Angels and Demons - Part 7
Angels and Demons - Part 710 mins 202 10 mins 202
There was an eerie silence that night. Not even the buzzing of crickets or cicadas or even the hoots of owls from the nearby tree hollows.
After paddling vigorously for a while I arrived at Godfather's house. There it was, standing in the darkness like a mythical creature. Without wasting any time I laid my cycle near a tree and sat under it to catch my breath. I then approached the house with lighter feet. My feet became ever so lighter after I crossed the parked rajdoot. The front door was wooden and closed. I went behind the house to look for a window. I was so silent that I could hear my heart racing in an unknown fear and excitement. After locating a window I managed to peak into the house. I could see an old water filter kept just beside the other side of the window and a portion of the bed. I saw Ankita, sitting on the bed with her back towards the window and godfather laying in front of her with half-closed eyes with his head on a pillow. I figured they were arguing about something from which I only managed to hear the last half, "…all of it. Show it everything. I know you have kept them in the closet." Godfather just laid there for a few minutes without saying a word. Then he said, "Well, for what's it worth..." while getting up with a smiling face. I then heard the opening of an iron closet. He then threw a brown envelope on the bed & went back. I heard the flickering sounds of a lighter. Ankita took the envelope in her hand & took out a bunch of photographs and papers. Without any further words, she began sifting through them. Though I couldn't see Godfather anymore, I could smell a faint smell of cigarettes coming from the house. I got jump scared when Godfather suddenly appeared near the water filer. I somehow resisted making a sound. I was lucky that he was completely unaware of my presence and continued filling his glass. He then sat in front of Ankita with a bottle of rum and began making drinks.
He picked up one and poured it entirely down his throat. He pushed the other glass towards Ankita while refilling his own. Ankita still was sitting being covered under a shawl. She picked up the glass and kept it aside after a sip and resumed sifting through the photos and papers. Godfather continued to pour one after other drinks for himself unconsciously. After a few minutes, I heard Ankita's voice," Where is the other one? I can't find it." By that time Godfather was totally drunk and could barely hold himself sitting up straight. He tried to say something but I only heard him grunting. Ankita shook his shoulder to wake him up but failed after a few attempts. I then saw Ankita sitting quietly on the bed perhaps looking at Godfather. I wanted to rush into the house and ask her to come with me and deal with everything morrow.
My thoughts halted when I suddenly saw Ankita coming up to the water filter and pouring a glass of water. With a fraction of a second, she took something out of her shawl and emptied it into the glass of water. She then stirred the water with a spoon and went back to her sitting spot. A moment later she began waking up Godfather. When Godfather woke up she said," You fell asleep. Get fresh. I don't want Mom to find out I am gone." Godfather sat up still shaking and unable to sit up. He naturally picked up the bottle of rum and poured it into the half-filled water glass and bottomed it up. He then took Ankita's hand and began kissing them. Soon after he snatched the shawl from her and threw it on the floor. He then began hugging her and slowly laying her on her back. I saw Ankita resisting him while Godfather tried to kiss her lips. Godfather was sleeping on top of Ankita and I was lost of words, watching it all revealing just from a few feet away. I felt an excruciating pain in my stomach. I felt an ache in my chest and couldn't stand anymore and collapsed.
After a few minutes when I was able to suppress the pain, tried to stand up. I saw Ankita standing beside the bed and Godfather laying unusually on the bed. He had his eyes and mouth wide open and he was grunting heavily with his hands around his throat. I was surprised by the turn of events and not sure why Ankita was not helping him. He continued to grunt heavily. The next moment I saw Ankita stacking up all the photos and papers in the envelope. She pushed Godfather aside to pick up a few photos on which he was slipping on. Slowly Godfather's grunts became fainter and fainter. Finally, his head rolled down from the pillow like a piece of rock and I couldn't hold back myself anymore and gasped aloud. I saw Ankita being startled by my noise and gazing at the window. I duck under to avoid any chance of getting noticed and in the next moment, I saw her picking up the envelope and running out of the house in a hurry. I could not think of what I just witnessed. Did I just witness a murder? Was Ankita's presence just a mere coincidence or was she the culprit? I was not sure what to do and just sat there for a while.
After a few chilling moments, I came back to the front of the house and found the door to be open. When I looked into the house I saw Godfather laying on the bed, unchanged. I sat on the cemented veranda thinking what to do. Should I call someone for help? Then what will happen to Ankita if everything comes up during the investigation? Or should I just leave the house and pretend nothing has happened? The night was getting heavy on me. It's almost mystifying to me how often the night seems alive.
Fixating on my next set of actions I went back to my cycle and came back with my backpack. I cautiously stepped my foot into the room and went near Godfather to find him laying cold and eyes opened. A thin line of white foamish water was coming out of his mouth and damping the bedsheet. I checked underneath his chin for a pulse but couldn't find any. I then tried to recreate every detail that I saw and tried to locate every single object that was interacted with. First I took the pillow covers and put them over my hands. While putting them on I saw a photograph unearthed by the shifting of the pillow. I took a glance at it and kept it in my backpack. Then I picked up Ankita's glass which was kept on the bed & threw all the remains in the basin. Cleaned it well & kept it back on the rack with the others. I then picked up the stirring spoon and cleaned and wiped it dry and kept it with others. Then I picked up the shawl and folded it into my backpack. While going through all the items in the house one more time, I discovered a glass bottle labeled as rat poison in the dustbin aside from the water filter. I could not believe it in my eyes. I again collapsed on the floor with deep disbelief.
After a while, I got up and refocused on the task. I then picked the poison bottle and laid it casually on the bed after wiping it clean and putting Godfather's fingerprints over it. I went over all the details before coming out of the house the final time.
It must have passed midnight by then. I could hear some dogs barking from the other side of the village. I got back to Ankita's house within a few minutes. I saw her bedroom light when parking my cycle. I went directly to her bedroom. She was sitting on a chair with a candle in her hand. There were ashes all around the floor. She was burning it all. Her face suddenly turned pale as if she just saw a ghost. I sat down quietly without a word. I could feel her look at me. I was not sure where to begin. We both sat there through ashes and uncomfortable silence." I didn't know you were here? When did you come? Gosh! I must be asleep dead," she said playfully. I raised my head & looked at her. Then I took out her shawl from my backpack and kept it on the bed. "I thought it belongs to you". She took it in a heist and looked at me with surprise and disbelief. Her shoulders slowly dropped in the next moment and she buried her face in her palms. Tears were running through her palms and falling on the shawl. After a while, she came and sat beside me. Handed over some pictures and said," Look what he had done to me. " I kept those pictures aside without even looking at them and took out the photo from my backpack and threw it on the bed. It was a photo of much younger Ankita smiling, completely naked, and Godfather hugging her from behind.
Her expression changed in a flash. "It was partly my fault. I never really had a friend. Years ago when I was sick like this I felt so lonely and in that weakest moment of life, I made a series of bad choices for which I will regret for the rest of my life. I thought of ending it all many times but somehow I always ended in the same spot, like a carousel. I have tried to kill myself too but discovered that I didn't even have the courage to go through with it. Then one day you showed up. You didn't quit no matter what I did. Ha! Come to think of it, I used to plan new ways to annoy you. Somehow slowly I started liking you and started to wait eagerly to annoy you. Somehow I started falling for you. Somehow I started loving you," she said softly. She then continued after a pause, " What I did maybe was wrong but what I had to go through because of a moment of lapse in judgment, is ever so wrong than this. I can not even begin to tell you the things he used to do to me every time I told him to let me go. If you want the proof, just look at the pictures." I didn't say anything. After a few moments of silence, Ankita said," I would understand if you don't want to see me again. At least I have many happy memories of you to treasure forever." I was lost for words. We sat in silence for another few minutes before I left the room and came outside. I took a deep breath standing at her porch and looked at the dark sky.
The police arrived the next day. The investigation was carried out but it was closed within a week as a case of suicide. The villagers continued talking about the incident for the next few months and slowly forgot about it. I focused on my study the entire time and never came out of the house. Spent time helping Mom out with cooking and doing small household chores. I was still afraid for weeks that one day police would come to our house and take me to jail. I never tried to contact her neither did she. One week after the final exam ended, I bought a ticket to Pune. The day before leaving home, my uncle's little daughter came to me & handed over a letter. I knew who it was from but couldn't open it.
Today morning I left home with a promise to my Mom that I will make her proud one day. Seems like the storm is settling down not. The sky is also clearing out. Birds are again starting to come out of the shades and chirping in the sky. The train is about to leave now. I still have not opened that letter. I don't know if I ever can.