My mother is a good person. She never hurt anyone and she always taught me to do the right thing. She loved my father a lot, so she was broken when he died. Our family had nothing to our name. Father had been the sole source of income. My mother remarried for our sake: my brother’s and mine. No one deserves what happened to her.
The Man was rich. He owned the local bar and also every bar in a twenty kilometer radius. And with his money came power. Power to control our family. For if the money stopped, we wouldn’t survive. He sent my brother to college and enabled me to continue my education. Mother was miserable, but she put up with it for us. At times she would walk into my room and embrace me, the tears from her eyes rolling down my neck. I felt helpless.
I don’t need to tell you what kind of a man he was. I don’t need to tell you how he came home drunk every night. I don’t need to tell you about the women he’d bring into our house, or the things he’d do to my mother when I was at school. Mother never said anything, but I knew.
I like to think I would have done something if mother hadn’t forbidden me from doing so, but God knows I’m not a hero. He would withdraw my brother from college if I tried anything funny and then there would be no hope of us breaking free from his imperialism.
Sometimes at night, when the sounds from my mother’s bedroom were too loud, I would sneak out the window and head to the hills. I would sit on the edge of a cliff where my father would bring me when I was younger. He would buy me a lollipop and I’d sit there licking on it like the happy child that I was, and we would talk about life, school, women, his job, family, anything really. I’d finish eating, he’d pat me on the head and tell me not to tell mom about the lollipop. We’d head back home to a warm, mom-cooked dinner. She’d give me a hug, kiss me goodnight and I’d sleep like a child should. Those were the days. I believed things wouldn’t change. I never thought I could wake up and find myself in another world entirely. I was wrong.
When my father died, I cried for four days straight. It was difficult to sleep and when I did manage to, it did not last long. I woke up crying and I wept myself to sleep. My mother took care of things despite having lost her husband. She did not mourn as I did, though her sadness was much deeper. She is the strongest woman in the world. After those four days I vowed to never cry.
I slept on the cliff that night.
I woke to the sound of birds. Tuesday. I had school. I rushed back home, tumbling down the hill. I snuck back into my room through the window before anyone could notice my absence. I peeked through my open bedroom door to see the Man walk out of the house. My mother was still in her bedroom. I knew because I could hear her sobbing. What he did during the day was not known to me because I was always at school. I decided to find out that day.
His car whirled out of the driveway. I ran out and picked up my bicycle. It hadn’t been used in years, but it seemed to be working alright. I followed him as fast as I could and I was out of breath in five minutes, but I kept going. My curiosity wouldn’t let me back out from this now. He stopped at one of his private bars. I expected him to go in, have a few drinks and come back out, but he stayed inside for an awfully long time. It was time to investigate. I parked my bike outside and walked in.
It was cool and dark inside. A TV was blaring, the only illumination inside the bar. I could see the Man and his friends by a sofa, glaring at the light. They were visibly drunk. I couldn’t see what was on the television, but I could see them laughing. For some reason, the Man looked a little more innocent in his drunk state. He looked like someone who would be gentle and caring and not like the merciless beast that he was. I walked forward but I still could not see what was on the TV. The dark atmosphere of the bar prevented the Man and his friends from noticing me. Bottles lay scattered on the ground and the smell of alcohol seared through my nose. These people took their drinking quite seriously. I continued my steady and measured pace into the room until I caught a glimpse of what was on the screen.
A tear rolled down my cheek.
“You bastard!” I screamed, my voice tearing through the sudden eerie silence of the bar.
The Man turned his gaze to the direction of my voice and found me standing there, breathing heavy with ferocity. He was still plastered, but the look on his face was back to the man I knew he was. He set his drink down, picked up a knife from the bar and rushed at me. The fight didn’t last long. I stabbed him with his own knife in the eyes, twice. The other men did not react. The knife fell from my hands to the floor, next to where the Man lay.
My mother is a good person. She never did anything to hurt anyone and she always taught me to do the right thing. I knew what I had done was wrong, so I walked home. I walked past my house and I took to the hills. To the cliff. And I walked. And I walked. And I walked.
And then I flew.
// I’d written this particular story for the creative writing category at Revels 2015 here in MIT, Manipal. I wasn’t able to get my hands on the original piece, so I rewrote it. Hope you liked it!