Jasmine12 mins 376 12 mins 376
I am Jasmine, the head orphan-keeper of the Mother goose orphanage, Manali.
The story I am going to tell to you is going to very hard for you to believe, as hard as for you to believe that the place at which you are is just over the buried dead body of a person. And as no evidence remains of this incident, you might say it a story. Even if as a story, you must read it, because you must know what the truth is.
I still remember the day it all started crystal clear. On that bright morning of 2nd September, all the kids of the Orphanage were playing ball in the garden. They had divided themselves into two teams. I, with two more keepers, was in the garden keeping an eye on the children, while the other two keepers were helping the servants in the cleaning of rooms, fans, and so on, and one left was accompanying the chef. Then suddenly, we, from the garden, heard a heavy thud sound and the shrill scream of one of the keepers. I commanded one keeper to stay in the garden with the kids and the rest two of us ran with a shot into the building and reached to the spot- a bulky box of books had fallen on her leg and she was crying in pain. We were just lifting the boxes when suddenly a loud “NO!” was heard from the garden. It was the keeper- I got afraid, maybe something with the kids? I asked the others to help get the box off and rushed to the garden. There, shocked, I saw Preeti, one of the children and the twin sister of Shruti, rushing out of their garden gate straight to the road- the trucks and cars were rushing and the ball was lying at the center of the road! I gasped. I joined the run with the other keeper- just behind her but not catching her. And then, oh! I still get goosebumps when I remember how gruesome it was- my heart feels heavy, but I must say it. I got out of the gate to the road but I was too late- she ran through the busy road to the ball, picked it up, and was returning when- happened what I feared. I turned numb, a statue with shock. A huge truck rushed towards her and- crushed her under its tires. As terrible as it sounds- it literally crushed her; her blood splashed out to the streets. I stood panic-stricken where I was, without a single movement. The people and kinds of the orphanage ran screaming to the spot, people gathered, the truck driver too got of gasping sorry, but I was completely still and cold- as if all my senses had turned off- the world wends dark and silent, and the scenes of an incident, similar to this, played in front of my eyes. Yes, this wasn’t the first time I saw such a horrible death.
My parents died when I was 12, and the responsibility of bringing up me and my younger brother was given to our uncle and aunt. We never liked them, uncle was physically abusive on the two of us when he was drunk and aunt didn’t give a damn about the way we live or even we live or not- she only bothered about her son, who was no good and always dominated on us in every matter- he wore new clothes while we wore rags, he eats fresh while we ate leftovers, he got gifts in birthdays and Christmas while we were not even wished. Altogether, we were the slaves in their hands. But in these grimmest three years, I and my brother had the support of each other. We hugged each other and cried, wished each other birthday and Christmas, and healed each other’s wounds. For me, he had become everything. But all turned upside-down on one day, when uncle, aunt, and their son were out and, as usual, left us with the responsibility of the house. We were playing ball when the ball bounced out of the boundary and rolled to the center of the road. And then, you know what happened, the reason I said “this wasn’t the first time I saw such a horrible death”- he ran to pick up the ball and a truck ran over him. I was dumb, motionless for a moment- and then fainted on the road. They say I was in trauma for nine days, did not speak a word, or take in food. The child welfare organizations took care of me those nine days. When I came back, on being asked, I revealed all that was happening with me and my brother, and the result was that Uncle and aunt were barred for child abuse and I was sent to this orphanage, of which I have become the head keeper now. But then, after 13 years of this incident, when I stood panic-struck- all the horrible incidents passed like a train through my mind, and the scene of the truck striking my brother repeated in front of my eyes.
When I came back to sense- I found myself in the hospital. Mina, one of the keepers, was beside me. Dizzily, I said “M...Mina!”
Mina looked at me bewildered at first, then shouted “Miss. Jasmine is back to sense! Everybody! Miss. Jasmine is back to sense!” All came running, the keepers, servants, all those present in the hospital (rest were in the orphanage with the children), and surrounded around me- happy. “Wh...What happened?” I asked.
“You fainted on the road” one said. I remembered what happened that day and asked “Preeti?”
Happiness faded off their faces. They hesitated and said anything, so I asked again, now with greater force, and Mina said finally, “Preeti is dead, and we have cremated her”
I gasped. “Why didn’t you wait for me?!” I shouted with all the power left in me and busted out crying. She, also crying, said, “How could we? You were senseless for about three days!” I gasped again with the terrible shock that had fallen on me. “I...I...I was asleep for t...t...three days?!” I stammered in disbelief. “Yes, you were. We waited for a day, but how could we wait this long? After death one should be cremated as soon as possible, you know that!” she said.
It took time to get this down my throat but I got in anyway. I noticed that children were there, and asked, “Where are the children?”
“At the Orphanage,” one keeper said, “they are badly affected by the death of Preeti. They have lost their charm; they don’t play, don’t laugh, nothing- only sit with dry faces”
“And Shruti?” I asked. “She was hit the hardest” she continued “she is in trauma, she denies talking or eating or doing anything. She sometimes becomes aggressive on being forced and is behaving the way she shouldn’t. After all, it was her sister.”
My heart sank, tears rolled down my eyes. “But what happened to you? I mean, how did you faint? The doctor said it was the panic, but we want to hear it from you.” a servant asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe the doctor is right, it was the panic” I said. “But still, panic cannot keep a person in bed for a week! There must be some greater reason” one said, to which I said, “If there is, I don’t know about it”
“Anyway, now when Miss. Jasmine is back, the children, and Shruti, will be back too” Mina said and all smiled, and I smiled back. “Hope so,” I said.
But I was wrong.
I returned in the evening and found that nobody except Shruti was there. All the other children, I was informed, were taken for a ride by the bus driver on the idea of one of the keepers, to make them feel better. Shruti strongly denied going anywhere and sat strictly where she was. The keepers even claimed that she was violent when forced, and tried to bite the hand of one of them. It was strange, she never behaved this way. But I couldn’t blame her.
I went in and found her sitting in her room with lights off. It was her room- one bed, a study table with books, a pen-stand, lamp, etc., and a cupboard for all her dresses and things. I stepped into the room and switched on the light, and when I took a look at her, a terrible feeling passed me. She had grown terribly slender out of not eating anything, her cheeks- which were always appreciated- had sunken, and her smiling lips were replaced with blankness. She sat like a statue, with rock-steady eyes staring at nothing.
“Oh, my child!” I exclaimed in shock and sadness. “Leave us alone, let me talk to her,” I said and the others left.
The room was silent. I closed the door behind, headed towards her, and took a seat in front of her. She gave a dry look at me and started to murmur something very inaudibly- so I leaned forward to hear what she was saying. But when I heard what she was murmuring I was taken aback by a great chill that ran down my spines. Eyes wide and jaw dropped, I sat back heavily on the chair.
She was murmuring the same this repeatedly again and again, deeply, with a heavy voice which was clearly not her. She was saying, “One is dead, all must die. One is dead, all must die. One is dead, all must die...”
I kept my trembling hand on her shoulder, shaking her as if to wake her up, saying, “Sh...Sh...Shruti?!”
But then what she did was the most unexpected and horrifying.
She bit my hand.
I cried out in pain and tried to drag my hand out, but the bite was terribly strong; the strength being more than any child of her age can possess. She took a stronghold of my hand. Her bite was getting harder and harder, teeth getting deeper and deeper. They pierced my skin and blood oozed out. I was screaming for help, but nobody heard. I started punching her head, and then, with my leg, I pushed her and dragged my hand with full force. With a deep scratch, I finally got out.
Blood was rushing of the deep cut. Holding it tight with the other hand and looked at it here. She had turned into a beast; blood dripping out of her mouth- which held a wicked and flesh-thirsty smile- and she was panting, prepared to attack any moment. It was something else, clearly not a human- a monster. I screamed and ran to the door but as if was about to touch the knob, she jumped from the bed- in four legs like a hound- got hold of my leg, and dragged. My head smashed with the door and I fell down flat on my chest. She gave a bite on my thigh. I cried out and she dragged me to a corner of the room. I was screaming for help- The bite penetrated to my skin and blood fled out. I held the foot of the bed tightly and she couldn’t drag anymore. But still, she didn’t leave- she was applying all her force- her bit bite stronger, her teeth deeper- her canines were tearing through my muscles and the blood was flowing out like a fountain. I kicked her face continuously with my other leg and finally, with a huge blow, I pushed her bit out of my leg.
The pain was terrible, I hoped someone would chop my leg out kill me and free me out of this misery. But still, crying over the terrible pain- I got up on the other leg with the support of the study table at my side. And when she jumped to attack again, I picked the flower vase off the table and gave a blow at her face. The vase shattered into pieces and she fell back. And before she could rebound, I drew the paper-cutter from the pen-stand, fell on her, and stabbed her into the chest. I was over her, and she cried out in pain. I pulled out the cutter and stabbed it in again and again and again. She was screaming. But soon, the screams went down, and then, vanished. The room went silent. She died.
I laid there for a moment not able to take what just happened. What I did just now. And when I realized, what I have done, that I have killed a person- a child, my child- I couldn’t accept it. My head felt heavy, I felt dizzy. And then, all went blur.
The next day when I woke up I found myself in the same hospital. But this time, it was the police that surrounded me. And you know the rest of the story. I was imprisoned. I was asked to fight in the court but I didn’t, because I know I will never be able to free myself from the guilt of killing a child. In the prison too, the thought is haunting me- I am having nightmares. I was sent to the psychiatrist and there, I said the same story. They are saying that all that happened that night was my hallucinations. They back this statement by saying that I had a dark childhood and a great traumatic event, which was, the death of my brother. Though I moved on, the trauma still remained somewhere deep inside me. And as the death of Preeti resembled the death of my brother, and also because I loved Preeti as my child, the trauma got back to power. It was this trauma that caused me to faint. And when I looked at Shruti, who was, unfortunately, the twin of Preeti, the trauma took over my mind and made me hallucinate her to be an animal and thus, killing her. And those wounds? They said I wounded myself. Self-destruction is very common in trauma. And this trauma, along with the guilt, is the reason for my restlessness in the prison.
I don’t know if they are right or not- and didn’t dispute with them. Of course, they sound more logical than I do, and people will accept what they say. But one thing I am sure about is- regardless of the cause- I killed a child- and this will never let me live in peace.
So I have come to a decision- it will be better not to live at all. I have ceased a knife from the kitchen- it is laying right in front of me. Here, i must stop. The time has come to end all the misery. May God give me a better next life.
See you in a new world. Goodbye.