I had never felt this before, some uneasiness while I breathe.
It felt like the air that I inhale vanished somewhere before it reached my
lungs. I was not an expert of all these but I thought there was a lack of
oxygen, maybe I was right. I forced my eyelids to remain shut as I was scared
to look at what was happening outside.
My curiosity won a battle with my fear and my eye lids moved
apart. It was still dark, silent and strange. I sat down, sweating heavily and
trembling with fear. I did not dare to move. I was alone, I badly wanted some
company, and even a mosquito bite would suffice.
Suddenly, I heard a dog bark from somewhere very far. It should
have hinted me that I wasn’t alone but it scared me more and made me feel that
being alone was way better. I closed my eyes as tight as I could, lifted my
knees, hugged it with my arms and rested my forehead over the knees.
Hours later. I had fallen asleep somewhere between weeps; I
figured out as soon as I woke up. I looked around to see the area lit by the
sun light. It looked like an age old palace. The paint had faded and were
replaced with dust. Some parts of the enormous hall, I was standing in, was
broken. I was surrounded by cob webs. I had no idea where I was.
I cleared the webs and snail paced ahead with fear. I kept
shouting “Hello” to hear nothing in response. ‘Where am I?’ I thought.
At a distance, I could see someone sitting in the king’s throne. I wasn’t able
to say it for sure as the entire area was dust coated and covered with spider
webs. I ran to near it. I, quickly, brought the webs to ground to see something
like a human, sitting on the king’s chair. He remained still and was fully
covered with dust, that made it had to see who he was. I ran around to find all
the huge doors locked. I kept banging one after the other to hear silence in
response. Nothing moved. I had no way out of the enormous palace hall with a
still man seated on the king’s chair. It should have been some meeting hall of
a king from the past. But how I had landed here was still a terrifying question
that remained in me. Every time I looked at the still man fear in me rose to a
new high. Curiosity did not fail to do its part to compete with fear, equally.
Hours passed. I mustered all the courage left in me to near the
‘Hello, sir?’ I said, hoping it was someone alive. I shook him
and that led to the dust spread in the air, making me sneeze. I tied my
hand-kerchief around my nose and gathered my courage to wipe his face. I knew
it was strange to get caught in such a place but I had no way out, at least not
that I know of. I started rubbing his face with my fingers. After several
layers of thick dust I could feel his skin, still soft and fresh. I was
astonished. His eyes were closed but his eye lashes had no trace of dust. He
was coated with layers of thick dust and still his face remained so clean and
soft within. I was terrified. I ran away to bang the main door of the hall.
Bang. Bang. Bang. I heard someone talk from behind. The voice
said ‘Come here. If not..’ and trailed off towards the end. I banged again.
Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. I heard the same voice again,
continuing where it had left. ‘you will be locked in here forever. The only way
out is.. ’ The voice ended.
I banged once. The voice uttered a word ‘..to..’
I looked at the still man, he was still the same with his lips
tightly pursed. I had an eye on him as I kept banging. I saw his lips move to
utter, ‘clean me up fully and open my eyes.’
I couldn’t believe my eyes. I ran to him and started clearing
the dust from the rest of his body. I started with his fingers, then reached
his shoulder, chest and the lower part of him. He was wearing a glittering
dress that resembled the ones, kings wore in history books. I was done clearing
the dust off him.
‘Tell me how to go out of here. Why am I here? Who are you?’ I
shouted with tears flooding my face.
He did not move.
‘Didn’t you tell me that the only way out is to clean you up
fully?’ I asked. Not a part of him moved.
I turned to see two rows of chairs with men coated with dust,
like this one. I had no idea what was happening. I, again, ran to the door to
bang it. Before I could bang, I heard many voices say ‘Don’t bang.’ In sync. I
did not listen to them and I banged the door harder and harder with my eyes
fixed on the king-like-man; He must be the king, I thought.
As I banged a rope moved down inch by inch. It had a circular
knot from over his head. It hooked his head in the knot, tightened and raised
up. I stopped banging. His hands wobbled and so did his legs. He came to life
as he was strangled. I stood still out of fear and shock. His ands gestured me
to near him. I came back to my sense and ran to him. I rested his wobbling legs
on my shoulder. He was too heavy for me to shoulder. The rope released him and
we both fell to ground.
He lay still on the ground. I shook him and begged him to help
me. It stuck me then that he had asked me to open his eyes. I was about to open
his eyes but water splashed on my face, stopping me from opening his eyes. I
wiped my face and opened my eyes to find myself in my bedroom. My mom had
poured water on my head to wake me up. I slept a lot, usually, and it was
always difficult to wake me up.
Mom went out of the room after she ensured that I went to brush.
Every time I closed my eyes I saw myself in the abandoned palace with the
strange king and his ministers. I should have opened his eyes to know the way
out, I thought. Maybe he asked me to open my own eyes as a way out of the
locked hall, I assumed.
I reached office. His voice lingered in my ears. I couldn’t
concentrate on anything that day. I managed to pass time till it was log-off
time, at 10:30 pm. I went back to the parking area to find no other car but
mine. It was strange. I rushed to my car to get out of the parking as quickly
As I reached my car and was about to open the door, the building
lost electric power and the parking became dark. I opened the door. I heard his
voice, again, from inside the car. The voice said ‘Open my eyes, please.’ I
bent and looked inside to see the abandoned palace inside the door of my car. I
looked out and it looked like a normal car. I, again, looked inside to see the
huge hall spread inside the door of my car.
I thought it was a dream. Now, this was scarier than the dream.
I stepped inside the car (but I saw the palace hall) and shut the car door
behind me. I turned to see the huge main door of the hall instead of my car
door. What on earth made me do this, I regretted. The fear ran into my nerves.
Something was different about the hall.
‘Where is he?’ I shouted to the dust coated men around as he was
missing from around the throne. All the dust coated men’s head were turned to
their right, I hadn’t noticed this different initially.
‘Why did I come in again? How do I get out of this? Is it a
dream? If so, when will I wake up.’ I said to myself.
I wept hard. All of a sudden, I noticed a door opened in the
direction the men were looking. I ran to that door and went inside the opening.
I saw a graveyard. The graveyard was full of untidy stuffs. I saw a lot of
chilli powder packets, iron rods, plastic papers, vegetables, hand cuffs and a
lot of other stuffs including beer bottles. A lot of blood was all around the
place. There were several graves that were spread till the farthest I
could see. It was horrifying to even think of it as a dream. I went close to
one of the graves to see what was engraved on the stone. The engraving read
“Born-1985. Raped-2005.” I went to many other graves to see the word “Raped” on
top of it. Some of it even had the words “Raped by:” on it. The iron rods,
chilli powder packets, plastic papers which were parts of condoms made sense
now. These were graves of rape victims, I concluded. But who those men, covered
with dust and mud inside, were, I wondered.
‘The Rape convicts.’ it dawned in me. ‘The rape convict
was covered with dust and dirt, I cleared it without knowing anything
about the crime he had committed. I was carried away with his dress,
appearance and where he was seated to assume him to be a king. When he was
strangled, I out of sympathy, calling him human, shouldered him.’ I said to
myself running back to the main hall of the palace. He was being strangled. I
did not shoulder him this time though he gestured me to.
I banged the main door and it swung open. I stepped outside to
find myself standing in the parking area of my company. I looked around to find
people walking around to their cars. I looked inside my car again to see
nothing other than the car interior. I sat in and drove back home. I was too
disturbed. I locked myself in my room. I switched on the television to see the
news that a girl was gang raped and had died as her genitals were damaged due
to the insertion of glass pieces and chilli powder.
A few hours later, the same news channel revealed that the dead
body of the accused men were found in an abandoned palace, far from city, and
that they had all committed suicide out of shame and fear. Was it really a
dream, I wondered with smile of content.
A genital of a woman was your path into this world. Don’t look
at it as an object of mere fun and pleasure as it might be the reason for your
exit from the earth.