The Prisoner of Paradise


Jannatul Ferdous Tulona


Moinuddin was in a situation at the moment. He wasn’t scared, but filled with enough anger to explode. From his current attachments; he couldn’t do much about that except make a muffled animal-ish groan. The two creatures in front of him didn’t bother to flinch when he did. Like a miracle, an idea crossed his hyper-excited mind. A hot stream of foul smelling fluid followed from between his legs the next moment, leaving him with triumph!

It worked. The creatures stopped their ridiculous tapping on the panel in the small room, twisting their heads 360 degrees to look. Moinuddin shuddered. He hasn’t gotten used to them yet. 

“Human malfunctioning.”
“Positive.

They were as still as statues, but Moinuddin could sense some exchange of logic ongoing, which eventually ended in the conclusion that he was—finally, worthy of some attention. One of them came down to him, grabbed his suit, and lifted him up to eye-level—untying the ropes cuffing his wrists in the flash of a second. The weird, white suit that covered its body was an excellent disguise for whatever Moinuddin imagined couldn’t be underneath. Now that he could see a peek from the front, he felt the urge to go again.

“Bladder defect?” A thin feminine voice floated from the holes on the suit.

“Let…Me…Go!” Moinuddin hissed back, carefully masking his shock.

“Notion denied,” it replied calmly, dropping both his idea and Moinuddin like a garbage bag.

Before it could turn, Moinuddin was up on his feet and in the next half of a moment, on the creature’s back. His captives, however smart, didn’t know he was a guerrilla—waiting to be challenged.

The other one on the panel was rather slow about a reaction. Slowly, it walked down to its partner being tackled by Moinuddin, who clung on to it like an ape.

“Stop this, or we have to tranquilize you now. You are causing…disturbance,” the partner announced, evidently disturbed, proving it was possible for them to be so.

Moinuddin did not waste the few seconds given to him to reconsider. He was too close now, enough to spot a weak spot. The suit on his rival had multiple small meters and tubes embedded on it, the closest one a small gadget on the head. It was a gamble, but Moinuddin had only one shot.

“Try and take a step and I’ll rip this off!” He screamed viciously, tugging at the gadget.

It played off. They both froze, permanently. Minutes passed and Moinuddin’s legs began to give up. If his challengers were vigilant enough, they could’ve spotted a hundred weak spots on him, too. His bare back was ripped with ripe stabs from bayonets, three of his toenails had been carefully carved out. Months of malnourishment had left him limp. However, it brought out the aggressive agility of a leopard that glowed in his furious black eyes. That made it impossible to disregard him, even when he was bluffing.

“What do you want?” he gnarled.

“To get you out of here,” the creature replied.

Before Moinuddin could form a Why, a massive explosion erupted outside, leaving them deaf for a while. The ground shivered as his question stayed moot. The creature, however, began with elevated enthusiasm, his argument supported now by a live disaster.

“In the last month alone, three hundred corpses have been disposed of at the well behind the  village’s school, more than half of Swarupkhati has been burned, and over a thousand women have been raped in this area,” it dictated the list like a professional journalist.

“As you might say, this is Hell,” it concluded.

Other than a twitch of muscle on his clenched jaw, Moinuddin was unmoved. It was only a glimpse of the Hell he had been running from since he had lost everything. Or at least, he thought he had (In truth, he still had a great deal of loss pending). For a moment, in a piercing flashback, he even heard the howls from his old house before being dragged to the military base camp. Many times in the camp, in between fleeting pieces of reality and pain, Moinuddin had asked himself; had he burnt in that pyre along with his four brothers and father, would it all have been easier? However, everyday as he saw men dying around him, with him; their legs, hands, eyes taken away and their screams feasted upon, he’d clung on to life harder, until it was the only instinct that remained.

He had no idea where the strange creatures wanted to take him. Nonetheless, the idea itself was peace.

As if reading his mind, it resumed dictation, “We plan to return to our planet Rebe, ending our tour to Earth early this time due to…erm…circumstantial crisis. The journey begins tonight and ends forty seven years, three months, and two days later. Since we are using two hyper-dives, you are expected to still be alive by the time we reach.”

“Why me?” Moinuddin whispered.

“We only have room for one, and almost no nutrition. We’re not supposed to have company, but my partner thinks this might be the only chance at preserving a human alive. Or at least, one from this land—judging from where we found you. Your ship had been crashed, looted, and your companions were heavily injured. You were just unconscious, my partner suggested excavating you,” it explained.

Partner made a mechanical sound in response, perhaps regretting it.

Moinuddin let go of his grip on the creature, stood, and sighed. He was warm with conflicting emotions which he had forgotten to feel in a long time. Hope, gratitude, hate, agony—all at once. In the end, duty won.

He walked out of the room silently, because he did not know how to explain the flawed logic that he too, had to try to save lives like the creatures did, despite all the odds being against him. After all, he was only human, a soldier too, rather unfortunately.

 

“Idiot,” the aliens agreed to the notion together.

 


Jannatul Ferdous is a procrastinator by day, and a poet by night.

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