She stood there. Motionless. Who on earth would believe that all her dreams are coming true…and her nightmares also? The rain fell like sleet obscuring the road. Anita felt tired. She had been standing under the door for the last hour and half. The streets were deserted. No one had dared to go out in the rain. A street urchin ran by splashing on the puddles. A car drove by, its headlight stirring up the white sheet of rain. Anita stood shivering under the shop facade wondering what else was in store for her. As she recalled it, she wondered if it was just a dream. A cold wind blew up rattling her bones and shaking her out of her dream.
As she stared into the gloom ahead she saw two cars speeding down the road….the driver of the Accent driving warily but the Bolero swerves and hits it…..the Accent swerves but grazes into the side railing….the Accent brakes and comes around to make his escape….the Bolero hits again hitting the Accents back bumper and throws the Accent into a spin….the Accent hits the side and flips onto the pavement…..the Bolero pulls up beside it…..petrol spews onto the pavement…the driver tries to get out of the mangled remains…..a man stepped out of the Bolero and lit a cigarette…he threw down the Benson & Hedges cigarette box…..the injured man just stared as the cigarette was lit with a matchstick…..”You should’ve stuck with us…it was just good business…”…the man watched as the match fell from the hand to the petrol dripping on the pavement….
A lightning broke Anita’s dream. The rain was still pouring. She slumped to the step of the shop. A tear rolled down her white pale cheek. She closed her eyes…she could see the Accent erupting into a flaming furnace… She opened her eyes and stared through the tears that welled in her eyes. Was this the ending she had dreamt of?
The police had called on her the next day. She was staying at her parents’ house when the doorbell rang. She opened the door to two police Inspectors. Her mind went blank as they informed her that her husband had been killed in a car accident. She swooned and fell down. Had it not been for her mother, she would have fallen on the floor. After being sedated by the doctor, she had visited the crash site the next day. The mangled car was still there…the front door missing as it had been torn apart to remove the body. Her father had visited the morgue in the morning to verify the body. It was charred badly. She was at home in the evening. The police had shifted through the house to find clues. She was too shocked to say anything. Her parents were with her. The next day she got a call at 6am that her house was on fire. She rushed back to her home or what was her home. The firefighters were still there and the fire was out. She could only enter her home around midday. The photo of her and her husband stood on the showcase. However, her husband’s face was blackened. She took the picture and looked at it. It was on their honeymoon 2 yrs ago. She left in the evening. The police had cordoned off the place.
She rang the bell of her parent’s house. There was no reply. She asked the police constable on duty if her parent’s had left somewhere but his replied no. She rang the doorbell repeatedly. However, all she got was silence. After an hour of trying, she called in the police. They broke into the flat to find her parents sitting on the beach chairs in the living room. There were two black holes in their foreheads and a dry ribbon of blood issued from it. She was forced to accept a police Inspector posted in front of her bedroom along with two constables. Nevertheless, she had slipped out of her room and now she sat on the steps of the shop.
The rain had let up a bit now. She got up and walked towards the lake. Her footsteps echoed breaking the stillness. A frog jumped across her path croaking hoarsely. The road was lined with trees with yellow halogen lamps glowing above. The trees swayed in the breeze making it seem as if hundreds of people stood all round looking at her. She stopped suddenly. There was someone else behind her. It sent a shiver down her spine. She turned but there was no one there yet she felt him. This was her husband’s favourite walk-by the side of the lake. She walked till the top and stood on the banks peering into the now cold and still water. Occasionally a ripple stirred the stillness. She looked up-the moon shone brightly in the sky.
Suddenly she spun around. There was a man leaning against the tree. He reached into his pocket and took out a cigarette. As he lit it, a brief flicker of light fell on his face.
“Wha-at do you wa-ant?”She asked in a quivering voice…the man did not reply.
“You will kill me also? But why not? You killed all my family….”…the man let off a puff of smoke…it hung in the air before vanishing into the nothingness. They stood facing each other not saying a word. Anita was sweating and the cold breeze numbed her.
The man finished his cigarette and dropping the stub to the ground extinguished it with his feet. The grass crumbled under his shoe, the sand munched as it absorbed another foreigner. The man stepped forward. Anita saw the scar across his face illuminated by the moonlight. She gasped as she recognised the face. A boy who has courted her for her hand in marriage but had fallen in with the underworld then.
He reached into his coat and withdrew a revolver. The moonlight gleamed off the silver side and the bronze bullets could be seen shining in the hold waiting and smiling maliciously waiting for the last victim. Anita turned around facing the lake. The reflection of the moon on the rippling surface caught her attention. There her husband was standing on the water. He stretched out his hand and rested it on her shoulder reassuring her that it will be all right. She felt the weight of his hand. Then was he still alive? The water shimmered as a pebble rolled into the water.
She heard the click as the hammer hit the primer. She closed her eyes and saw the bullet leaving the barrel, the gunpowder splashing onto the gunman’s hand. She saw as the bronze tip ripped through her shirt on penetrated her soft white skin. She felt the heat as the bullet scorched its way inside her body. She collapsed.
Anita opened her eyes n the hospital. She was later told that she was found lying at the lake unconscious and behind her lay another man whose head had been blown open by his own revolver. His eyes were wide open as if someone forced him into suicide. Nevertheless, the police found no footprint nearby. There was just a ring kept in front of Anita face on a rock. It was her husband’s wedding ring. The police said that they had kept it in their safe last night when the body was taken to the morgue. They just could not explain how it ended up there. After hearing Anita’s story, they concluded that she had kept her husband’s spirit bound to her until he finished his duty to protect his wife. The police closed the case as the murdered had been found.
After a few days, Anita was discharged from hospital. She went to the place she stood that night. The water was calm. She stood there for some time, and then she took out the ring and wore it along with her marriage ring. “Thank you. Wherever you are…thank you”, she mumbled. She felt a hand resting on her shoulder and she knew he was right there beside her.