He Said, She Said

Harris had a job; he needed to tell Rabia something Zoha had asked him to convey.

“I’ve cashed the 10, 000 rupees check and I’ll send Rabia’s share to her by Saturday.”

The ten thousand rupees were internship money. Zoha was working for a small startup, and she’d asked a random stranger, Rabia, for help on one Tuesday morning in the office cafe. The Tuesday morning had turned into Wednesday afternoon and Zoha felt it was only fair to pay the kind stranger for her help. But Zoha was a busy person and she hadn’t gotten to the payment yet. She just wanted Rabia to know that she hadn’t forgotten. It was unfortunate that neither Harris nor Zoha had Rabia’s number or any other way of contacting her apart from email, and the two of them decided that it was better to just tell Rabia about the money person. Zoha had to drive to Islamabad due to a family emergency so it was up to Harris, her only trustworthy friend, to play the part of the conveyor.

Harris was making his way down the hallway of the university, repeating Zoha’s message to himself so as to not forget it, when he bumped into Qasim who held him by the shoulders and asked him what he was mumbling. Harris told him that Zoha had cashed the check and she was going to give Rabia money on Saturday.

Qasim nodded, without really knowing what Harris was talking about and started going his way. He stopped under the shade to light a smoke but he couldn’t find his lighter. Mahi offered him a lighter and asked him what was up with Harris. Qasim told her that Harris told him that Zoha had crashed the check and Rabia will have to wait till Saturday now. Mahi didn’t get a word and she pondered over what Qasim had said on her way to get some Lays from the cafeteria.

There, the usual shop-man Asghar asked her why she looked so confused and she questioned him if he had ever crashed a check. Asghar was sufficiently confused so Mahi told him that Qasim told her that Zoha had crashed some checks that she will return to Rabia on Saturday. Asghar handed Mahi the change and set back to work when Jay asked him to explain what Mahi had just said to him. She had overheard some part of the conversation and it had piqued her interest. Asghar told her that Mahi told him that Qasim told her that Harris told him that Zoha had crashed and Rabia is waiting for her on Saturday.

Jay was suddenly concerned. She sent out a number of messages to a number of Whatsapp groups. “Is Zoha OK?” Rasti quickly replied, “Why?” Jay told Rasti that Asghar told her that Mahi told him that Qasim told her that Harris told him that Zoha crashed and Rabia has been waiting for it since Saturday. The Whatsapp groups were suddenly in a frenzy. Who were Zoha and Rabia? When did Zoha crash? And why did Rabia want Zoha to crash?

Rapid fire texts and Facebook notifications bombarded Zoha’s phone as she neared Sukhekhi where there were better phone signals. She was still on the motorway, over-speeding to get to rest faster, when she decided to turn her phone on silent so the bells won’t disrupt her music. She picked up the phone and the screen lit up. She saw Harris and Beenish’s messages on the top of her home page.

“ARE YOU OKAY?”

“PLEASE TELL ME YOU DIDN’T CRASH!!!”

Her phone started to ring, startling her. It was her mother’s call. She was going to press Accept just to figure out what was going on when her car sped into a 22 wheeler truck. Zoha’s phone flew out of her hand and her head hit the steering wheel while her body experienced an intense shock. Everything went black.


…Harris couldn’t get why Rabia wanted Zoha to die for ten thousand rupees only.


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