Kabul (verhaal)

Dit is een unieke post op mijn site. Normaliter plaats ik iets audiovisueels, maar dit gaat enkel over alleen tekst. Dit is een verhaal afkomstig van een opzet voor een videogame die ik heb ontwikkeld, en gaat over een man genaamd Taimur, die moet vluchten voor zijn leven in Afghanistan.

Het enige puntje is dat het verhaal in het Engels geschreven is.

Episode 1: Prologue

3 July 2021
Your name is Taimur. You come from a small Afghan village, called Bazarak. Together with your wife, you decide to celebrate your 3rd anniversary in a nice hotel in Kabul. Your wife is 6 months pregnant. At 3 AM you hear something. Something loud. You wait a bit, wondering what you heard. Then you hear the sound again. It’s a gunshot, and not just one. Someone is shooting an automatic rifle in the hotel lobby. You recognize some of the words the terrorists scream. You hate that you recognize they are from the Taliban. What do you do now? It’s the fifth floor, you can’t jump down and by the screaming coming from downstairs, you are cursed with the knowledge that the Taliban is coming and you have to make sure you, your wife, and your soon-to-be little kid are safe.

You start thinking about what you should do next. You have no idea how many attackers there were or where they were in the building, and jumping from the fifth floor wasn’t wise, so you stay inside and try to do as much as possible to protect yourselves.

You decide to open the door to the balcony and tie all the bedsheets together to form a rope and dangle that down. You don’t want to climb it, but you want the Taliban to think that you climbed down. There are 2 beds in your hotel room. You take one of the mattresses from the bed and put it against the door as protection against grenade shrapnel.

The other bed you decide to make it looks as though someone slept in it. The pillows were a little crooked and the blanket folded. You crawl under the bed and cut a hole in the bottom of the box spring. That is where you are going to hide. When the Taliban comes, they shoot the lock. You’ve heard the painstaking screams of the other guests in the hotel and are deathly terrified. You kiss your wife goodbye, just in case. The terrorists sneak into your room. They lift the other bed, check out the balcony and say something to each other, you can’t make out 7 what, but it sounds like they think you climbed down. Perfectly planned. Now it’s just a waiting game.

The next morning, you hear faint sounds of the army, coming to clear what is left of the Taliban in the building. Once they burst into your room, and you spot the army camouflage, you and your wife roll out under the bed. All the soldiers are wondering how you are still alive. They give you water and bring you to your home

Episode 2: Preparation

15 August 2021
After the most horrifying night of your life back in august, you think things will turn out for the better. They will not. Turning on the radio shocked you with what you feared the most for the past few weeks. The broadcasters announced: on the 15th of august, 2021, the Taliban took over Kabul and therefore Afghanistan.

You look at your wife, Berezira, who is 7 months pregnant and you realize, if you want a healthy upbringing for your son, you have to get out of the city. Your uncle has a farmhouse, on the border with Pakistan. That is where you are headed. Your brother, Naseefa, says he knows someone that will help get you out of the city and on your way to your uncle. Your mission: get to the acquaintance, and get the hell out of there.

16 August 2021
Your trip begins as you search through the house you grew up in for anything that can help you on your journey. You find water bottles, a compass, an old map, and more things. The one thing you don’t find is a weapon you can use for your defense. It becomes almost impossible to come up with a plan to fight back, so you have to be sneaky. The best you can do is take your father’s old pocket knife with you, just in case. Maybe it gives you his blessing so you can fight harder. Taimur: “Berezira, do you know if we have batteries for the flashlight?” – “I don’t think so” she answers. “Maybe there are some in the remote for the radio?”. As you look, you only find one. “Where is the other one Bere?” – “Jeez, how would I know, I’m not the one that lost it!”. The tensions are getting higher in the house. With every hour that passes, you and the highly pregnant love of your life argue more and more. You really have to get out of there. For good measure, you take your grandfather’s pocket watch. That way you at least have somewhat of an idea of what time it is.

“How many flasks do we have?” Asks Berezira. “I got two flasks and one bottle!” “I got two bottles only” say you and your brother back. It is not a lot of water, but at least you can carry some with you for when you need it.

Packing some of the last things, like bandages and medicine, you start to wonder what else you need to get to your uncle. “We got everything we could take with us, right Taimur?” Asks Berezira. “Yes, but we miss one thing. A map.”

The final hurdle before chapter one is complete, stealing a map. Luckily, there is a post office nearby, only one street away. There are maps there, but you have to cross an alley that only has one exit. The tension starts to build as the next mission is to break into the post office backdoor and steal a map. After completing that mission you are set to go, all you need is your brother’s acquaintance with the transport

But then disaster strikes. Your brother’s acquaintance should have been here already, but he is 3 hours late. “He is a former army man. If he says he is one time, he will be there.” Naseefa says. An awkward and seemingly forever-lasting silence occurs. “I have a bad feeling about this,” says Berezira. “Me too, I’m afraid that we have to come up with our own way of getting out of this hellhole.” Finishes Taimur.

Episode 3, Grand theft moto

16 August 2021
Naseefa comes up with an idea. It is, in true Naseefa fashion, totally ridiculous and over the top. He starts: “Let’s just steal a tank, and be done with it. We could just drive over them alkhasirun”. “That is ridiculous Naseefa, where on earth would we find a tank? Do you know how to drive a tank?” Answers Berezira. “And what about if we steal motorcycles? We could be like those guys in the movie, like Mission Impossible!” “Oh come one Nas, that is…” Before Berezira can finish her sentence, Taimur cuts her off. “Wait. He has a point. We can’t walk, we’d be too slow. A car is safer, but what if we hit a traffic jam or they stop us? If they see we are fleeing, we’d be gone. A bike could just work if we could find two because we can’t fit all three on one. Berezira can ride with me, but you need your own one.” Berezira: “I can’t believe you agree with this. This is ridiculous”. “It is, everything is, this entire situation is!” Snaps Taimur back at her. “Look at you, carrying our baba, fleeing from the devil in human form. This might just work”. Berezira sighs. “Okay, but we need a plan”.

The plan, as ridiculous as it may seem, is to steal 2 motorcycles from the police station. There are plenty there, and you feel like you can use them for a better 9 reason. At around 2 A.M., the staff switches their shift. That is where you will strike. Hopefully, it goes well.

17 August 2021
You and Naseefa sneak out at 1:45 A.M. and swiftly run to the station where the bikes are stored. With some little electrical engineering, you hotwire two of the bikes, and simply ride off without anyone noticing, not of the policemen walking home nor the fresh batch ready for service. Once you get home, you will pack all that you can take, and begin your great escape as soon as possible.

The stuff you gathered is quickly packed in and on the bikes, and you set off. Taimur and Berezira are on one of the bikes, Naseefa leading the trio on the other. Together, you raise through Kabul, on your way out of the city. With the map in hand, Naseefa effortlessly guides your way through the city.

“This is going great” Naseefa screams to you from the other bike. “Just 4 more kilometers, 6 minutes at this tempo!” as he zips around the parked cars. The police bikes are more controllable than you thought, even with all the stuff packed on top of it.

Berezira looks at the watch in your pocket. 3:24 A.M. You are going to make it, you are getting out of there alive. But as she watches the seconds tick by on the watch, the seconds turn longer and start to feel like minutes. Everything feels like it’s playing in slow motion.

Episode 4, Out of fuel

17 August 2021
You watch as, after the loud bang, the front tire of Naseefa’s bike suddenly disappeared. Losing control, he drifts away from the main road and starts to head for the cars parked on the side of the road. Naseefa hits one of them and flies through the air for what feels like 2 minutes.

Heavily panting, you and Berezira walk up to your brother. He isn’t breathing properly. “ARE YOU ALRIGHT? OH NAS OH MY GOD THIS CAN’T BE TRUE!” Screams Berezira in pure panic. Naseefa does not respond. Taimur checks his pulse, which is slowing down. He looks over to his wife and shakes his head. “He is not going to make it”.

Naseefa speaks: “D-d-don’t go over… the… Gardez hwy. I… I love you…” he whispers as the cold night air fill his lungs for the final time. It’s over. 10 The Gardez why is the main road out of Kabul. Your only plan was to get on that highway and drive as fast as these bikes could take you. Instead, you now need another plan. You ride until the end of the city, and instead of taking a left onto the highway, or right back into the city, you go straight, where no roads are, but there is a way. Guided by the moonlight you get out of Kabul into the hills and mountains surrounding it. As long as you follow a river you will get to civilization.

But bikes can only go so far. It is currently 5:51 A.M. and the police bike is running out of fuel. After an hour or so passes, it finally runs out of fumes and dies down like an old candle goes out. At first, you and Berezira walk, but given the circumstances, you both know that you can’t walk that long.

You come across a farmer. He looks a bit shady, but his eyes reveal his kindness. You carefully approach him. “Sir, can I ask you something?” As the farmer pauses the work he listens, and you tell him everything and that you need to get to your destination. The farmer agrees to sell you a horse, for the pocket watch and some other belongings you gathered earlier. Everything that is more valuable gets traded for food. The horse looks an awful lot like a donkey, but it will have to do.

Episode 5, Meeting Zilal

25 August 2021
Some days have passed since you bought the donkey. Zilal is waiting at his farm, but he is not worried. His family has strong blood, they can survive a wasteland for days on sheer willpower. Sitting on his porch after a long day of working in the fields, he spots three silhouettes at the horizon. It is a donkey, a woman, and a man.

“Who’s there?” Yells Zilal. “It is us, Taimur and Berezira,” says Taimur back, with some of the last energy remaining in his body. Zilal takes a closer look at them and remembers that her sister had a child, Berezira. She is of course much older now, a fully grown woman, carrying a little person.

“Welcome my family. You are here. You are safe, you made it.” He cries with joy as Zilal hugs his family in his arms. For the first time in years, someone has come to visit him. Berezira and Taimur burst into tears and start telling Zilal what happened, both simultaneously and incomprehensible from the tears.

“Wow wow easy there,” says Zilal. “Come inside, I have made kabuli pulao for your coming. “Come, sit at the table and tell me about your travels”. Taimur and Berezira start talking, and the screen fades to black.

The end

Date: January 5, 2022