Someone's Forever: Sacrifices of Sapphire

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10.2 Afternoon Aftershock


A Rakhi treat for all my close ones…!


***

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

***


With the days pass by behind the window,

I believe, I’d forgotten what love is…

But then, rain falls, knocks at my window,

Breeze finds its way to my ears,

Conveying the message of drops of nature,

‘Silly Girl, you can’t. You love him too much to remove his essence from your heart!’


Life surely is a maze of complexities; in between hustles to meet and emotions to keep, we fill life with moments and memories and complete it. From these misty moments, life finds its conclusion. Some challenges make us smile, some elated and some throw the stains of failure. However, one tries, the real life is juggling within these hustles. Some hustle for themselves, some for their loved ones.

One pain left in his presence, other I concealed in my smile. From what I see, life has a lot in sleeves for a naïve Maid like me.

“Yes, that’ll be all. Thank you so much for helping me out.”

“Oh! Come on, anything for you, Wol.” My smile brightens at the lovely endearment from the lovely lady.

I’m getting used to this endearment too!

“We’ll visit soon.”

“Of course, Wol, anytime.” The lady mumbles before killing the call.

So, this has also accomplished!

I grin, slipping the device into my pocket, tucking my hand deeper seeking warmth in this cool day. I look around the wild beauty of nature; in the bright day, the trees have cocooned me in their embracing shed. It’s almost like evening in here when the sun is bright up there in sky.

Taking a break from lazy strolling, I find a perfect spot to sit under the old bulgy tree. Taking out the small piece of paper from my pocket, I tick on the point of place, mentally patting myself for rushing out to receive Mrs. Woo’s call. Talking on phone could be risky under Jerry’s Surveillance and I can’t risk bursting my plan.

The chirping of the birds sounds so pleasant in ears as I leisurely breathe the scent of peace and pleasure in moist soil.

Life becomes pleasant in the guidance of nature!

I choose to spend moments—minutes here hoping for a long time to last until people march in and capture me for infiltrating in the woods again. A bubble of laughter blooms on my face as I imagine the scenario; nothing is new yet every time it happens; I find myself in a state of stupefaction.

My musing explodes in the vibration in my pocket, I fish it out quickly to read my brother’s name; anticipating his worried furious tone, I place the device in my ear.

“I’m across the road, breathing the aroma of soil. Will be back soon.” I babble looking up at the wide spread branches of the tree shielding me.

“Why do you need woods to breathe?” I cringe at my brother’s grumpy tone.

Seems like he has caught the suspicion! Think Niera think, save your plan!

I blink twice, “Doesn’t everyone? Well, I…was out so thought to wander. And you—”

Words stuck in my throat as I feel a moment, instinctively, my head snaps to the direction, finding the whisper of silence lurking there.

Chills run down my spine alerting me; something is wrong!

“Niera, come back now!” I can hear my brother’s frantic call from the call, attesting the fact of something suspicious around.

Like a crawling snail on tree trunk, I shoot up on my feet, digging my fingers behind in the tree trunk for support; physical or mental, I wish not to comprehend.

Suddenly, it’s not the sullen silence but howling thunder, not one but many creatures knocking into the privacy of woods. I look frantically around as fear crawls over my spine. Perhaps, I should have stayed right there.

“Jerry, what’s—”

“I’m coming.” I hear his dismissive message, before the phone slips from my hand and the reason runs right in front of me.

I gasp out loud when two wolves barge into my surroundings almost digging hole in the ground through their powerful stance.

Despite being terrified, I keep myself from running but press harder to the old gracious tree.

Running can never be a good option when you face Wild!

I pat my back, recalling the advice of Famous wild life show host on a very popular show.

Astonishment shoots me on head when I witness them reaching down and touching their snots on ground.

Do wolves bow in this form as well?

“They do. Rank and titles matter.”

I jump finding my brother just behind me; despite running this apparent long distance, he seems just fine and fresh. With a smart instinctive call, I scoot closer to him.

“Oh! So, then. They’re bowing to you.” Jerry doesn’t respond but keeps a vigilant eye around.

So, I follow. The wolves now staring at us before a nod from my brother puts them at ease as they get up and quietly stand at distance from us.

I frown deeper, “What’s happening? Why are you—they are here?”

Yes, why everyone is here?

One of the wolves growl quietly and my brother offers another dramatic nod, probably communicating on their own.

I shake my head, I asked.

“You must leave now. I’ll expla—”

My brother couldn’t complete as a loud yelp resonates in the air shattering the serenity of the woods.

A female cry of agony!

My gaze snaps in the direction to the deeper section as feet march to rush, but then halts as my brother get a hold of my hand and the two wolves whip their head, standing in alert mode.

“Niera, Stop!”

My brother’s words disdain in fading mist of memory.

The agonizing scream of Lamia ringed for the last time before it was buried in the ashes of nothingness. A sudden shiver of terror grips me, her mention not only brought back the reminiscing of that night but also the incidents leading her there.

My hand flees to my chest, fingers pressing over the gift of life before I look up at my brother with pleading eyes.

“Jerry, please. Someone could be in need.”

Yes, please! Someone be in need…not someone like Lamia…please God!

Jerry’s grip on my hand tightens on a harder edge, “The guards will handle it.”

My eyes widen at his vague answer, “But…please at least let us go and check.”

“You don’t have to worry, Niera.”

“I’ll be safe, he is keeping me protected. Please.” Perhaps that does the trick, Jerry heaves out a sigh before agreeing and with the two wolves ahead we head toward the deeper section of the forest.

Reaching, the site snatches out a loud gasp from me.

Bound by the metal chains around the limps and neck, a female is howling in sheer pain, her whimpers disdaining under the glare of guards pointing a huge pointy edge-metal spear on her. The site rips out a startled gasp from me; probably causing all their attention to directed toward me. I take one step back.

They all bow, as I pick up the jest of the situation.

No! this can’t be. Not another Lamia…at least she was free…this girl is constrained.

What have you done?

“What has she done?” ignoring the bows, I whisper, my words clash with the icy air before one of the guard bows, falling on his knees. I heave out a sigh. So does the girl as this one was pointing the spear on her face.

“We caught a rogue trespassing in our Land. She was trying to cross the woods; probably to reach Council Hall.” He informs in his bowing form; a frown forms on my forehead as I look down to the girl, whimpering hearing our conversation.

Our eyes meet, all I read is plead for help and wonder. Unable to help, I look away, “Why would you treat her so inhumanly?”

“My apologies L—Miss. Revin…She is a rebelling rogue. We had no choice but to capture her before she could make any commotion.”

“Take her for investigation.” I flinch at my brother’s commanding tone; the guard raise his head before nodding.

“No! please! Help! I wasn’t trespassing! I’m a part of Kingdom. I live here.” She starts to wail, thrashing against the restraints and yelling when she tries to reach for chains.

What’s with these chains?

“Quiet if you cherish your life!” the guard growls before yanking her chain; the cry of pain raises shivers down my back.

“Stop!” a loud commanding voice resonates; halting all the activities and noises of the surroundings. It takes me moments to realize it as mine.

“She isn’t a proved criminal. Why must you be so harsh?” the guard seems appalled but instead of showing me my place, he looks down, so do others.

Though, I don’t get a chance to react; my brother intervenes, “Niera, this is their job. Don’t intervene or else, it’ll be hard for them.”

I turn to him, holding his hand, “Jerry! This—”

“Niera, they’re following Majesty’s orders, defying them on anyone’s request would cost them their life.” He calmly mumbles like speaking to a child.

The problem is, I’m not a child now.

“Jerr—”

“Enough!” this time I couldn’t save a startled gasp from escaping. The buzz of the air settles into serenity and the nature announces the arrival of Alpha King.

Surroundings surrender in his presence along with every head and I snap my gaze to his majestic entrance.

“Gideon!” I breathe his name; his eyes, like always cast at my way as I seek him for support.

Like reaching for my request, Gideon walks past everyone before I’m holding his arm, wrinkling his coat’s sleeve.

Despite the circumstances, my Saviour smiles; a smile which tells me to calm down, he is here.

“It’s okay, Niera.”

His words like honey on my wounds, I feel no need to speak. He covers my hands with his hand; soaking me in his warmth.

“Do you trust me?”

More than myself!

“Then go back home.” His words sooths me; I find myself nodding. I know his main concern is to get me back into safety, to save me from the excepted brutality if she proves to be one.

I look back at the whimpering girl on ground; coated in dirt and wounds, broken and so fragile. It seems, she’ll shatter if they pull the chains once again.

She won’t die—

A warm hand on my cheek shatters all my musing; I look up at my Saviour, blue eyes shimmering with worry and concern.

I blink with a nod for his unsaid words, “Take care.”


***

Walking back to outskirts of the woods brings me a sense of comfort along with searing worry. I feel entrapped between the two.

The thought of the girl and the striking similarity with Lamia’s incident isn’t letting me at ease while the presence of Gideon and my trust on him are somewhere reassuring me everything will fall for better.

From the distressed thoughts, I find my gaze on the two companies, walking right beside us; guarding us from any expected-unexpected threats.

Yes, Jerry sure has hit some good position!

Out of curiosity, I eye the large wolf walking my side at some distance.

Its stance, straight, like a soldier, vigilant and commanding. This wolf’s size is huge for any ordinary wild wolf on Wild Life Channel yet it seems small under the light of Miracle.

Will it let me—

When I raise my hand to touch it, it snaps its head in other direction squinting its eyes.

I draw back my hand, in utter bafflement.

Well, I thought it was friendly.

“It isn’t about her preference, Niera. She can’t enter the shield enchanted around you.” My brother mumbles beside me, I almost forgot his and McCoy’s presence beside me. McCoy was one of Gideon’s companies who I disdain while speaking with my Saviour. His presence was known know later after Gideon nodded at Jerry and two wolves to escort me out in safety.
“Why?” I ask, gazing at the wolf with disappointed eyes.

Oh! She-Wolf!

“Because that’s how the spell works, it keeps you safe from people/creatures you are unknown or feel alert of.” This time McCoy states from behind.

I look over my shoulder at him, “But I was trying to touch it.”

McCoy smiles at my dejection, “But deep down you were terrified to do so.”

Wide eyes, I snap my gaze at my brother then stealing one from the wolf beside reconsidering my feelings as I engaged myself with it.

“Yeah! So, that’s how it is. But how does it know my inner thoughts, is it that powerful?” I ask astounded by the sudden revelation.

Would that be possible?

The wolf on my side moves its snot to other direction leading me the path to exit the greenery, I squeal in surprise and Jerry pulls me away from her, “It is, if you want to believe. But it can work because it reads your heart.”

“How?!”

From the visible road ahead, Jerry averts his humorous gaze at my way, “Because the person who made it knows you and your heart!”

“Gideon…!”

Sure, he knows me and my heart. More than I can ever know by myself.

***


Pacing around the lawn, I find myself only getting agitated by the next complete round. The sun already set into the horizons leaving the world in embrace of murky night. It’s been hours, we’re back and no news from the troops.

“Oh Sweetie! At least have some fruits.” Mrs. Mahri—yah’s wincing voice brings me out of my chaotic thoughts. I glance over the lady, finding her holding a plate brimming with chopped fruits.

For the worried look, I let out a sigh before walking back and slid down quietly beside her on porch stair. How simple it has been for us to sit on floor and stairs, no discomfort and no hesitation.

I groan as I make contact with the cold tile; the fruits are thrust on my way, “Have some. You’re fuzzing over nothing.” She quietly admonishes before showing me her steely glare which turns out to be adorable for me.

Choosing the smallest of grape, I pop it in my mouth before heaving out another sigh, “I know, but I can’t get it out of my head. Her pain-stricken, whimpering face keeps coming to me.”

Pursing my lips, I shut my eyes close at another wave of reminiscing.

“You must be terrified, I understand Sweetie, but it was all under control and Majesty is personally taking charge of this matter.” She mutters holding a piece of Apple for me.

Taking the apple, I shake my head, “It’s not about me Mahri—yah, it’s just I’m worried—I want to know about her. Will she—”

“Sweetie, she’ll be treated well. You must not worry or must you fret over a rogue.” She reasons taking a small slice of kiwi in her mouth and cringing the same instance.

If only it was this easy dear! I refrain from speaking our loud.

Instead, my gaze moves back to the deserted road, apart from the small light from our home reaching out to the road, it’s the darkness surrounding.

“Let’s go inside. Is Mr. Dovin coming to get you?” I ask; shooting up on my sore feet and disdaining the topic altogether.

It’s been late, she must head back home; I should also go in and check upon Tiger.

“He is near, he’ll be here soon.” She informs as she gets up. I nod before turning.

“Bambi! Wait!” my feet halt at Dr. Baron’s call; turning to find him coming through the main iron gate.

Hope ignites as I find myself walking back into the sitting area.

“You went to check upon her?”

He sighs at my words before flaunting a charming smile, “Yes. Now, I’m here for you.”

“Me?”

“To satiate your curiosity and check upon you.”

I frown, stealing a glance at dumbfound Mrs. Mahri—yah, “You knew, I mean—”

Shaking his head, he keeps his bag on the floor.

“Bambi, you must know, you’re under the protection of Alpha King, of course he knows your heart.” Taking a glass of water from table, he takes a leisure sip.

“He sent you to me.” rather than inquiring, I find myself attesting the fact in my statement.

Dr. Uncle nods, “Yes, he knew you’d like to know about her condition, also, you’d like to know more of this matter.”

Despite circumstances, I find my cheeks heating up allowing people to chuckle at my expense.

Damn! He must be worried about me!

“He was. As for her, she is a rogue who accepted trespassing, she had her explanation—”

“She said, she was in Kingdom.”

He sighs, “Yes, she used to be. She has a history, I surmise. Majesty is taking care of this matter. You need nothing to worry Bambi, she is fine, well fed and treated, so be at ease.”

“Thank you—”

Dr. Uncle stops me by shaking his head, “It was his words, I’m conveying.”

Darn this Alpha King!


***

August 22, 2021

I hope you enjoyed this treat, will bring you more soon.

Till then, enjoy and live life well.

Happy Rakshabandhan to all of you!

How was it? Share your views.

Thank You,

Neelam


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