Her New Doll….

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Slowly, as his mind stumbled back to consciousness and he struggled to regain some control of his limbs, he remembered what had happened.
He had been working the evening shift amidst the constant hum of machinery, hands working in swift, precise movements that came with experience. Alas, he wished he could train his mind the way he had trained his hands, for his mind wandered paths he didn’t wish it to traverse. Just this morning his little angel had made him promise he would get her a new doll. The old one had lost both arms and they had almost lost count of the times her dress had been torn and mended.
With his arms pouring molten plastic into the machine, he calculated again and again, looking for a way to buy both a doll and some flour for the next week. His wife had told him the kid would surely forget it till he finished his shift and returned home. But how could he?
And so, he laboured on, carrying out his routine tasks, as he heard the mason and his labourers arrive. The arriving party laughed and taunted each other merrily as they carried their tools and marched onto the stairs, heading for the third floor. Their voices and the rumble of the machines provided a nice distraction from his desperate calculations. “I’ll focus on them”, he thought as he heard one of the labourers saying that the roof was shaking from all the weight that was being put on it. “Of course, all the spare raw material’s been placed on the roof”, he remembered. Just then the building violently shook to its very core and with a deep rumble, the roof caved in.

Now, as he lay beneath the debris of what had been a factory in the city’s busy industrial estate, he could hear desperate moans all around him. Calling out to each other, crying with the agonizing pain of being crushed under a three floor building, each one of them prayed for a miracle. He couldn’t feel anything, not even pain. But why? Why lahore-factory-collapsecouldn’t he feel pain? Any pain? Maybe he had miraculously been unharmed. He tried to move, but couldn’t feel his limbs. He then tried calling for help. Why couldn’t he hear his voice? Maybe there was too much noise, what with the ambulances blaring their sirens and the rescue workers shouting instructions to each other. Perhaps he should just wait till they find him.
Yes he could do just that. That would give him enough time to work out a way… Tweak the finances so he can get that doll for his sweet little girl. Ahh his darling little girl… waiting for him at home…. thinking of what her new doll would look like. They would surely get him out…… before the shops over at Ichhraa close. He would probably get the one that plays…. a beautiful song every time she hugs it. Yes, that would surely surprise his innocent little girl. Oh….how……she would love that. And how he would give anything to see that angelic face brimming with joy at the sight of her new doll…….


Asma Jamal

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