He followed her soundlessly into the room, with a faint hint of a swagger. She took off her earrings and wrenched away the band that held back her locks, unaware that she was not alone. Tired of the inertia caused by the intoxicant, he sprang into action. A cemented hand struck her smooth cheek and hurtled her backwards. Shell-shocked, she barely had let out a cry when he struck again, this time hammering his fist on her head. His hands held on to her skull and pressed as if wanting to compress it into nothing. Locks got entangled with his fingers and if her eyes weren’t sightless, she would have seen the silver glint of mad power in his pupil. His fingers clasped her hair and pulled. Her pleading screams went unheard into the inky night. When he released her, strands stuck to his palms. She fell back onto the unsteady bed, clutching her head, oblivious of the tears that sprouted from an agony worse than the one that had just consumed her body.
All this while, he had yelled, “You’re getting out of hand. I’ll teach you a lesson that you’ll never forget!”
His words buzzed in her ears. The comforting words of the inept, passive women, witness to this usual drama of life felt like snow.
The choked throat made way for the voice of rage. She looked into the faces of the others, despising them as much as she did him. “Cowardly wretches! He would’ve slit my throat before them, and they wouldn’t have moved a finger to my aid!”
She talked about leaving. The others hushed her. It was unheard of. They feared that he might return, or worse, that she just might act upon her words as she had done before.
“I will get out of this hole someday! Someday I’ll just run away and I’ll never come back!” she sobbed, as arms wrapped themselves around her.
“If you want to do that, don’t run away. Earn your living, stand on your own feet and walk out with honour.” The woman said it quietly, and in spite of the rebellion roaring in her chest, it made sense.
As her body weakened, so did her present resolve. She put her head in the woman’s lap, hiccupping a little, trembling a little at what the mind shall remember forever, even if the body forgets. The eyelids felt weighed down, as if mourning the loss of precious tears. Darkness seemed closer every minute. Then, when they thought she had escaped to slumber to heal, she murmured sleepily,
“How could he do this to me? He’s my father...”