The Reclamation of Zarah Baloch (Novella Ch:7)

Ch1, Ch2, Ch3, Ch4, Ch5, Ch6


Chapter 7: Modest

He awoke to the sight of a luminescent object at the foot of his bed, immobile and silent. It was ovular and from the curvature at the top he could make out the shape of a small head, long white hair simmering down and covering the figure from distinguishable view. He sat up and halted as his eyes adjusted to the faintness of the night, holding his breath and processing. Near the base of the white he could identify tiny digits, probably toes and gauged the tight position which the strange figure maintained. They both sat near the opposite ends of the bed frame under the glimmer of moonlight that shone down through the large window adjacent to them. He couldn’t look away from her since he knew there was nothing aside from her in the room. There were no objects, no sounds, no room. Just darkness engulfing a dew drop of light. The moon shut off like an eyelid, it was unrequired in her presence. He knew it was a girl and had already made out her position, clasping her hands around her legs from behind her hair. The veil implied modesty and secrecy. Within the moments he stared at her perfectly smooth outline this behavior seemed unarguably feminine.

They both said nothing. He tugged his bedsheet from over himself and under her, hoping to stimulate a response. But the blanket just slipped out until she was seated on the bare mattress. He couldn’t conceive the intentions of the girl, nor the meaning of her nightly visits or even begin to understand the nature of her presence and yet he was not scared. An alluring curiously swept over him, yet he was not eager. They both sat in solitude as the distance between them dwindled until they were seated at arms-length from one another. No more features became apparent. The girl was small but not young judging by the proportions of her feet and her head. As if miniaturized. He knew inside that she was as glad to be in his company as he was to her. They both relished their moment together before the scene imploded on itself as soon as an utterance whispered from behind the veil, “Wouldn’t you?”


Zaka awoke once more in his actual bed, sweating and short of breath. Symptoms of a night terror had never happened to him before and he didn’t want to make much of it in this situation either. Yet these nightly visits he had been receiving over the past few weeks seemed to be increasing in frequency and duration and periodically progressing in its narrative. The first night he just suddenly sprang to wakefulness. Two weeks later he woke up in his dream and felt uneased and immobile. A week later he progressed to getting up and staring at the blackness around him.  Five days after, he noticed the moon. Three days after, he saw the white figure. Every other day since he stares at her and the distance between them shortens as if the sides of the bed were retracting until he wakes up. Tonight was the second time they were this close and the first time he heard her speak and it resonated with him. A sweetness to the composition of the words and a resonance to the speech. Yet it seemed alien.

Following the routine he formed after the second night episode he opened a drawer next to him and recorded the events for convenience. It didn’t matter since he never forgot them but recording for reference was a die-hard habit he lived by. Drops trickled down his forehead and suspended over his nose, pattering over the frail grey sheets of the notebook that he didn’t take into notice. He spent the remainder of the night in a quiet slumber.




“I’m glad to report that sufficient progress has been made over the past few weeks. Several of my previous theories regarding the thought-process and emotional output of Zarah Baloch had been put into brief field tests and she produced interesting results. Resilient and haughty as she is, there is an inherent fault in the human condition towards points of weakness that expose a realization in their personality. It’s these nuggets of personality that I aim to exploit, the reactions of which speak volumes of the true cohesive nature of one’s character which in-turn seeps into their mode of thinking. Zarah has proven to be a troubled individual who forms a façade to block out all criticism of her weakness, ironically making her a stronger person if only she knew that she could let go of her emotional core and resolve to cling on to this shell in permanence. So long as she holds dear that inner emotion she remains vulnerable to exploitation. I admit this knowledge seems rather unfair to publicize, hence I am only posting this to a password-protected group of legitimate viewers on my blog. I worry people might end up using my methods and knowledge into emotionally manipulating and blackmailing others to selfish and unacademic ends.

Zarah has returned to her original position on the green bench and now looks up at the exact time I walk by the department as per my usual routine. On occasions I delayed my walk and eyed her from a distance to observe that she now wears a wristwatch on which she counts the time to my arrival and looks up at almost precisely 12:05pm daily. When I walk by later, she would take notice of me and give a small smile. She’s grown habitual of my presence and rather looks forward to it now. I understand her deepest resentment and attachment with society, the conflict she wrestles with everyday when she wakes up and every time she willfully ignores someone. Within me she met a stubborn individual who took the time to shave the diamond from its rugged outlook. On one specific day I heard her department just finished their winter pre-exams so I had a courier deliver a box containing a blank card and a black marker to her, to convey that she can congratulate herself on my behalf. How I convinced the courier to do so discreetly is another mention entirely and I will probably post it someday. At the end of the school day one of her brother’s drunk goons confronted me near the bus area and told me to stop throwing crumbs at the pigeons. He seemed confused about even saying it, which allows me to believe that she truly has enough influence on her brother to have him further order others. Chain suggestion in pure flow.

The purpose of this group is to evaluate and better the process of understanding the human rationale in real-time. Obviously, I hold no realization that it would be possible within the scope of my work nor my life, yet I remain optimistic that my mode of operation -unbound by the political correctness of scientific works- would result in a revelation that we can proud of.

I thank you all once more for joining this special taskforce and look forward to hearing your further inputs and suggestions.”



Zaka posted the article and then rested his head on the desk within which he held the old grey notebook. His whole work depended upon the manipulation of emotion and actions to decipher thought and he wouldn’t allow himself to conform to those weaknesses. Yet, now he sees her in his dreams and wishes that she wasn’t there. A part of him felt guilty about it, the dream, believing that it was a manifestation of how much he knows Zarah values him now. Finally, a companion. It made him feell like a traitor, knowing how this would end with her once he had obtained what he wanted to learn. She was only an experiment. So why let himself be upset over it? She’s just another case number and he didn’t conform to emotion.

Then why do I feel guilty?




Pic Credit to the owner



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