“Hush, my child, it’s time to sleep.”
She seemed to hear her mother’s voice, her soft comfort filled with love and warmth, but she was cold.
“Where am I?”
The damp smell of dirt seemed strange.
“Mum?” she called, her scary mind searching for her.
“Rest in peace, my beautiful one,” shouted her mother, her voice cracking with emotion.
“No,” she screamed, weakly, struggling to find her way out of the darkness, as her mother’s voice faded.
The darkness prevailed, appearing to haunt it then suddenly a light shone, illuminating a path. Her eyes flew open and she sat up, choked by a blast of cold air. She looked around, but no one was waiting for her, she was alone in a place that wasn’t home.
The eerie silence sent cold through her body, and in desperation, she now called for her husband,
“Dev, please help me! I think I’m missing. ”
No reply received.
He called to him again, “Dev, where are you?”
Still no answer.
She formed a fear knot in her throat, seeing no one, or hearing their voices.
“Mother… Dev…” she called, her voice trembling.
“They can’t hear you,” said a small voice behind her.
He turned around, frightened and saw a little girl, in a frilly white dress, holding a bunch of flowers in her hand.
“Why? Where am I?”
“You’re not in their world anymore,” she said softly and placed the flowers on a grave at her feet.
“Your final resting place, Priya.”
Priya looked down and gasped, in utter shock.
She was looking at a grave with her name carved on a tombstone.
“I died?” he asked incredulously, “Did I die ?!”
The little girl said nothing, a sympathetic look on her face and turned, she walked, a short distance away to a smaller grave. Priya looked at her, cold icy fingers grasping her senses, as the realization hit her that she was in a graveyard and that the little girl was a departed soul as she was now.
She sat down, her head buried in her hands, trying to get her confused thoughts together.
“How did this happen?”
She had not been ill, had not been in an accident, and had no serious problems with anyone.
“How then did I die, dear Lord?”
The last thing she could remember was coming home from the mandir, making a cup of tea, having drank after taking a bath and lying down to sleep.
“Those were the last moments of my life,” he recalled, “There is nothing else that means I never woke up.”
Priya opened her eyes, deeply disturbed her thoughts and saw the little girl, sitting by her side.
“It wasn’t sad.” The child said.
“World Health Organization?”
“What are you saying?” Priya asked, now confused.
“I was looking at it when they brought your body to bury it. He was not sad and his mother had a small hidden smile on her face. ”
Priya stood up and walked around restlessly, feeling that she had been caught in a thunderstorm. There was no longer any doubt, something bad had happened to her from someone who had implemented a fraudulent scheme, someone who wanted her to die.
“When did love turn to such hatred?” she inquired, bitterly.
A noble and virtuous young woman, she had been, from a Hindu family, close to her religion and culture. She had graduated at the top of her class from business school and had met her husband only six months after starting work. Their courtesy lasted a year before they were married to the blessings of both families.
A beautiful couple they had been with amazing plans for the future, but two years after tension began to creep in when he couldn’t get pregnant. Tests proved there was nothing wrong with it and the doctors assured her it could take some time.
A traditional Hindu home, like its in-laws, can hardly blame the husband for any wrong and although it is not always the wife’s fault, she has been blamed. Priya had tried over the time to take the insults and the caustic comments from her husband’s family in a good step, given his kind nature and prayed daily for something positive to remove the problems and tension. But it got worse when Dev, prompted by his mother to act aggressively towards her, found that many days had left her in tears. She had wanted to leave, to end the marriage but her parents, ardent Hindus, disagreed with her decision, telling her that a good wife is not leaving her husband and her home.
It seemed that those words were now mocking her, because her body was lying, lifeless in the cold earth.
“I obeyed you, father,” he said in deep pain, “And this is my reward. What great advice do you have for me now? ”
She had never been comfortable with traditional household rules and laws where the woman must suffer.
“This is so unfair,” he expressed bitterly, “Because we give our hearts and souls to the home and family. We love and honor our husbands and yet a kind word or smile to say ‘Thank you’ is too much. “
Life didn’t improve for her when her husband’s late hours became more regular, and the various perfume smells on his clothes said what words he wouldn’t, he saw other women.
She had felt like a knife wound in her heart and when her in-laws voiced their disapproval of divorce, because it would stain the family name, she had felt trapped and helpless. But she never gave up her faith, praying for something to free her.
“I never thought it would have been a death.” He cried out with excited screams as the dogs in the village across the trench howled, aware of the presence of an inspirational soul and its pain. As his anger subsided and he sat there crying, quietly, the little girl touched her hand in comfort.
“I used to cry every night too.”
Priya raised her head, after a brief moment and looked at the child, seeing for the first time, her pain and sighing deeply to reassure her, she asked,
“How long have you been here?”
The child looked at her hands, not answering then looked up, tears in her eyes, “A bad uncle took me away from home when my mum was at work and it hurt me. I never saw my mother, my little brother or my sister again because I was lost in a dark place until the angels came. “
The child’s tragic story was like another stab at Priya’s heart.
An innocent young life was unduly disturbed. Will it ever end?
She hugged the child and asked, confused,
“Why are you still here?”
“I didn’t go with the angels because I can’t leave my mum, she’s too sad.”
“No, Anne,” Priya told her, “You must, because you will be God’s little angel in Heaven.”
Anne shook her head, biting her lip to stop crying.
“She’s in a mental hospital, she needs me, I go to her every night to help her recover and I have to look after my brother and sister.”
Priya watched the child leave, and thought of her own bereaved mother and father, her unfortunate husband and a murderer who had left no prints.
“I’ll find you though,” he promised, “and it wasn’t until then that we left, because my life was my life and you had no right to take it.”
The little girl came back, an hour before midnight and Priya told her, “I need to find my way home.”
Anne extended her small hand and said, “Come with me.”
They walked down the cemetery path, two unprecedented beings, a woman and another world child.
As they neared the road, their spiritual forms came to life and an approaching car stopped. The driver was on his way home after a hard day’s work but couldn’t leave, a woman and a child were so late on the road.
“Where to?” he asked.
Priya gave directions to her husband’s home.
On the way, the cab driver shifted slightly to the sudden coldness of the car and noticed the calmness of the tension of the woman and child, he said in casual conversation,
“It’s a sad thing, the home you go to, the man’s wife died a week ago.”
“How did she die?” Priya asked, her voice just above a whisper.
“She is said to have committed suicide.”
“Sad, indeed.” He agreed, in a sarcastic tone.
The driver looking through the rearview mirror couldn’t see her face clearly through the thin cover of shadow and realized it wasn’t interesting to talk, she turned on the radio. A little later, he turned off the highway, into a street, stopping at the second corner.
“Stop,” he said turning and seeing to his surprise, the child was not in the car.
“Where did she go?” he asked, puzzled.
“She’s come back to wait for me.”
“What? How did she do if I didn’t stop anywhere….” His voice followed, confused.
Priya pushed the hair away from her face, the shadows rising and words died in the driver’s throat as he looked into her, cold, horrified eyes, her voice, a hoarse whisper.
“This was my home, I’ve returned to see my husband.”
To be continued…
She saved Pic as Hush