NOVELLA

(After that short hiatus, I’m finally back!)

Parashakti filled the room with a swirling, terrifying storm of blackness.
Yashodha had hidden herself under the covers,  soundlessly sitting out the entrance of the horrifying spirit. The little girl’s mother also felt that the anger of all her lovers was coming back to haunt her too, their faces embroidered in twisted expressions across the fabric of the space which her mother dominated.Young men and women who wanted her heart so badly, but all she could give them was a single meaningless night of sex.

A few had hurt her cruelly, made her cry. Others, she had dominated with her iron fist.

The weight if the world was pushing poor Ishwari down. She’d heard of the execution of criminals, the imperial elephant being ordered to crush the worst offenders at times. Her mind clicked back to the sessions of stoning she’d heard of, the burning of offenders in great masses, the cruel tortures that every hell in her religion promised. “And all this in the city of the gods,” she hissed nastily, “and I don’t believe that a vile monster like you, could really exist here, where that damned temple looks down at everyone and into their minds. And we both worked there at some point.” Ishwari felt a strange smile crossing her face. “Irony,” she grunted in continuation.
“That’s the problem with having such convictions,” her mother nodded blankly in agreement, her demeanor now softened, “they rule your every action, or try to, at least. These gods that we worship are always perverted watchmen, aren’t they? Tradition is rubbish, daughter. Rubbish.”
Ishwari looked down at the floor unblinkingly, apparently spaced out. “Then maybe she and I are not that different. Neither of us was a stereotype…”

The shrill scream filled the room and she could hear even herself crying out as her earlier dim eyes grew brighter and brighter. Tears filled them no more’ she had wiped them away during her hit of realization, thankfully. That woman would never allow a daughter of hers to cry, that was for sure.

“Mother?”

Yashodha’s little voice was filled with worry and concern. What had the child seen during that moment? Had she been just as terrified to see the true soul of her mother? She just lay there in a helpless heap, clutching her sheets and sari to her chest, mouth open as gasps of breath escaped her. Her eyes were still staring unblinkingly at the floor.
“Yes my darling?” The words barely escaped her, flowing past like a soft, terrified whisper. Her mind was racing around, trying to tell herself that the darkness was, for a moment at least, gone. She sat on the bed, still wearing the same mask on her face. The room was so black now that she was blinded, lost in the vortex of pitch darkness. The space between the door and the bed was a huge mouth in her feeble comprehension, something that would close upon her if she tried to escape. That door was indeed her only escape…
The light that filled the room scared her, and Ishwari backed into a corner, crying, “Keep away from me!” but saw, to her relief, the young manservant coming in.
“Govind….” And she crashed onto the bed.

“Mistress, I heard you scream,” he said gently. This poor man of twenty-five was solemn as he looked at her with a gentle glance. “Those damned roadside thugs make a pass at you on the way back home, eh? I’ll put those bastards into the ground, by Shiva!”
“Language, please, my daughter’s here,” she hissed in controlled anger, “but no….it wasn’t….that…” Her hand ran down to the nape of her sweaty neck. Noticing Govind’s eyes on her, she smiled shyly. This fellow with the constantly torn dhoti-which, he made sure, left much to the imagination- looked nice and pleasant enough for someone who had been taken off the streets not long ago. Ishwari smiled at him as he sat down beside her. Her hand instantly went up to touch his stubble-bearded cheek, but stopped herself instantly when Yashodha appeared and curled up in her lap.
But Govind’s feelings got the better of him. “Your husband won’t be back for a while now, mistress. You know how he always takes those long walks to meet his old comrades….” he began to kiss her neck delicately. “My daughter is here!” she chided gently with a little giggle.
“Never stopped you before,” he replied, trying to reach for her lips, “plus you know how I feel about you, don’t you?”
“How dare you, you rotten little man? You can never have me and you know that!” Ishwari laughed at him, pushing him away, and rising up off the bed with Yashodha yawning in her arms. “My real beloved is somewhere in this city, and she still rejects me. She doesn’t know that we were meant to be together, no matter what other people would say. Now get dressed and go to her like you always do, go on…”

Govind got up as well.

“Like always?”
“Why else did I bring you in?”

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