Greetings Everyone. I hope you are enjoying the story up until now. If you are, It’s gonna get even better. This is the third chapter of the story. If you haven’t read the previous chapters I request you do so by clicking on the links below.
Adwiti felt the warm soft touch of the pillow against her cheeks. She was lying comfortably in bed. The fabric of the sheets felt smooth against her skin. She heard a familiar voice. Was it her mother? She wasn’t sure. She wasn’t sure if it was her own bed. Her only guesses were either she was dead and accidentally came to heaven or someone found her and brought her to a hospital or something. Suddenly she found herself worrying about the hospital bills, she definitely couldn’t afford them.
She heard something, a strange sound. Finally she decided to open her eyes. She regretted that decision instantly. She wasn’t in a hospital, nor was she in heaven, farthest from it. Maybe Hell, but the blinding pain in her left ribs indicated she wasn’t dead either. She looked around, it was mostly dark. She could hear the water. All she could make was somehow she must have dragged herself out of the stream to the edge. She tried to get up but the pain in her abdomen stopped her from doing so. Adwiti wanted to check if her scooter was fine but in the back of her mind she knew she would never see it again; at least not in one piece anyway. She closed her eyes and hoped she would be back on that soft bed again. It didn’t work.
After a few minutes, Adwiti thought that she would eventually have to get up or at least call for help. She reached for her bag which was still wrapped around her waist. As soon as she touched it she lost all hope- her bag was flooded with mud and water. She was sure her phone would be dead by now, she can’t call for help and she can’t get up all by herself. She closed her eyes again in frustration. She couldn’t hold it anymore. She started to cry, out loud, like a baby crying for her mother, and shouting like she was angry at something, probably herself or maybe God. She was in so much pain to decide which one. After a minute or two of crying her eyes out, finding there was no hope in doing that either, she decided she might as well save her energy. As she calmed herself down she heard something move. Her breathing was still irregular from all the crying and now she was also filled with terror. She gathered the courage to slowly turn and look only to find, not more than four or five meters away from her, there, very calmly and comfortably, was lying a sweet family of pigs.
Adwiti puked almost instantly as she figured out where she was lying. And since she was lying on her back, she didn’t throw up very far from herself either. She knew she had to get up, she didn’t care how much it hurt, hell even if her ribs poked out of her skin she would get out of that filth as fast as she could. She literally shouted in pain as she tried to stand up, which scared the pigs out of their sleep and they started running in a random direction. With every movement of her arm or shoulder, she made a loud grunt, which frightened the pigs shitless. She clutched her teeth and inhaled a big chunk of air and then exhaled through her mouth, slowly, just like she learned in her boxing classes when she was in school. Since it was her ribs, the breathing didn’t help her with the pain, on the contrary it hurt even more with every breath but somehow it gave her the courage to walk through it.
Eventually, Adwiti climbed up to the road and found herself covered in mud. Her hair was bunched together in a thick clump with sticky mud. Her eyes were full of tears, which made two streams running down over her cheeks, making a clear line on her muddy face. She was breathing calmly through the pain, still keeping the pattern- in through her nose and out through the mouth, and at the same time trying to move her chest as little as she could to prevent her ribs from hurting. Adwiti realized her home was not far from there and if she put her heart into it, she could walk all the way to her home.
She was standing there, in the middle of the dark road, all alone. It started raining again. Adwiti looked up and a gentle shower of rain washed up her face. Her eyes were still full of tears but now her lips stretched into a smile. Maybe, she was trying to laugh at her miseries. She started walking, “One step at a time, ” she whispered as she walked, “ONE STEP AT A TIME.”
After a very painful walk of about a kilometer she reached her apartment, she felt so tired and in pain, she actually thought she was going to pass out right at her door. “Thank God! The lift was working,” she muttered as she stepped inside. Adwiti ran straight to the bathroom without caring for the floor that she ruined along the way with her dirty, mud-soaked feet. On a regular night, Adwiti would never do that but the pain and exhaustion left a little room for such idiosyncrasies.
She looked for other wounds as she undressed herself carefully, taking one piece of cloth at a time. Her ribs were bruised badly but she told herself there was no fracture. She was no expert on bones but she just didn’t want to go to a doctor, so there can’t be a fracture because she can’t afford it. There were some deep scratches on her elbow and her legs, a huge bump on the back of her head, except all that she was fine. She carefully stepped into her bathtub which was pre-drawn with gentle, warm water. The warmth of the water on her legs was a smidge of comfort which she had received after a long, painful walk in the wet and cold night. The mollifying warmth of water was so alluring for her to jump right into the tub and relax her body but she was restricted by her wounds. Adwiti slowly bent her knees while holding her torso straight until her hands touched the rim of the tub. She took a deep breath and with the support of her hands she gently sat in the water, leaned back and closed her eyes as she exhaled.
Adwiti couldn’t recall how long she stayed in the bathtub half asleep when she finally opened her eyes. The warmth of the water was long gone. “Should have washed the mud off before!” she thought. The water in the tub had turned opaque with the mud from her body. Her hairs were still slimy and clumped together. The cold water had lost its appeal and Adwiti saw no point in soaking her skin with the dirty water any more, so she slowly got out of the tub and twisted the knob of the shower. As soon as the water rolling through her head began to lose the dirt in her hair, she carefully caressed her hair trying to get the dirt out. On the back of her hair her fingers rubbed against something solid- like a rock. She pulled it along her hair with a little difficulty and threw it on the floor without looking. Adwiti was intrigued by the unexpected sound it made against the floor- not quite rock like. Ignoring the sound she went back to bathing. After cleaning herself completely she dried her long curly hair spread around her shoulders like ripples of water in the river, she gloated a little at how beautiful they looked. Suddenly they reminded her of the rushing water in the canal she had fallen into. She put the dryer down.
She realised her clothes were still lying on the floor. Relaxing in the water had abated the pain a bit and she was getting back into her elements. Those clothes on the floor felt like nails on the chalkboard to her. She immediately bent down to pick them up. Out came a loud grunt from her mouth, she forgot she was in no condition to make sudden movements. The bathroom floor was still wet and in the agony she lost her balance and tripped. She stretched her hands to grab something for support. Unable to find anything more than thin air she landed on her hips. Carefully this time, she balanced herself with her hands. Something pinched in the heel of her right hand.
“That rock again!”
Annoyed with her never ending terrible luck she grabbed the rock under her pal and threw it against the wall. It was a stupid thing to do. But not in her mind it wasn’t; she thought it would break into pieces or worse it would break the ceramic tile on the wall, which is what she intended in that moment of anger and vexation. Neither of those happened. Instead it bounced and hit her in the head. In normal circumstances she would have caught the rock or at least blocked in with her hands with her boxing reflexes but it wasn’t the normal circumstance.
Adwiti was more intrigued than annoyed. She picked up the rock lying between her legs only to realize it wasn’t a rock. The collision from the wall had shook some of the dirt and something reflected the light from inside. Amazed, she crawled under the tap and washed the thing she was holding in her hand. A gold color begins to appear and Adwiti’s eyes sparkle with astonishment.
It was a ring. She stood up with the support of the tap and looked closely at the ring. It was a golden ring with a strange mark on top. She wondered if it was actually gold. Maybe she could sell it, and might get some money that she can use. Then she put it on the ring finger of her left hand. She was amazed to find it actually looked good on her. “Never thought gold would look good on me. Maybe I will hold on to it for a while.”
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