"They walked back to their new bedroom after switching off the lights in the hall. Zain turned around once more and glanced uneasily at the windows. It was all dark. Nothing moved.
Adnan was sound asleep, curled up on his side. Zain and Muneera got ready for bed, and Zain went off to sleep almost immediately. Muneera lay awake for a while, trying to acclimatise to the new room. The window was on a different wall, and in the semi-darkness, everything seemed a little disoriented.
She tried not to think of all the little things that were worrying her. She and Zain had been through so much together. And now life was finally looking up for them. She fell asleep with a slight smile on her face.
This time, it wasn’t the screams that woke her up. She opened her eyes to pitch darkness that had enveloped them completely. It seemed they had been swallowed by a black cloud.
‘Power cut,’ she thought. She turned to her side and felt around for Adnan, but, to her shock, there was nothing beside her. She tried to sit up, but the darkness kept pushing her back down. The feeling was similar to the one she had experienced in the room after the bulb exploded.
‘Zain!’ she called out, but no words came out of her mouth. Panicking, she touched her throat and felt it cold and clammy. She gasped, trying to open her eyes, but couldn’t see anything.
Just as suddenly, the darkness dissolved and she could see the room, still dark but not as dark as before. She turned to her side and could see Zain and Adnan sleeping beside her on the bed. They were breathing softly. What had just happened?
She debated waking up Zain. What would she tell him? That something had woken her up, but she didn’t know what? She kept her eyes wide open, holding on to Adnan’s wrist, and leaning over and clutching Zain’s arm. He stirred in his sleep but didn’t wake up. She lay down again, trying in vain to fall asleep.
A little later, the screams began. She sat up in bed, wide awake. The zero-watt bulb in the corner flickered and then died. The screams became louder, and she winced.
She picked up her mobile phone and switched on the flashlight. Even though she was scared, she flashed it around to see the comforting figures of her husband and son. She didn’t want to wake up Zain as he was sleeping through the screams for a change.
There was no way she could sleep now. She checked the time on her phone. It was 2.30 a.m. Whoever was screaming had no fixed schedule, she thought. As though the pain had a schedule, she chided herself. Whoever was screaming must be in a lot of pain.
She wanted to go to the kitchen and get a mug of hot milk to soothe her nerves, but she didn’t want to go in the dark. Her feet hurt too. Holding her phone with the light still on, she turned towards Adnan.
But instead of Adnan, there was a strange looking boy sleeping next to her, his body covered in dark patches. Shocked, Muneera tried to scream but couldn’t find her voice.
Just then the boy opened his eyes."
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