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238 pages, Paperback
First published January 2, 2015
He lifted the stone. The skull was smashed in two and the brain was spilled out onto the wooden bed that he had been sleeping on. His eyes popped out with the impact, one of them smashed, a gooey yellow mass oozing out of it. The impact retracted the skin of the head, and his mandibles now jutted out, a sickly sight of white bone protruding out of his wizened wrinkled cheeks.
Another lay on its back, the skin torn, the spine broken and jutting out of it. A rotting spinal cord played peekaboo from the twisted vertebrae.
“What is strange?” he asked. He had already stripped her naked and was forcing his way inside her and trying to squeeze her breasts at the same time, much like he were trying to milk a cow.
“Padma called me today saying that she wanted to come for a visit.” Maya felt the pain but did not show it; instead, she guided his organ into her. “But she didn’t turn up at all.”
He grunted and began moving his groin slowly over her.
“I tried calling, but she didn’t answer or even return calls. I am worried about her.”
“What the fuck!” he ceased and yelled at her. “Here I am trying to have a good time after a long day’s work and all you speak about is somebody that didn’t turn up? She’s not a child; she will find her way home eventually.”
“Bam Bholenath!” She turned sharply towards the source of the sound—her own door. She had forgotten to close it after Akram had left, and now she saw the hermit standing right at her doorstep. The tantric—for that’s what Maya assumed him to be—cut an imposing figure, standing there with a human bone in his hand and with eight rings on his fingers, each containing motifs of human skulls in their various forms. But, what really paralyzed Maya was that the bowl he held in his hand was not just a bowl. Her innate knowledge of human anatomy told her it was an upturned cranium cut neatly out of a human skull.
“Bam Bholenath,” he repeated and Maya looked up at his face. From this proximity, his face looked more intimidating.
Padma disconnected the phone and moved out of the computer lab. As she walked along the empty corridor, she ensured the clip was still with her. There was nothing on her mind at the moment except showing that clip to her friend and perhaps help her decide the future course of action.
But, she shouldn’t have been so lost in her thoughts.
For, if she had been more alert and looked at the other end of the corridor, she would have seen the tall dark man staring at her with hands buried in his large trouser pockets and murder in his face.
She was stupid. Engrossed in her talks, she hadn’t even seen him earlier peering through the side window of the computer lab with his bloodshot eyes,…
“You just said some garage—” began Maya but was immobilized midsentence, for her mother made a sign to her to keep quiet. It was a well-known gesture, understood by her daughters. It had been used several times over the years. But it wasn’t much of a deception and Bhaskar, who was watching his mother-in-law’s every expression like a marauding hawk, caught the slight wrinkle of caution that flashed over her eyebrows.
He had laid a meticulous plan to ensnare her, and she had fallen right into the trap. Like a fly that knowingly walks into a spider’s web. Only, this fly had apparently endangered the other flies around it too.
If he just rapes me and leaves me, she thought, I’ll run away from here never to return, and forget all about this nightmare.
“Do what you want with me,” she said between her sobs. “But, let me go. Let me go, please. I have a son.”