Jahrul felt tired.

He’d been trying to write something for the last four hours, but all he managed to acomplish was writing a few lines before throwing the papers away. Now he found himself staring at another blank sheet of paper, which seemed to jeer at his helplessness.

Jahrul Hoque, winner of the Bangla Academy awards for the last three years, felt helpless. It’s all over, he thought. Maybe now he’ll finally receive the long awaited punishment he’s due for.

He looked at the bookshelf across the room. Unlike most other famous writers, Jahrul kept his own books at the top shelf, where they were visible from all over the room. Their sight used to make him proud. Now all he felt was guilt.

But surely he had been responsible for their success. He had went from publisher to publisher, to have them look at the scripts, to have them publish that great piece of literature. It had been the greatest thing he had ever read in his life, and he wanted to share it the world. Otherwise it would have been left unread in a corner of that dusty old trunk foe eternity.

Jahrul loved the man who used to own it. He had been a friend to him; he had been a brother. He guided Jahrul through the concrete jungle known as Dhaka, and he had been an inexhaustible source of ambition to him. Right until Jahrul had stabbed him through the heart.

He was selfish. He was naive. Jahrul couldn’t handle it anymore. He loved the man a lot, but someone so selfish shouldn’t deserve to live. So he took the task upon himself.

But that was the past. Jahrul has moved on. He even named his greatest book after the man who actually wrote it. That way no one will forget his name either. Win-win for everybody.

Jahrul’s eyes darted towards the clock. The hands seemed stuck, unmoving. He’d need to change the batteries soon. But why was it so cold?

“Salam walaikum, Johaib.”

The writer froze. He hadn’t heard that voice in years. Nor did he expect to in his wildest dreams.

Has he returned?

“You surely haven’t forgotten me, have you?”

Slowly Jahrul turned his head and saw the faceless figure sitting on the floor in the dark. “Wh-who a-a-are..”

“I’ve come for you now. It took me a while, but at least I’m here. Look at the shelf, Johrul. How many awards do you see? I count three. Each for the three complete scripts you found in the trunk. But there were four other that were unfinished. Couldn’t you even complete them? Hah! You illiterate imbecile. How does it feel to claim credit for being awarded for something you didn’t do? Don’t you have any bit of shame left in you?”

Johrul sat frozen in fear. He could hear the unmistakable growls of anger in it’s voice. “What do you want from me? A public apology? My name will be stripped from it’s honor. I will be shamed forever!”

“Don’t you dare! You’ve shamed yourself ever since you put my name in the cover of your first book! Now it’s time you get what you deserve.”

“I made you into sommething!”, Johrul screamed at the figure. “You were nothing before! I’ve taken your work and given it the credit it deserves. You should thank me!”

“My work? Who do you think I am?”

As the figure approached him, it’s face appeared out of the dark. It was his own face.

“I am the real Jahrul Hoque. I’m not a fraud, or a liar. I am everything you once had hoped to be. Look at my face. Every word you stole from his work has left a scar on my skin. LOOK AT ME!”

The scars glinted red as the face distorted into a sneer, bleeding badly.

“He gave you a roof to stay under, he gave you food and clothes. And this is how you repay him?”

Johrul decided to escape. This is his only chance. He cannot afford to die now. As he tried to get up from his chair, a ragged black shape shot out of the darkness and pushed him down. His head slammed on the table.

“Tonight you’ll pay”, the scarred man said, “Tonight you’ll be punished for destroying ME!” At the last word, the dark figure drove a knife through the pinned man’s heart, the same knife Johrul himself had used once before in his life.

Blood painted the walls and the furniture. Yet the white page remained blank.

It remained unwritten.


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