Thursday, August 2, 2012

Walk the Line - Chapter 19 - In the Past

Her head was pounding. She tried to pry her eyes open, they felt gritty and heavy. She looked around. It was an unfamiliar room. She was in a small room, sparsely furnished. She was lying on the bed, besides which stood a small bedside table. A lamp burnt on the table, providing the only illumination in the room. The walls were a standard white – flat with no pictures on them. A window at the foot of the bed was shut tight, the wooden shutters closed. A closed door was to her left. She sat up and that’s when she realized that her right wrist was handcuffed to the bed! She was a prisoner! She looked down at herself. She was still wearing the same kurti and jeans she had on earlier. Her wristwatch was gone as were her shoes. What time was it? There were no clocks in the room.

She started hyperventilating.

Why?

Why would someone want to kidnap her?

The last thing she remembered was the coffee in Shyam’s car.. the coffee! He’d drugged her. But why? Debs words were ringing in her ear, ‘Coincidence, my ass!’ Debs was right. The phone calls and Shyam were connected in some way!

But how? Why?

God! She felt like such a fool.

Why, why hadn’t she listened to her?

‘FUUUUUUUCK!!!’ she screamed – the one word contained every shred of anger, despair, and pain that she had been going through these last few days. And now THIS?! Tears formed at the corner of her eyes. ‘FUUUUCKKK!!!’ she screamed again. She was mad as hell, she half-got off the bed, tugging at the handcuffs, until the sockets in her shoulder felt like they would pop out.

A sudden noise outside the door stilled her frantic efforts. The door swung open. Outside, all she could see was a wall – whitewashed like the rest of the room. Nothing was visible beyond that point. Shyam stood in the doorway, with an almost bored look on his face.

She was breathing hard with her efforts and her anger. ‘What the hell is this, Shyam?’

He looked at her as if she was an idiot. ‘What do you think it is, Khushi?’

‘Why have you brought me here? Why? .. Kidnapped me.. ? Why? ‘ she could barely get out a full sentence – she was stuttering with anger.

‘All in due time, Khushi, dear,’ his voice dripped with sarcasm. He put the tray of food down on the bedside table, and strolled over to her. His eyes took in every inch of her face.

She stood still, resolutely, not wanting to show him the fear gnawing at her insides. What did he want with her? She saw the leery smile come over his face, the smirk and the undisguised lust in his eyes, and her heart started to hammer inside her. It took every ounce of effort she had to not look away from his eyes and keep the fire of her anger burning in them.

He reached out a hand and lightly flicked her cheek. ‘You are so pretty. But I have to wait until …’

She looked away from him, refusing to meet his eyes now. She did not understand what he meant by that last sentence, she didn’t want to know either.

He put down the tray of food he’d been holding, on the bedside table. ‘Eat,’ he said. ‘You’ll need it.’

She just glared at him. He smirked and walked out of the door, locking it behind him.

She couldn’t deny she was hungry, and could she trust that he wouldn’t mix something else in with it? She had no choice. Her stomach was hurting in hunger. She had to eat. So she did.

He came back an hour later, picked up the tray and left without saying a word. She wondered what the time was, was it day or night? She had no idea of what day it was. How long had she been out? All she wanted to do now was go back to her aunt and Babuji and Buaji and Payal. Sometime during the course of that thought, tears started filling her eyes and pouring down her cheeks. She curled up in a fetal position on the bed and cried her heart out, soft heart-broken sobs. ‘I want to go home, mom, dad, I want to come home. Please find me. Find me soon.’

She awoke a few hours later just as Shyam was entering the room. He had some clothes in his arms. ‘Put these on,’ he said. She shoved the clothes aside. He picked them and came menacingly towards her, ‘I said, put these on.’

‘No, I won’t,’ she was defiant. She wasn’t prepared for the hard slap across her cheekbone. Her eyes widened and then filled with tears from the smarting pain.

‘Don’t make me tell you again, Khushi,’ he whispered. ‘Put the damned clothes on,’ this time his voice was harsher and louder. She took the clothes, still crying. ‘And stop sniveling, Khushi, it doesn’t make you prettier,’ he ended.

She picked up the clothes, the sniffles gone. Then she gestured with her arms towards her shackle. He looked at her for a minute, and then took off the cuffs. She dressed in the flimsy bra and panties and thankfully, opaque t-shirt he had brought for her and rolled up her jeans and kurti. She sat on the bed, with the covers up to her waist, resting against the headboard. She’d already tested out the window, and it was nailed shut. It wouldn’t budge. Her tears had dried up and she just sat there hiccupping every once in a while.

Shyam came back into the room He had a small tray in one hand. He leaned over the bed and caught her right hand in hers and put the cuffs on. Then he said, ‘lie down’.

‘Why?’ she questioned, ‘why should I do what you say?’

This time his slap smarted much more than it really hurt, but she could taste the blood in her mouth, her inner lip had split where it had hit her teeth. She was unprepared for the pain and her eyes swelled with tears. He didn’t say anything – instead he focused on locking the chain. He picked up something from the tray and turned to her. To her horror, it was an injection!

‘Wait. Wait, wait,’ she said. ‘What are you doing with that needle?’

‘Why, Khushi, are you scared of a little needle?’ he couldn’t have made the double entendre any clearer. He caught her left arm in his, and held her down. She clawed futilely with her right hand, but she couldn’t reach him. She was struggling hard now. He threw his weight across her, pinning her down. Her reactions were arousing him, and he made sure she could feel it. She stopped struggling. He pushed the needle into her arm. Only a very small amount of the fluid in the syringe went into her veins.

She felt it burning under her skin, spreading through her body, just under her skin. Her eyes went out of focus, everything was blurry and beautiful. She could feel herself being lifted up, and then something happening to her, inside, down there… She passed out.

Shyam watched the drug work its way into her veins. Her pupils had dilated and her breathing had slowed down, before she passed out. A pity, he thought. They didn’t have to do this to her. She was a spirited filly. He would have enjoyed breaking her down without the drugs. As soon as she went limp, he stepped away.

The cell in his pocket vibrated. He pulled it out, ‘Rani Sahiba’, he said. ‘I would like to present to you today, something really unique.’

****

Khushi did not know how long she had passed out. Nothing had changed since she had come to the first time. She wondered why her head felt like she was floating up in the air. She wearily opened her eyes and looked around. There was a faint smell in her nostrils – almost like roses. As she looked around, she gasped. Seated at the ornate chair in one corner sat a woman. Long dark hair hung past her shoulders. Slim, yet fully curved, she wore a black skin tight top, her cleavage clearly visible in the long slash in the front across her chest. Skin tight leather pants and spiky heeled leather boots were all in red. Long red-painted nails on long fingers in both hands tapped against the arms of her chair.

What scared Khushi the most about this woman was the quiet shark-like power she exuded – as well as the mask that covered the upper part of her face.

‘Who.. who are you?’ she stammered. There was only a lift of the full red lips.

‘Khushi,’ her eyes went wide at the whisper. This, this was the voice behind the calls. This WOMAN!! She shuddered in horror and disbelief.

The woman got up and came close to the bed. She tried to make herself sink into the bed, but there was only so far she could push back. The Red-and-black Lady bent forward, searching Khushi’s eyes. She reached forward and stroked one long fingernail down her cheeks. Her cheeks flamed at that touch, and she swallowed hard, cowering away from this imperial presence. Red-and-Black smiled at her, her smile never reaching her eyes.

‘Khushi, my beautiful one,’ she whispered once more. ‘Why did you make me wait?’ With that, her arm came down and slapped Khushi across the face. Hard. Her face burnt. Another slap harder than the first, backhanded across her cheek. Khushi whimpered in pain as a think trickle of blood started from the cut on her lip. ‘You’ve made me miserable you know’, once more her hand came down, but this time, the slap landed on her hip.

She yelped at the sudden attack. She tried to move her left hand, and found that now both her hands were cuffed. She was terrified now. Who was this woman? Why was she beating her? More importantly, what was her relationship with Shyam?

Almost on cue, he entered the room. He didn’t bother to close the door, instead he leant against the door jamb and crossed his arms. ‘Well, Rani Sahiba,’ he said. ‘Have I done well?’

She stared down at Khushi for a long moment and then smiled. ‘You certainly have,’ she said. She walked across to him and slid her fingers into his scalp. Turning them around so that Khushi had a clear view, she ran her tongue over his lips. He grabbed her hips and jerked them into his, at the same time grinding his lips into hers. Khushi couldn’t look away. She watched in fascination as Rani Sahiba moved her hand down sliding it between their bodies. Khushi closed her eyes and told herself, Think, Khushi, Think!! She had a moment of clarity, she thought – where have I heard that voice before? Who? She shook her head. She couldn’t think!

Suddenly hard fingers gripped her chin. Her eyes opened in pain and she saw Shyam holding her chin. ‘Look at us, Khushi. LOOK at us. Now do you understand why I brought you here?’

She knew. Oh God! She knew. She knew exactly what Rani Sahiba wanted of her. She also knew exactly what Shyam wanted of her. She gagged at the very thought. It was so disgusting. Tears leaked out of her eyes, despite her trying her hardest not to do so.

They left her alone for a while then. After some time of lying there alone, she realized that she would be in big trouble if she didn’t keep herself mentally alert. She recognized that they had purposely nailed the window shut, not just to keep out any sounds but also any light! She couldn’t make out if it was day or night! She didn’t hear any sounds, she couldn’t see anything, she had no one to talk to, her arms hurt from the strange position that she was in because of the cuffs. Khushi Kumari Gupta was slowly getting angry. It was a simmering, deep down anger, and she clung to it. She kept herself mad, because if she wasn’t angry she would lose herself in her fear!

She started counting the seconds, but somewhere along the way, she lost count. Then she started counting sheep. Perhaps that would help her sleep. But she didn’t want to sleep, she wanted to stay awake so THEY could not ambush her. She dozed off.

She woke up to Shyam sitting on the bed, with the same syringe in his hand. She frowned. What was it with those injections, she wondered? Why did he keep putting her to sleep?

He pushed the needle into her elbow. She passed out after a few seconds.

When she came to, she was cold. All she was dressed in was the lingerie. Her t-shirt was gone. The hair on her head was wet with sweat. Why was she sweating so much? The air conditioning was on and yet, she couldn’t stop sweating. She was still cuffed to the bed. Rani Sahiba stood at the foot of the bed. She was dressed in a white pant suit this time. Her hair was pulled back, but the mask was in still in place. She stood there, looking at Khushi for a while. Then she tilted her head sideways, signaling someone.

Shyam walked out of the shadows. He undid the left cuff, but kept the right one on. Grabbing her arm, he yanked her off the bed, so she stood there, almost naked and shivering. Rani Sahiba walked across to her, her eyes intent on her. She kept hers lowered, she didn’t want to see what was in this woman’s eyes. Who does these things? Why? Rani Sahiba stopped a couple of feet in front of her, letting her eyes roam all over Khushi. That’s when Khushi noticed a whip in her hands. Her eyes widened. But she didn’t let on that she was afraid. .She couldn’t show fear to them.

Rani Sahiba lifted her right hand and lightly brought down the whip so that just the tip curled and caught her around the back. A small shriek came out of her throat. The pain was excruciating and she tried to bend over to ease it. Shyam held her up, not allowing her to bend. The tears were freely flowing down her cheeks. ‘Why? Why are you doing this to me? What did I do to you?’

Rani Sahiba’s eyes glittered, as a small smile lifted the corners of her lips. Instead she brought her hand up and wiped Khushi’s tears. For a moment Khushi thought she had got through to her. The next thing she knew, her cheek was smarting with another painful slap. Her tears dried up. This time it was Shyam whose hand snaked around in front of her, and wiped her cheeks.

‘Rani Sahiba, you have to be careful with this one. Don’t mar her beauty. She is special,’ he said.

‘I know, Shyam, and that’s why you have to trust me with her.’ She hooked her long fingers once more into his hair dragging him forward. Their bodies pressed into Khushi’s from the front and back. She closed her eyes in disgust as they kissed over her shoulder, their hands roaming freely over her, unable to move because of the handcuffs. There weren’t enough tears in the world for her.

They broke away and left Khushi standing there, gulping in air between sobs. Rani Sahiba turned and walked away. Just as she reached the door, she flicked the whip once more. This time it wrapped around Khushi’s stomach leaving a dark welt in its wake that started to leak blood as soon as she pulled the whip away. The intent was to hurt, and hurt it did. Khushi gasped once more in pain and stopped. She had seen the gleam in Rani Sahiba’s eyes when she had cried. No more. No more, not ever.

It takes courage of a different kind to stand up to something that you know is deeply, intrinsically wrong. She did now know why this Rani Sahiba was so intent on hurting her. She did not know what this Rani Sahiba wanted. All she knew was that Shyam had brought her here, and for whatever horrendous reason he had done so, he’d be the one that would be her key to escaping from here. She had seen his lustful looks at her body, but she didn’t think that she wanted to go that route. She would have to think of something else.

Her opportunity came much sooner than she anticipated. She had put on the t-shirt again, although her left hand was still in the cuff and she had no way to put on that sleeve. Shyam came into the room, and he was alone. He took one look at her and burst out laughing. Chuckling, he came over to her and unshackled her, so she could put on the tee.

The drops of blood had dried on her skin and it hurt to move. She winced as she moved. He frowned and said, ‘let me take a look.’ She stood quietly while he looked at the wounds. ‘They aren’t deep. I’ll get something to clean them with.’ With that he walked out the room, but he remembered to lock it behind him.

She seethed inwardly, but at least she could move freely in the room. She paced up and down till he came back, carrying a small first aid box. ‘Sit’, he said. She sat. He cleaned out the wounds with Dettol, making sure nothing was sticking in them. It stung like crazy, but then he put on some antiseptic cream and it cooled down considerably. She watched him gather up everything, going into the bathroom to trash the used cotton balls.

She looked around the room, there wasn’t really much that she could attack him with. Yet here he was, unguarded. The door was open. She sprinted out in her bare feet, barely making any noise. He came out of the bathroom just in time to see her turn the corridor. He ran after her. He caught her at the head of the stairs, grabbing her arm to make her stop. She shoved at him, and he sprawled in a heap. Leaped up and came at her. She ducked under his arm. She stuck out her foot to trip him. He lunged for her foot instead. She crashed into a glass-topped table, the glass cutting into her back. She was beyond pain now. She picked up the urn that had fallen to the floor and brought it down on his head. He flopped back. For a second she stared at him, and then brought it down on him again, just to make sure.

The blood was seeping out of the cut in her back. She gritted her teeth and ran for the front door. She did not know what she looked like. Outside, she was shocked to see that it was a residential area, albeit with houses set far back from the road. A really affluent part of town. She ran into the street. An auto was coming down the street. She flagged it down. The kindly, elderly Sardarji took one look at her and said ‘Beti, get in. Where d’you want to go?’

‘Babuji,’ she whispered.

‘Yes, beti. Where does your babuji stay?’ he asked again. She gave her parents’ address and sank back against the seat, closing her eyes. The Sardarji looked over his shoulder. He wondered what was going on with her! But whatever it was, his kindly heart melted at the sight of this thin-stick, girl who had been running bare-footed in the street. He knew she was running from trouble, and he was more than glad to help.

He drew up to the address she gave. Turning around, he noticed she had slumped over. Alarmed, he jumped out of the auto, and rang the bell insistently until the door opened. The tall man at the door was startled to see him.

‘Kya hai?’ he said.

‘Saab, come with me. Is she your daughter?’ he gestured at his auto.

A broken gasp came from Mr. Gupta’s mouth. He picked her up in his arms and carried her into the living room. The Sardarji held the door open. He saw an angrez lady and another young lady come rushing down the steps. There were a couple of police men sitting in the living room. He immediately knew this was serious! He turned away and was walking towards his auto when he felt a hand on his shoulder.

‘Sardarji,’ Mr.Gupta said. He was holding a wallet in his hand. ‘How much was the fare?’

Sardarji looked at him for a second or two and said, ‘I was able to reunite a daughter to her father. She wanted to come back to you. I’m glad I was able to do so. There’s no need for this.’ He indicated the wallet.

Mr.Gupta looked at him, his eyes sheened over with tears. ‘Sardarji, you have to take something. You drive the auto for your family. Let me do at least this much for yours. You’ve brought back my daughter – I can’t ever repay you for that.’ Sardarji had no answer to that one, he took the proffered notes and was about to leave when the inspector came out.

‘Sardarji, can you come inside for a bit?’ He nodded and they all went inside.

Sitting down, the inspector said, ‘Where did you find her?’

‘She was running down the street, in bare feet. Maybe she was trying to get an auto, but there were none when I came by. I picked her up and brought her home.’ The inspector looked at the name of the street he had written down. This was a very posh part of town. What was she doing there? and that too in this condition? ‘Are you sure about this?’

‘Yes, I am,’ Sardarji said confidently. Something was in the back of his mind. He tried to remember what he had seen from the corner of his eyes as he drove away with the girl.

‘Anything else you can tell us, ‘darji?’ the policeman was persistent. He shook his head, not quite able to put his finger on what was wrong with what he saw. ‘Look – here is my card. If you remember anything please call me. Remind me that it is the Khushi Kumari Gupta case, okay?’ The Sardarji took the card and carefully put it into his wallet, before walking away. He was sure he would remember what it was he saw.

6 comments:

  1. Tht was really intense and gripping Madhu! I would really like to know Wht will happen next. Eagerly waiting! Felt really sorry for Khushi!

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  2. Madhu .. Floored .. never expected the story to take this turn . knew there was some exploitation .. BUT this .. whoa . BRILLIANT is too small a word ..

    I had elevated heart beats all the time while reading .. u cant believe how much i am waiting for the next instalment .. hmm u havnt yet exposed .. Annie's hubby ')

    SUPERB ..

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  3. wow..madhu just caught up with your FF!! mus say amazing!!
    This chapter left me with goose bumps...brilliant dear..brilliant!! Gosh..that rani sahiba is psycho & so is shyam... my heart cried for khushi...

    aditi07

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  4. Oh my God!!!!! Right now, I'm shaking with fear, rage, disgust, and a sense of helplessness... Fear for what could have happened... Rage, at the audacity of the so called respectable elite members of our society.. Disgust at what their true color is and what their intentions were... And a sense of helplessness, akin to what the Guptas would be going through... These things are quite commonly happening to young girls, because of some degenerates who have twisted natures and desires... The worst thing is, they go scot free... Nothing happens to them... Oh the irony... Very very well written...

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  5. This is really well written, the story shows how this girl didn't give up, didn't give into her fears. Its horrendous that there are people like this out there in real life. Thank god the sardarji came at the right time, im sure shyam would have come to his senses... OMG what would they have done to her if she hadnt escaped! Import , expirt he said and hd didnt want he marked so they were probably goingvtovsell her off to the highest bidder.

    Oh dear.. the story is so gripping, im getting too wrapped up in it.

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  6. omg that was so scary...im so gald sardarji brought her home!!
    brave khushi!! way to go

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