In continuation of The Emotions
Putting an end to her own thoughts, Sneha searched for the sugar and tea containers. Ajay had already walked out of the kitchen to avoid further embarrassing situation for them both. Sneha wondered how they would spend days and months if this would continue to be the case. She wanted things to be a little easier between them. Maybe things would change once finally they bring Shreya home, she thought.
Carrying the tray of tea, Sneha walked to the living room to find Ajay watching television. She put the tray on the center table and handed over Ajay’s cup to him. She was about to take her own cup in her hand when her cell phone sprang to life. It was a call from the police station telling her that the guy had been caught and the police needed her to identify the man. They both finished the tea and left the house immediately.
On reaching the police station Sneha was taken to a room while Ajay was asked to sit outside. Sneha identified the guy from the few standing in the line. When the guy looked at the dark glass, though Sneha knew that he could not see her as it was glass on one side and mirror on the other, Sneha felt shiver run down her spine. The incident was still very fresh on her mind. His gaze did to her now, what he had physically done to her in her own house. She turned around and walked out of the room. Ajay stood up when he saw her coming. It was evident from her face that she was back to her own house, being tortured by the man. Ajay knew this was not the last time she would be forced to re-live the horror. It would happen at least one or two more times when she would have to be present in the court of law. He knew he would be there for her. As Sneha walked close to him, he held her hand and walked out of the police station. A constable came running after them saying that the police officer wanted to talk to Ajay. This time, Sneha was asked to wait outside. From the room where she was waiting for Ajay to come out of the officer’s room, she saw the guy being taken away, hand-cuffed. One moment of drunken stupidity had landed him in trouble and had given Sneha memories she would be horrified of, for a long time to come. When they had worked together at the cafeteria, he had not seemed to be the dangerous type. She knew, it was fear of losing Sneha that had made him behave the way he did and then she wondered how she would react when the time came for her to walk out of Ajay’s life. The fear of losing Ajay would always be there at the back of her mind.
She was saved of the tormenting thoughts when Ajay walked out of the room and told Sneha that they could leave now that all the investigations were over. As they stepped out of the police station and started walking towards a cab, Ajay told her what the officer had asked him. Obviously, it was related to both of them.
“When are we going to bring Shreya home?” Sneha asked as soon as they were seated in the cab.
“We can either go tonight or tomorrow morning.” Ajay said. Sneha nodded.
“If we go tonight, we would have to stay overnight, but if we leave tomorrow morning we can return on the same day.” Ajay explained and waited for Sneha’s reaction.
One more night of awkward togetherness, Sneha thought. The first one in this house, one of the many! Sneha smiled.
“We will go early morning tomorrow, but I want to talk to Shreya tonight.” Sneha said.
On their way back home, Sneha went shopping and Ajay accompanied her. Back home, with Ajay’s help Sneha put the food supplies in the refrigerator and appropriate cabinets. And then, she made preparations for Dinner while Ajay got busy in his study. Sneha tasted the dinner she prepared and was happy with what she had prepared. Wiping her hands on the apron she was wearing she peeked into the living room. Ajay was still in the study. She removed the apron and walked out of the kitchen wondering whether she should wait in the hall or go to the study. She checked the watch; there was still some time for dinner. She decided to wait in the living room for a while. She sat on the couch and resting her head on the backrest, she closed her eyes.
It was dark when Sneha opened her eyes. She thought she heard some sound. She could not see. She remembered that when she had closed her eyes the lights in the living room were on. She tried to adjust her eyes to the darkness and heard the sound again, closer this time.
“Ajay?” she called out but no one answered.
There were no lights in the entire house. Electricity failure, Sneha assumed. She wondered where Ajay was. Perhaps checking the mains, she tried to calm herself down.
She started walking towards the main door, carefully putting one foot in front of the other. Finally her eyes adjusted to the darkness and just a few steps away from her she saw him standing, staring at her. His eyes filled with burning desire. Before she could scream, he rushed towards her and closed her mouth with one hand and wrapped the other arm around her waist and pulled her towards the couch. She tried to struggle free from his grip but he was stronger. He threw her back on the couch and started unbuckling his belt. Suddenly, there was a sound of footsteps behind them and her mouth now free from his hand, Sneha called out to Ajay.
The man turned around instantly and his face was greeted with a punch. Ajay punched him again and the guy fell on the floor. Ajay pinned the guy down on the floor, which gave Sneha a chance to get away from them. She stumbled towards the kitchen in search of an emergency light or at least some candles. Sneha remembered seeing an emergency light in one of the cabinets in kitchen and made her way to that cabinet. She had just pulled out the light and was about to switch it on when she heard the loud noise of glass shattering. The center table, Sneha thought. Wondering who was responsible for it, she turned on the light and walked back to the living room, on her way picking up the baseball bat she had seen near the refrigerator.
When she reached the living room, she saw blood on the floor, shoe marks covered in blood. She looked around frantically, swinging the baseball bat in front of her. It had to be the guy’s shoe marks; Ajay was not wearing any shoes. He did not wear shoes at home. Whose blood it was, Sneha wondered and she found her answer when she saw a body writhing in pain, a few steps away from her.
“Ajay” she screamed and rushed towards him, placing the emergency light on the floor, she knelt near Ajay, trying to find the wound.
“Run” Ajay whispered. Sneha did not listen to him; instead she tried to pull him up in sitting position. When she put her hand behind his head, she felt the wet matted hair and realized that Ajay had hit himself on his head. The next moment Ajay stopped moving.
“Please… please… please … no!” She started crying.
“Please God, no!” Sneha screamed and pulled Ajay close to her chest. She was relieved to know that Ajay was breathing. He was unconscious. She had to take him to the hospital. She put her arms under his armpits and pulled him in a sitting position and then started dragging him towards the main door, forgetting that the blood covered footsteps she had seen earlier were not directed towards the main door, but towards the kitchen. The maniac was still in the house.
It was too late when she realized it. She had almost reached the main door when strong arms gripped her.
.. The Family