‘W-what happened?’ Rubbing off sweat from her face she asked looking at him lying down on floor.
He managed to smile with pain, but eyes smiling with satisfaction. ‘I thou-ght they took you away. But I fought bravely. See.’
‘What nonsense? Why would they do so?’ Kneeling down she reached his forehead and touched a small cut over his right temple. She flinched and he groaned. ‘I told you, night before, I would be hoping to Jennie’s for the lady’s night out. How could you forget!’
‘My bad. Sorry, love. After the last incident I am bit insecure.’ A pindrop silence prevailed. Then he admitted,’I am afraid to death, to loose you.’
She took his hand, placed his palm on her lips and into it said, ‘I’m never going out without you again.’
“Ofcourse, you can….After all it’s a public place. Right?” Raising her eyebrows she said. “No, I didn’t mean that.” Taking a deep breath he continued,” I saw you from there.” H3 pointed towards door. ” and I -I -ammm..” “You what? Haan, you what?” Licking his lips and swallowing with difficulty he replied ” You looked like my…” ” Actually, you didn’t want to miss the opportunity. The problem with guys today is that, they think a lonely girl who is sitting alone in the cafe, holding a phone or is working person, is available to all.” She babbled in one breath,.her face red, eyes glowing. He handed her a glass of chilled water and slowly sat down,”Sorry. First for sitting down without permission secondly, I didn’t know You were in so much agony.” Gasping for air, he placed his hand on her head, his eyes softened, ” You looked like my sister who is may be couple of years younger to you and faces similar situations like you described.” He paused and looked around the again resting his gaze on a table near the window, said, “See there.those guys have exact intention which you described.” She slowly turned her gaze over his shoulder, towards the table he was directing and saw two guys sitting with mobile back camera in her direction. Puzzled she looked at him, her brows drawn in closer. ” They take the pics of lonely girls who come here and God knows what they do but I’ve been told to look for a pir of boys who are regular here.” ” So, you are a cop or some sort of social worker then.” She said. ” No, I just wanted to save the repo of the cafe and you. As you are the Only girl present right now.” He signalled some one with his two right hand fingers and before she could ask anything else, “I am the humble owner of this little cafe, madam.” He stood up and walked away with an air of Superiorty towards the group holding the two guys and she shut her mouth in a snap. Moms should raise their boys like this, she thought to herself.
It’s been 2 hours since she was on the road, walking-running all the way from a building but not reaching somewhere, she felt safe.
Sudden cramps in her abdomen, told her that the time is near. She cannot keep on going pointlessly. She needed to look for some nursing home or any clinic or else the child might come out on its own, under the sky right here on the road.
Lying on the hospital bed, eyes closed she relived her ordeal as a hostage. That morning she was leaving to meet the doctor when a call from her husband’s office interrupted her. She was asked to bring his bank documents to office while on her way to doctor.
From the frozen glass door she tried to peep in her husband’s cabin. She couldn’t make out, who was in there and how many of them but she guessed, the black shadowy figure by the window is her husband, who wore black and black that day for the meeting. But why was he in strange position, she thought to herself.
Giving no serious thought to the oddity of the situation, she knocked the door and not waiting for the answer, pushed the door open. The scene inside was more than what she could take.
At the time of dusk it was raining hard. She stood all drenched, looking around helpless; in that unknown place. Eyes swollen with crying and her hands busy in wring the hem of her skirt, just in vain to dry it.
When with the strike of thunder her eyes were blinded for few seconds and with the return of visibility she could figure out a human form, coming forward in her direction. All dressed up in black suit, face covered under a black hat, if anything that could be distinguished, was a white collar of his shirt over the collar of his well tailored coat.
His way of walking didn’t give the motive, neither his standing posture, as he had come to holt a few feet away from her. He shed the water from his face and the tiny droplets made ripple in the puddle of water gathered on the ground.
Still, it was raining hard and thunderbolts were striking. She felt an urge to turn and run away. But her feet refused to carry her further. They were aching from running for past one hour. Above all, she didn’t know the way. She realised water tasted salty on her lips. Rubbing her mouth with the back of her palm, she hesitated to look in stranger’s direction. But, when she somehow gathered courage to look up, he was pulling out something from his behind. In her confusion, she realised, she missed the fact that his one hand was behind his back since he appeared.
She trembled with fear and was about to collapse when he bent forward and she saw there was something strange in his hand, not atleast a gun or revolver. So, he certainly not one of those who were hunting her to kill. She released a deep sigh of relief before hitting the ground.
Within no time she shook herself up. By this time, he had laid down that thing down and was opening it. Now, she could make out that it was an old rusted green trunk. Her eyes widened in despair. To her horror, she saw a whole staircase going down, in that TRUNK!! What was it. Was she dreaming or mind was playing tricks on her. No, may be she could not handle that much of stress, so her sanity may have given way. Yes, that is the only sensible explanation for what she just saw.
While she was struggling with her thoughts, he grunted. Startled girl looked in his direction. He had laid the trunk open and signaled her to enter. Finding her not able to make up her mind, he straightened up and pointed towards her back and again signaled to come in.
‘But if only my parents were alive, I would have gone back to them…’ she suppressed a sob to control her tears. ‘…The first time you told me to.’ She gasped for breath and continued, ‘You were not required to repeat time and again.’ She turned away from him to hide her face covered in tears.
He didn’t even bother to listen what she said and was fast asleep, before she completed her sentence in a voice chocked with tears.
The room was dark apart from the dancing shadows of the leaves which made patterns on the jlank wall opposite to the window, the curtains of which were moved away a bit, to let in the corridor light as she was afraid of dark. But, tonight, these dancing leaves’ patterns were scaring her far more than the darkness itself. The silence in the room was more deafening than the raging thoughts in her mind.
Poetry and prose by Co-Author, #1 Amazon Best Selling Poetry Anthology, Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women, Spillwords Press Author of the Month, Jan/Feb 2022, and Monthly Contributor to MasticadoresIndia and MasticadoresUSA, 2022.