She had been on the run for days. Her heart thudded constantly, without a break. She covered her face with her dupatta and hid behind the deserted building. She knew that they were going to kill her, but she didn’t know what to do. She had lost her baby, she had lost her home, and now, she was about to lose everything. She squeezed her eyes shut in agony and slid down to the floor.
She peered from the side of the wall to see if they were off her trail when a hand tapped her shoulder. She screeched in terror and fell to her knees to beg for mercy.
“What are you doing?” came a voice, quite unlike the voices of the two men on her tail.
She slowly looked up to find a young man, one she had never seen before, standing and looking at her curiously. She sighed in relief but she did not respond to his question.
“Are you here alone?” asked the young man.
She nodded nervously. There was no harm in answering a stranger’s question.
“Do you have a place to stay, a family?” he asked.
She shook her head, her eyes brimming with tears. She shook away the tears and tried to look brave.
The young man saw tears brimming in her eyes and felt sad for her. She was a beautiful girl with the loveliest dark eyes. He noticed her pull her dupatta tighter over her head. He smiled warmly at her.
“Well, my mother would be delighted to have you over at our house for the night. It’s getting dark and it isn’t safe for pretty young women like you to stroll around in lonely areas,” he said, “follow me.”
She quietly followed him. She didn’t want to take a chance in case those men found her. She recounted the day as she followed the handsome young man to his mother’s house.
It was a lovely morning and she had gone out to find some food for the morning. She didn’t have money or any belongings to sell and get money. No one wanted to employ a woman who had a baby- she would be a liability. She had been in a hand to mouth situation for almost a week. Later that morning, two men had appeared in her way and demanded that she follow them. She refused. She had to go back to her son.
“You have something of ours,” said the taller and uglier of the two men.
She had stiffened in her place. She thought of the small box that her sister had left in her possession before she disappeared, leaving her baby as well. She adopted her sister’s baby as her own, and went on with her life. She had promised her sister never to open that box, or give it to anyone even at gunpoint. She turned around and convinced the men that she was poor and had nothing in her house that was worth anything. They had argued, but they left her alone. After doing odd jobs around the village for a whole morning, she returned to her horrendous excuse for a hut. It was in shambles, but it did not belong to anyone and it gave her son and her a roof over their heads when they slept.
The baby was wailing and she quickened her pace. They baby would be hungry. She had to feed him some milk, and soon. When she entered her hut, she stopped at the door and yelped. The two men were standing, hovering over the baby’s blanket.
“Now are you going to tell us where the box is?” asked the tall ugly man.
“What box are you talking about? I don’t know anything about a box,” she pleaded.
“We know you have the box, so just tell us where the box is,” said the man next to him.
“Look, I think you have the wrong person, please just leave my son and me alone,” she said in a warning tone.
“I don’t think we do,” said the ugly man as he showed her something in his hand.
She looked at the object in his hand and her eyes widened in fear. Where had the found the box. She had buried it in the soil far, far away from her hut. Her lips trembled and a single tear trickled down her cheek. She heard an evil cackle from the men as the they fired the gun at the boy.
Her whole world had come shattering down. They had taken away her only living family and they had her last memory of her sister. She was boiling with anger, but she was powerless and didn’t have the strength to fight them. She was not going to go down without putting up a fight. She ran.
She ran as fast as her feet would take her and ran into the sun, through towns and cities. She ran until the sun began to set. She did not look back to see if they were following her. She had to hide. She had ended up at the ruins of a building at some village when she turned back. That was when the young man ahead of her found her.
She saw a small light flickering in a nearby hut. The man pointed towards the house. She nodded and followed him into the house.
“My mother will return soon,” he muttered and motioned for her to sit down.
She was about to sit when she noticed it on the table. She eyed it with shock and terror written on her face. The box that was taken from her- her sister’s box. The man noticed the aghast expression on her face. Before he could react to the situation and reach of the gun in his pocket, he felt cold, very cold. He looked down at his chest where a knife lay pierced through his heart. He clutched his chest and fell to the floor.
The girl picked up the box and safely wrapped it in her dupatta. She smirked at the man lying dead on the floor. She ran into the darkness of the night.