The morning I stood still

It gradually took a shape - the shape of a human body, a woman's body.

Safdar Sikandar June 16, 2012
Qambar is enthralling during  the winter time. Its calm mornings with the mist and cool air mesmerise me. However, do not ever let yourself believe that you are alone; mysterious beings live alongside humans, and to some, they reveal themselves in the most frightening of ways.

I too, had a similar experience. Read on.

So, Qambar is a small town near the city of Larkana, with a population of almost four hundred thousand people. My grandparents live here. I was a financial auditor at a national bank in Larkana and on weekends, I left my hotel to spend time with my grandparents. The drive from my hotel to Qambar was of around forty minutes. My grandfather often insisted on sending a car to pick me up, since the road that led from Larkana to Qambar wasn't considered to be safe. I have heard about many instances of robberies, kidnapping and murder related to these areas, however, I never did witness any such thing.

The stories, thus, never gave me a reason to fear, and so, one weekend, I considered it worthwhile to use the van that runs along the route.

The scenic journey from Larkana to Qambar has mostly farms all along, with a village at the mid-point of the journey. When I travelled with my family during vacations, we liked stopping by the village for tea and pakoras. During my childhood, the distant view of the villages at night used to haunt me.

Distance has always haunted me. I prefer nearness.

The journey, eventually, came to an end and I started walking towards my grandparent's house.

The next morning I woke up at around 4: 30am. I have always been amazed by my ability to wake up early whenever I am in Qambar. My grandparents were still asleep, so I came out of the room and went straight to the roof and lay down on the bed placed there.

The sight of the sky, which seemed like a diamond studded black cloth, was just simply surreal. It was perfection at its best. I admired the vastness of the dark blanket above me that had been crafted as the roof of the world. So enthralled was I by its beauty that I remained oblivious to the cold wind around me.

As I stood up, I heard a noise akin to a brick falling on the ground. I turned around and froze with fear.

A black and red cloud of dust was appearing in the middle of the space. It gradually took a shape - the shape of a human body, a woman's body.

Slowly the cloud of dust came towards the ground and started to form a robe. Then it moved upwards to about six feet and started forming a waist, then a chest, shoulders and a head full of thick hair which was waist long. I could not, however, see the face. It was hidden.

I was ice cold, not able to even to move my eyelids, as I stood transfixed watching the cloud take on various shapes.

After a while, I could see a complete woman dressed in a red and black robe. She had the whitest hands I had ever seen. The skin suddenly wasn't visible any more. My eyes saw what I had never even contemplated seeing my wildest dreams. Closing my eyes at that moment was beyond my power - I was completely numbed.

It felt as if my blood circulation had stopped. It was a motionless state of fear.

The cloud that had taken the shape of a woman diffused into thin air and re-emerged in its original shape. As I saw it turning into an axe, it diffused again. It felt similar to ten thousand pins being inserted into my body and plucked out forcefully. The cloud was still there, now in the shape of a short man, wearing a pirate’s hat and carrying a sword. But again there was no face, just the body.

I thought to myself:
How can I still be breathing?

With the man melting in to the wind, my consciousness gave up and I fell on the ground with my eyes fixed at the beautiful sky I had been admiring earlier.

It was this fear of things closer to me than those distant lights which made me lose my power to blink.
Safdar Sikandar Works as an audit trainee at KPMG Taseer Hadi & Co Chartered Accountants Karachi and is also a student of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). He blogs at
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


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