He crept out of the house stealthily and walked through the shadows. An owl hooted in the distance and leaves rustled with the wind. He looked over his shoulder uneasily but continued pacing briskly through the lanes that broadened as he walked further. A shiver ran down his spine as he imagined the consequences if he were caught and tightened the shawl around his face so that he wouldn’t be recognized in the faint glimmer of moonlight that peeped through the trees.
He was well aware of the risks of this nocturnal expedition but he had to visit her. Logic and reason could not convince him to postpone the rendezvous because the heart overruled. As he entered the older part of the town, the houses bore a resemblance and shared the common traits of peeling paint and a worn out façade. Praying for luck, he gently pried open the gates and walked towards the window on the side. He gently tapped on the window and hoped to God that she was still in that room.
After what seemed like forever (but in reality was about a minute), a hesitant tap answered his call. Slowly, she opened the window and nervously appeared before him. Several moments passed in silence. Her face registered the beard and unkempt appearance he had acquired in a fortnight, his face absorbed the pearly glow in her face, the worry and anguish in her eyes and the happiness in her smile. In those precious moments, it seemed like they were united as a single entity and not divided by the chains of religion that had threatened to tear apart their love.
Their stolen moments of unity were numbered as rustling sounds in the vicinity indicated that they were not alone. The noises grew closer and louder yet he did not retreat. Fear burned them from within but the contentment of being in each other’s arms was immeasurable. If this was the end, then so be it. If this was a new beginning, there were safe. As their eyes met, fear was vanquished by the fire within their souls that yearned for togetherness. The warmth in the room had turned into a smoldering inferno but to them, it made no difference. The walls crumbled to dust from the fire, and the thatched roof began to collapse under the heat but they embraced the fire like an old man meeting his Maker after a fruitful life. As the flames curled devilishly close to them, they knew that their wish had been fulfilled.
The morning brought forth a stream of onlookers and none dared to enter the building that had burned like an inferno in the middle of the night. The conspirators were free to roam the streets for there was no proof to incriminate them and after all, the deed was done. When the concerned officials ventured into the crumbling building to see what remained, what they saw haunted them for the rest of their lives. There they were, entwined as one, without a scratch on their bodies and their faces shone with the radiance of a love so great that the mere embers and flames could not douse the fire that burned within them. Nothing could explain the mystery and none delved deeper into matters which made the locals cringe for each knew that they were responsible in some way. It may seem that it was only in death that they were unified but in reality, tormented by religion, outcast by society and shunned by family, they had finally found new meaning in the arms of the beloved.