Team: Writer’s Den
Read the previous parts of the story here:
Part 1 by Mahesh Sowani
Part 2 by Rohini Varun
The blindfold was removed. The only light that entered the hall was from a frosted glass window placed so high that the top pane nearly touched the ceiling. Rays of light filtered through and formed a square on the ground that illuminated a painting – two rabid dogs feeding on baby Jesus while Mary stood and smiled, and petted one of the dogs. In the bottom-right corner, was a strange symbol – a five-pointed star with two concentric circles around it. Within the circles, the number 6 had been written at the left, top and right corners of the star. At the bottom of the star a cross was drawn – it was inverted.
The room was hot and even as sweat dripped down the girl’s temples, she seemed to freeze with fear. She was kneeling on the floor, just away from the painting. She could sense people around her, but could not see their faces. She tried to cry out, but no more than a whimper came out.
“Why?” she managed to ask.
A man’s voice laughed. It sounded like a bark – harsh and derisive.
“I’m a Hindu,” she said, without knowing why she felt the need to say that out loud at that moment.
“Are you, girl? Sure?” asked the voice mockingly. “And even if you were, would Rama, Krishna, or any of the million others save you? If you weren’t, would Jesus or Allah save you? Live in the present, girl. This isn’t a generation of saviors.”
“Why me?” she asked again. Her body racked with sobs, but her eyes were dry. So dry that it hurt.
“Pfff. Let’s chit-chat later.” He stepped on the inverted cross and brought out a knife, his face covered by a low black hood.
“Yes, tell me.”
“I have found her”
“Is it still there on her?”
“I couldn’t see. Her attire covered her arms fully.”
“How’s the little one?”
“In trouble, surely. She’s being haunted by nightmares. She gets frequent fevers, and once or twice, complained of seeing visions of rabid dogs.”
“What’s her name?”
“Roohi. Roohi Dutta.”