I was born and raised in a small village of Pacrlnon in France. Back in my time, it was isolated from rest of the country and was surrounded by steep slopes. We had a small mosque there and some meters away was a small church too.

I was not an exceptional student at Darsgah; where the Quran and basic religion is taught, I wasn’t much of a religious person but I always tried to give my best .

Every year before winter, shopkeepers and other traders imported goods to maintain an abundant supply for the rest of the winters because the major highways and roads remained disrupted due to heavy snowfall  and it would become impossible to get in or out of the village.

This had become a yearly tradition and these trips would last a couple of days. I would always be waiting for my father to return because he would always bring something for me from the city.

One day after returning from the trip we were having dinner when my father said “So Umar, can you guess what I bought for you this time?”

“How am I supposed to know that father?” I replied.

“Well, you must, otherwise, it is not going to be yours.”

I took my time and said, “A figurine?”

“Yes! You are right, but it is more than that.” Then he pulled out a horse from his bag and it was beautiful. It looked very old and was made of bronze. It had a bluish tint as if it was extracted from the depths of the ocean where it had resided for a very long time.

“Wow! What on earth is it?”

“It is a horse and also a totem.” Father replied.

“A totem?”

“Totem is something which is regarded as an emblem and holds a certain symbolic significance.”

“Why is this horse a totem?” I asked,

“Because the one who sold it to me said that it was a totem, and it still can be treated as a totem.”

The same night I ran to Azan’s place. We three friends; I, Azan, and Edward would show the things that our fathers had brought to each other.

When I entered, Edward had already arrived and was sitting with Azan, under the insipid light of the lantern, they were playing with the toy train Edward’s father had bought him. I sat down and proudly presented my metal horse to them.

“Wow! It is beautiful!” Azan said.

“Yes, it really is.” Edward added.

“Thanks, father said that it is not only a horse but a totem too.”

“What is a totem?” Azan asked

“A totem is something that you treat as a symbol.”

“So, what does it symbolize?” Edward asked.

“Well, I just know that it is a totem, but…” before I could say anything, Azan took it from my hands and started playing with it.

“Hey give it to me now, let me see it,” Edward said and as he tried to snatch it from his hands, the totem fell on the lantern which was placed in the middle and got extinguished.

“Look what you did Eddy,” Azan said and got up to grab the matchbox. As he ignited one of the matchsticks, he screamed out so loud that the matchstick blew out and he fell unconscious on the carpet.

Edward tried to wake him up while I grabbed the matchbox and ignited another matchstick and lighted up the lantern.

“What was that scream all about?” Edward asked him.

“I saw a horse in front of me. he was crying bloody tears and had a human-like smile on his face. It was very scary.”

“You must be imagining things; you need to rest,” Edward said and before we could sit properly, someone slammed the door.

“It must be your Mom and Dad. I think they are back from the elder’s meeting.” Edward said but before anything could happen, I saw Azan’s face turning red and suddenly, he started crying, “No… no… where is everyone. We are going to die; can’t you see that.” Edward caught him and I ran off to call someone, but as I tried to open the door, it was closed from outside.

I approached the window to give a call to someone, but windows won’t open either. Azan punched Edward while screaming, “LEAVE ME ALONE! I NEED TO KILL MYSELF BEFORE HE COULD.”

Now from what I had learned at the Darsgah I was sure that it was some kind of spirit. I ran over to Azan and screamed to him, “Let me kill you then before he could.”

“KILL ME FAST! KILL ME FAST!” He kept screaming while I pushed the left and right side of his food pipe blocking his blood supply, so he fell unconscious.

“It won’t last long; we need to do something.”

“What the hell can we do if it is a ghost or something?” Edward asked.

“Ghosts don’t just reside in your body. That is a rare case. But they whisper things and confuse your mind.”

“So, what can we do now?”

“If you see him waking up, don’t let him. I need a little more time.”

“Is this related to that totem?”

“I don’t know, it might be.”

“We need to get help Umar; we can’t do anything on our own; we are just twelve.”

I ignored him and continued dry ablution as the door was closed and I wasn’t able to use the washroom. After that, I started chanting Ayat-ul-kursi and other Quranic verses, we were taught in Darsgah.

But before I could even chant half of it, I heard a loud scream from the hallway and suddenly the lantern went off again. The scream continued in the dark and it seemed as it was getting closer.

Edward caught my arm and began shaking me, “Please be silent, don’t say anything. It is getting angry. Please stop…!”

I continued chanting and this time louder. I held the matchbox and moved to the lantern. I ignited one of the matchsticks and in front of me, was my horse, that totem, in the air. I moved the matchstick downwards and I saw it in someone’s hands. Then I moved the matchstick upwards to see in whose hands it was, and before I could make it to his neck, the fire on the matchstick went off instantly and I heard something falling on the floor.

“Umar, please come here, I am scared,” Edward said and before I could move, I heard the door opening. I lit the lantern and saw totem on the ground, and the door a little open. I was still chanting and moving slowly towards the door. Before I could make it, someone grabbed my foot. When I looked down it was Azan.

“It is waiting outside to kill us don’t go.” He said and then started crying again, “Don’t go… don’t go…”

I put the lantern down and Edward caught Azan’s legs. I caught his hands and started reciting whatever came to my mind and then blowing on his body. Suddenly the door started crashing; open and close. Seeing Azan’s eyes, I was now at my edge. I was so afraid that I didn’t know what I was saying. My whole body was trembling with fear and I started to stutter.

Suddenly Edward got up strangely and turned off the lantern. “What are you doing Eddy?” I screamed at him.

He moved away from me to the window and stood there laughing in a frighteningly bulk voice. I now realized that I was alone. Edward too was under someone’s possession now. Azan freed his hands from me and they both began bowing before that totem.

Not knowing what to do I grabbed the horse and tried to throw it out through the window and as soon as I threw the horse away, someone hit me in the head with the Lantern and I fell down.

“Umar get up…” Azan said and proceeded, “Look he saved us.”

When I got up, everything was black, but there was an old man with a long white beard dressed in beautiful clothes with a smile of wisdom on his face, and wherever he went, light would follow him.

“You Saved us, how?” I asked him.

“There is a distribution of power. God is supreme and then are his prophets, and then those men who are righteous and bestowed with his mercy. You can’t seek direct help from God, instead, you have to make a chain.” 

 With a smile on his face he added, “everything is OK now son.”

“Isn’t this the same thing Satin had said to the people after prophet Noah?” I asked him. After a second, his mood started changing, his face started turning red and his white clothes  dark and a hunch started appearing on his back. The change was still happening to him when I heard a voice in the stereo.

“Hey! Wake up.” I could hear someone saying this as I started regaining my consciousness. It was Azan’s father and they had apparently returned home. I woke up and he proceeded, “Did you all fall asleep while playing and what have you people done to this room?”

Then Azan’s mother came closer to me and she noticed a scar on my head which was the result of the lantern that hit my head. “Did you fight over each other’s toys again?’”

Azan’s father picked me up and said, “You were mumbling something . What were you dreaming about?”

“Nothing, I don’t know.” I said.

Azan was confused and I could see a little confusion on Edward’s face too. I think they don’t  remember anything.

“I found this nice little horse outside, near the broken glass, is it yours?” Azan’s mother said looking at the totem. She was observing it from all the sides and suddenly it slipped from her hands.

 The moment that totem struck the floor, the door was closed and Azan’s mother started screaming….

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Written by Waqar Farooq
Edited by Ayaan Ashraf
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