Kill! Rip! Tear!
Draw blood!! Drive the knife through!!
Gouge those eyes out!!
“Not a cheerful kid, is she?” the psychologist commented as she surveyed the room. A square contraption with a tiny barred window hardly qualified to be a room; it was more of a containment cell with a soft bed and a private toilet. The mentioned phrases were scrawled in crayons across the pale green walls, the childish unsteadiness of font hardly reducing the gravity of the matter. In fact, if not anything, it increased the seriousness of the matter at hand.
“Mira was a quiet kid when she was brought into the facility three years ago. Aged fourteen at that time, she preferred to stay indoors with her books rather than venture out with the other children. But since the last couple of months, she began having these violent bouts—screaming at night until she coughed up blood, scratching the walls until her fingernails began bleeding…you are getting the flow, right?”
The psychologist looked up at the speaker, a motherly woman who ran the orphanage, and sighed inwardly. Kids were the toughest patients to treat in such cases, especially when there are past echoes of experiences bordering on the extreme. And when their caretakers go hysterical, the situation begins the dangerous downward spiral.
Not every psychologically damaged kid was crazy.
“I am getting the flow, ma’am. But such situations need to dealt with utmost delicacy—any wrong move might damage the girl forever,” she said soothingly, patting the woman on her shoulder.
“Can I meet Mira?” the psychologist added.
The woman nodded profusely, leading the visitor out.
“What is your name?”
Mira was tall but as thin as a rake. Dark bruise like shadows underneath her eyes, pale complexion and taut skin made her seem to be on the borderline of madness. Her dark brown eyes swivelled around rapidly.
She was clad in two sizes too big faded t-shirt which was white once upon a time and equally washed out jeans. Her shoulder length wavy hair was a mass untangled curls, in stark contrast with her thin pale face. She was curled up on the chair, clutching her legs close to her chest as she rocked back and forth.
“You are a doctor of mad people,” she said sullenly.
“I am Dr. Shweta Mahapatra. And no, I am not a doctor of mad people. I am a psychologist.”
Mira shrugged, hiding her face between her knees.
“That’s just a fancy term,” she said in a muffled voice.
Shweta sighed, placing her clipboard on to the table next to her as she stood up and walked next to the girl.
“Listen Mira. You are seventeen, just a year shy from adulthood. Such juvenile actions do not suit you. Scribbling death threats on the walls is not good,” she reasoned slowly, trying to break through the barriers Mira had erected around herself.
“I don’t care,” Mira replied in the same sullen voice.
“Mira, Mira…don’t do this. All the teachers say you are bright student, not to mention the fact that you have stellar record in athletics. Why are you wiping out your bright future with…with this?”
Shweta could be just two years old in her profession, but she knew which kids could be rescued and returned back to society. What scared her was the fact that she could conclude nothing about Mira.
It was as if her knowledge was mocking her on her face.
On surface, it just seemed a case of violent temper but one look at Mira and she threw that theory in the dustbin. Mira seemed a tad too intelligent to be influenced by just violent temper.
“What are you thinking, Mira?” she whispered, kneeling in front of her so that she was at the same height as her.
Mira lifted her head, the curls framing her pale face.
“I will kill them,” she hissed as her bloodshot eyes danced manically.
It was late at night when Shweta returned home. She tossed her bag on the sofa, eager to immerse herself in a warm, scented bath. As she sunk lower in the lavendar scented bubbles, the gaunt face of Mira floated up in her mind’s eye. She rubbed soap fiercely over her tanned limbs, trying to forget the day’s events for a few moments of bliss. But curiosity and her accursed sense of duty got better of her and she climbed out, frowning.
After slipping into a comfortable pair of pajamas and t-shirt, she plopped herself in front of her laptpop. The black screen reflected a heart-shaped face with almond eyes, a shapely nose and gentle mouth. The hazel of her eyes was now clouded with indecision and confusion as she powered on the device.
Shweta was a healthy woman—not too fat, nor too slim. Her high metabolism coupled with her daily exercise regime enabled her to gorge on food all day but still maintain her figure, earning her the grudging and well-placed jealousy of her friends.
Whatever happened to her, must have happened three years ago.
She searched through newspaper archives by the day, reading every article, every scrap of news. It was almost at the wee hours of morning when she finally found something.
FAMILY DEAD, CHILD SURVIVES HORRIFIC NIGHT
It was indeed a gruesome affair where both the parents were stabbed to death by a group of miscreants. The forensics have identified fourteen stab wounds on each of the deceased. The child, a girl of fourteen, is currently in a state of shock…
Shweta further read through the article, following it over the course of days till the police nabbed the culprit.
“Devendra, Rajesh and Kushal,” she murmured and googled the three names.
They were the accused who were freed a couple of months ago…the time when Mira’s erratic behaviour began.
Oh my God…
She had to reach the orphanage at the earliest.
She was at the garage, running towards her car when her cellphone vibrated in her pocket. She whipped it out. The call was from the orphanage.
Fearing the worst, she pressed the talk button.
“Dr. Mahapatra? Mira is not in her room!”
“Call the police! Now! Tell them to track down the criminals who were released last week! Hurry!”
“Criminals? What are you—” the caretaker sounded puzzled.
“Explain you later…just do it!” Shweta yelled back before throwing her phone down on her seat as she started up her car.
She pushed down the accelerator, making the car jump forward.
Hope that I am not too late.
Mira ran through the damp lanes, her senses on high alert. She picked up on every sigh of wind, every chirrup of the early morning bird.
This was it.
Her way of completing the work the world didn’t seem fit to complete.
She gripped the meat knife, the largest one she could smuggle from the kitchens. She no longer cared what would happen to her…she had no wish to live after her vengeance has been extracted.
Mama, Papa…your murderers will get the punishment they deserve.
She stiffened as she heard a raucous laughter escape from a dingy shack. She peered in through a broken shutter.
Seated amidst an ocean of cheap brandy bottles and cigarette stubs were the three demons who ripped her world apart.
She gripped her knife more tightly till her knuckles turned white due to blood deprivation.
She stood still in that position as her eyes took in the room as her brain chalked up a plan.
Shweta drove straight into the orphanage’s courtyard, skidding to a stop in front of the reception.
The head matron, with whom she talked in the morning, came rushing out. She was wearing a dressing gown over a cotton nightie and her hair came down in lumps from her plait.
“The police have dispatched their patrol vans across the city,” she said quickly.
“What about the criminals? How are they related to Mira?”
Shweta took in a deep breath before answering.
“They are the ones who killed Mira’s parents.”
The low grunts and disjoint speech made Mira realize that her targets were way beyond the realms of normalcy.
This was the moment to strike.
She breathed in deep, focusing in her energy.
Mama, Papa…hope you are watching…
She yelled before breaking in through the rotten wood.
It was almost three hours later that the police found the criminals’ hide-out. And it was there they found Mira standing, blood splattered on her clothes. A giant meat knife with dried blood was held tightly in her hands as her face bore a maniacal grin.
“Oh my God!” the head-matron shrieked, running outside to puke. Shweta too shuddered violently at the gruesome sight, trying to keep her dinner down.
She spotted Mira standing eerily erect, looking as if she had walked through the La Tomatina festival.
Only it was blood and not tomato juice.
Shweta hurried towards her.
“My God Mira…What have you done?” she whispered, cupping Mira’s face in her hands as she knelt before her.
Her brown eyes slowly focused on her; Shweta suddenly discovered the tears pouring down her cheeks.
“It’s over, doctor. My only reason of living is done with,” she said softly, her lips quivering as her frame shook violently.
Shweta hugged the girl, rubbing soothing circles on her back.
“It’s okay, it’s okay…” she kept on repeating, though she had no idea how on earth would anything be okay.
“Excuse me ma’am, but we have to take this girl to the police station,” said a police officer, looking uncomfortable.
Shweta pulled out from the embrace, nodding.
“It’s okay, Mira. Go with them…I will see what I can do.”
“Don’t worry doc…I am fine. Just go home,” Mira replied, smiling genuinely for the first time.
Shweta could just look on helplessly as she was whisked away in the police van.
“Those crimi…no, murderers, were only released due lack of evidence…can’t we do anything about it?”
Shweta was talking with her lawyer on the phone, pacing hysterically in the orphanage’s lobby.
“She’s a minor…that’s a huge blessing. I will see what I can do. We can plead insanity—I mean there’s enough proof that she wasn’t completely normal for the last few months…”
“I don’t know…I will mail you all the facts I have but I want Mira cleared of all charges…do you understand?” Shweta seethed, banging her fist on the reception table.
“Okay Dr. Mahapatra, please relax and tread with caution. I will do my best.”
Mira looked at the police officers disdainfully. She especially didn’t like the way a couple of them were looking at her. She fidgeted helplessly on her seat.
I should be dead.
But self-preservation was hard-wired in her cranial circuit, she just couldn’t pull the trigger next to her temple or slash her wrists for the matter.
And she didn’t want Dr. Mahapatra getting involved. She knew the woman just wanted to help but she needed to step back.
No one could help her.
The ogling pair came close and sat on the either side of her. How she wished she still had that knife with her.
“Please stay away,” she hissed, squirming to remain out of contact.
“We cannot let you out of our sight,” said one of them suggestively, closing up to her.
The other officers guffawed at the words.
“Please…” she said, trying to find an exit.
“A feisty one, eh?”
“And pretty fast…”
Mira could feel panic cloud her mind until she could no longer feel her body in control. It felt as if she was the passenger in her own self.
She could feel their fingers running through her hair.
God dammit!!! she yelled mentally before biting one of their hands.
When Shweta reached the police station, she only found a posse of unconscious, bloodied police officers and a hastily scribbled note on the floor.
I am sorry.
Shweta was sure she will get allergic to blood within a few days.
It was almost three years since Mira went missing. No one had any idea where she was…whether she was dead or alive.
But as Shweta Mahapatra locked her office for the day, she discovered an envelope stuffed into the locker.
It was not addressed to anyone.
Hesitating, she tore it open.
Inside it was a letter.
I am alive and well. You will not find me even if you searched high and low, so do not think about that. But thank you for talking with me that day. It wasn’t much of a conversation but talking with you made me realize that there’s more to life than just revenge. I have been adopted by this amazing family and I have graduated with top honours from a reputed college.
Just thought I would drop you a line so that you will cease worrying.
And treat me as your success, not your failure.
Shweta couldn’t help but smile.
She was glad that Mira was okay.