Shadow Lust Stories
“Switch off the lights” voices from a dark passage break the uncomfortable silence around the area. It is almost two hours now since the roads were barren of any living presence for the whole time. Even the howling of street dogs cannot be heard anymore after the sound of gunshots a few hours ago. The moonless sky is red from the reflection of fire, probably from next locality. The air was heavy by the smells of burned rubber and may be of human flesh.
“Eye for an eye, life for a life” that was the note since the morning after the news of assassination of their beloved leader spreads across the city. People who were outside already rushed back to the cosy security of their residence. A curfew imposed on the entire city to prevent probable riot. The sun goes down along with the humanity. Concept of revenge spreads like a wildfire to engulf the leftover morality and any goodness that men still poses.
The outnumbered police force evaporated within first hour of the encounter and soon the streets were dark with terror. Only shadows in group roamed across the narrow roads and they took over the night.
“No, it is not the time, it cannot be. It must be something else. Should I give you a tablet for flatulence?” worried Deepak told his wife Sikha who turned pale by the intensity of pain. She gripped her full belly tightly and told “No, it is that pain, I am sure. Please do something; I cannot bear it any more. My baby is coming.”
Deepak pulled his hair with frustration. “How can she be such irresponsible? This is absolutely not the right time to give birth! It is at least two weeks early! What should I do?”
Terrified Deepak quickly ranged his doctor. The phone kept on ringing, but nobody answered from the other side. He called again and again, but with no response.
Deepak is very new to this neighbourhood and he is yet to be familiarized with his neighbours. He quickly ran to his next building and knocked the door.
“Please sir, my wife is in labour pain, and I require your help. She is about to give birth. Please help me sir.” The voice of Deepak was worried enough to melt the hardest of solid rock, but terrified human minds are much harder than that.
“What you are doing? Do not open the door, it is a trick. They will kill you as soon as you stepped outside”. Hushed female voice could be heard from inside.
“No sir, I am no killer. I am your new neighbour Deepak Khanna. Please sir, please help me. My wife is about to give birth.”
“What can we do? We are not doctors. Take her to a hospital” The female voice heard earlier advised Deepak.
“Yeah, you are right. Take her to a hospital. What can we do? Please go away, do not attract attention. We do not want any trouble.” A male voice from the closed door firmly established the logic.
Deepak tried few more doors, but none of them answered. Suddenly, every men and women in the whole city died in terror behind their closed door.
Deepak turned back to his house. Sikha is lying on the bed like a dead fish. She is not even having any power left in her body to cry out louder. She was gasping for air. Deepak quickly turned newspaper pages to look for any telephone number.
“Look sir, I understand your problem, but we have no ambulance driver available right now. If you can bring your wife here, we might do something.”
Deepak tried number after number, only to get the same reply from every hospital, from every ambulance agency. Nobody in this earth is fool enough to sacrifice his life by driving an ambulance in a night like this.
“My water is breaking, it is coming.” Sikha cried out with all her energy left. Dipak felt like he is going to die by tension. He came closer to his wife and holds her hand.
Few footsteps came closer outside. “Switch off the lights” an order was uttered from five lurking shadows that stopped in front of Deepak’s house.
The door opened suddenly, Deepak rushed from inside to get hold of a hand of a shadow among them.
“Please help me.” Deepak could utter only these words before his voice choked in excitement.
The five figures startled in this unprecedented turn of events. One of them calmly said,
“We are not going to kill you. We are not here for you. Please go inside, and switch off the lights. You are creating disturbance in our operation.”
“No Brothers, you don’t understand. My wife is in labour pain and she is about to give birth. No ambulance is coming this way tonight and no car is available either. I need to take her to a hospital right now. Please help me brother, she will die if you do not help her.”
Five of them looked each another. One of them glanced quickly through the open door.
“Viru, what is that sound? It sounds exactly like the sound when we ripped open the wind pipe of that boy, doesn’t it?” One of them whispered to another’s ear.
“Shut up you fool; it is a cry of pain from the labouring mother. She is about to give birth of a baby.”
“Damn…my mother must have also cried like that when I was born!!!!What a shit man!!”
“Quickly Bishu, no time to loose. See if the key is still on its place in that Auto” Viru issued an order to Bishu and turned towards Deepak;
“You please bring Bhavi outside. These two will help you” Viru pointed towards two of them who were just watching the whole event without making any gesture or sound.
“Not you Shyam,” Viru raised his hand towards a thin boy within them and told;
“You are all soaked in blood, you might scare her. Keep yourself out of her sight”
Bishu returned with the auto, he was not driving it; instead he was pushing it from behind. He was having trouble to steer and push at the same time.
“That son of a bitch auto driver must have run away with the keys” Bishu was heavily panting. “We have to push it to the hospital.”
“Bhaisahab, please put Bhavi inside and hold her head. She seems unconscious. We have to push the auto all the way to the hospital at least three kilometres away.”
Viru placed himself in the driver’s seat as he was instructing Deepak.
The city was burning. It looked like a warzone. Pitch dark engulfed the whole city. The auto was running bypassing the burnt skeleton of cars and shops behind it. The only sounds that breaks the silence was the footsteps of four shadows pushing a dead auto towards a hospital to make way for a new life to be born inside the womb of this heartless city.
Time seems to be stopped around Deepak. Suddenly he came out of his trance with a blinding light and sound. Viru stopped the auto and ran towards darkness closely followed by other four shadows behind him. Sikha was awake by the sound of it. She tightly pulled Deepak’s shirt and looked at him.
After few minutes the shadows returns from the same darkness where they vanished. Viru came back at his place and looked towards Deepak;
“It was a mighty powerful bomb. I don’t think Bishu will make it. His guts are all outside.”
“Quickly, put him inside the auto. We must get him to the hospital as soon as possible”. Deepak was restless.
“Don’t you worry Bhaiya, we are born to die like this. We will carry Bishu to the hospital. Besides, it is not far”
The dawn was filling the eastern sky with lights. Deepak stepped outside of the hospital and filled his lungs with the cold fresh air of the new morning.
“Do you have a smoke? How is Bhavi now” Viru came closer to Deepak.
“Oh, she is fine, thanks to you. She gave birth to a healthy son” Deepak seemed very happy and exhausted at the same time. “What happened to Bishu? How is he?”
“As I told you last night, we are born to die like this. He could not make it through. He died as soon as they got him to the operating table.” Viru sounded like a philosopher who is describing life and death in a seminar.
“Oh, I am terribly sorry” Deepak said.
Viru told nothing and kept on smoking.
“We have not even introduced properly, and you have done so much for us. I have no wards to say thank you for the act you did last night for us. Please, if you all could come to our place next week….I am sure Sikha will be very pleased to meet her and her child’s saviours in person”
“Are you out of your mind Bhaiya? You should not acquaint with hooligans like us ever. It is very dangerous to know people like us. We are just shadows in the dark and we vanish along with the morning sun. Remember, we are just shadows, and we do not even exist in a morning like this.”
Slowly Viru walked towards the hospital gate. Before he dissolves in the darkness from where he emerged in the first place, he turned towards Deepak. Viru tried to say something, but he shook his head and walked away.