“Did I also not tell you she is very strange?” he answered with a hint of mockery on his face.
* * *
He was lying in a pool of blood. With cuts all over his body. She was standing perhaps only metres away from him. Could she now call him, ‘him’? Or the life had already snuffed out the being with gender? It? Perhaps not. She decided the body was warm enough and the colour of blood decently red to give it a living exterior, to say the least.
The grass was a dull shade of green now. Splattered with blood and crisp moonlight, its colors had camouflaged to reveal the darkness of the scene.
When the very ground he lay on had decided to modify itself to suit the occasion then how can the man himself deny the same.
All of five foot ten inches, he looked longer than his actual self. His face contorted into a panic stricken expression but it was the surprise in his eyes which formed the most strange sight. An over confident prick in real life, it was in death that someone gave him his real lesson. The lesson perhaps which he could not remember in peace.
And then suddenly he gasped. His whole body shook into a convulsion throwing blood out everywhere.
“Ahhhhh,” Devyani woke up from the dream, sweating panting like every time. She found a rather calm mother waiting on the side with a glass of water.
She quietly took the glass from her hand and began to sip.
“Will this ever get fine?” she spoke with a hint of defeat in her voice.
Her mother stopped at the door and turned. Her face bore a soft expression, one that gave no better understanding except perhaps a sense of sympathy. She quietly said, “good night,” and shut the door on her way out.
* * *
“I will not go to college today,” she heard her daughter speak. Rajlakshmi did not turn around to face her. She was scared if she did, the strands of frustration in her eyes would get revealed.
Frustration. Rajlakshmi could not decide whether reason behind her irritation was her daughter’s incapability to reconcile to the past or that she might not have another day to herself alone in the house.
Alone with her thoughts and memories and yes her ‘what ifs’ of life.
What if she had not stopped studying? What if she had not gotten married? What if she had had no daughter? The last bit sounded rather harsh to her mind and she silently rebuked herself for thinking so.
She also remembered the body. The body that lay in a pool of blood with cuts all over it. She remembered the shock that went around in the village for a while. They talked for years about it. Such incidents were not easily forgotten.And it was because of this incessant gossip that they finally decided to move to Mumbai.
Her husband who gave practicality more importance than emotions decided that it was for better that they remove her daughter from the situation.
Her nightmares only grew worse here.
* * *
It was almost like a clockwork, each day when the hands of his watch struck one and everyone around him left for lunch, Saraswat remembered that night. It was a full moon night and according to the village folklore, it was also the day a demon rose from the jungle for a human sacrifice.
Being the practical person that he was, he mocked them. He dismissed their ideas as funny and attributed them to the lack of education.
“The demon rises from one of us. He enters the body of a villager and performs the sacrifice,” his little daughter too had got the hang of these tales. And was ready to tell him a thing or two.
“Who tells you all this? Who? You are to study your books and keep away from the village children. Do you hear me!” His voice sharpened in tone and volume each time she brought back such funny stories.
“Illiterate. This whole village is full of morons,” he would scream, directing his gaze at his wife. Silently conveying the message he intended.
But of course the murder spread like fire everywhere. And what with police unable to find anything, the criticisms of his theory rose from every corner.
“Saheb, what do you have to say now?It could be you too, the devil may have committed the murder through your body,” their reasoning left Saraswat bereft of any reasoning.
Could it be possible? He thought this every single day of his life.