She stepped out of the house in the scorching heat. The concern was evident on her face. She walked hurriedly towards the railway station. She had to be there before it was too late, she told herself. The train to her destination would be arriving soon. She did not know when the next train was. She increased her speed and was now half running towards the station, pushing through the crowd of people who seemed to appear suddenly out of nowhere. Each obstacle, each push from some random person increased her heartbeat.
Finally she reached the station. The station was overcrowded, many people tried to walk into the station and many tried to walk out, all at the same time. Before she could get in, she was pulled in another direction. She looked up, scared. Her face changed color as she saw who was trying to pull her away from the crowd. She struggled against the grip, which grew stronger. Another arm wrapped around her waist and she was pulled back, out of the crowd. A few people saw what was happening but did not bother to give another look. Everyone had their own business to take care of.
The man pushed her in a jeep that was parked nearby and got in. He did not start the ignition immediately; instead he looked at her, pain evident in his eyes. Then, he slapped her. She cried silently as he drove back towards the house. The house she had escaped from. She did not want to be here, she was meant to be somewhere else, with someone else. Zareena stared at the side mirror, watched the road they were leaving behind. Then, she closed her eyes. She had no option. No second chance. Her life was meant to be the way it was. She had tried escaping several times but in vain.
The jeep came to an abrupt halt and Zareena opened her eyes. The man got out of the jeep, walked towards her side and opened the door. He forced her out of the jeep. Zareena looked around. They were not home. This was some other place. It was a place she dreaded being at.
“No, please don’t. Don’t leave me here” she pleaded and tried to resist walking with the man.
The man slapped her and continued to pull her along with him till they reached the house.
“Take me home, please take me home” Zareena continued pleading but Aamir paid no heed. He knocked on the door and waited. His grip firm on Zareena’s arm. He looked at her, saw her face. The tears would have softened any man but it made no difference to Aamir. The door was opened by another man who looked at Zareena and then had a short conversation with Aamir. Aamir then pushed Zareena towards the man who immediately wrapped his arms tightly around her waist. Without waiting for another word, Aamir walked away. Zareena did not struggle to get out of this man’s grip. She had given up. She was prepared for everything that would follow the moment the door was closed. She closed her eyes. Had she not, she would have seen Aamir getting into the jeep but not driving away. She would have seen him punching the steering wheel and then resting his head on it waiting for his time to knock at the door again. Waiting to walk back out with his loving wife.
The door closed and Zareena realized she was being walked towards a room. She did not bother to open her eyes. Then, she was made to lie down. She did as she was asked. She knew the pain would come soon, her jaws would ache, she would have a headache and her entire body would convulse and after that, the same darkness. She would black out. It happened every time. It seemed as if she missed days and perhaps months of her life. She waited, the pain did not come. She opened her eyes and looked around. The man was staring at her with a strange expression on his face. It seemed as if he was not sure whether he wanted to do it. He picked up an instrument from the adjacent table and held it in front of his face. It was an injection. Zareena wanted to scream, she wanted to run but she felt paralyzed. The man filled the syringe and injected it into her bloodstream and within minutes the world blurred out.