Exhaling the deep warm breath, sitting on the only bed of the semi-dark room; she cried at the top of her lungs, only to hear her echoes crying back to her. Tears rolled down, heart thumped louder and she cried once again; louder this time, with more effort, unconsciously knowing that no one would come for her rescue.
She tried hard to stop shivering, collected guts to be strong and stood up. The bed creaked and she was used to it. She took out a piece of worn out paper. It was a newspaper article.
It read “Woman, 31, jailed for killing her husband.”
The article also had a half-turned picture of a beautiful woman. She looked at the mirror, only to find the similarities between the picture which was taken a few years back, and the reflection on the mirror.
The beautiful woman with a perfect features and a big smile was nowhere to be seen in the mirror. The still look, swollen face and red eyes and a deep scar on the forehead; she wondered if she knew the woman she was staring at.
She heard a sound as if someone was approaching and quickly turned back and listened for a while. She saw the jail keeper coming with a bunch of keys. He was trying to open the door. She wondered why anybody would be interested in her at this peculiar hour. As long as she could remember, the door only opened twice a day; during the meal times.
“You have your final hearing today.” The jail keeper told her.
She starred at him with a blank expression.
“C’mon lady” this time he was louder.
But she refused to move. She knew the hearing wouldn’t be in her favor after what she had done.
“I think criminals nowadays want themselves to be treated in a way they deserve.” He entered the room, grabbed her arms and dragged her outside.
She closed her eyes and compressed her lips. Her arms hurt but she had been used to it.
“You will know how it feels to be my wife.” Ranveer grinned at her.
She smiled back, keeping in mind not to offend him.
He unbuttoned the white shirt revealing his muscular body and threw it on the floor.
She was about to pick up the shirt when she felt cold hand on her waist pulling her up.
She closed her eyes, a drop of tear rolled down her cheeks.
He passionately kissed her on the neck and she tilted her head.
“I love you Suhani.” He whispered on her ears.
She could bare this no more. She opened her eyes and took a deep breath.
He turned her around and kissed her on her wet cheeks.
He looked at her in bewilderment.
Her eyes were still open but immediately looked down, afraid to make an eye contact and tears rolled down again from the beautiful almond eyes.
“Why are you crying Suhani? What happened?” he asked.
She shook her head.
“I know. I know it’s hard for you. First, losing your husband and then losing your unborn child. And suddenly marrying me; your brother-in-law. I know it’s not easy. But at least you can try, try to be happy.”
She nodded, still afraid to make an eye contact.
Ranveer rolled his eyes. He went to the side table and opened the water bottle. But then realized there was no water in it.
He breathed heavily and looked at Suhani. “Where is the water?” He shouted at her in ablaze.
Suhani looked at him, frightened. “I’m sorry. I’ll just fill it up” she tried to get the bottle from him but he grabbed her hands.
“Come I’ll show you where the water it.” He clenched his teeth and began to drag her outside.
She moaned in pain, cried for help, pleaded many times but he was a monster and she knew it.
He took her in the swimming pool.
“No, please No. Forgive me” she begged.
But he wouldn’t listen.
“Enjoy drinking water” he said gaily and threw her in the pool.
She could sense the cold water through her body. She gasped for air, splashed water, flapped her arms but she couldn’t stop feeling the water pull her into it.
She saw a blurry vision of a man standing by the pool. She smiled contently. She could see Kabir, her first husband smiling at him and she closed her eyes.
When she opened her eyes she saw a familiar ceiling. Her vision was still blurring. She turned her head and saw Ranveer; still and calm as if nothing has happened.
She shivered violently.
Ranveer came closer to her and kissed her forehead.
“I’m sorry I did this to you. You almost died.”
She shivered more violently and turned her head to the other side.
Ranveer stood up.
“I’m not a good person Suhani. Why are you living with me? Just go away.”
Suhani was astounded to hear this.
“Go away” he shouted.
She nodded, still shivering, got off the bed and began to run, run away from the monster, run away from her life and her fate.
She was about to open the main door when she felt a strong force grab her hair and pull her back.
She cried but she knew he wouldn’t listen. “How dare you run away from me?” He yelled.
He pulled her into the bedroom, threw her on the floor, slammed the door and walked away.
She knew she was locked, locked for days and trapped forever. She cried, begged to open the door but only thing she could hear were her echoes crying back to her.
Suhani confronted herself “This is it. This is the end. I’m gonna put an end to it.”
She approached the closet, opened the locker and took out a knife rapped in a plastic bag. The knife had a wooden handle with a pointed tip and sharp edge. It still had strains of thick blood in it.
She cried heartily looking at the knife which had an untold story compiled in its sharpness.
A year ago, she remembered, Kabir had said, “Happy anniversary darling! I’m taking you for a dinner date tonight. I’ll come to pick you up at five. Get ready.”
Suhani had just had lunch and washing the dishes and was planning to reveal the news of her pregnancy to Kabir the following night.
She felt a warm breadth on her neck. She could feel her waist being grabbed.
“How did you come home so early?”Suhani whispered.
“Where did I even go, Suhani?” she heard a familiar voice, it was not of Kabir’s. She turned back and realized it was Ranveer, Kabir’s brother.
“What are you doing?” She shouted furiously.
“Falling in love.” He said casually.
“For god’s sake, I’m your brother’s wife.” She yelled.
“Ahnn. Maybe Kabir forgot to tell you. Whatever is Kabir’s is mine’s. From toys to cars, from parents to home, books and games and how could you be left out.” He said coldly.
“You have lost your mind.” Suhani couldn’t believe she was talking to Ranveer.
Ranveer moved forward. Suhani, afraid of him, stepped backwards.
He grabbed her hair, pulled her near and murmured, “You are my half-wife. The sooner you understand the better.”
Later that evening, Suhani had told to Kabir about the incident but she knew Kabir wouldn’t believe her.
“I know Ranveer is a little hard to handle. He was a spoiled child, too stubborn. He needs what he wants. And after what he went through; I mean losing his pregnant wife in an accident, he needs time to overcome. And we need to help him.” He pressed Suhani’s hand.
“Kabir, you don’t understand. He said I’m his half-“she was interrupted.
“I understand my brother very well Suhani. Now, I want no more discussion on this topic.”
Days went, weeks passed and Suhani continued to suffer alone. The house where laughter once prevailed was now being haunted by the echoes of cries. She didn’t dare to speak about this to Kabir because Ranveer had warned her: if she did, Kabir’s life would be in danger.
One day, Suhani was preparing the dinner, contemplating about life and wondering how life had taken a U-turn since that day.
She heard Ranveer yell “Suhani, I want a cup of tea.”
Suhani, afraid of what he would do, quickly turned on the stove and started to make tea.
She poured the tea on the glass and was about to take it to Ranveer’s room when she saw him standing at the kitchen’s door.
“Why are you late?” he questioned.
“I was about to….” Suhani was interrupted.
“Why-are-you-late?” he said every world clearly and individually and came nearer to her.
He snatched the cup of tea from her shivering hands and without wasting a second he splashed the tea into her face.
“Drink it yourselves.”
Suhani screamed in pain. She could feel her face burning. She couldn’t open her eyes. Her senses stopped functioning for a second.
“Suhani!” she heard someone call her name from far away.
“What did you do to her, Ranveer?” she heard Kabir yelling.
“No, I was just….I was just helping her.” She heard Ranveer answer politely.
Suhani tried to open her eyes but it was hard.
“I cannot believe this. You bastard!” Kabir slapped him.
Ranveer stared at him for a while, “Me neither” he said clenching his teeth and grabbed Kabir’s collar. He pushed him to the wall and grabbed his neck.
Suhani had to do something. She couldn’t see Ranveer choking Kabir to death.
She searched the drawer, hoping to find something which could stop Ranveer.
She found a wooden handler knife with a pointed tip and sharp edges.
She approached them without having a second thought. She was going to put an end to it. She was going to put an end to her suffering. She was going to save Kabir’s life. Taking a deep breath, she. closed her eyes and stabbed him. She could hear him moan in pain. She remembered the brutalities and stabbed him once again.
Her eyes were still closed.
“Su.. ha….ni” she heard Kabir’s voice, completely soaked.
Suhani opened her eyes and realized she had stabbed Kabir instead of Ranveer.
Suhani went blank for a second. She couldn’t figure out what was happening.
“No, Kabir. How did it happen?” she stumbled.
Her eyes filled up. She gulped in some air in her dry throat.
“I’ll call the doctor. Everything will be alright. You’ll be alright.” She was trying to confront herself.
But Kabir held Suhani’s hand.
“It’s of no use Suhani” Kabir stammered, struggling to speak.
“I’m sorry Kabir. I didn’t mean to.” Suhani cried leaning into him.
“I know Suhani. I want you to know I’ll always love you Suhani” he stumbled in pain.
“I know. I love you too” she wept, holding his hands.
But this time there wasn’t a reply. She looked at Kabir, still and pale; staring at her unconditionally.
“No no! You can’t do this. You can’t leave me alone.” But she felt his hand slipping off from hers.
“Kabir wake up” she shook him but instead he lost his grip. “Wake up” she shouted and bawled.
She could feel her stomach arch., sending veils of pain through her body. She shouted once again holding her stomach and lost consciousness.
When she woke up, she was in her bedroom.
She looked around but no one was to be seen.
She saw someone coming through the door.
It was Ranveer.
He came closer callously and leaned down to her.
She turned her head to the other side. The vivid image of Kabir dying still haunted her.
He kissed her forehead gently.
She closed her eyes with much effort, tears rolled down her eyes and she gripped the bed sheet tightly.
Despite detesting him so much, she couldn’t do anything.
He said in a rough voice. “It’s okay Suhani. We lost our child. It’s okay”
Suhani gripped the bed sheets even tighter. She compressed her lips and she wept strongly.
Ranveer stood up., dusted his sweater and said “And yes! Nothing happened yesterday. You understand? Nothing happened yesterday.” He repeated. “Kabir will forever be missing in the records. I have done the other arrangements.”
Suhani stared at the knife. She stared at the incident which had changed her life forever. She stared at her guilt and the blame which would unconsciously kill her inside every day.
She had had enough of it. She decided she couldn’t take it no more.
She could hear the strides on the corridor and became alert. “Darling I’m home.” She heard Ranveer shout.
She took a deep breath and collected guts. Her hands were shivering but she consoled herself, “I should do it.”
The door creaked and Ranveer walked inside. Suhani was laying on her bed; calm and quiet, covered in a thin blanket.
“Honey! I missed you” Ranveer murmured and kissed her forehead. Suhani gulped in, her heart was pounding hard, her hand shivering, she took out the knife and stabbed him on the stomach, screaming.
She heard him moan in pain. She remembered all the brutalities she went through because of him and once again stabbed him.
She heard his teeth being clenched. He laid a hand on in stomach. He looked at Suhani through the corner of his dreaded eyes. “How dare you?” She could feel his eyes burning. Suhani was shivering and all of a sudden she felt his strong hands on her neck. Suhani gasped for air. He pressed her neck as hard as he could but his grip was losing.
In no more second, he fell to the ground.
Suhani coughed, tried to take deep breath and kneed to the ground, sobbing.
She couldn’t believe what had he just done. She had killed the monster, who sucked away all her happiness and filled it with soberness and grief. She realized she was now free, with no more fear around.
She laughed at the moment, laughed at the top of her lungs with tears flowing down her eyes. She could sense the revenge being taken and her victory on the air.
She closed her eyes and fell to the ground.
The view was silent; silent for a while. Only thing that was heard was the echo of her laughter, laughing back to her.