A Place Without Light: Chapter 5

In Captivity

“Please let me go home. Please take me home!” I wailed  but my entreaty echoed only within myself. Outside I had begun to look like a corpse, stiff and still. It wasn’t my mind that shut off first after all. I sobbed, screamed, begged, prayed but not even the birds that perhaps flew over me, heard me. Then there was a break. Through my shut lids I saw something glowering from a distance. The dull point of light grew sharper and wider until it was so close to me that my eyeballs burnt behind my lids and the warmth from it melted the layer of frost on my face. I was being carried was the last message my mind conveyed. Then darkness and silence descended over me making me forget myself.

When I could open my eyes after a long lapse of time,  the lids were sealed and in the struggle to see where I was, much of my eye lashes were ripped from its roots and what I thought was tears, was actually blood trickling down from my bruised lids.“At last!” came a voice from behind. Without finding time to let the ambience of the room soak in, I swerved around with sudden fear gripping me. A man stood in the further corner of the big empty room facing the window. I raised myself and gathered the thin blanket around me as if it were an armour. I did not even want to think what my outward appearance was like for I knew that I must have never looked worse. He didn’t make an effort to turn around and look at his captive but continued gazing outside the window. “Had a long sleep eh? Do you know how long you have passed out?” A gruff voice scratched in my ears and I focused my eyes to make out the silhouette of the dark shirt stretched tightly on his back.

“ I…where is Oskar?” I fumbled, upon which I heard a low chuckle. “So you do remember Oskar then?” he said turning around and coming towards the lighted space of the room. My vision was still indistinct from all the trauma I had suffered. I beheld a tall man dressed in black, with very dark hair but his features, through a persistent film of fog obstructing my sight, I could not really make out. The voice however was unforgettable and familiar because it had a certain gruffness in it that vaguely rang a bell somewhere in the corner of my mind. Yes! I had heard that voice. But before I could clear the doubt fully in my head, he was sitting beside me, the air around him suffocating me. “Yes you have heard me before. There is no surprise about that. But seen the true me, you have not. For disguises I have many.” The shock and stress I had suffered in the near past had transformed me into the likes of those who doesn’t seemed to be astonished or petrified by anything at all, for here I was, the truth of my horrendous experiences nearly forgotten, admiring the fine face that now looked gravely at me. I was cast into a sea of lull and I even felt a faint smile spreading on my lips. It felt like I was sedated because those urgent pain in my muscles  disappeared as I looked into a face that was so beautiful that even the film of unsteadiness couldn’t impair my vision longer. A perfectly knitted dark brow that arched up in a way that it could both be menacing and keenly observant at the same time. Below the brow was a pair of eyes that were most striking in its molten creamy green colour of a summery sea. “Wh-who are you?” was all I could manage.
“Who I am, and why you are here are not the answers I am obliged to give to satisfy your curiosity.” I realized that he spoke with a hint of old fashion accent that was not common any more  and what was peculiar was that the way he spoke reminded me of  Kings and queens of bygone days that were neatly portrayed in today’s films.

The arrogant response was enough to make me realize that I was a mere speck of dirt, an ugly fat pimple-headed teenager, an awkward entity form a world much less complicated than this one. “Oh you poor poor little girl!” he added with a grin tugging at one side of his lips that gave away how unsatisfied he was with his find.  Then he grabbed my arms and said through clenched teeth “If I had been given a choice, I would only be most happy to leave you precisely where I found you. But no! The rest would not have it so.” He then let go of me and turned muttering to himself. “Oh dear father, father! Why this?  You could have done better”. He left the room and as he walked out of the door he turned back and said “Food will be sent to you in a while. You need to gather your strength for the purpose you are here for. Upon completing that particular purpose, you will be escorted back to wherever it is that you came from.”Thank God he did not see the tears of indignation that had begun to pool in my tired eyes. “poor…poor girl was it?” I thought and once you have your fill of whatever you have to do with me you will send me back to what was it again? Wherever it is that I came from?” A mixture of anguish and anger found its roots within me and grew steadily without a hint of being abated. I would have thrown things that I could get my hands on as a ventilation of my anger, but I didn’t because first of all the room where I was being held captive had only an ancient  dark-wood bed that I was sitting on, a small bedside table of rococo finish and a larger one by the window which also bore the same resemblance. Secondly, I couldn’t budge those things so I ate my own anger, chewed on it, munched it between clenched jaws until hot tears of vexation flew down. After all I was a nobody who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. I was very certain that it was not me they wanted. Oskar had kidnapped me by mistake. This had to be a mistake. I was never meant to be here. End of discussion.

I knew I was doing it again – casting dirt upon myself, humiliating myself often when I stood face to face with someone who seemed dauntingly beautiful or accomplished in many ways than I was. My mother would often grumble at how insecure and hesitant I was of myself. I couldn’t help it. I had always been embarrassed of myself no matter how many inspiring stories I may have read or heard. I never felt important in the big scheme of life. I was after all a tiny speck of dirt, an awkward teenager who found beauty in the morbidity of Poe’s Gothic stories and poems. I was extremely sure that these  beings or whoever they might be, have been seriously mistaken. They perhaps meant to grab Sofia the most popular girl in my class. Everybody wanted to be like her, look like her, walk like her and attract boys like her. The  only thing she was bad at, was studies but who cared about studies? It mattered to no one except the teachers when I aced in all my subjects, but that hadn’t done anything to change my “nobody” status. In fact I had an affinity to all the nobodies, so my group of friends had basically consisted of insignificant characters that are merely in the class to make it full.

The door creaked half open and I was jolted out at once from my piteous day dreaming. No one came in for a moment. The door remained open. “Hello? Who’s there?” I croaked. “M-Malin? Is that you?” A laboured whisper filled the space between me and the door. “Oskar? Oskar! Is that you? I’m here, come in,” I whispered back. Then slowly from behind the half closed door Oskar emerged appearing battered and bruised. He staggered heavily towards me and I was able to hold him before he sunk on the floor. His breath escaped his mouth in short bouts and he held the left side of his chest tightly with his right hand. He blurted short choppy sentences as he coiled on the floor with his head on my lap.
“C-close the door! I had to c-c-ome to s-s-see y-you,” he spoke with great difficulty. I didn’t  know what i could do to make him feel more comfortable, but before I dragged him up to the bed, I went and I shut the door. He breathed laboriously as he said, “I’m done Malin, this is the e-e-nd of me.”
“Hush don’t speak, calm down first”. I urged trying to see where his injury was the worst. Gently removing his hand from the left side of his chest, I was struck by shock when i saw a blue black mark singed on his shirt, and upon closer examination I saw that it was not only his shirt that was singed blue black but his skin had been charred deeply with a hole in the center the mouth of which was filled by black ink like liquid that bubbled and sputtered as I stared at it in complete horror. “Who did this to you? Wh-what happened?” I questioned in one breath.
“H-he made y-you run away fr-from m-me, fr-from the veh-vehicle. Be-because I-I was c-close to te-telling y-you th-the t-truth.”
His chest heaved again as he fought to catch his breath but instead a similar kind of black liquid oozed from the side of his mouth.
“H-he k-killed m-my Anna t-too.” Speaking was immensely difficult for him but he continued. “Y-you’ve g-got t-to run a-away fr-from th-this place, fr-from him.”
“Oskar please just calm down. You will get better. I’m sure.” these words sounded hollow and empty like a false promise, but those were the only words I could find. I fought away the tears as he looked at me with his pale blue eyes and touched my hand with his.
“I-I’m sorry, f-for br-bringing y-you here.”
“No, don’t Oskar, don’t talk, rest please. I need you, please, don’t leave me here.” I felt desperate watching his life seep out of him, and I bent down to hold him close. When I opened my eyes, he was gone. Those pale blue eyes had frozen in time forever. They were fixed at a point on my face and ceased to waver any more. All colour had left his lips except for the black liquid that coagulated now at side of his mouth. He had an expression of having wanted to say much more but was silenced forever in the midst of a sentence. Here lay the man who had robbed me from my family, who had kidnapped me and taken me away perhaps never to be returned to the familiar light of my home grounds, Yet all I felt was sorry for him. All I felt was a wish that I had known him better, asked more appropriate questions and tried to read all his gestures. I realized that I had grown much more closer to him than I had ever imagined. I knew I needed him more than ever now but I also knew that this was a wish that would never be fulfilled. Oskar was gone. He was dead. His human existence had been tampered by entities of the unnatural kind bringing death unto him in the most unnatural way. Why, and how I was linked to this aberrant chain of events, I had no clue and neither did I have any zest left to uncover the truth that the connection held. I simply wanted to go home to my uncomplicated simple life that consisted of delicious home cooked meals, of Poe’s stories, of my comfortable room and a life that consisted of my parents’ occasional fuss.
I meant to stand up when I realized that one of Oskar’s hand still held on to my shirt. I enclosed my hand lightly on his, and eased his grip. While I did that, I noticed a small crumpled piece of paper in his hand. Kindled by sudden curiosity, I pulled the paper out and unfolded it.

You have to leave here at once. I am sorry that I ever brought you here. Do not trust anyone. Specially him.
Those words were painstakingly written and the letters were faltering at places. The pen had met the paper with such roughness that the paper had given away at many places creating a deep dent tearing it where the pen had struck. I stood by the window as I read this abrupt missive. He had been meaning to give it to me but he had had no time. I looked at Oskar’s body covered in bruises but peaceful was how he looked now.  All of a sudden a wisp of smoke started rising up from wound in his chest. Dark grey thin wisp of smoke that slowly twirled upwards. I watched the scene transfixed with utmost wonder. Then there was a deafening blast which made me cower and bend low in an instant, holding my head between my arms. When nothing more happened, I looked up and saw that Oskar’s body was gone. There was no sign of him ever being there. It was as if he had never come at all. His body had simply disappeared while my attention was robbed by the sound of the blast.

To be continued...
Read Chapter 4 here

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Yoshay Lama

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