Published On: 2012-05-26

Author: Aratrika, Chaitali

Media Link:


Hrithik : Sahil 

Sushmita : Tania 

Aishwarya : Ananya 





A broken, small and almost muffled voice sang, “I am so happy...” The figure coughed dryly and expelled a breath out. His entire body shook due to the coughing bout and then he stayed still for a while. He attempted to shift a little, but his broken arm protested. He groaned and “I don’t...” his quiet voice sang. “...have a dime...but I am so happy...” Beneath him, a pool of blood had formed and he was laying on it. His worn out denim was soaked in the red colored liquid. He could feel the blood in his mouth and its appalling taste sickened his soul. The matted blood on his hair told the story of the numerous blows he had received. He gulped and heaved a sigh. He was feeling thirsty and he licked his lips desperately in a wish to keep them wet. As his tongue lined his battered lips, he could taste only his blood. He flinched and faltered for a moment and then ineptly licked the blood and accepted it inside his maw. As the blood made its way down his throat, it quenched his thirst, even if it was for a while. Unconsciously, his tongue made its way out of his mouth and gently licked his lips again. He felt the weird taste of the blood explode in his mouth and kept imagining good food in his head. His hands were tied with the help of some ropes. From time to time, he tried to tear open the knots, but the ropes had emerged to be stronger than the battered and injured person pitched against it. The harsh rope brushed against his skin and had left its revolting and aching marks around his wrists. Somehow, he gathered his remaining power and tried to free himself. When the spikes like threads of the jute kissed his skin, he gave up and surrendered to his destiny. A little mouse ran over his leg and he felt the creature’s ugly claws on his anatomy. He jerked and moaned in repugnance. He was blindfolded and his ears guided him, telling him where the mouse was heading to. The mouse squeaked and out of pure abhorrence, he curled up himself. He could hear the sickening crunch of his bones and he stopped mid-way. He waited for the pain to ease and his breathing grew shallow. He struggled to catch his breath and felt himself slip into unconsciousness yet again. When he was about to lock himself in the world of nothingness, his stomach growled in protest. He had not eaten anything for the past three days and now, every minute was getting more and more difficult to survive. He knew that there was something lying somewhere near him. He remembered that a box of some fruit was present in the room, quickly rotting along with him. He struggled to find it and wondered how it felt to actually chew food between your teeth. He felt his knee touch something and he felt his heart thudding more loudly. What was it? A dead mouse? A stone? Or finally the box of that coveted fruit? He felt the hardness of the box with the help of his knee and then he was thoroughly satisfied that it was indeed a box. He stopped for a while and then slowly and steadily pushed it upwards towards his mouth. The box sailed its way across the uneven floor and it stopped when his knee could no longer go up. He started to move downwards and winced in pain when the hard, uneven floor rubbed against his skin. But he didn’t care. He was way too hungry to notice anything like that or to fell the pain either. He caught the lid of the box with his teeth and flung it open violently. As soon as the box opened, a sour and pungent smell filled the air around him. And in an instance he knew that the fruit has spoiled. A tear escaped his weary eye and he lay motionless. He felt choked, defeated and hopeless. He sniffed and cried quietly with a fear in his heart that this may be his fate, his life till he met his end. He felt dizzy and again felt unconsciousness cocoon him in its strong arms and he shook his head for his sheer stupidity. He was hungry and there was food lying in front of him and he was not eating it. If he wanted to survive, he had to eat it. There were no other options. Despite himself, he dug the box and his lips parted. Somehow, he could tell that there was not one fruit but a whole lot of strawberries placed in there. He took one in his mouth and chewed. As the sour taste of the spoiled strawberry filled his mouth, tears escaped his eyes. He sobbed and lay there helplessly. The rest of the strawberries fell on the floor and dipped themselves in the blood looking redder than they ever did. “I am happy.....” he cried and his feeble sobs filled the room.





A slight noise at the door, announced the arrival of a new day for Sahil and he woke up from his slumber. Sahil shuddered at the noise and tried to move aside, in a false bid to hide himself from the invasion of the other person. He felt someone grab his face and forceful stuff his mouth with a cloth. He protested and used his legs to kick away the other person. He could hear a loud thud, coupled with a painful shriek, which meant that his kick had hit the person. “Sh-it!” the figure cursed and then hit Sahil with something on his stomach. Sahil yelped in pain and collapsed on the floor with a revolting thud and his body curled up unconsciously. He continued to groan in pain and he wanted to break free and run somewhere else. Never in his wildest dreams had he imagined to encounter such a day. The lady sat beside him and stroked his forehead lovingly. Sahil could feel her open his jaws forcefully and stuff something inside in his mouth. “Good morning dear!” a sexy, arousing and melodious voice purred softly in Sahil’s ear. Sahil heard that familiar voice and a wave of queasiness washed over him. He felt faint and tried to move away from her. He tried to open his mouth to protest, but all he could hear were his own unaided and stifled screams. “Oh Sahil! What have I done to deserve your loathing?” the lady bent down and pinched his ear lobe. Sahil flinched when she touched him and augmented the frequency of his screams. “Baby! Please don’t waste your energy! I have stuffed a cloth in your mouth, so why are you even trying?” she sniggered. She took his head in her hands and kissed his ear lobe. She opened her mouth and her tongue made its way out of her mouth. She licked his ear lobe and Sahil tried to ram her aside. “Please don’t move!” she pleaded in a honey coated voice and captured his ears again. She bit his lobe violently and Sahil jerked and screamed in pain. She tightened her grip on him and picked him up from the floor in one go like a rag toy. She wrapped her arms around him and bit him harder this time. Her white, pearl like teeth, dug into his skin and they continued to sink deeper inside, till she drew blood out from his flesh. A little stream of blood trickled down his neck and then travelled down to his chest. Tears streamed down from his blindfolded eyes and meshed with the blood. This continued till Sahil’s powerless cries was the only thing that was audible in the room. Sahil moaned and groaned painfully in her arms and struggled to somehow escape from her. “I want you Sahil....please....” she begged and kissed his neck and cheeks. Sahil felt her lips touching his bare skin and tried to revolt, but couldn’t find any energy left in his body to do so. He lay still, desperately waiting for her to get over and walk out of the door. For some months now, this was his life. She would come, beat the crap out of him and then love him with all her heart. He had not seen the light for months now and there was not a single part of his body which was not bleeding. And now, as he lay there quietly, almost in deathly silence, feeling her tongue everywhere on his body, he prayed that sleep should overcome him for perpetuity. There was only so much that one could take.





The scream made its way through his fogged and exhausted mind, on the verge of shutting down for good. It was nothing more than a faint ring, a minute ripple through his consciousness. The spark of life which still clung on stubbornly was almost at its last stage, despite the last few days having been mercifully free of the dreaded visitations. He didn’t know why and no longer did he care. At least he had been fed once a day earlier, but for the last four days, neither food nor water had been his wont. And then there was the darkness, the eternal, unchanging, immutable darkness which seemed to mock this puny being’s feeble efforts to resist succumbing to its will. But not long now. Sahil had played out his reserves of inner strength. His mind, numbed by the horrors of the last three months was comatose. So much so, that the scream which shattered the blessed, drugged amnesia of death was anything but welcome. The scream came again, but louder. Against his will, the drug started to wear off. Now he was aware of words within the screams. They even sounded familiar. In fact, it almost seemed to be his name. Then he felt something being ripped from his face and then he was aware of a searing pain in his eyes, a terrifying whiteness which seemed to reach right up to the recesses of his brain and set the tissues on fire. This time the screams were ripped out of his throat and they sounded terrifying and inhuman, even to his own ears. He tried to close his eyes but the force of the whiteness seemed to beat down on his eyelids, hammering away with tongs of fire till he could take no more. And he couldn’t. One last hoarse, parched scream erupted from him and then all was the blessed darkness again. ........................................... He opened his eyes slowly. To a blank white wall. It seemed too bright, too goddamn bright. He turned his head slightly. The desk on the corner. Even this was white, with a red chequered cloth on top. He could feel the pinpricks of agony begin in his eyes and closed them. After a while he relaxed and squinted them open again. The light was more bearable but only slightly so. He looked down at himself- and over a sea of gauze. His right arm was in a sling and his bare chest was swathed with bandages. He lifted his left hand – two of his fingers had splints and felt his head. Instead of hair, they came into contact with cloth. He tried to sit but only succeeded in bringing on a fresh deluge of agony as his spine screamed in protest. He gave a strangled yell and fell back on the sheets. Presently, a woman and two men came running into the room. The sound of their pounding feet seemed to be as loud as explosions to him. One of the men came up to him and gently helped him lie back correctly. The light was burning now and Sahil’s eyes had started to water. He closed his eyes again. He heard one of the men speaking, presumably the one who sat by him. Too loud. He couldn’t even hear properly. He seemed to be asking him something. Shouting rather. He put up his hand weakly. “Softly, please.” His voice was hardly more than a whisper. He opened his eyes and looked at the man in front of him. He was looking at him strangely. “I am speaking softly, Sahil.” he said gently. To Sahil, it was still too loud. He shook his head feebly. “Softer.” The man’s frown deepened. But he spoke in a whisper all the same, and this Sahil could take. “Sahil, I need you to be very quiet and still now. Don’t move if you need anything just press that little button in the corner.” Sahil struggled to sit up but the man pushed him back, gently but firmly. “Don’t!” his voice was still a whisper but there was no mistaking the authority in his voice. “You have three broken ribs, a cranial fracture, two broken fingers and are badly bruised and torn all over. On top of which there’s nothing left in your body to sustain you. You are starved, dehydrated and wasted. The last five days have been unbelievable. We literally had to bring you back from death. Please follow my orders and just stay still, if you ever want to walk again.” Sahil closed his eyes once more. The man’s words sank into his mind. And from heaven knows where, from some hidden reservoir which even he didn’t know existed, his life-force, the S-factor as someone had once called it, came flooding back into his mind. With it came the burning, all-consuming desire for revenge and a fury the equivalent of a raging typhoon. He would recover, find the monster responsible for this ordeal and kill her. Slowly and excruciatingly. Artistically. In a manner which would make his hell seem a jaunt in the park. Oh yeah, he’d walk again all right.





The doctors had given him a minimum of ten days before he could sit up by himself. Within a week, he could limp to the bathroom and back to the bed, without the indignity of having to call someone to assist him. The doctors protested, wrung their hands, threatened and cast dire predictions but there was no escaping the fact that the erstwhile bag of bones was healing on the force of sheer will power much better and faster than their combined expertise guaranteed. After two weeks he tore off the bandage from his head. Within twenty days he had taken off the splints on his fingers and was walking around the hospital garden, unaided. The doctors had ceased to argue with him. Truth be told, they weren’t exactly thrilled to feel his steely gaze on them. There was something primal, untamed and cruel about that gaze. Something which chilled the blood of normal, peaceful, conscientious people with a family. Sahil walked to the very edge of the grassy knoll which marked the end of the hospital perimeter. The other end stretched out to infinity- into space. His right hand was still in a sling and he still had difficulty breathing at times. The ugly scar on his forehead had scabbed over and stood out as an ugly gash against his tanned skin. His hair had been shaved off to stitch up the myriad scars but it was growing back. His emaciated body was starting to fill out and regain its former structure. But his mind was still raw, unhealed and raging. All his life Sahil had been a survivor. It was something he excelled at. He had been schooled well at the art, having been on the streets for as far as he could remember. There were many who could best him at a battle of skills but none who could overthrow him when the stakes were placed on his life. He had lost count of the number of brawls, gang wars and shootouts he had survived and the employers he had outlasted. He lived, when destiny had decreed he should die, time after time and then again. He did not know where he came from. According to the only lore of his life he knew, an old drug peddler, down and out on his luck had found him sitting scared and alone by his shack when he was around two years old. Nobody knew why the old man took him in. He dimly remembered a dingy, filthy, damp, one roomed, ramshackle house with a leaking tin roof and a bent, skinny bald man with arms dotted with punctures. He had run away when he was five and become just another dirty vagrant running amuck in the streets and scrounging about stealing his food from roadside stalls. He perhaps would have fulfilled his destiny as one, dying either of starvation or rooted out during a police raid and beaten to death. But then there was the S-factor. He always knew the exact moment when the stall owner would close his tired eyes momentarily- and then like a flash he’d have his prize and would be running, with no chance of being caught. He had learnt to use a knife proficiently by the time he was nine and there were few who’d have picked a fight with him. There was an open school set up for the street children some blocks away and he had been there a few times, only on account of an assured meal. Though the lessons had sparked off his curiosity. He was the only one of his gang who attended more or less regularly, the others couldn’t be bothered to walk five blocks and sit quietly while some nutter droned on about stuff which they neither cared about nor understood, even for a free lunch. Sahil did, and had. Not all lessons interested him. But he stayed. By the time he was ten, he was one of the fleetest footed pickpockets in the area and one of the few not owned by some syndicate. Then came his first real theft, at the age of thirteen. A brand new bicycle which some rich, daft kid had left parked unattended at the side of the curb. It wasn’t even locked up. One minute it was there, the next it wasn’t. Something stirred his blood as he gazed on it. Within a few days he had mastered the essentials. He had the presence of mind to scratch of the new paint and splatter it with mud so that in the rare chance of somebody coming to look for it, wouldn’t recognize it. He’d sneak out of the shelter in the dead of the night while the rest of his gang would be sleeping, and race down the highway on the bicycle, wind whipping through his hair and biting through to his bones. He had never known such joy, never felt so alive. Speedy was how he became known. The bicycle was followed by a dirt bike which led him to what turned out to be his calling. Street racing. He loved the life- the sharp tang of danger in the air, the betting and the inside dealings. Where one step without guarding your back could result in it being the last step taken. He was the best. There simply wasn’t anyone better. He dodged deals and threats and knives in the dark and at seventeen, was snapped up by a shadowy drug syndicate owner for his personal driver. He excelled behind a wheel as much as behind the handlebars. So much so that he became revered for his getaways. His first employer had insisted he learn how to read and was pretty stunned when he found Sahil to be self-educated. He had kept up with his reading and was content. Employer followed employer- and Sahil’s notoriety grew. He was hard, unflinching and forgiving. He let no insult, no attack go by unretaliated. After his last employer died of a massive coronary, Sahil threw off the mantle of Getaway Genius and returned to his first and only love, street racing. He never felt the lure of a job, of an assured living and security. He could not walk on a surface which was not the edge, could not live without the possibility of dying any moment. Till date he had never come this close to giving up. When he relived the horror of those few months, he hated himself for his weakness. The nightmares of the darkness and the hunger, the pain and the repulsion and the sickening, gut-wrenching, debilitating terror. And that voice. That spine-chillingly seductive croon. Inhuman and unbelievably monstrous. He could not suppress a shudder every time he thought of it. The disgust and the hatred were roaring within him, but beneath it all was fear, a naked fear of coming face to face with the owner of that voice. But then, Sahil was a master at conquering his fear.





Sahil woke up with a snarl and an oath. He could see that it was still night outside. Switching on the bedside lamp violently, almost knocking it aside, he found himself sitting up on bed, completely entangled in the sheets which were drenched with his sweat. After a time, only after it stopped, did he realise he had been shivering. Then the images came back and he bit back another scream, just barely. He looked around his room slowly. It was always difficult, the realisation coming too slowly that he was no longer a captive in that monstrous hell. The pain behind his eyes had worsened over the last couple of days, sometimes to such an extent that he had to be sedated. Even now, in the dim light, his eyes throbbed. But he kept them open forcefully. The poisonous voice was still ringing in his ears which was perhaps why he didn’t hear the footsteps till they were almost at the door. He tensed and waited, ready to spring if need be. But when the door opened, the sight he was greeted with was the one of the last he had expected to see. She was standing in front of him, with a robe pulled hastily across her and her hair dishevelled, looking concerned and alarmed, but she was still the most beautiful woman he had ever laid his eyes on. Sahil felt a familiar dryness in his throat as he looked at her, after almost a year, drinking in the sight of her. She looked back at him, equally intently and Sahil saw something flicker across her eyes, some emotion too fleet to be pinned down. Regret? Anger? Desire? Remembrance? He couldn’t say. Then she was beside him. She gently flicked on one of the light switches. The sudden flooding of light made Sahil wince and turn his head, with eyes screwed tightly shut. After a time he opened them and turned to look at her. She was still looking at him, but there was now a wariness, as if she was looking at a wolf in the darkness, not knowing whether it would attack or leave quietly. He looked back at her, now remembering that she had been there the first time, with the two doctors, but his mind had been unable to process it. He hadn’t even recognised her. He watched silently as she raised a hand hesitantly and put it lightly on his shoulder. He didn’t flinch, or move or speak, just looked straight into her eyes, even it meant he was looking towards the light. His eyes pounded, but he looked at her steadily, asking, no demanding answers with his eyes. “Sahil?” she kept her voice low. “I saw the light and came. Is there anything I can do?” He felt her hand tremble on his shoulder and looked down at the mess on his bed. Without a word and in one fluid motion, he flung himself off the bed, throwing her hand off in the process. He caught the twitch in her eye and the flash of hurt, but right now he didn’t care. He walked over to the desk and pulled out the chair and sat facing her, so that the light was behind him, his face in the shadow and hers illuminated. “You can begin with answers.” He knew his voice was harsh, and again, he cared not. “How did I get here? And what are you doing here?” This time, the distress on her face was plain. She licked her lips and looked nervously towards the door, perhaps gauging if she could make a run for it. “Sahil I- I mean its not- look, its late and- Sahil, I’m not sure this is the right time.” she babbled desperately before he cut her off. “Now, woman!” he leaned forward threateningly and growled at her. She flinched and looked away. His eyes bored into the back of her head and she unwillingly brought her gaze back to his. His face was carved out of stone, the green eyes chilling and merciless. Finally she gave a defeated sigh and looked at him almost furiously. “Oh all right!” Since you must.” “If you really want to know I found you last month down the cellars of my old house. You were hardly recognisable as human. The floor was stained with blood and dirt and you were just lying in a bundle on the floor, in blood-stained, filthy rags, blindfolded and gagged. I got the shock of my life. I called my personal physicians and they arranged for you to be brought to this private nursing home. Then you know what happened. The doctors struggled to bring you back. Your retinal tissues were badly inflamed and half atrophied from being blindfolded for so long, your muscles were wasted and several bones were broken. That’s all.” He waited till she finished and laughed quietly. It was not a pleasant sound. “What kind of fool do you take me for Ananya? I’m not one of your pathetic, love struck, infatuated toys. Just why the hell why was I in your cellar? And just why would you suddenly deign to visit your old house? And the cellars that too? As I recollect, you hated everything to do with that house, and you wouldn’t go underground if your life depended on it.” He lay back in the chair and chuckled darkly, enjoying the look of alarm on her face. He was beyond caring about whether he frightened her or not. He needed answers and a reason, and he needed his revenge. She looked at him pleadingly, almost desperately. “Sahil, can you not just forget? You are out of it and you’ll never have to go back there again. Whatever was done to you is over now. Just forget it and go back to living your life.” She finished in a rush, not looking at him. “I-” she gulped. “I’ll not let anything happen to you again, I promise.” Sahil laughed mockingly. “You insult me, Ananya. I thought you knew me better than that. I’ll find the one responsible, no matter in which corner of the world they choose to hide. I’ll find them and I’ll do unto them ten times what they did to me. You know that.” “But she-” Ananya closed her mouth with a snap and looked at him with fear in her eyes. He smiled slowly, dangerously. “So you know it’s a she. Don’t play your pathetic games with me woman. Tell me what I want to know willingly, or I’ll prise it out of you. And you won’t like that.” She looked at him quietly for a long time, while her face grew resigned. “I guess I must.” she said softly. She took a deep breath and began.





Sahil looked at Ananya vigilantly, almost minutely with a precarious gaze as she revealed the name of his torturer. He stared at her with a lunacy that was similar to the obsession that a painter has for painting or the way a wild animal aims at his prey. “Tania...” Ananya whispered hesitantly, pressing the hem of her dress and taking two steps back as she tried to move out of his way. Sahil’s face hardened. Even in the darkness of the night, Ananya could make out the change in his expressions. Like a boisterous and thunderous tornado, which gathers pace within a spilt second, Sahil’s rage knew no bounds. His eyes darkened and a fanatical pain rehabilitated itself behind his raging eyes. But he didn’t blink. Just as he promised himself that he will not blink when he would souvenir the same doom to the person who had put him through hell. “Sahil, I can explain...” Ananya began to speak. “Just leave...” Sahil gritted his teeth. His voice was calm but it was far was the serene voice that Ananya was used to listening. It was uninhibited. Roaring. It was the voice of a caged animal, eyeing to break the cage and pounce on his tamer. It was the voice of the wounded animal who now was starving for the flesh of his hunter. Ananya bit her lip fretfully. She felt defenseless. She knew Sahil well, too well to be accurate. She knew for one that he was not going to stay silent till he had not taken his revenge from Tania. Right from the time she had known him, this facet of his eccentricity had sent him apart from the other boys of his age. There was something about him that was different and uncultivated. If he aimed for something then nothing in the world could prevent him from doing that. For him that was winning. And if winning meant killing anyone, then he wouldn’t even shy away from doing that. Sahil’s ravenous gaze started to suffocate Ananya and she felt without a word. She entered her bedroom with a tear stained face. She plopped on the bedroom and sobbed to her heart’s content. She was scared. She was petrified for her life, Sahil’s life and more importantly, Tania’s life. She was worried for Tania now. She was scared for her elder sister.





Dawn or dusk. Sahil didn’t know. All he knew was that, he was maliciously pushed into a stretched, murky, interminable and unrelenting night. He gulped. And he gulped again. He did that out of fright or the dire want of water was what he didn’t want to delve on much. He wanted the torture to simply end. Either he could end up dying or he would be salvaged. It didn’t matter to him at all. He just wanted the torment to draw to a close. And just when he was about to waft in the calm sea of unconsciousness, the nightmare herself walked in, purring like a cat would. Sahil shifted. A slow fire burned in the pit of his stomach. His heart beat raced. His open and untreated wounds started to burn wildly. Little beads of sweat lined his entire anatomy and his breathing was so shallow that it could be passed as non-existent. The lady laughed. And it was certainly not comforting to hear her laugh. And before anything else could happen, Sahil felt as if someone had picked him up from the ground. He shrieked and shouted, but he knew it well. No one was going to listen to him and what was going to happen would eventually happen. He felt his mouth being pressed open and he shouted. He shrieked again, this time applying a lot more energy than before and surprisingly, he did manage to pursue the person holding him a lot. And just when he thought that he was triumphant, a strong blow landed straight in his guts, as if lightning had struck from the skies. Sahil groaned due to the blinding pain and collapsed on the floor like a broken Chinese doll. He didn’t cry, just not yet. It would take much more for them to make him cry, whoever they were. “Oh Sahil...” the lady droned again and lifted Sahil’s blood stained face. Sahil had no energy left in him to support himself. His hearing powers, his thinking powers and his reasoning powers were all anesthetized due to the overpowering supremacy of the pain that throbbed in all parts of his body. Then something cold entered in his mouth. What could it be? Water finally? Whatever it was, it provided immense relief to Sahil. It slowly went down his throat, like an ice-skater gliding gracefully on the ice. It worked like a magic portion, killing all the thorns that had emerged in that pathway. It flowed right up to his soul and he savored every second of drinking it. And just when he started to feel a little better, the moment ended. It shattered, like many other moments of short lived happiness he had encountered in his life, leaving him to fight with his fate again and he found himself floating in the air for a brief seconds, before he hit the ruthless floor. Sahil’s eyes opened. This time too, he was in a similar condition. He was covered with sweat, thirsty, shaking and on the ground. The only difference was that he had fallen from his bed and it was his bedroom. He brought his knees closer to his chest and sat there for a while to steady himself. But his tremulous mind continued to chant a name. A name which never left his mind now. He wanted to give it back to her. All of it. He wanted to rip her off, little by little. He wanted to clip all her wings one by one and then burn her in the slowest fire ever known to mankind. That way, he could hear her screams, her screams for mercy, for autonomy and her pleas for death. He growled and roared like reprisal famished sovereign. He wanted revenge. Revenge from his tormentor. Revenge from her. Tania, Tania, Tania.





Coffee brewed. Its gentle smell lingered in the ambiance. The house was well lit and ventilated. The furniture was contemporary, having straight lines. It looked like a perfect home. Though the equation between the members of the house was far from perfect. Ananya walked in the kitchen. “Morning...” Tania whispered in a sluggish voice as if she was being careful not to break the stillness of the house. Ananya didn’t reply, instead she bluntly nodded. Tania rose from the chair and straightened her clothes. She stuffed the files in her bag and looked at Ananya. “I am leaving for the office now. See you in the evening...” Ananya nodded again. She didn’t have the heart to look at her, didn’t have the courage to face her. So she fixated her eyes on the newspaper instead and ignored Tania. Tania looked at her for a moment and sighed. “What is the matter Ananya? Why are you acting like this?” Ananya violently placed the newspaper in her lap. Anger rose in her and she looked as if she would burst open any damn minute. “You are my problem...” “I am your problem?” Tania asked, her face twisted in a shocked expression. “You couldn’t see me happy no? For the first time ever, I was happy. I was genuinely happy with him, but no, you couldn’t see your sister happy!” Ananya got up and threw the newspaper in Tania’s way. Tania waited. She pressed her hand to her brow and exhaled. She turned around and threw her head back. She closed her eyes and covered her face with her palm. She couldn’t take her sister’s accusations. And she didn’t want any more fights. Especially in the morning. With that thought she started to walk out of the door. “GO! Get out! I don’t want to see your face!” Ananya cried hysterically. Tania heard this and quickened her steps. She hurriedly got into the car and drove far away from the house in a record break speed. But she couldn’t keep her mind off the events of the past few months. Events that had disheveled three lives. Sahil, Ananya and she herself. She rested her head on the steering wheel and sobbed. “Nor could you see me happy Ananya...” she whispered as tears fell from her eyes.





The ceiling was high, so high that the neck ached badly if anyone tried to look at it for too long. Shining and shimmering crystal chandeliers were dangling from the ceiling, throwing light in the entire ballroom. The tapestry was etched with intricate embroidery and it looked breathtakingly elegant. The cold floor was covered with cherry colored carpet and the dining tables were adorned with the most exotic flowers. “You like these orchids, don’t you?” Tania asked. Ananya looked at her. “Hmm...” “You are thinking about something?” Tania questioned Ananya. She wanted to get her talking. “I still can’t believe that you did that...” Ananya mustered. “Don’t start that thing in the party now. We are here to enjoy and that’s exactly what we are going to do. And don’t blame me. I did what was right...” Tania leaned ahead and threatened Ananya by squeezing her hand. “What you did was not right at all...” Ananya gritted her teeth and yanked Tania’s hand off. She angrily looked away and crossed her arms. Tania glanced at her furiously. She took a subterranean, fortifying breath before continuing. “Dare you talk with me like that. You are a desperate person and you are acting shallow. What love are you talking about? This is how you express your love?” Ananya returned Tania the same enraged stare and quickened her pace. “Then how do you express your love? Certainly not the way you expressed your love for Sahil...” “You are just unfeasible!” Ananya got up unexpectedly, pushing her chair a little and excused herself to go the restroom. No one noticed. For the outside world, Ananya and Tania were an example of how two sisters should be like. They were the ideal sisters, perfect in every little-big way. But how vacant their relationship in reality was, was something no one knew. One man had blemished their liaison. One man. Sahil.





 “When?” Ananya asked, her heart thrashing witlessly. “Tonight...” answered Sahil in an emotionless voice while stirring his coffee. Ananya felt dead. She congealed. Her jaw locked and she struggled to say something, or least react to the information that the man sitting in front of her just noshed her with. But then again, they had to do it. He had to do it. If he didn’t do it, there was no other way that could lead her to happiness. She had always wanted to be with Sahil and her sister had always proved to nothing more than a measly perforating thorn in her way. She took a deep breath to stable herself and then spoke slowly, her voice drenched in fear. “How?” Sahil, who till now was playing with his coffee, shot her a look. His eyes encompassed detestation. And the revulsion was more profound than Ananya had ever observed before. It was apparent that the wrong guy was battered. He was not the one who could be wounded. If someone did harm him, then Sahil was sure to take his share of retribution from him. “You don’t need to know that...” Sahil gritted his teeth. Ananya sighed and rolled her eyes. “What do you think you are Sahil? Please try to understand me! I mean, what if you get caught? What will happen?” “I told you that we will talk till my coffee gets over...” Sahil’s eyes bore into hers. He picked up his cup and downed the remaining liquid in a single go. “ coffee is over and so is our conversation.” With that he rose up and started to walk out. “Do you love me Sahil?” Ananya asked, uncontrollably. She was weeping and had clutched herself. Sahil stopped in his trail. He turned around and looked at her without missing a single beat. His expression didn’t change, his eyelids didn’t battle and in a blasé voice he gave her his answer. “No. I never did and never will.”





The lanes were dark and the intentions of the man walking through the streets were equally dark. His steps were steady and so was his pace. His own shadow followed him, almost like a crusader which guarded his clandestine. For long he had endured, suffered for nothing at her hands. But tonight was going to be his night. He was going to settle all scores tonight. He jumped over the compound wall with buoyancy. Sahil knew that the security of the building was minimal. They would know nothing. Sahil marched inside the building and took the stairs. He stopped once he reached the last floor and saw her office. And like he had guessed, she was the alone in the office. The peon would be hanging out with the security people at the gate. He saw Tania working in her cabin and his lips rose from one end. It looked as if only half of his face was smiling; only half of him was happy. And half of him was not pleased. On seeing her, all the images rushed back to his mind. He was beleaguered, agonized and tormented. He was calm till now, but now as he settled his eyes on her, the ripples of anger had started to gather momentum. And it was just the beginning, beginning which would eventually lead to an end. An end which would finally cool the blazing fire that was burning his self respect, his decorum and his dignity. The S-factor was well awake now. Awake in its true form, roaring and kicking, screaming for vengeance. “Looking for me?” Sahil asked Tania flashing his trademark one sided smug, as she rummaged through the drawers looking for something. “Sa...Sahil?” she looked at him with a confused expression and fumbled with her words. “What are you doing here?” Sahil chuckled. It was slight chuckle that shattered the tranquil, sanctified hush of the night and announced the arrival of the slayer. “What do you want?” Tania asked as she budged unnervingly in her chair. Another grin was flashed for her. Sahil titled his head slightly and looked at her. His brilliant green eyes were no longer pleasant; instead Tania saw revulsion in them. His jaws seemed to be hardening. “You...” he whispered raucously. A strange expression flashed on Tania’s face. Whether it was terror or it was disgust, Sahil didn’t know. Actually, he didn’t even want to make an attempt. He was enjoying watching her plight. And he was sure he wanted to enjoy more and he knew the code of that deed. He got up and started to walk towards her. Slowly, just like a wolf does, only to jump on the quarry so ferociously that it can never flee from the prickly, razor sharp claws. “Get out from here Sahil...I-I am telling you...get out...” Tania said hysterically, moving back and knocking down every single little thing that came in her path. Another throaty laugh. “I am a fool Tania? You will pay for whatever you did with me...” Tania quickened her steps but regrettably a wall stopped her. She clogged and looked around frantically. “Sahil, we can talk...please...don’t even think of hurting me. I can explain...and what are you talking about?” she said, crying now. And before she could even wink, Sahil had pinned her against the wall. His face was inches away from his and the hatred was more profound in his eyes now. “So the beast is caged now...” Sahil growled in a voice so low and cold, that it left Tania gasping out of pure fright. She couldn’t answer; she just stared at him almost begging with her eyes. “Let’s refresh your memory a little...” he said. He caught hold of her hair and pulled her hair wildly. Tania shrieked and clung on to his arms. And a taut slap shook her after that. With a nauseating thud, she fell down on the ground. Her sight blackened for a while and she groaned in pain. And before she could even stabilize herself, he pulled her hair again. “Does this remind you of something?” Sahil asked her as she shook her roughly. She could barely understand what was happening with her now. She just swayed on her spot, trying to decipher things while Sahil assaulted her. Her situation was just like Sahil’s a few months ago. “Or this?” Sahil’s voice sounded strangely close. Too close for comfort. She winced in pain when Sahil proceeded to bite her ear. He bit her ear in a similar fashion where his ear was bitten. His strong arms kept Tania in place and he bit her ear till he drew out blood from her it. Tania cried. Her sobs echoing the room. “Leave me...go away...” Sahil scooped her in his arms and in a calm voice said. “Never...” Tania tried to escape. She revolted in his arms, but he was too strong for him. He grip was so strong that she felt like an insignificant pet dog trapped in his master’s arms. “Please...listen to me...” Tania pleaded as she tried to punch him. And all her pleas fell on the deaf ear. She was defenseless, powerless and unprotected. Sahil was the one she had fallen for. Right from the first time she had seen him, she had harbored feelings for him. Ananya had met him at some street racing competition and had brought him along with her at home. And that was how he had stepped into their world. Literally. He was awfully unforgiving. That quality about him stood out. Tania knew it all too well, and she knew somewhere deep inside her that she was not going to make it. That night was going to be her last night. She opened her eyes to stare straight into his face. And it was the face of the death. Sahil’s mind was raging. Meeting her had brought back those bitter memories of the days when he was in pain, hunger and suffered silently at the cruel hands of his tormentor enduring all the gut-twisting, devastating horror. And dare he remember that voice. It was the most horrendous thing that he had ever stumbled upon in his entire life. He didn’t even had the guts to hear it again, even when its owner was in front of him. “I hate you Tania. For everything.” Sahil said coolly, without even flinching for a second. His voice was wintry, impassive and vindictive. He pressed the button of the lift and Tania looked at him, horrified. She screamed and kicked him. He squeezed her hands and stood there like a rock. Seconds later, he opened the wooden door and turned to look at Tania. He brought her face closer to his and hissed, “This is your chastisement...bye...” “Sahil, NO...what are you doing?” she beseeched, screamed and did whatever she could do. But he didn’t recoil. He never would. And he pushed her inside the cavity and gently closed the door shut. He stood there in front of the lift, his ears thirsty for hearing her screams. He heard a thud which signaled that Tania had fallen on the lift. He could see the lift coming up and he waited with bathed breath. And finally the moment came when the lift crushed her and deafening screams lingered in the air, just for a few seconds though before they died down. Just like her. A woman full of life was now reduced to a mere dead ball of flesh and battered bones. Sahil had won. After a long time. At last. The beast had been cornered and caged.





Ananya and Sahil sat in silence. Deathly, stony silence. “Did anyone see you?” Ananya asked, softly touching the tips of his fingers. “Shouldn’t bother you.” Sahil shot back at her. “You are such a bi-tch Ananya. I have just killed your sister and you are worrying about me?” Ananya looked away, trying hard to conceal her feelings. She rose up from her chair and whispered, “I will make coffee for you. Make yourself comfortable...” Sahil nodded and she went inside the kitchen. He relaxed and it was after a long, long time. His nightmare had finally ended. He had gifted her death. Something which even she could not give him. Her screams still echoed in his ears. It was the voice that he was so familiar with. It was the same spine-chilling voice that had made his life a hell for so many months. But now, instead of fear, the voice brought him relief. It was like a cold, icy balm for his livid mind. “Coffee...” Ananya shook him gently. He straightened a little and took the cup from her hands. It felt awkward to be sitting and sipping coffee with Ananya. But he didn’t bother. He was far too happy that day to worry about what Ananya was feeling like. “So, now that you have killed her and have taken your you still not love me?” Ananya asked him. “You know my answer.” Sahil replied. He took a long swig and started again. “I liked her, but I don’t know why the hell did she spoil it all? And sorry for being rude earlier, but no, I don’t think that anyone will come to know. They will think of it as an accident...” Ananya didn’t react. Ignoring the information part of his statement, she was thinking about the first part. She always knew that Sahil never was interested in her. She shook her head and said, “I am going to clean up. You can watch TV if you want...” Sahil was tired and sleepy. His eyelids were closing and strangely, for the first time in many months he was looking forward to sleep. He knew for once that he was not going to encounter his nightmares any more. And with this in his mind, he embraced sleep.





Sahil shifted a little in his sleep. Outlandish as it was he couldn’t move. He thought that he was dreaming, so he exerted a little more pressure this time around. He tried to raise his hands, move his legs or at least speak and open his eyes. But nothing seemed to work. Panic started to usher in his heart and mind. It was all too familiar. “Sahil baby...don’t try to move....” a sexy, seductive voice crooned near his ears. Tania’s voice. It was the same honey-coated, shrilly voice. But he had just killed her. How on earth could she have returned? “Liked this game baby?” Ananya asked as she stroked his forehead repeatedly. Ananya? It was surely Ananya’s voice. But a moment ago it was Tania and now it was Ananya. Sahil felt that his head was going to explode at any goddamn moment. And she touched him again. Sahil protested. He banged his head on the couch and tried to use his legs. As a result he fell down on the ground. “At least listen to me?” Ananya laughed. “I was the one who captured you baby. You are addicted to coffee it seems? And you never refuse drinking this concoction right? That time also, you passed out after drinking coffee in the office. Remember my honey bun? And now also you passed out after drinking my coffee. You know what? I can imitate my sister so well, that sometimes even she is amazed....You want to see?” “Sahil baby....” Ananya sang in a voice that was similar, no in fact just like Tania. “And you idiot, you killed her. Oh no! I loved her, but you know what? I love you more than anyone else in the world. You are my life. And I will keep doing this to you, till you say yes Sahil. Don’t hate, just love...” Sahil froze. What on earth had he done? He started to tremble. He had killed the wrong person. Her revelation hit him like a rock. He couldn’t believe his ears. What had he done? He wanted to kill himself. Why couldn’t he see the obvious clues? Tania had never admitted that she had done anything like that. He had never asked her. He had trusted Ananya blindly without even thinking twice. How could he not question Ananya’s intentions? How could he not see the hatred that she had for her sister? How could he not see the possessiveness that she had for him? Tania was just trying to save her sister, but Ananya got her killed. His thirst for revenge and rage had blinded him. Literally. Ananya tightened his blindfold. A new lease of pain emerged behind Sahil’s eyes. And it was more painful than it ever was. So much so, that blood trickled out of his eyes, slowly rolling down his cheeks. But he didn’t even have the privilege to shout, his mouth was stuffed with a cloth. Ananya hugged him. “Awwww! Poor baby!” Sahil didn’t move. He was lifeless from the inside. Someone had once told him that hasty decisions always ruined lives. And here he had seen it all. Once again, after a moment of short lived happiness, misery had come knocking on his doorsteps. And this time around, he was not sure if was going to make it or not. Another tear of blood flowed from the corner of his eye. Ananya rocked him a little. “Welcome to my cage. Again.



----The End----