"Such stories make me sick!" A friend had said when I had shared this piece with him before submitting it for a fast fiction competition a few years ago. Incidentally the story happened to be my only entry that did not make it to the finals. Perhaps it made the publishers sick too.
We all find such stories sickening. The writer feels sick writing them, the readers feel sick reading them, and the publishers often feel so sick that they do not publish them at all. Unfortunately, unlike the stories, the truth cannot be wished away. The truth remains the truth irrespective of our feeling sick about it.
It's time we stop feeling sick and start accepting it as a fact. Accepting your sickness, after all, is the first step towards treating it.
Today when I look at it, the story looks very weak and it's literary value negative. Perhaps because it was very hard for me to write: everytime I sat down to finish it, I could feel the bile rising in my gut, I wanted to get over and done with it at the earliest.
Even if you feel uncomfortable, do finish reading it. And understand that such things happen in everywhere. The only way to stop it is to be aware, vigilant and sensitive.
Meanwhile I will re-write this as soon as I can, as lucidly as I can, even if it makes me throw up in disgust.
He was sitting and chatting with her mother when she returned from school. He looked at her and smiled. She forced a smiled back and rushed into her room. Her heart pounded against her chest and her throat parched, she quickly shut the door and reached out to her desk for the water bottle. The bottle was empty and had his fingerprints on it. His bag lay on the floor, next to her bed. She was wondering if she should go out to get some water or stay locked inside, when her mother knocked at the door. “Amit uncle has been waiting for you, come and have your lunch”, she said. Ria reluctantly came out in the loosest possible clothes; she wanted to hide every part of her body from him. Even as she sat quietly at the table trying to swallow her food, she could feel his eyes scanning her body.
At twelve when her friends were still in their slips, Ria had already blossomed into a young woman – a development she was fully aware of. She was also aware of why Uncle Amit was here today.
A few months ago, when he had visited them after a gap of many years, Uncle Amit, as always, was made to share Ria’s room. That night she had woken up with a start. She had felt something on her back. At first she thought it was an insect or a lizard perhaps, and was about to scream when she saw her uncle put his finger on her lips, signalling her to stay quiet. He kissed her on the left cheek even as his hand continued to explore her grown-up body. She had been too shocked to react. The following morning he had left in a rush.
Today he seemed relaxed and spent the rest of the afternoon laughing and talking to her parents. Ria, on the other hand was nervous, the scenes from that night played over and over again in her mind: his fingers on her back, his hands on her thighs, his feet on her legs. She felt bile rising up her gut. As the night drew closer, Ria knew she had to act; she could not let the events of that night be repeated. “Amit will share your room for the next three days, Ria” she heard her father tell her at dinner table.
She was in her room, pretending to study, when he knocked. Her parents had already gone to bed and Uncle Amit had been watching TV in the hall. Frightened, she quietly slipped into her bed and turned the lights out. She could hear him knock at the door and call her name out for sometime, after which there was silence. She spent most part of the night hiding under her covers sweating profusely, expecting him to break open the door anytime.
“Your uncle had to suddenly leave” Ria’s mother told her when she woke up in the morning. Ria could finally feel her breath returning to her bosom.