Gretchen found herself lost; physically as well as mentally. For the umpteenth time she washed her face and as her head lifted to take in the grayish bags that added a new depth to her eyes she felt her head flip over with unsorted thoughts. Skipping a class of Math did not matter to her as much as having the washroom completely to herself did. The throbbing in her head soon got too much for her to bear. With hands that seemed to tremble every time she lifted them, she wiped her face that was drenched not as much with tap water as with her own sweat. Lifting her head, she stared once again at the face that seemed to be the very embodiment of the fear that enveloped her heart. She took a deep breath and left the restroom in a hurry. She neither knew nor cared if the people she passed by were staring at her or not. The end of classes that day saw Gretchen being the first one exiting the building and trudging back home in a gait that spoke of her anxiety louder than words. Fear’s fingers were ice cold as they slowly closed around her neck while she made her way through the silent deserted road. The darkness that descended this time didn’t bring her the calm she had hoped for.
She gasped as she closed the door behind her. She hurried and locked herself inside the room. Thankfully neither of her parents came to check on her and this gave her the much needed moment with herself. The cold water that streamed through the shower relaxed her. She lay on her bed and got herself comfortable and soon drifted off into a deep sleep. The next morning she awoke to the sound of birds chirping. It was quiet at the breakfast table since both of her parents had left early for work. Gretchen decided not to go to class and went for a long quiet walk on her own. Evening had fallen and Gretchen had fallen asleep on the bench of the park in the neighborhood. She went home through the same dark abandoned lane. She increased her pace as she walked and half ran as she almost reached home. Her heart beat in a rush as she ran to her room and took a shower. As she lay on her bed that night, she saw a dream.
Gretchen was back on that same forlorn path. Unlike reality, she walked confidently in her dream. She was smiling at some random thought which was interrupted by footsteps. More footsteps joined in making her conscious as ever. Her heartbeat rose like intense drumbeats as a sudden rush of panic jolted her. She could feel her pace increasing with her own heart beat; the footsteps behind her refusing to stop. Then she could feel it; the weight of four big burly men on her, their hands finding a way on her body. Gretchen couldn’t escape what felt like her worst nightmare. She squirmed as tears rolled down her eyes; her screams lasting an entirety. The pain took over her as she lost the will to struggle and the will to live. She just wanted it to end.
She woke up gasping as her dream ended. Only this time, she found herself lying on her grave.
© 2017 Deirdre Basumatary