We are delighted to have Hessa AlBanafsaj back with us with a brand new post in English for our Crime theme titled “Under the White Chandelier”
She lay there listening to people pity her on loosing her husband thinking that she must have lost her mind after his death as she was struggling to take last breaths of her own life. She knew they would cover her in a white bag after removing the little metallic gun from her hand declaring it another suicide. They were still trying to save her, those People in white coats, she didn’t know if they were humans or angels, but suddenly her life flashed in front of her eyes and paused at the moment she lay her eyes on her murderer the first time.
When Aliya & her husband Saif set to camp while backpacking in Europe 5 years ago they didn’t expect to encounter any danger before them or close to them within miles.
But when the wind whipped her black hair’s lock away from her eyes she could almost hear it talking to her. Maybe she was too sensitive, but later that evening she came face to face with one of the most dangerous and mysterious people in her life.
“I am Jamal” He introduced himself, he had a charming face like the meaning of his name but what those eyes were unleashing were the exact thing the wind were warning her about earlier.
The rain splattered as she stamped a forceful foot on the little muddy puddles on the street. She traveled from pavement to pavement absentmindedly towards her destination as her Abaya kept sinking and dragging its dirty wet ends behind her while her eyes kept glistening with tears hiding terrors that haunt her. Slowly her sleeps became dreamless, her nights sleepless, the darkness was no longer convent of the night, even the sun didn’t shine bright enough for her. Every time she closed her eyes she would see her husband’s dead body with his piercing eyes looking right at her.
Deep down she knew he wasn’t the kind that committed suicide; waves of happy memories and sounds of laughter crossed her mind. His hugs were warm, his touch was gentle, he was reasonable even under stress. She remembers stopping her car and pushing the door to run along the marble staircases of the house as all her belongings fell from her lap. She crossed the long corridors that echoed with screams and cries of their family members. She reached the door of their room where stranger’s hands struggled to keep her from entering. She fought with all the power that still resided within her but neither her deafening screams of plea nor her painful strikes allowed her to pass the policemen.
Drops of blood haphazardly splattered around the place, she saw him lying on the ground under the big white chandelier, his fingers tangled in the bushy carpet and his eyes wide open as if piercing her very core. A small metallic gun was being removed from his right hand as he was zipped in a white bag to be taken to the mortuary for an autopsy, but everyone from the policemen to the youngest members of their family were saying that they don’t need a post mortem report to say it’s a clear case of suicide.
She entered the main gate of the Police station, took her token number, and sank into her waiting chair. She was tired with red eyes and a wounded soul struggling to breathe. She started to forget bits of her day as her brain forced her to sleep for several minutes, after all her nights were not merry any more. She rested her elbow on the arms of the chair as her head found shelter on the palms of her hands. Her Sheila slightly slid to the front to cover generous part of her face; she didn’t bother to rearrange it. Her mind shut down again & a dark canvas appeared before her eyes. A dream was forced to her sight, reminiscence of that day that started with the chippering of birds outside her window as she indulged her eyes with colors of different flowers, the day she touched the rain with her fingers and wondered how little drops of water bring this world to life. The same day ended with sounds of screams, her eyes could only see the red of the blood & her hands touched the cold of the dead as life was sucked out of everything alive for the flashes of horror played a horrifying symphony in her mind.
Her nightmare was only broken by the touch of the lady officer brining her back to reality, she woke up with a laud gasp to the eyes of the officer that was full of sympathy, after all it was not Aliya’s first time here, but it might be the last as she has came today to collect the box of her husbands last remains and possessions.
She walked behind the officer who was guiding her through the station; every corner of this place reminded her of the different visits she made here. She could see her self screaming a million time repeating the same conversations
“He was a Happy Man, he loved life, he loved me” Aliya conveyed while sobbing on her late Husband.
“Madam please calm down”
Aliya’s voice rose as she continued to fight “No listen to me he was killed I know that”
“Madam the lose of a loving husband is a very traumatizing thing but you…..”
“NO, LISTEN TO ME, I knew him, if there was something wrong he would have told ME, I was he confidante”
She screamed a deafening sorrow screech every time she was here but the echo’s was lost in the midst of the evidences.
She got home hugging the box that carried the possessions Saif had on him the night he was murdered. Even though the box smelled of blood and dirt she kept it close to her as she felt it still had her husband’s scent and in a strange way it made her feel safe. She sat under the same white chandelier to open the box she received carefully unfolding the items within. First the Egal he wore proudly on his head then the white gitra and kandoora that were no longer white. Next she found was the watch he wore on his right hand, she found it weird that it wasn’t coved in blood if he had shot himself with the same hand. She glanced at the rest of the belongings, his wallet, his phone and a little piece of paper with a small note that read:
“The Moon will be full tonight”
This sentence struck terror within her already teary eyes. She opened his phone to look for something she glanced at the screen before realizing what she was looking for, her shaking fingers struggled to press the phone book to his last calls and there she found it, the last call he received was a 5 second call from JAMAL. But how can a dead person send call Saif, she wondered. She opened his sms folder to find a countdown SMS he received everyday for the past 3 weeks of his murder from Jamal
21 days till the full moon
19 days till the full moon
1 day till the full moon
Then this little paper. In that moment se knew what happened, she knew who killed her husband, but her thoughts was too slow as next she heard was a nasty whisper in her ears
“Its full moon tonight too” And with a bang she was shot.
After that his work was done and his evidence planted the once beautiful but now the scar faced murderer watched the parade from across the street through a window that faced the white chandelier’s room.
He sat on the balcony on a swinging chair remembering the day he met the happy couple backpacking as he joined their campfire. When the wind started to blow harder and deafening they decided to leave the camp back to their Hotels, but an unexpected incident happened as they were climbing the rocks to the other side. Aliya slipped on the damp rocks and Jamal slipped with her, driven by his instinct Aliya’s husband Saif took her hand and saved her while Jamal kept slipping down the rocks. The rain and the cold grew unmerciful as the couple searched for Jamal but couldn’t find him, they finally retreated to their shelter silently never to speak of this again not knowing that the man who only spoke of the beautiful full moon that night will come back to hunt them down.
Author: Hessa AlBanafsaj