The boy edged backwards into the comfort of the darkness. Bruised and battered, he flinched as the uneven surface of the wall touched the welts on his back. Abdul sent a silent prayer to the heavens. Allah knows he couldn’t survive another beating.
The light footsteps mocked him as they came closer and closer, taunting him with the knowledge that there was no escape, he was cornered. He had always believed that he would escape this hellhole one day, but he was tired now. He wanted to give in, to give up and let them send him up to his Ma.
His mother, bless her soul, had died giving birth to him and had left him in the care of her brother, his uncle. Abdul grew nauseated when he thought about the man, no, he was no uncle of his. An uncle wouldn’t do what he did to Abdul in the darkness of night. Be a good boy now, Wasim had said that first time, leering at the ten-year-old. Afterwards, his aunt had refused to believe his words- the beating had begun then.
Now two years later, he stood shivering in the darkness, waiting in terrorised silence for the Fates to betray him yet again. Through blurry eyes, he noticed in surprise, it wasn’t his wretched uncle who approached him. This person held himself in a way that was almost arrogant as if he knew that he prevailed over every other person.
Two long strides and the man loomed over his cowering body. Come here son, he held out his hand. Come greet your father. Abdul’s head spun and his ears rang as he took a stumbling step forward. Father? Alive? Bemused he looked up at the handsome face of his sire; there was tender uncertainty in his gaze. I have found you, the man whispered, voice shaky.
Father, he tasted the alien word on his tongue, and then he took a tentative step forward and threw himself into the arms of the stranger, weeping. From the corner of his eyes, he observed his tormenters staring at him with horrified eyes. The questions, explanations, angst will come later, for now, he thanked Allah. He had escaped.