Boom. Once more, only this time closer, unmistakably closer. And again, the walls and roof trembled, their moans articulated in the puffs of fine dust that engulfed him. Outside the cacophony of conflict blared loud and relentless.
His shalwaar kameez had been freshly washed and ironed only hours earlier; at 9 am he’d looked ready for breakfast with the President, now barely ten minutes past noon he resembled a plasterer at the end of his shift. Annoyance gave way to amusement at the thought and a wry grin spread slowly across his slim face.
“Well at least tomorrow’s outfit is catered for. Guess that’s something, ” he chuckled inwardly.
The radio hissed and crackled into life. “5 minutes, Abu Sohail. Be ready!” That was his cue.Time to check out of Hotel Dystopia. Finally. And they could fuck themselves if they were getting anything but a 1* on Trip Advisor. He burst out laughing.
The sound of the children crying filtered through the creaky floorboards. A sudden pang of regret assailed him – he’d promised Ali he’d show him how to take those curling free kicks. Just like Ronaldo did. Sadly events had overtaken him and they’d all spent the past week virtual prisoners in the house. What remained of it. Had he done enough in the brief time he’d known the boy to be forgiven? He felt confident on the odds. I mean not like he was reneging on a trip to Disney Land, was it?
For nigh on a year he’d been looking forward to this day – escaping Purgatory and dispatching the kuffar to hell; all in the twinkling of an eye. Withdrawn and preoccupied – the night sky and several women could testify to the hours he’d spent in its contemplation. How would he feel when the time came? Some heady mix of anxiousness and excitement, laced maybe with a few droplets of fear, he’d reasoned. But then, reason, like most in this God-forsaken hell, hadn’t proved all that helpful and he’d long since ditched it for the abandonment of his visceral passions. The one coursing through his veins right now was euphoria. Unbridled fucking euphoria. At last!
Scanning the wreckage of the room one final time, his gaze coming to rest upon the chaise sofa; formerly pale green, now a variegated yellowy-grey. Once it had been luxuriously soft and velvety, ideal for frolicking on. Now it struck a forlorn sight; decrepit, repulsive, unusable – an ode to the evanescence of worldly joy. Well no matter because where he was heading the lights never went out.
Not since the night of the Year 11 leaving party had he brimmed with such energy.”72? Bring them on! Wine? Get real! Dom Perignon only from hereon in!”.He wanted to scream in exultation. “Here we go! Here we go! Here we go!” A wave of giddiness washed over him. Opening a bottle of coke, he took a long, hard swig before placing it back on the floor.
The honking of a jeep outside jolted him from his prurient reverie. Blinking rapidly a few times he made a final check of his equipment. It was all there. Primed and awaiting deployment. Clambering through a blown-out window he jumped silently into the back. As it tore off he remembered he’d forgotten to put the lid back on the bottle. A frown creased his brow.