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Short Story

The sound of a departed soul

Published : Saturday, 27 January, 2018 at 12:00 AM Count : 674
Jarin Tasneem Shoilee

(Continuation from previous week)  
Their confident passover of conversation about solving the insoluble enigmas of the cosmos would go on for hours, but to their utter disappointment, the talkers were interrupted in the next moment. We were led downstairs in the back of the hospital where the corpse of my uncle was carried for another last sight before lifting him into the freezing ambulance for carrying dead bodies. His body was to be taken to his hometown to his parents.
After the previous universal balance regarding the nurse and the mourners, an emotional imbalance occurred this time. A chubby, middle-aged woman, possibly one of my uncle's distant sisters who just reached the hospital, hurriedly nudged through the stagnant crowd and fainted right away on the sight of my uncle's broken face caused by a brain stroke. The way of her showing 'lamentation' could not but pose a sharp contrast to the remaining crowd. After a moment's astonishment of what just happened, a flock of the onlookers rushed to her to revive her of the senseless state. The pathetic situation, perhaps, jolted my uncle's numb state, and it seemed to me that he, at last, could receive some momentary inattention. Instead of him, I felt relieved. I felt that he managed some space to 'breathe' some air.
There was nearly a dispute then among the relatives, mostly among those who traveled so long from outside the city to see off their beloved family member. The ones with their offspring became increasingly impatient unlike any other person there. Some of them grew quite agitated seeing the insufficient equipment of microbuses. They demanded to start early before anyone, as getting a bus would create miserable condition for their children. A tiny skirmish was hitting upon them on the instant. One of my neighbors who joined us there tried to cool them down under the bright sun blazing above my uncle's lifeless face, but his attempt could barely serve them with satisfactory compromise in their impenetrable competition. I moved from face to face nervously. I felt like I could hear my uncle muttering something. Were his unconscious limbs trying to find an escape from the stretcher, or from the indecisive, moronic mass?
At last, the fuss was settled. My uncle's important relatives hopped inside the microbus, with my uncle's corpse inside the freezing vehicle in front of them. Under the sun I was loitering around, feeling hungry and thirsty. I was ashamed once again for feeling so.
Something bizarre happened that time. I don't know how my readers would conceive that, for there's a possibility of considering my death-stricken soul as insane, or deliberately impractical. Right when the shadow of the ambulance moved aside, my eardrums encountered an unnatural sound. To describe exactly, it was somewhat like a buzzing vibration, accompanied by a jingling sound when someone shakes his/her body mercilessly to be freed from the fetters. I knew my uncle's body was already locked inside the ambulance, and knowing so gave me an irrational thunderstorm. What was happening? I was groping around for answer even in the very expressionless faces of the onlookers there, desperately trying to convince myself I wasn't the only one to hear that unworldly sound. But nothing helped. I felt like a mediator between this living life and afterlife, with a horrific feeling I could not describe in words.
The feeling of hunger and thirst swept away from me. I lost sight of all the blatant faces busy with their personal whims. Only I could recall some lines from Miss Dickinson:
"I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading - treading - till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through-"
Two or three drops of tears rolled down my cheeks. Overwhelmed with the success of watering my numb self finally, a strange kind of smile played through my face. The ambulance, with its proper velocity, started to fade away from my vision with its back doors, popping the bold letters towards me ---
Dead body freezing vehicle

The writer is a student of Jahangirnagar University

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