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Drama Tragedy



Drama Tragedy

The Beautiful Country House

The Beautiful Country House

8 mins 601 8 mins 601

9/11, a day etched in the deepest crevices of the present human race. I too witnessed the barbaric horror sitting in my living room, thousands of miles away from the core of the attack. My heart went out with grief to the families of the innocent victims- why them?

I for one know the cost of keeping a country and its countrymen safe and alive to see yet another day. A proud daughter of an armed forces veteran-I was bought up to believe that terrorism in its wake has no place in a sane society; that life is to be loved, lived, cherished and protected.

Lucky was I, for I had a father who doted on me. The strict disciplinarian that he was, he kept both me and my brother on our toes. A strict military regime was followed.

The day began at 5 in the morning with rigorous physical exercise and some biking. I for one hated the routine. It was difficult to match my father’s expectations. (Literally, ask the thousands of bunions I had!!). But then who was I to complain. Being physically and mentally tough was infused in every nerve, every cell, and every molecule.

Despite the pains and aches, the grumblings and mumblings- This painful routine was to continue for years. Little did I know one day this would help me tide over life.

It all started two days back. I was on my way back from work, driving, the local music channel belting out a classic I hadn’t heard in donkey years. The picturesque countryside, wide clean roads, cattle grazing in the green pastures lit by the fading sunlight. They always wanted to maintain the picturesque town for all its raw beauty and live the idyllic life. It was perfect.

And then….boom. I heard a bang and a shot. Swerving to a screeching stop, my instinct was- Hope, it's not a flat tyre!

Boy, was I rattled- I hate changing tyres!

Barely managing to not hit the curb, I carefully inspected my car, but nothing amiss here.

And then, I heard a scream.

I looked around- Not a human in sight. But a few yards away, a forlorn country house.

With trepidation, I decided to near it for I had been taught to help anyone in need. I have no clue what made me remove my high heels that day, they make an awful lot of rickety rick on the cobbled stone. Unknowingly I picked them gingerly in my hands, and headed towards the pretty little house with a slanting roof. I hoped all was well.

But as I neared, I sensed something was not quite right. A gut feel, a sixth sense! Had I just heard some noise or was it my ears ringing?

I tiptoed to peep into one of those beautiful pristine white windows with shutters and awnings. No one there- surprise. I peeped into another one, no one there too. Was it a figment of my imagination?

And then I heard something again. I looked; I could see a barn at a distance.

Something moved there in that window, or was I seeing things?

Well, the commando in me thought of checking it out. After all, I was always taught to never leave any business- Unfinished.

I stealthily treaded to the barn. No horses neighing there, no ducks quacking, just an eerie silence. I decided to go along the back way, just like the good old days, when I and my brother played sleuth.

It was a beautiful sight, the dusk creating a multi coloured hue on the horizon. But I didn’t have time to enjoy the beauty that nature had to offer. I was here for a purpose. Quietly, like a pro, I balanced myself at a precarious angle near the only window to keep myself out of sight and peeped in.

What I saw, shook my nerves. A little boy lay in a heap on the hay. While a young girl, sat chained to a rustic chair, not moving, limpless and full of blood. Another woman lay piled up in a corner, next to the sacks of grain. It was too dark to make out their faces, but clearly they had been prey to a ghastly crime. My instant response was to rush in there and help. But I stopped myself.

I decided to take matters in my own hand, but my instincts guarded me to be careful. And that’s when I heard a whimper, a moan. I peeped in- and saw the woman move. Maybe she was the mother of the two children. But she couldn’t get anywhere near them, for she was chained too. And then I saw HIM- An axe in his hand, battered in blood, standing in a corner…as if waiting for another one to come by.

I was out of wit’s end. I didn’t know what to do. But I had to do something. I slumped.

But I had to gather my thoughts and find a solution to the difficult situation at hand. That left me all by myself.

All the war stories that my father had shared flashed through me, but I was clearly still clueless. I had never felt so helpless. I never thought I would face a situation like this in real life- Facing a psycho.

How and why could anyone hack down people, was clearly beyond my realms of understanding.

Should I step out, drive back and get help?

NO... that could be too late for these battered souls.

Did I have anything in my car- my cell phone- YESSSS.

But the phone never worked here anyways. As far as I knew, any human dwelling was at least 20 minutes away.

What was I doing here?

I was here on a whim. A desire to touch hearts. I had volunteered to teach for 6 months at the local school through the UN education program.

And here I was- Petrified, in an unknown town, unknown country; with no help for miles.

I decided to wait for the right moment, till I could strategise on how to get these people out of that barn alive.

I peeped in again to understand the MAN himself. He kept circling the three people at large and smiling down at what he had done. Sadist- He seemed to be enjoying it all. Every now and then, he would step out from the main door and get back all charged up to inflict a little more pain to the already insipid and dead people. I had no clue if the children were dead, or just too lifeless to move a limb. Sedated- Maybe.

I almost felt as if I had lost track of time. Maybe this went for more than an hour. As I stood there observing him, I realized there was a pattern to it. He would step out for exactly 3 minutes each time. I wanted to just go and thrash him. But I lacked the courage to be on the path of this monster.

So I thought of making the best of this pattern. I decided to make full use of the next available opportunity.

It was only minutes before it happened. I observed him carefully as he walked to the door. I knew that time was running out but suppressed the urge to check my watch. I took a deep breath and started counting in reverse under my breath. "Ten, nine, eight, seven..." And he was out the door.

I rushed in, for I knew I had only but 3 minutes at my disposal. I neared the lady, for she seemed to be the only one alive. She could barely move, but was visibly relieved to see me. I beckoned for her to be quiet. Not that she had energy enough to react!

As I gestured to her that I would do get them all out, I could see a sigh of relief spread across her face. And then she pointed towards the children.

I ran to check on the boy, and to my relief, he was breathing. Much to my relief, the girl too was alive, not kicking, but definitely breathing, though in spasms. Realizing time was running out, i quickly checked my watch. Took one look around to get an idea of the barn, and rushed back out to my safe hiding place.

Just in time, for the MAN was back; to again snigger and kick at the already beaten and broken woman.

I knew I had to do something. The man was visibly drunk and out of senses. I decided it was time for action- NOW or NEVER.

I picked up the axe lying close by. And while he was ready to strike the half-dead woman once more, I struck him from behind with all the force I had. He slumped, blood flowing down the back of his head, down his spine, on the barn floor.

Oh goodness, had I killed him! I didn’t have time to dwell over what I had done. It was after all the only option I had.

I axed the chains of the woman to set her free and rushed to set the boy free. The ropes had cut into his flesh making deep gashes and he was lifeless. Picked him up and ran to my car, placing him carefully on the rear seat.

I hurriedly went back to pick the girl and laid her down gently on the backseat, silently praying for her life. The man was still breathing.

And then I returned to get the woman back to safety.

She stood over him laughing, the axe dug deep into his skull.

She finally smiled.

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