A walk in the dark
Her mind was constantly talking while she gathered up her file bag from her work station and hung her purse on her right shoulder. She always did that, but today was different. It was late. 2100 hours was definitely late for her to walk back home.
“Is it dark outside?” as if the window pane would bounce back saying “No, it’s just me, the pane”.
Haah! Why did this thought come to her mind out of nowhere? Watching the window pane looking all black with the night, “Oh!pane, walking back home is a pain”. Engulfed with all fears, her hands trembled as she tucked the file bag under her left arm.
Out of the chamber, even the security man looked like a lusty horror. She was not prepared for any risk, clenched her pepper spray in her fist making sure she didn’t use it the wrong way if at all needed.
Two days later, there was a news flash of the security guard undergoing treatment for a burning sensation in his armpits and chest and ear lobes. She, too, was admitted in ICU for a severe dog bite.
Getting down the stairs, she cursed the premise admin for not repairing the broken lift. She went running down the three floors as fast as she could to save herself from being suffocated by the stench of pan masala spits and rotten cheese. Pizza boxes were lying on the corners and the strike of the cleaners made it worse.
A deep breath once finally on the road made her feel better. Her clothes still had the fumes. The road to her home was not an easy journey. Lanes, roads, lanes, lanes, roads …most of them were lanes. Footsteps behind her made her heart beat faster. They sounded more like horse shoes. She slipped her hand in her pocket. The spray was intact. To her relief there were two policemen behind. Asking her if she needed assistance since she was alone at night, they walked away when she refused.
“How would I know if they are what they look like? What if they are not?” Always questioning herself…she had this habit. “Aaj ke zamane mein khud se baat karna hi theek hai ?” She fiddled with her mobile in the left pocket and pulled it out. Reading out aloud all the restaurant names and car numbers as if asking the person on the other side where he was and in which car or in which restaurant. Many ruffians looked at her petite frame and tried to walk upto her, and she started describing their attires as well. This definitely made her safe, they slipped away wanting to escape the disclosure. “You are safe,honey” she thought.
The second last lane that she had to cross ditched her. There were men and there were dogs. Hungry dogs, stray and ferocious. On seeing the dogs running, the men ran, too, past her. The dogs got a signal, they ran after the men who pushed her aside and fled as fast as they could. Two dogs looked at her, growling. She tried to hush them away, but the fumes in her clothes played the villain. Realising that she was about to be attacked, she pulled out the pepper spray towards the dogs. It didn’t work, it was empty just like the dogs’ stomachs. They had their prey and she had no escape. The second spray in her bag was missing.
The security guard was on phone talking to queen of hearts. He had a date. When she had returned from the washroom, he was found cleaning her table, which he never did at evening hours. She wasn’t much bothered as she carried only plastic money and that was always in the secret pocket of her jacket. She was happy to find the desk cleaned, and thanked him with a chocolate which was there in her bag. Nothing suspicious.
Didn’t realise the 2nd pepper spray was gone, and it didn’t even cross her mind.
Both lives struggling in the hospital, one almost out of danger, the other struggling to leave the painful and poisonous body.