The answers he received now unlocked new questions.
Where will he find her?
How will he save her?
What does she even look now?
Does she still smile like that?
Does she still have that dimple on her left cheek?
The very thought made him smile! He remembered them running wild through the streets, conspiring and plotting their next blunder and then later at night, sharing the loot; lying next to each other and counting stars at night. He remembered how she used to name stars. He remembered the sound of her laugh as she played with her friends.
It wasn’t long before the nightmare started. It started after Mother passed away. That’s when the Monster started hurting her…he made her slog all day long and somehow hurt her all night. He used to hear her scream and cry but he could not do a thing.
He started losing his sleep. Their days of bliss were over and now they lived in a continuous state of a nightmares. Her smile was replaced by a gloomy silence and endless silent tears. He couldn’t understand what was happening but all he could understand was he had lost her…she had lost herself!
The very thought brought tears to his eyes.
He remembered the Monster hitting her with something hard on her foot…it was days before she could walk again without limping. He remembered the scar.
He was there all throughout…Helpless and suffering…just a silent witness to everything! He knew he had to save her. He knew he had to rescue her. He just didn’t know how.
It’s not that he didn’t try…but whenever he did he was beaten black and blue and locked up and refused food for days. Even in those days, she was the one who used to smuggle him some food from her share.
It killed him every day to see her suffer.
Unable to take it anymore, he asked her one day, how she was living? Why isn’t she doing anything? Why doesn’t she run away?
She answered, “I have nowhere to go. And although I am suffering, I know you are there by my side. You are…aren’t you? That’s what gives me hope.”
He offered to help. He planned to escape…together for the better. Finally he could see her face light up with hope.
He worked harder now, stole more, saved more while she saved food and packed their bags! He bought train tickets to a faraway place. Now, all that’s left is the escape.
That night, after the Monster was done torturing her…and fell asleep, he entered the room and helped her out of the house. They walked ,they ran, they stumbled…but finally managed to reach the station. The train was due in a couple of hours. They sat there, talking. She wanted to buy a bead necklace and a new dress once they reach the new place. He smiled, seeing her hope. He felt happier thinking that finally he was able to make her dream again. He was the reason. It meant the world to him.
The train arrived. They boarded the train. She placed her head on his lap and fell asleep. He fell asleep while caressing her hair.
Suddenly he could hear her scream his name. He opened his eyes only to see the Monster carrying her away. He ran after him. He turned around only to give him a severe blow. He fell inside the train and hit his head against the door. He could feel his head bleeding, and the last thing he remembered was the scared, tear stained, face of hers screaming for his help…after that everything turned black…and the trained carried him away…
[To be continued…]