The man closed his eyes as the nurse popped her head into the room, pretending to be asleep even as his heart pounded. A moment later, he heard her shoes squeak as she walked away, but he didn’t open his eyes until at least a minute later.
As he stared up at the ceiling, his vision blurred. Sometimes he just felt so tired. He couldn’t even really remember any more how things had ended up this way, it had been so long that he been trapped here.
His eyes automatically snapped shut again, and he cursed himself for that involuntary reaction. His flinch meant that the harridan at the door now knew that he was faking being asleep.
Ashwini stepped into the room, her high heels clacking on the floor with every step. A moment later, her face looked down at him, all wide smiles and shiny eyes. She always was happy when she had a chance to come down here and torture him.
‘Hello, Raghu!’ she chirped, and Raghu gritted his teeth. She always spoke to him as
if he was a kindergarten student and she his teacher, and it irritated him to no end. The very sound of her happy, chirpy voice grated on his nerves, especially when she completely ignored the fact that she was torturing him, and behaved instead as if she was simply trying to help him.
‘Now, Raghu, I know you’re not really asleep,’ she said, laying a hand on his forehead. He could almost feel her willing him to open his eyes again, but he refused to give in to her; he may be her prisoner but he could keep this one small freedom that remained.
‘Wake up,’ Ashwini said, and Raghu ground his teeth as she moved her hand over his face, laying it against his cheek.
‘If you’re going to be difficult, Raghu, I’ll have no choice but to move onto other methods.’
At this, Raghu felt a tear slide down his face and disappear into his hairline, where Ashwini did not see it. He knew what would come next, it had happened to him often enough – drug injections, electroshocks, and more – all in the effort to break him, for some reason known only to Ashwini.
Strapped to the bed as he was, Raghu had no chance to escape, so he did the only thing he could, he sent his mind far, far away.
‘He’s crashing. I swear he was here, with me, just now, but now he’s gone again. Nusrat, didn’t you say his eyes were open when you looked in on him ten minutes ago?’
‘They were, ma’am! That’s why I ran to get you.’
‘No help for it. Get me that syringe.’
When Raghu opened his eyes again, the room was dark. Faint moonlight filtered through the venetian blinds at the solitary window. Ashwini was gone, and he was alone. As always, he tried to get up, hoping against hope that this was the day they had decided to forgo the restraints—and as always, was disappointed.
In a rage, he rattled his arms against the bed and the restraints, heaving large breaths when his energy gave out. Tears filled his eyes and ran down his face, leaving little damp patches under his temples.
Would he ever be free?
These flash fiction stories will feature cross-dressing assassins, were-snakes, gods and goddesses, demonesses and asura kings.
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[music| Madari: Vishal and Sonu Kakkar]