked the moonstone. “Here, take it and go! And don’t come back!”
“Wait! What’s your name? What did he do, tell me?” asked the nurse.
Buki picked the necklace and turned to go but uttered, “He had sex with me on Hakra Goali…”
“I knew that…I knew you!” the nurse went wild on him. Instinctively, she reached the unlocked drawer and picked a wrapping. “I want to see your things…”
He jumped on her back. “You dare not touch my things!”
Suddenly, it turned into a battle of wrangling – shouting and scolding, beating and hating each other. She pulled his towel wrap and he stood naked. People gathered from other cubicles. Batthi pushed her. Nisa landed on her back against the wall and the cardboard hut seemed to come apart. She found the right moment to pick the package and rushed out of the door. Batthi tucked a knot to secure his towel and ran after her.
She tore the package. He grabbed her hand and strangled her holding to the neck, choking. Nisa could not get the package open. She kept pulling at his towel exposing his genitals in flashes to the gathered crowd. They were out on the road in broad daylight. Her short white uniform came up from the rear flashing her butts with no underwear.
By the corner, Juman told Buki that it was the nurse who had an ugly affair with the doctor when she was admitted at the hospital in July. She did not tell this story to the dancer before. Shockingly, they caught sight of the couple rush out of the house and start a rebuke. Buki and Juman entered the crowd and observed some nude flashing.
That instant, Batthi saw her – Juman standing in the crowd in school uniform watching them wrangle. The package fell from Nisa’s hand disclosing snaps.
Some rushed to pick the photographs. Buki as well got hold of some. Suddenly, the fight stopped and they stared at the tall schoolgirl standing in the crowd. No doubt she was Aminiya School’s Drum Major.
Nisa Ali corrected her uniform and snatched a photograph. She stared at it in disbelief. She entered the house – flabbergasted. How on earth could he be dating a schoolgirl who knew about her secret affair with the doctor?
Buki realised all those eyes of astonished faces staring at Juman. She snatched her hand and hurried to get out but the crowd followed. So they entered a house and stayed until the troubles go down. Buki carried few cards and tried to solve this matter with complication. Even if all other troubles ceded, those photographs got into the hands of the crowd out there.
A day later, Juman got a call from the doctor. Those days it was pretty hard to get hold of someone person to person on the telephone because they used an exchange system connected of wired jacks plugged in by an operator.
Finally, he got her online, “I’m Dr Arshyd. A lab test of urine taken during early October shows you are positive. I thought not to bring this with others and call you directly. You are pregnant…”
“Oh God!” cried Juman in utter shock, “I took the test in Ramadan when I had low blood pressure due to heavy menstruation…I fainted in school.”
“I know. It shows in this report but you won’t know if you’re pregnant. It requires a check-up and I’m trying to help you coz if you are, I can stop you from becoming pregnant and having an illegitimate baby. I can do it confidentially without anybody’s knowledge.”
“What must I do, doctor?” The stupid girl said humiliated and because she knew she slept with a boy on a one night stand she could hardly forget.
“Come and see me this evening at the hospital sharp at six.”
“Doctor, please help me!” Juman cried. “I don’t want anyone to see me.”
“Don’t be afraid. I will send Nisa Ali to the main gate. Be there sharp at six. She’ll bring you up through a backdoor. Trust me.”
“Thanks, doctor. I’ll be there sharp at six.”
“Tell nobody and come alone.”
Sharp at six, Juman stood by the gate on Sosun Magu wearing white bell-bottoms and pink blouse. Nisa took her to the rear side of the south wing, walked up a wheelchair ramp, passed couple of swing-doors and led her to the doctor’s clinic.
“You must trust us. Nothing goes beyond these four walls.” Dr Arshyd told her, “Me and Nisa, we’re the only souls to know about you.”
“Thank you, doctor, I trust you both.”
“Remove your clothes.” Juman sat naked on the stool next to the doctor who ran the stethoscope on her body. “What did you do with your boyfriend?”
“I do not have one. In Ramadan, my classmate wanted to spend a night in my room with her boyfriend because she got no bedroom of her own at her place. They had…sex…she called me to lie down on the carpet with them. I didn’t have a boyfriend.” She twitched her face sadly – lost. “I thought I should try and I had sex with her boyfriend.” A week later, Juman had a massive flow during her period and fainted at school. Juman was admitted at the hospital and treated by Dr Kalil Arshyd but nothing had gone bizarre in October.
Nisa sat on the other side, unfriendly eyes fixed on the girl. The doctor advised on safe sex. Soon the girl was ushered to a clinic bed behind a curtain. Her wrists were tied to the bedpost to undergo a minor treatment according to the doctor. A scope of bright lights lit from the ceiling hanging on a ring. The doctor used every tool and finger inside her vagina. She had a growth of pubic hair.
Horribly, she was exposed to a flash. Nisa was holding a camera with a flashgun taking pictures of her nude. It was indeed the one Batthi used before. Juman shut her eyes and tried to roll over and flung her legs to stumble down the bed but the doctor gathered her up again on the bed. She was exposed in every angle to the photographs taken by the nurse.
The girl was released but told to see the doctor on Wednesday to fetch the report after the Republic Day – she got to perform in the parade.
Juman attended and the doctor displayed her nude photographs on a fluoroscopic screen like X-rays. “We know you’re dating Nisa’s husband. We do not want you to breathe a word of what you saw here or how you felt because it’s none of your business. You tell nobody about a thing you saw between me and her. Stop seeing him. He’s too old for you.”
“I don’t see him!” Juman protested.
“Girls don’t say they do. Listen! I can throw out thousands of your photos to the streets. If you behave and do what I say, we’ll protect these photographs from leaking.”
“Please, please don’t show them to anybody.” Juman Shakir begged humiliated.
“As for the other matter, you do not have to worry because you are not pregnant. It was a mess done by the laboratory technicians and got it wrong in mixing up everything. You’re tested. You’re not pregnant.”
Dr Arshyd called Juman Shakir over a number of times in many years and dated her secretly by posing her to blackmail. She never told any of her friends about this uncanny affair, not even Buki. She grew to have lot more confidence and loved to have secret affairs. One sensitive case was an affair with an uncle sleeping in her room in the backhouse during midnight hours. He was married and with children. It went blown when the girl experienced an epileptic fit – her eyes turned white and her body stiffened to rock. He rushed to call his good-natured wife – an island girl. This matter was sworn to secrecy that he would not be unfaithful to his wife again and she keeps it from Juman’s father.
In 1979, on a Monday, it was in the new moon of Scorpio in November Dr Arshyd called her to meet at a guesthouse in Henvèru. Juman Shakir was dressed in a red frock and the moonstone around her neck. It was a peaceful night in the waterfront bringing in breeze from the brackish waters continuously breaking on the rocks of Lonuziyaraii-kol. They were up on a narrow balcony watching stars in the night sky.
Later in bed, Juman felt a stroke stopping her nerves and momentum. Her eyes turned white, her legs coiled the doctor’s chest and her arms around his neck – her body stiffened to rock.
Moments later, she grasped her throat reaching for air, got down from bed and entered the bathroom. She saw in the mirror her eyes were totally white. Her brown irises reappeared gradually in the eyeballs as she watched.
She drank some water from a glass that tasted a lot of toothpaste. Luckily, she did not fall over faint. She found the doctor lying face down and naked in bed. She tried to wake him but in second thoughts, since she was prone to sudden fit, she got dressed and hurriedly left the guesthouse.
Dr Kalil Arshyd lay dead. Nobody knew what happened to him. He got ejaculated to the bedspread in large quantity. Nobody saw Juman with him that night.
Ever since, Juman happened to be a patient of epilepsy. She knew her late mother’s moonstone got a charm and spell. She could not tell when it occurred to have the charm or the spell but she lived to have this belief to this day. She knew something else roamed her body sporadically and her eyes turn white. Many would say influenced by Anzala Fahsha but she never saw the girl or even a ghost that locals called Fariké Handi.