The Dreadful Night
By Dee Kay
The soothing sound of the river flowing across the mountain town could make the day; even of the most sad person. The birds singing in perfect harmony with the river that made this downfall from the mountain in the pursuit to meet its long lost love, the ocean, much more eternal. I stood at its bank wondering how much more tough terrains does it has to flow through to reach the destination it desires the most. I was in my own philosophical trance when I heard her call my name.
I didn’t want to turn around as I was in a loving conversation with something more powerful than anything I had experienced before. She called my name a couple of times more and they felt on deaf ears. Then I felt someone tapping on my shoulder and god knows how irritating it was for me but I knew it was Vani so I just kept my irritation at bay. I looked at her beautiful round face with those big brown eyes that would stare straight into flawed soul yet kind a reason to love me. Somehow the anger that was built, a couple of seconds ago, had vanished in thin air. Oh God ! I was in love.
“I’m hungry! So now can you move your lazy bum?”, she said with the most innocent face she could make. I just smiled at her as I could see the glimpses of that little girl inside her that made me fall in love even though the girl whom I had lost a couple of years ago on that dreadful night.
It was the winters of 2014 as every winters in the northern part of India, it was one of the coldest. I was working in Chandigarh and she was in Delhi for her internship. Our relationship had just started few months ago when we met through a common friend. I was freshly out of college and she was in her last year. We connected instantly at some cosmos level as if god wanted this to happen. Few months down the line, we are madly in love. Everything was just PERFECT. We would do video chat for hours and hours where most of our conversations was just saying ” can you hear me ?” on Skype but when you are in love even such small glitches becomes memories.
She would tell me stories about her college and I would fill her up with all the latest office politics I experience. She would then start telling me about all the girls she hate in college and we both would bitch about them even when I had no clue who those girls were but my girl hated them so did I. In the end she would end up saying, “Although I don’t care about them” as if the last couple of hours we ever discussing anything else apart from them. It was magical just to talk to a person who would make you smile for no reason yet be the reason for your smile. I felt as if I was whole again. She was the missing part of the puzzle I called life. She completed me.
I could never forget that night in the winters of December 2014. It was her last day in the office as her internship was finally coming to an end. She was ready to shift back to my city where I had already arranged for her job interview at my office. We had everything planned to the minute details. We had even talked to our families about each other and they were happy with our happiness. Ahhh !! The way she would get all excited talking about all her plans for the engagement to the wedding. She could go on endlessly for hours on this topic. I would just smile and listen to all her plans. She had figured out everything from what she would wear to what I am supposed to wear. Whenever I tried to give my put in she would say, “Baby your fashion sense is terrible so please let me handle it. And I love you”, to which I would always end up laughing and would complete her sentence with, “I love you too”.
That one night in Dec 2014 took all this away from me. It took just a night to shatter our lives into million pieces. As it was her last day in office she and all her friends decided to have a party at her flat. My party was different from hers. Mine included alcohol and lots of chatting. Her included alcohol, chatting, dancing and long drives. I simply hated it. Not because I don’t like to dance or go for a drive but simply because I like it to be ,quite and pretty much a homily affair. She liked to showoff and I was a bit reserved. We were opposite to be honest. We had some similarities but she was more outgoing whereas I am a shy guy. She would force me to be do crazy things that I never even dreamed of trying. for instance like dancing on the street or talking to strangers in kid’s voices. But she had her way with people. She could convince even the devil to be a nice guy for a change. I wished that night devil was there instead of that man with the black mask.
After her intoxicated house party she went on a drive. She called me up while driving. I was telling her not to drive as she was a bit drunk and on the phone but she would not listen. She would say something really cute ,while I was in the middle of scolding her, that I would end up smiling and falling in love with her all over again. She stopped her car on a signal and suddenly the call got disconnected. I waited for her to call back as she always used to be the one to call back if the call got disconnected. But she did not call for about 5 minutes. That’s not so like her but then I thought she must be driving so maybe she will call after she reach home. So I messaged her,
“Baby just call me when you reach home.
It was about 30 mins and still she haven’t called me back. Now I started to get a little worried so I called her up. Her phone rang thrice and she disconnected my call. So I thought she must be still driving. I waited for couple more mins then I called her again. Her phone was switched off. I started to panic a bit as its been almost an hour since our call got disconnected. So I called her roommate but even she didn’t pick up ,nor did any of her other friends. Slowly slowly a lot of ugly thoughts started creeping in my head. I was getting worked up. I kept calling her then her friends but there was no response. Soon the clock strikes 4 in the morning. Still no call or any response from her friends. I kept telling myself that she must have slept in her room after coming back. I somehow convinced myself that nothing wrong can happen to her. Half heartily I slept as I had my office the next day.
Around 6 o’clock I got a call from a police station. I was scared to death just to hear them say police station. They didn’t tell me anything but asked me to come ASAP. I asked them if she was okay to which they said, “Yes, she’s alive”. That was some relief. Without wasting anytime I took the first flight to Delhi. The whole time I was sweating and had a strange uneasiness. I reached Delhi in couple of hours and rushed to the police station. I looked here and there but couldn’t find her. So I asked for the man who called me. The inspector asked me to sit down. I was in no mood to sit down I just wanted to know where my Vani was and how she was doing. The inspector calmly requested me again. So I sat down irritated. I was about to ask him what happened when he started speaking, “So Vani is your fiancé if I’m not wrong ?”
“She would be in a couple of months. We have our engagement scheduled in March next year.”
“I don’t know how to tell you this but”, then he paused. I was getting restless with these unnecessary pauses as my mind went completely chaotic.
“Just tell me, god dammit”, I shouted in fury.
“Last night we found her car completely abandoned on the highway. We looked around for sometimes and we found her in a near by field “
“What ?”, I was just getting confused and more scared.
“Sir, we found her in the field where we suspect that she was raped”
This word kept on screaming inside my head. I was shocked and my mind was not ready to come in term with the reality. I just sat there motionless unable to breath as I somehow forgot how to inhale. I was getting suffocated by the reality as it kept closing on my throat, harder and harder till I choke myself to death. I just couldn’t come to reality about this as somehow reading about rapes in newspaper made it sound so common but not as brutal as it is when it happens with someone you know or worse, LOVE. The inspector shook me as I might have sat there motionless and speechless for quite a long time.
“We sent her to a hospital to get her medical done and to confirm if it is rape”, the inspector said.
I just nodded my head as my body was still absorbing the aftershocks of the dreadful news. My brain had gone blank. I had nothing to say. I had no idea what to do. I just didn’t know how to react. I was broken. I was scared.
“Let me ask my people to take you to the hospital. After the medical reports comes, we will file the case if you wish to and will let you know about the procedure “, the inspector said.
“If I wish to ? What do you mean by that ? Do you think if my Vani is raped then I’ll think about whether to fight for her justice or not ?”, I reacted for the first time ever since the inspector broke that news to me. I was getting furious, maybe all my anger was getting out on the inspector.
“I meant we can only file an FIR if you or she agrees. I was just letting you know the procedure “, the inspector said in a very unfriendly tone.
I just didn’t say anything in pure disgust to his comment. I was angry, frustrated and all the other emotions put together. He asked one of his subordinates to take me to the hospital. I sat in their car and we drove towards the hospital. The whole way I was thinking about what should I say or rather what could I say to her. I was dead scared to even face her as I had no clue how to handle myself. I reached out for my phone and there saw her pic. That innocent smile which some monster has stole from me. I wanted to kill that person but I had a much harder task ahead. I had to take care of her. I had to be strong for her as she is the one who has been taken advantage of.
We finally reached the hospital. My legs were giving up under me. My hands were shaking. Tears were ready to roll out from my eyes. I somehow composed myself and began walking into the hospital. The whole hospital looked like a haunted place to me. I have never been so scared of going inside a place as I was then. I followed the subordinate to the room where I finally saw her sitting in the corner.
There she was, the girl I love with all my heart sitting in the corner, broken and motionless. I was trembling as I approached her. I saw marks on her neck and face. She was just sitting there staring at the white wall. I have never seen her so lifeless. Do you know how it feels like watching the person you love look so lifeless ? Its heart wrenching and the pain is unbearable. Its like the whole world is deprived of happiness and you wish it to be just a bad dream but the truth is your own happiness has been sucked out of your world.
I somehow summoned all my courage and came in front of her. I knew she haven’t cried at all but as soon as she looked at me the floodgates of her eyes burst open. She hugged me so tightly as if begging me to take away the pain. My heart felt her pain and I desperately wanted some relief from it but it wasn’t about me, but her. I wish I could take away all her pain but I wasn’t god. I actually hated God for what he brought on us. What kind of god would make his own creation go through so much pain.
I just couldn’t utter a word and all I could do was embrace her in my arms trying to let her know that no one can harm her now. She was in the most fragile phase of her life. A single wrong thing could be devastating for her so I opted to say nothing and just held on to her. I had no clue how this would help her but at that moment that was the only thing that was comforting her. She then whispered in my ears, “I want to go home”
I told the doctor and the subordinate that I’m taking her home. The subordinate asked me whether we wish to file the FIR to which I immediately answered “YES, I will file the FIR and will come to the police station tomorrow”
I took her to her flat which was still messed up from the last night party. Her roommate had already left the place with her bag and a small note on the door, “Sorry couldn’t wait. Tried your phone but it was switched off. Your bf called so call him back asap. Bye”. I just ignored it. I took her inside her room, she was still holding me like a scared child and all I could do was make sure she felt safe. I finally asked her if she wanted to eat or drink anything. She didn’t say anything. I made her lie on the bed and as soon as I turned to get some food for her she clinched on-to my hands. I turned toward her and I would see fear in her eyes. Those eyes which were once filled with dreams and hope was now trembling with fear.
It felt as if a sharp knife pierced my heart, I silently let out a silent scream inside me as I sat down near her. She placed her head on my lap as she tried to search for some comfort. I made sure I was holding her hand. I could see the marks on her neck clearly. I could feel her broken soul through her shaking hands. I could kill myself to see her whole again. That moment all I could do was keep my hand on her head and with the other hold her hand tightly. I didn’t even realize when she had gone to sleep as I was wandering into my own thoughts. I looked at her innocent face. I love her with all my soul. I could feel her heartbeat in rhythm with mine. I knew that she is the one person I can and will spend my entire life with.
Suddenly I could sense some changes in her breathing pattern. She would sometime breath really fast and sometimes won’t breath for more than usual. Her hands were shaking. I knew she was having a nightmare and I just couldn’t see her like this so I tried to massage her head, just in some hope that it would give her a little comfort. It did work for a while but then again she started going through the same unbearable pain. I held onto her hand tightly and kept whispering in her ears, “I’m here Vani. No one can hurt you now”. I was just desperate to find some comfort for her. I just leaned forward and kissed her forehead. She just woke up abruptly and screamed. She pushed me away and ran into the washroom. I tried to stop her but she kept on screaming so I just let her go.
I just wanted her to feel a little peace but my action actually brought more pain to her. I would hear the shower running. I leaned onto the wall next to the door. Finally I had a tear rolled down my cheek. I whipped it out as I had to be strong for her which meant I can not cry in front of her. Then I heard the shower stop and nothing else. I was getting worried that she might end up taking some drastic steps. I was about to break open the door when I heard her cry. I can never forget those cries. Her sobbing inside made my emotions come out. I fell on the ground as my tears kept flowing like a river. I didn’t make a sound as I cried silently while her cry filled the room.
We both sat on the cold ground as our tears came out like never before. It had been more than a hour since she went inside. I was getting worried. I was about to knock the door when she came out. She looked at me and said, “I’m hungry so can you move your lazy bum” and SMILED. She whipped my tears that came rolling out watching my brave girl put up a fight. I hugged her and cried like a little child. It was then that I realized that it wasn’t her who needed to hold my hand to feel safe but it was me who needed hers to find some peace. All this while she held onto me not for her but for my sake. She just wanted me to believe that she is safe now.
Novelette By Dee Kay & Roy
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