The day was dull and dusty like all others. Gulpari had just finished performing her daily prayers as she heard the sound of hurried footsteps. The footsteps got louder as they got nearer.
“Gulpari, Gulpari,” her mom called from outside her room. Gulpari could sense her breathing heavily, and dashed out.
“Mami, what is it?,” she asked, stroking her mother’s back.
“They have come.” she uttered, shaking.
“Stay here.” Gulpari whispered to her whimpering younger brother.
He was a mere 5 year old, still indulged in his own world. Gulpari placed a blanket around him, kissed his forehead, and ushered him under the bed. Gulpari prayed silently, and then rushed downstairs and to stand next to her mother. The others in the household gathered, including Aunty Jain, Uncle Asoof, father, and younger children. Gulpari’s eyes squinted, half out of anger and protest, half out of peace and tranquility.
Soldiers had invaded their house. Their army clothes were dirty and dusty and their face was half covered with a mask. Their face was covered with sweat and dry mud. It seemed to Gulpari that they concealed their face to hide their unjust actions.
“Stealing is a crime.” one soldier said, raising his eyebrows. He shot us a menacing stare.
“That is not what happened brother, and you know that. I can explain.” Uncle Asoof replied calmly, taking a small stride closer to the soldier.
“Are you lying, friend? You know what lying can do to you, right?,” another soldier asked. The soldiers reminded Gulpari of an ugly and terrifying monster her brother had drawn once.
The argument continued when all of a sudden a loud jolting noise shook Gulpari. Then her mind went black. A spiritual realm suddenly entered her body, spreading blurriness all throughout. It made her temporarily motionless, disjointing her from the world. The world felt dizzy, her face distressed but her mind at rest. Screams and bursts of bullets echoed in her head, ringing so loud she had to frantically cover her ears. There was chaos and wailing, forcing upon her a sight of sheer horror. Gulpari stepped back from the site, almost losing balance. Her mind saw the cruelty, but her mobility and speech had ceased. Soon, blood was splattered all around and holes formed on walls. No one was left standing. Gulpari opened her mouth, but no sound came out as she saw the soldiers run out. Her body shivered violently. God, she thought. Get me out of here.
Instantly, the sky turned black. The dark blues and blacks seemed to swallow Gulpari’s soul, and she felt ripped of her sanity. The horror she felt was inexplicable. She knew her time was over, but somehow didn’t feel ready to give herself up. She heard a faint but familiar voice from a young boy. The boy shrieked, “Gulpari, I see a monster coming!” But Gulpari’s eyes were closed, and she smiled knowing of her impending escape. Salvation and rebirth were imminent. Her faith was stronger than ever; in hope for a better future, one with no horror. Slowly, the earth swallowed her whole, embraced a new life that was now no longer hers.
BY Anagha chakravati