short story Titled “nida' min alhamam” by Ahmed Mahmoud Sharqawi
I received a phone call a while ago from my sister Nahla. She told me that she and her husband are going on a trip to Mount Tabor, and it's not suitable for them to take their daughter Iman with them because the trip involves long walks, and the girl won't be able to endure it. The request was for Iman to stay with me in my apartment for a few days.
Of course, I had to agree, especially since my sister is now my benefactor after I became divorced and living without a husband or child. She pays the rent for my apartment and helps me sell the dresses I sew to make a living. She agreed that they would bring the girl in the morning and go on their trip.
I closed the call with her, feeling a fire in my heart, eating away at me. Despite myself, I recalled all the old scenes. Her husband, Mu'taz, who came to choose one of us, had already decided to propose to me. However, at the last moment, he saw her, liked her, and chose her over me. She married a man who turned out to be a disappointment, not achieving what she had hoped for. Meanwhile, I waited a long time for Mansour, a destitute man. I agreed because of my appearance in front of my sister and people, trying to be a desirable woman. After months, I discovered he was infertile.
While Nahla gave birth to Iman a year after her marriage and lived a comfortable life, I remained divorced, living in a rented apartment, and no one prays in it. Now she's going on a trip with her family, which never seems to end, and I'm obliged to be the guardian for her daughter.
I sat at the sewing machine to continue my work, feeling a tightness and anger within me. Due to my tension, the needle of the machine pierced my finger, and I screamed in pain. I rushed to the bathroom to wash the blood but found no water. It's a miserable apartment where water comes less often than expected. I wrapped my finger with a cloth and slept in the anguish I was in.
I woke up to the sound of the doorbell, my heart tightening even more. I opened the door to find Nahla in a very fancy dress and her husband beside her, dressed elegantly, with their beautiful daughter. I looked at myself, feeling disgusted, in cheap pajamas, and a very bad appearance.
I greeted them, trying to show that I was happy, and after about fifteen minutes, it was just me and Iman alone, with her bag of clothes. I felt a fire within me as I saw the car of Nahla's husband leaving my building, heading to Sinai, while I'm here in my apartment, making ends meet.
I looked at Iman with disgust, turned on the TV, and continued my work on the machine. I was so annoyed that I didn't even respond to the seven-year-old girl's questions.
"What are you doing, Aunt?"
"Why do you sell these dresses?"
"Can you make a dress for my mom?"
"Make me a dress?"
I exploded at her, telling her to be quiet because the machine hurt me again. I held my finger, angry, and ignored the girl, who started to complain and show signs of distress. Later, I took the phone and found her talking to her mother:
"Yes, Mom, I miss you so much."
"Yes, I'm fine. When are you coming?"
"Bring me nice things with you."
"Send me pictures; I want to see you."
I found her consulting me about talking to her mother, but I told her I was busy.
- His aunt is busy right now
Nothing happened, and I found the girl showing me pictures of her mother and father over mountains and amazing natural weather. It was easy for me to break the phone out of anger, and unconsciously I told her:
- Why didn't you brush your teeth today?
- Because I don't use this paste of yours
- Ok, what do you think, will you use it against your will?
I found her features changing and she looked at me challengingly and said:
- I won't brush my teeth at all
At this moment, I saw that Noha was not her daughter with all her arrogance and stubbornness, and I was not able to reconcile the situation at all. I flashed to her and said:
- You are an impolite girl
I found her voice became louder and with all nervousness she replied:
- I am not impolite
- And you also raise your voice at me, bitch
Unconsciously, I violently grabbed her by the shoulder and pinched her by the arm. I found her screaming in pain and hitting me in the face with her small hands. My whole body was filled with anger and I pulled her forcefully towards the bathroom, pushed her inside and locked the door on her.
I heard the sound of her banging and screaming from inside the bathroom, which had turned off the light, and left her in the darkness, screaming and crying. I wanted to heal my grief from her and her mother by any means possible. She was a spoiled mother and an ill-mannered girl.
The girl began to cry more and beg for me to turn on the light or take her out, but my anger was so intense, I was ready to kill her too so that she could learn good manners.
- Auntie, I'm sorry, I'll brush my teeth, but let me out
- You are a girl with poor manners and you need to be educated
And I went to finish my work on the machine. I played a song and merged with it and completed the work. In the middle of my integration and work, I heard the sound of a muffled scream from the bathroom. My whole body shook and I felt a terrible fear. If something happened to the girl, what would I tell my sister? And at that moment I began to remember the many horror stories that are told about The girls who disappeared in the bathroom..
I prayed to God to protect her, and I opened the bathroom door quietly, and my heart would go out of its place. I found her sitting in the bathtub without her clothes on, and the bathtub was full of water and she was laughing. I looked at her as a mule and cursed her and walked away. After a while, she left the bathroom and went into her room without a word..
I completed my work until about 12 o'clock at night. I was stressed and had to finish all the work in just two days, but suddenly the machine stopped completely. I tried it one, two, three times with it, but it was not working happily.
I put my finger under the needle to check the thread, and in an instant the needle came down on my finger several times. I screamed and quickly pulled my finger out, feeling terrible pain. At that moment, I heard the sound of laughter. Iman was standing there laughing. I looked at the place where the laughter was coming from, but I didn’t see it.
I went to wash my finger for the third time and tied it and I felt like I wanted to scream from the intensity of the pain. Then I entered the girl’s room and found her sleeping, or pretending she was sleeping, this devil. I went to my room and tried to sleep one, two, or three times..
Not long ago, I heard the sound of the machine running outside. I got out of my seat and went to the living room, but I didn't find anything. Although I'm sure the sound I heard was very good, Iman was definitely trying to annoy me. I went to her room to hit her, but I stopped there when I heard a sound in the bathroom. The sound of something moving, my heartbeat increased, and I moved closer, step by step, to the bathroom.
The sound was very clear, I opened the door and...
I found Iman in the bathroom, especially in the bathtub, in the middle of the water. I looked at her in surprise and didn’t know what to say. I found her getting up from her place, putting on her clothes in front of me and leaving, but what caught my eye was the burn on her back, which was very clear.
I entered her room and I was nervous and afraid, but after the second day she was in her room she did not come out at all, and this was better. I entered and looked at her twice and found her sleeping, and at sunset I said I would sleep for two hours and get up and finish my work..
I slept very normally, but what was terrifying was that I woke up to the sound of someone laughing in my room. I opened my eyes in the middle of the darkness to scream in terror. Iman was standing and flashing at me in a frightening way from the middle of the darkness, and as soon as she screamed, I ran out of the room while she was still laughing.
I was exhausted from the situation, unable to control my nerves. The girl was literally playing with me. At this moment, I heard the sound of the machine again. I ran outside to see it standing and working on it.
- what are you doing
She looked at me with all the innocence of the world and said:
- Make me a dress
- No, I won't do anything to you, please go to sleep
I found her features completely changed and she screamed in a frightening voice and said:
- I tell you to make me a dress
At that time, I was completely unable to bear this pressure. I grabbed her violently, took her into her room, and locked the door with the key. I heard her voice coming from inside, threatening and threatening if I didn’t make a dress. I completely cursed her and tried to complete my work, but I couldn’t.
In the end, I tried to work again. In the midst of my work, I heard Iman's voice from inside saying:
"Be careful, Aunt, don't hurt yourself again."
Before I could react, the needle slipped, piercing my nail. I screamed; the pain was intense this time. I cursed in the vilest words, rushed to wash my hands in the bathroom, and suddenly the door locked from the inside with the key, and in an instant, the lights went out.
I shouted for her to open it, but she just laughed. I got angrier, slammed the door violently, but she laughed even more. I remained furious, blood boiling within me. Suddenly, I heard the tap running and the bathtub filling. That's when I realized the situation was more significant than Iman.
The girl had locked herself in the bathroom when I tried to imprison her. I couldn't bear all this horror, and suddenly, I felt something touching my body in the darkness. I screamed, jumped from my place, and banged my head against the wall, falling into a state of shock.
In my sleep, I saw a thousand demons gathering around me in the bathroom, unable to move. It was a night of hell that ended when I woke up finding myself sleeping in the bathroom.
I got up, opened the door, and found it unlocked. I searched the whole apartment for Iman but couldn't find her. I finally found her sleeping inside the wardrobe. When I woke her up, she smiled and said:
"Good morning, Aunt."
I left her in her place, terrified, and called my sister to see where she was. I couldn't tolerate that devilish girl.
"Yes, Noha, she'll come when she wants."
"Take care of yourself. We've been waiting for her for hours."
"You've gone crazy. The girl came to us a while ago, saying you sent her back because you had work."
My body went limp. Suddenly, I heard Iman's voice on the phone:
"How are you, Aunt?"
I shook from her voice, and she continued:
"Emy is here, Aunt. Don't upset her, and I won't tell Mom anything. It's enough for you to deal with Emy and her tantrums."
At that moment, I heard laughter and something running in the living room. I tried to run and exit the apartment but couldn't. The sewing machine started working on its own again, as if telling me to come and make the dress.
But I couldn't take it anymore. My spirit was leaving me, and suddenly, I saw fire coming from the kitchen. The apartment was on fire, and the smoke filled the room. I screamed at the top of my lungs as the fire caught the couch, and the laughter echoed from everywhere.
In the end, I saw the door breaking, a loud scream, and fell into another unconsciousness.
I woke up finding myself in a hospital bed with Noha, her husband, and their daughter around me. They were very worried. My sister held my hand, her eyes filled with concern, and said:
"Get well soon, my dear. Don't worry about anything."
"Iman seems to really care about you. She said she was worried, and we had to make sure you were okay. When we called you and you didn't answer, we came and found the apartment burned. Thank God you're okay."
I looked at Iman, and she smiled, silent. After an hour, I left the hospital and found Noha's husband had arranged to rent a new apartment. He also paid the deposit because the previous tenant had canceled the contract with me and demanded compensation, which he paid too. I felt embarrassed when I realized what they did while I was struggling.
Perhaps I learned then that everyone has their own fate, and contentment with one's fortune is the key to happiness. I learned the hard way, but I learned.
The terrifying story ended with Iman whispering in my ear:
"I will leave Emy with you, but I won't tell anyone anything. Just take care of yourself, always, especially in the bathroom."
The bathroom, where I almost let Iman's jinn appear with her and left me on the verge of death.