The city has come alive in this Festival of Lights – Diwali. There is a pleasant nip in the air; kind of perfect for going out, lighting the Diyaas and bursting firecrackers with the whole family. The colorful lights, sweets, friends, laughter – who would not love it!
Ram Singh tries to sleep in that dingy, smelly and dark cell of the jail. Neither the lights, nor the love of the family can reach him there. One can even use a knife to cut the gloominess hanging in the air. The distant sound of the firecrackers would not even let him close his eyes even for a moment. He finally sits up after a troublesome tossing and turning on that hard and cold floor. He keeps his head down and breaths hard.
He looks up to distant sound of anklet jingling very slowly in the corridor. His tries to listen harder. “No, I must be hallucinating” – he consoles himself. Soon, there is the sound – This time even nearer. Ram Singh shifts alarmingly.
The light from the other end of the lonely corridor hardly reach this end. When a silhouette of a woman appeared just outside his cell, it took him a couple of seconds to realize that he is not hallucinating.
The woman is standing still with long tangled hair, almost touching her knees. She has this piece of cloth, loosely wrapped around, trying hard to cover her body. Though Ram Singh cannot see her face from that distance, but he can somehow feel her gaze on him.
“Who… who is there???”, he tries to shout, but the sound comes out feebly.
“It’s me… Roshni…”, the woman almost wades into the cell, as-if the iron grills do not exist.
Ram Singh stands up unknowingly, a chill rushing down his spine. He could not believe his eyes.
“Roshni??? Roshni who??”, he stares at the figure in fear.
The woman comes forward swiftly… “Can’t you recognize me? Ohhh… how naive I am! How would you know my name! Let me introduce myself,” she comes few more inches closer to him. He shifts back towards the wall.
“That night, you and your friends picked me up in the bus. You were driving it… I thought it would be safe to board a bus, rather than hiring a cab. How I would have known what waited for me! “
Her voice made his heart pound even harder.
“Don’t you remember how you people feasted on my body like vultures in that moving bus? All my cries fell on your deaf ears!” she moves even closer to Ram Singh.
He can see part of her face now. Two streams flowing from her eyes were definitely not tear. It was blood! He shifts to left, farther from her, dragging his own body against the wall.
“You dumped my wounded body on the road… This cloth still carries my blood stains…“, she hissed in disgust.
He could smell the blood, just like that night. Something churned in his stomach. He felt like vomiting.
“I lost my innocence that day, I no longer call this my body… I no longer call this my soul… You took away both of them.“.
“But, how can this be possible.. I heard you died!!!“, he hears himself saying.
“This body died, you fool… How can I die when you are alive? Your each breath makes me die a thousand times. I cannot have my salvation until you die…”, she raises her hand… “Look here you coward… Can you remember this?”
He looks up… It is the iron rod, the same one they used to torture her. He swallows hard… His mouth is dry.
“Nooooo…. I did not do anything … Spare me please… “, he pleads while cowering into the corner.
“I will come back for each and every one of you … That day I was drenched in my own blood, today I have come to drink yours,” she strikes hard with the rod… Again and again and again…
Her black face, embracing two red blazing eyes, her red tongue hanging from the mouth, her hair making a black halo around her whole body and a garland of red flowers around her neck… The scene is indescribable.
She punctures his body till he stops shouting and moving… His eyes become still and his gaze hangs on her face.
While the whole city is celebrating and worshiping The Goddess Kaali… Just then, there is a headless, bloody figure lying in that dingy, smelly and dark cell.
Blood bathed, that woman leaves the jail corridor with a human head in her hand… And drops of trailing blood stains on the floor.
Disclaimer:~ All characters and most of the events in this story are true. Real names are not used intentionally.
Want to read it in Bengali? Click here.
Author ~ Snigdha Susmita Sahoo. Born on 24th November, 1984, at Bhubaneswar, Odisha. A B-Tech Graduate from KITS, Bhubaneswar, currently working at Cognizant. A hardcore vodka lover, sucker of good movies and books. Sagittarian by birth, humanitarian by nature. Believes in “live and let live”. Dreams of traveling the world before dying. Trying her hand at small story writing. Connect her at – [email protected] or follow her @snigsahoo
Raw Cover Image: images.jansatta.com
Cover Image Design: Anari Minds