He wakes up every morning, disappointed that his heart is still beating. A story about fighting the inner devil and creating one’s own destiny.

My nights are becoming sleepless. I twist and turn, trying to push the thoughts of the day out of
my mind, and yearn for darkness to swallow me.

In the morning, my body refuses to leave the bed. My conscience – evil as it is – puts images
from my dreams on replay in my brain.

I feel my chest tighten. The pain is about to begin…

I see Love walking away from me silently. No goodbye. No explanation. You don’t deserve one,
my conscience tells me.

I see myself standing in front of a dozen people. The faces are familiar, yet I don’t know who
they are.

No one speaks. We are all here for one purpose: give and take.

My chest cracks open and I take my heart out. I break it into pieces and give one to each. One by
one, they all hide the pieces in their fists, turn, and disappear…

My eyes look hungrily if someone was still here.

The hole in my chest gets larger. I need to fill it before I burst. I look down and find my hands

I hear a cry escape my mouth. Why are my hands empty?

Look again, Conscience says. They are not empty. They are full of blood, your.. blood…
I look down and see my pale flesh stained with crimson.

In the midst of this, I forget to breathe. My lungs screech for air. I gulp and wake up from my
reverie. I relieve my sobs in muted gasps and let the tears slide down…

It’s hot in my room and I realize that my neck hurts. I put a cushion behind my back and prop up
against the headboard. I put a hand on my chest to see if my heart was still there. I feel a hard
thudding and my brain registers a sense of disappointment.

I prepare myself for the morning panic. I need someone to hold my hand. I’m slipping away…
I think of calling out to my brother in the next room. Maybe I can ask for help. Maybe I should
talk about it.

It’s not the right time yet, Conscience says, and I nod in agreement.

A rebellious thought sprouts in my head: It’s never the right time. This has happened one too
many times, I tell myself and wipe my tears. I tell myself I choose to give up. I eye the medicine
box on my nightstand and recall the number of sedatives in there. I choose to give up.

As I reach for the box, my cell phone comes alive.

Instinctively, as if someone else was controlling my body, I pick up the phone.
I have two new emails from work; a text from a friend asking me how I am; messages from
people I have to meet, people I have to accompany to the psychologist, and people who need me
to start the day.

I go through them over and over again. I add my own work to the list: an essay for a magazine,
an article on a press release, an event proposal, a resume.
By now, I’ve learnt to ignore the pain in my chest. My tears have dried, leaving my skin feeling
rough and scaly, but that can be remedied. My dreams have been stacked in the shelf of my

I tie my hair up in a bun and take off the covers. I send a three word reply to my friend: I am fine,
and get out of bed.

The medicine box can wait. The world cannot.

Mahrukh Asmat

Check out another story by Mahrukh. It’s a gripping medico-thriller.

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