The wheels screeched making the train come to an abrupt halt. Shalmolee was pushed down from the only sleeper coach of Bijnor Express. A trail of shabbily dressed men followed her with arms pointing in her direction. They held her by her hair and asked her to kneel down in front of them till they fetched her companion, Anurag. Moments later Anurag too was kicked down from the coach and was made to lick the shoes of the men who kicked him as a punishment of trying to trick them into escaping.
Edmund, the head goon took charge and ordered everyone to take Shalmolee and Anurag to the penthouse. Shalmolee was surprised on the mention of a ‘penthouse’; she kept picturing how it would be in there. The very thought of going to such a lavish place for the first time made Shalmolee excited enough to take the lead of the whole group. The men who mistook her excitement for an attempt to escape had to calm her down with the aid of a few slaps. As they both were being taken to the pre-planned destination, they looked into each other’s eyes and went down the memory lane together.
Shalmolee was trying to climb up a ladder. As she reached the top of the surface she banged into a boy of about her age. She was about to fall when that boy held her hand and pulled her upwards. They both held each other’s hand and slid down the red colored slide, smiling. They were five years old then and since that day, they have vowed to hold onto their friendship in every possible circumstance. Time had strengthen their bond to such an extent that they both, just by looking at the other’s face, could tell what he/she was thinking. Re-living their twenty year old initial moments they both gave a reassuring smile to each other and kept on moving with the men.
After a walk of about an hour they reached a small filthy godown , which through its betel-stained red walls beamed the words ‘Prakash Penthouse – PP’. Shalmolee felt betrayed and tried hard to resist her urge to kick those goons. Anurag sensed her impatience and held her back. The half broken door of PP winked at Shalmolee through its cobwebbed eyelashes and in return Shalmolee gave the finger to the door and spat on its cockroach clad feet. They entered the place coughing and sneezing and tried looking for a decent place to tie Shalmolee and Anurag up.
Victor, Edmund’s assistant, tied them up with drums of kerosene at a distance of about 200 meters from each other. The goons left them inside and went out to rest for a while. Anurag whispered to Shalmolee in a pitch loud enough to reach her. He had to be cautious enough not to wake up any of the men. He reminded her that she still had his cellphone in her right sock and asked her to try taking it out. When Edmund had snatched away Shalmolee’s phone, Anurag took out his phone and acted as if he tripped over something and in a flash of a second hid his phone inside Shalmolee’s right sock. What Anurag couldn’t see was that Shalmolee already had his cellphone in her tied hands and was playing Snake – 2 on it. How she managed to pull that act off was a mystery. Anurag kept on calling Shalmolee but she was so engrossed in her game, in her thoughts, in her own world, that she couldn’t hear him. As they both were sitting with their back towards the other, Anurag couldn’t figure out why Shalmolee wasn’t replying to him and got worried.
He forgot that he had to be careful of not disturbing the goons and tried rolling with the drum. As soon as he reached Shalmolee, Victor opened the door and slipped on the kerosene that Anurag’s drum had spilled while it was rolling. He stumbled thrice while trying to stand on his feet and when he finally stood up, his face had turned to a horrifying shade of bright red. He was very short tempered and couldn’t stand the fact that someone had messed with him. He immediately aimed his revolver at Anurag. From a distance, Victor could see Anurag pleading in front of him and could hear vague voices of his companions asking him to stop right there. But Victor was so caught up in the moment that his brain had stopped functioning altogether. He barked once and for all for everyone to shut their mouths up. His fellow goons feared their own lives and decided not to speak anything. Only Edmund could control Victor and it was sad enough for everyone that he had gone out for some other work.
While all this was happening right next to Shalmolee, there was no sign of movement from her. The mobile screen in her hands read ‘game over – try again’ since last twenty minutes. Anurag accepted the fact that these were his very last moments alive and decided to talk to Shalmolee in whatever time he had left. He kept calling her name, but in vain. Victor, irritated by all the noise around him, pulled the trigger of his revolver, striking Anurag right at his heart. The noise of the revolver startled Shalmolee and she saw Anurag’s head hit the floor right in front of her knees. She sat there perplexed and let out an incapacitated shriek. Anurag closed his eyes leaving Shalmolee alone in that daunting condition, guilty.
Edmund reached the premises and was shocked to see the turn of events that had occurred in his absence. He enquired from all his men the exact details of the happenings but no one uttered a word. Their silence made Edmund conclude that it was undoubtedly an outcome of one of Victor’s sudden bout of anger. He was sick and tired of Victor’s ways. He had tried to make him go through an anger management therapy but nothing seemed to work for him. The only obligation was that Victor was his younger brother so he had to put up with him even though he was more of a jinx to his business. He didn’t say anything to him, he knew whatever he would say to Victor, wouldn’t make any difference to him.
So, Edmund went towards Shalmolee, pulled her by her hair and slapped her twice to vent his anger that was caused by Victor’s stupidity. Shalmolee just kept staring at the men; she had no courage to decide her plan of actions. The sight of Anurag’s body lying in a pool of blood had hampered her thought process completely.
This time they made it a point to deploy at least one of the men in the same room as Shalmolee’s to keep an eye on her. Jerry, the youngest of the lot took the job. He had his own personal interest behind keeping an eye on Shalmolee. He literally kept his eye on her and when everyone else left the room he tried making advances on her. Shalmolee racked her brains hard and went over those faint last-minute voices of Anurag. It was now that she heard the words that Anurag had spoken about more than an hour ago. She recollected the hand movements that Anurag was trying to make while he had been calling out her name. She traced the movements of his index finger and comprehended that Anurag had been trying to tell her to dial the number ‘100.’ While jerry was on his way to reach Shalmolee, she quickly dialed the number and babbled out whatever details she knew of the place, which consisted of mostly ‘Prakash Penthouse – PP.’
Shalmolee and Anurag were abducted from the busy streets of Nadia in West Bengal and were taken to a small city of Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh, blindfolded. Shalmolee had no clue where she was but still she told the policeman that she was at a place called Prakash Penthouse in Rajasthan, rather confidently, hoping that they would find her in time.
Jerry quickly taped Shalmolee’s mouth. He caught hold of her dress and started pulling it upwards. The moment he touched her he felt a rush inside him. It was his first time. He ran his fingers down her spine and felt his little spine grow upwards. Though scared, Shalmolee experienced something extraordinary. She liked Jerry’s touch. It was her first time as well. She wanted him to go ahead and immediately regretted her decision of calling the Police. Jerry slid his hands inside her dress and started rubbing her everywhere in soft circular motions. He expected Shalmolee to resist him but he was comforted when she responded with deep breaths through her nose.
Jerry swiftly ran back and took the risk of locking the door from inside. After unbuttoning his own shirt he undressed Shalmolee. Even in his lust he was cautious of not untying her lest she tries to escape and puts him in further trouble. Little did he know that Shalmolee was enjoying this more than him, she spread her legs wide open indicating Jerry to spring into action at once. Jerry was a little assured that she might not scream and took the tape off her mouth. Before he knew, Shalmolee took charge, she brushed her upper lip against his. They soon broke out into deep passionate kisses. Being tied up, there was little that she could do. She signaled Jerry to move further with a comic pelvic thrust. Shalmolee burst out into a fit of laughter. Jerry had to shush her with his hands but he understood what she meant. Wasting no time he let go off his lowers and thrusted his member inside her at once. Shalmolee let out a cry, a cry of joy. She controlled her screams and kept smiling with flowing tears. There was a stream flowing from Jerry’s eyes as well. Once he was done, he kissed Shalmolee on the forehead, hugged her and dressed her back. Shalmolee winked and hugged him in return. Jerry turned to leave the room, he unlocked the main door, in that fraction of a second he felt so incomplete that he came running towards Shalmolee to hug her one last time.
Edmund opened the door just in time to see Jerry approaching Shalmolee with eyes full of lust. He mistook his love for lust. And no one could blame him; it is hard to expect love blooming inside those rusty walls of PP. He silently dragged him backwards out of the room, gave him a harsh blow on his groin and fired him there and then. Shalmolee, who was turning a blind eye to the whole act, was witnessing everything through the reflection on the screen of Anurag’s cellphone. As soon as the two of them left the room, Shalmolee tried to untie herself. It took her good fifteen minutes to succeed in unknotting the rugged nylon rope. She sprang up and reached the door from which Edmund and Jerry had just left. Shalmolee went down on her knees and tried peeping through the keyhole. She shrieked and fell on her back when she saw a gun pointing at her from the other side of the keyhole. Edmund and victor entered the room and kicked Shalmolee on her thighs. They pulled her up and started yelling at her. Shalmolee just stood there and kept gawking at the two men and then, she smiled.
Edmund and Victor looked at each other and then back at Shalmolee in bewilderment. Shalmolee, whose smile had now developed into a full grown laughter, stepped on Victor’s toe and snatched his gun out of his hands. She aimed the gun at both the men and warned them to let go off her unless they wanted to be shot dead. Victor grew scared and left the room leaving Edmund to deal with a crazy Shalmolee who was still laughing between her threats. Shalmolee heard a distant sound of the siren of a police van. She felt relieved and started running outside the room, hurling abuses at everyone.
She reached the outer room and couldn’t see anyone around her. She gave a last glance at the inner room from where she had just come out, still pointing the gun at the door to safeguard her against Edmund. Shalmolee was taken aback when she realized that what she had been pointing towards the door were just her fingers. She felt like someone had just cast a spell on her hands and made the gun disappear which was her only shield against the world. She lost it completely and started pulling her hair in fear. Feeling of terror had eclipsed all her hopes of surviving. Shalmolee in a complete state of confusion ran out of Prakash Penthouse. She looked around for the police van but couldn’t see anything in her vicinity. She kept on shouting, “Where are the Police? Where are my family members? Didn’t anyone come to pick me up? “
A woman dressed in a white coat complimented by a white skirt and a white cap, answered, “Come back in Shalmolee. No one has come to see you in thirty years and no one is going to come for another thirty.”
A woman of about seventy entered back in the room balancing her stoop. She sat down near the door and waited for the lady in white to come and hug her, who had been dutifully performing this procedure for thirty years now and promised to do so for another thirty.
Photo by W A T A R I on Unsplash