It is dark. So very dark. Also I can’t hear a thing. Where is everyone gone? They all were here few minutes back. I have lost gauge of time. I don’t how much time has passed. May be they all are meeting in the passage outside. May be they have gone to the canteen. It must be so boring to sit with me. There was no sound of any kind. The silence was perfectly deafening. Suddenly I heard a sound. Note of a straight single frequency. I am used to it. I have been hearing them all my life, since my childhood. Whenever there was total silence, my inner ears would start resonating in various frequencies and that sound would go on getting louder or weaker. It sustained itself as long as there is no external interference. So, there is this single frequency note ringing in my ear.
What is happening? Finally I decided to check it out myself. Very gingerly I put my feet on the ground, put my palms on my knees and got ready to stand up. I extended my arms in front to feel anything, a wall, a curtain, a person… my finger tips did not touch anything. I swayed my arms sideways – nothing. Then swayed them all around me with same result. I hope they all are fine. I had to stand up now. I did that very carefully. I was standing. I bent forward and extended my arms. It was surprising. I thought I should be touching something. I took two steps forward but felt unconfident. So I returned two steps back and found my bed. Now in desperation I decided to risk it all and go forward till I found someone.
I moved with resolve and kept going. I had decided that even if I don’t find my bed again, it is fine. Even if I cannot find anyone, may be someone else will find me… And then, I felt a wall made of soft cotton, or more like a cloud. Cloud! What the hell! How come there is a cloud in here or even cotton? Strangely I went through it. But why is it so dark? I tried to find a light, any light close by or in the distance. Nothing. Where am I? Am I on a high mountain at night? I was frightened now, very frightened. As I had felt earlier that I walked through a wall of clouds; I felt something passed through me too. After this I went through another smaller cloud and freaked out. I felt the floor had vanished from under my feet, literally. In a hurry I turned back, retraced my steps and I thought I reached where I was supposed to be.
I did not find my bed this time. But I did hear that frequency again. Thankfully, I was back in my own space. I felt someone walk towards me. Then many more steps came closer. None of them were looking at me but looking in the same direction above me. I remember there was monitor that side. They were all watching a straight line in the middle of the screen. That line perhaps was the origin of that single frequency ringing in my ears.
Then there was a click that ended the sound of that frequency. My ears were not ringing any more.
He didn’t hear the phone ring. Perhaps he was dreaming. So, he thought. On the other end a rough and strong hand held the line for full three minutes until the ring turned to beep. It was timed out, indicating no response. He stirred a bit and picked up the phone, few moments too late. He also heard the beep. He wondered how come ringing turned into a beep. He decided to be ready next time. He turned towards the phone, dragged his right leg near his chest and felt comfortable. He fell asleep again. Soon he developed a frown. His eyes trying to shut tighter as if someone wanted to force them open.
“No, I don’t want to see it. Don’t show me her picture. I have no idea what you are talking about.”
The room was dark. The woman was lying on the floor. She was shackled. The chains were secured tied to the walls behind her. She had long given up her struggle to fight. She just lay lifeless with open eyes. She looked at everyone and everything without any emotion. No hatred, no fear, nothing. She knew she was alive. Thats all she knew. She had no idea when will she see the sun or the moon or when will she find herself under the sky, in the open and breath normal air. She does not know how long has she been there. She vaguely knows the reason for which she was brought there. She knew it initially of course, but now after weeks or months of torture she has lost the clarity. Men around her speak loudly with questions in their voice. But she doesn’t know what are they asking for. She can’t get the words. It is impossible for her to help them if she doesn’t know what is being said and it was equally impossible for the men to let her go without knowing what she was hiding.
They prepared to leave. A lump of rice was thrown in front of her on the floor and then they left. She heard the familiar clanking sounds of strong metal doors shutting. She used to scream aloud when she was just brought here. She felt that perhaps someone outside on the road will be able to hear her; but she was wrong. Perhaps the doors were made with a purpose or this place was far away into the wilderness. She remembered being blind folded. She looked at the yellowish rice lump and closed her eyes. May be she should try to die by not eating. But then she will have to hide the food somewhere. There was no place where it could be hidden. It was a large hall and everything was visible. Being alone too was playing on her nerves. She had started shivering, she didn’t know why. Was it weakness, frayed nerves or was it cold. She would feel cold on the floor at nights.
From where was the fresh air coming in? There was a faint glow of light on her extreme right. May be there is a window there. If that opening was not there it would been better. I would have died long back, she thought. That light and air through that hole has been giving her a false hope for so long.
She wished there was no light, no air, no food. If there were only those faceless men beating her, throwing cold water on her, pulling her hair… She would have escaped to death long back.