A FAIR AFFAIR
A Child Remembers
By Neel Anil Panciker
She read it one more time, her third in the last five minutes, and then she collapsed, face down into the bed.
They found her an hour later, her body all cold and when someone turned her over, they found the pillow covers all wet and the bedsheets soaked in water, her waters.
An hour of crying and she was not done yet. And still another hour on, when they had all left, and she was again all alone in that room, in that big house they mistakenly called home, she cried some more; and then later, much later, some more.
That night she had enough tears in her eyes to fill the driest of the dams this side of the Narmada.
Hours later when even her eyes had given up and gone dry, she assembled her tired limbs and crawled upto to the drawer.
She needn’t have switched on the lights. Her hands curled up underneath Mama’s medicine box, her fingers clasped the little red book, and then, shuffling through its inner pages, found what it were looking for: the dreaded one line scribbled note.
With trembling hands she retrieved it and taped herself to the corner wall.
With just enough light passing through the diaphanous faded-out curtains, and with
utter fear writ large on her by now fiercely sweating face, she read its contents for the umpteenth time that dark night.
‘Dear Shaifu baby, I have an off day tomorrow. There is a new children’s movie. I will be coming to pick you up. You are such a lucky girl. Your loving Uncle Patrick.’
She didn’t last the last word.
Her heart started pounding and she felt her chest suddenly very heavy and an agonizingly painful ache shot through her entire body and with a deafening thud she fell down, first on the bed and then her entire body started shivering and shaking.
Within seconds the spasmodic expansions and contractions had so taken over that she found herself flung to the floor. And that’s where she lay__ shaking, writhing, and frothing for the next couple of hours until they found her yet one more time.
Four hours of drug induced deep slumber coupled with a doctor’s visitation and the forced administration of a heavy dose of anti-anxiety tablets, the little girl had become calm, and now, as she she lay, all alone, in her bed__her hands still clutching the dreadful note__, somewhere from inside her heavily contracted stomach, an inner muscle started to twitch again.
She knew the signs by now. It was a precursor and soon would follow the shivering, the shaking, the sweating, the pounding, the palpitations, the…
With her back strapped to the icy scraped walls that desperately was crying for a fresh coat of Plaster of Paris, she thought, rather allowed the thoughts, to invade into her being.
And they came__slowly, surely, and shamelessly.
Her mind’s video captured the first frame.
It was a garden, a small garden, with beautiful red and yellow flowers and some a shrubs and also a tree.
A giant tree, with thick, leafy branches with even thicker leaves. And there she was playing, swinging on one of its branches, her hands, soft and tender, as is of a ten year old, gingerly holding on to the oiled coiled swing ropes.
And then the next frame… a hand and now it slithers and weaves and then slips and then slides and glides and then hides deep inside her tiny legs… and then it happens.. the fingers, not hers…someone’s… they are going somewhere… where she doesn’t know but they are moving, swimming, diving, probing…
And then the third frame… a face, smiling, laughing, exposing teeth, rotten all of them and a few broken, yellowy and stained as well.
And then the words, a man’s words, her Uncle’s, Uncle Patrick, her father’s brother,
“My dear Shaifu baby, hope you had a swinging time”.
Hi friends, thanks a zillion for visiting by. This is the third part of my continuing series titled ‘ A FAIR AFFAIR ‘.
I wrote this in response to Ronovans weekly fiction challenge prompt which was this:
You’ve just been handed a message that makes you drop to the floor, trembling uncontrollably.
- No more than a Word Count of 600. (SUGGESTED)
- Using the above scenario, create a scene of what the note is about, and why it makes you react the way you do. (REQUIRED)
- No external dialogue for this scene. (SUGGESTED)