Prose

KHI

NIGHT. It’s hot. The power’s out. It’s damn hot. Can’t-breathe hot. You drag yourself out of bed and try swatting a mosquito that’s been pissing about your head for God-knows-how-long. You miss. He buzzes off; triumphant. The bloody bastard. Wait-a-minute. Only the females bite, right? You could make some sort of witty metaphor with that, something to impress the next girl you see, but it’s too hot. Too God-damn-hot. And it slides off the edge of your consciousness, vowing to piss you off later like a half-remembered dream. Like a f*cking mosquito. Blood-sucking bastards.

So you head for the mesh covered window, hoping for fresh air. It’s cool to the touch. But where’s that Karachi breeze? Damn. It’s like a prison: you can feel the fresh air but you can’t breathe it. The sky isn’t dark, even though it’s 12:51. Yeah, like The Strokes’ song. What-a-coincidence. There’s a sickly glow to the sky; the colour of an insomniac’s dreams. Again with the cheesy metaphors. You blame it on the claustrophobic heat and wipe the beads of sweat off your forehead.

The mosquito’s back for seconds; she wants it bad. In the distance, gunfire sounds and an ambulance wails. You see a kid walk down the street. He looks like shit. Looks like he hasn’t washed in a year. Must be, what, 12? Poor kid. Mosquito buzzes in your ear and you yelp. The kid stops. He looks up. Blink. The power’s back. Your stereo starts playing. Some jazz shit on CityFM89. Who the f*ck listens to jazz? ‘Cause the streetlights are on, you can the kid clearly. He’s still there. There’s something about the way he’s looking; you just can’t meet his gaze. But then the kamikaze mosquito dives at your ear again and you shut the window, turn on the AC and run to the bathroom to grab a can of Mortein. Stupid mosquitos. Too many of them. The bloody, blood-sucking bastards. They won’t know what hit ’em. Why the f*ck can’t they just leave you alone? You’ve never done anything to them, right?

Then you remember the kid’s stare and, suddenly, you aren’t so sure.

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