It was like any other morning. Mr. Taufeeq had set the kettle on boil a minute ago. Now doddering about the kitchen he went collecting the mug, the biscuits and the jar of powdered milk. He set them on the counter, reached for the cupboard above it and pulled out a teabag. He couldn’t have sugar in his tea, just like any other day.
As the kettle had come to a boil, he measured out two teaspoons of the milk and dropped them into the empty mug. The teabag settled on the powder and Mr. Taufeeq wrapped the other end of the string around the mug’s grip, as he was accustomed to do. He poured out the water, watching it brown in a maelstrom as he stirred, before piling the biscuits onto a tray where his tea would soon join them.
He carried his breakfast into the lounge. He set the tray on a wooden coffee table next to the sofa closest to the heater and sat down. It was winter and he had on more than four layers but he still felt cold unless he sat there, next to the heater, each morning. It was a habit.
He always dipped a biscuit three times, never four or two. The first and second, were to make sure it was nice and soggy, and the third, to give it that extra bit of flavour. Just after he took one wet-warm bite- he couldn’t really resist- with his mouth full of wetted crumbs, he called for Mohsin. After waiting a few seconds without him having shown up, he called again. Still nothing.
Odd. Mohsin was usually up by then. Unhabitually, Mr. Taufeeq rose from his seat and walked out to the porch…
It was nighttime and it was raining. The only light on the street came from streetlamps that lit the road in gauzy yellow circles. A white Rush sat anxiously in one such circle beneath the rain that tip-tip-tapped against its body. Inside, there were two boys, roughly dressed and in their teens. Whiskey tinged the air. Their voices were heavy and directionless.
“Aren’t they here yet?” said one to himself as much as to the other. It was November and all he had on was this purple shirt, but he sweat, and he sweat because he felt very warm.
“No. They ‘ere right behind us,” said the second, “should be here in a bit.”
It was a few minutes later that a grey Altis came up alongside them underneath the yellow light and dripping rain. As its tinted windows rolled down, they recognised the two men inside, both serious-looking, though slightly drunk. The one driving must’ve had at least five shots himself. They’d seen him do three at the rave, and that was when it had only been like, ten.
The guy nearest the window turned his wrist and his watch slid around it, resting face up. He checked the time and it was quarter-past twelve. It was the 27th that day.
‘You two ready?’ he asked.
‘Yeah. Yeah we are.’ Mohsin said.
‘Know where we’re going through?’
‘And where we’ll finish?’
Rain tip-tip-tapped everywhere. On the pavement. Gently, into the puddle by the street. Against the Rush and the Altis. Everywhere.
Mohsin started the car. The headlights lit the road in soft yellow beams. The exhaust sputtered smoke. The wipers swung left and right, sliding the rain off onto the sides of the car, over its metal body and onto the ground. For a moment both cars stood there, letting the rain pour in a slanting shower as winds had begun to blow.
Immediately, then, their tyres threw water from beneath them. They shot off away, racing abreast down the road. Wind rushed past the windows; Mohsin began to sweat. His wet palms slipped. His shirt clung to his skin. His face was white and he was behind.
He had dropped back; his car skid dazedly, left then right, as its wheels rolled along the tarmac. Inching closer as the road curled, Mohsin pressed on the pedal. The car moved into the inside. He pressed harder. It crept along the Altis’ side. The pedal hit the floor and he swung his steering across. Disaster. The Rush wailed as it slid down the wet road, carrying the other car with it. The two hit the walkway and rolled into a mangled mess of metal and flesh and concrete. The road was empty besides.
Rain tip-tip-tapped. Smoke billowed. Blood-spattered windscreen…
… Steam rose from Mr. Taufeeq’s tea as he returned to the sofa. The newspaper sat furled and tucked neatly between his elbow and stomach. He picked his reading glasses off the table opposite him and wore them with care. Then he unrolled the paper.
28th of November, 2011, it said at the top left. Mr. Taufeeq skimmed through the front pages. It was a while before he reached a column, concealed in the bottom corner of page number six: ‘Four youths killed in road accident’, read the headline. As Mr. Taufeeq would later find out: his white Toyota, and his son, were both missing.
*I wrote this for my college magazine. It’s still a work-in-progress, but I just couldn’t resist putting it out early, so, yeah. Let me know what you think.