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They finally get to her house.

They can’t go to the hospital... well actually there are no hospitals near their area... so they can’t go to the hospital.

She turns to him and signs ‘Thank you.’. “No problem. As I said before I am always here for your protection.”. He gets out of the car and then varies her into the house. He goes into her rooms and then lays her on her bed. “I’ll get the medical kit.” She nods and he leaves immediately.

I’m human. She thinks. Am I human? He said I was. If I am human then why am I not like them? There are many dumb people like me in the world... but at least not all of them are helpless.

“Hey, I’m back. How’s the pain?”, she looks at him and signs, ‘Managable.’. He looks at her annoyed and says “You can’t manage everything on your own! You need to be able to rely on someone!”, she stares at the ceiling. “I guess you’ve been through a lot.”, she continues to stare at the ceiling. He starts to treat her swollen cheek. “Well, since you won’t tell me your story... I’ll tell you mine.”. She shifts her gaze to him. “I was born in a small town in this country. I heard it wasn’t always like this actually, but I’ve never seen this country without any chaos. My mother died while giving birth to me, and my dad didn’t want to take care of me alone. So he left me at someone’s door step. Those people took care of me like their child but they already had a boy. Of course they treated him with more care, but I never felt like an outsider. Until high school. Their boy started to bully me at school, but since it was just verbal, I didn’t do anything. Soon it became physical. I fought back but he snitched at home, so I often got scolded. Soon it got to the point we’re they couldn’t take care of me anymore. I was 16 when they abandoned me. I was left wandering the streets of this city. I was found by an old man on the streets. He got me admitted to the military. The military was involved in terrorist activities, so I left it and Santosh and Preeti left when I told them. They were also in the military. Then we made our own research team and started monitoring small neighborhoods like yours. However we were only monitoring a few out of the many. Like around 5 or 7? Yeah... and then I got a call from the head quarters saying there’s a missing baby. Well... you know the rest.” He’s done treating her cheek.

She lifts her arm up slowly and caresses his cheek gently. He looks at her. Their gaze can’t be broken, again. She sliding her hand down to his chest and points to his heart. She looks at him and mouths ‘Hurting?’. He nods. She gently pats his chest. Then she looks up at him. She slowly tries to get up, he helps her. “You good?”. She points her thumbs up. She leans on the wall. She signs, ‘It makes me sad’. She leans closer to him and hugs him. He lifts his arms and places them on her back... he hugs her tightly. She hugs him even tighter.

After 30 minutes, she loosens her arms and he loosens his grip. As they pull back he looks at her closely and says “Thank you.” She smiles at him. He thinks Oh lord, that smile... so innocent.


“HEY! Open the door, or else I’m gonna break in!”. She immediately pulls away from Aksh. She looks scared. She signs ‘Stay here please.’ She rushes down as she fidgets with her chunni*.

It’s Samrat.

“No one’s around right?”. She shakes her head from side to side. “Look, I have a man coming over to my house today, I promised him a girl for company tonight. The girl isn’t coming anymore. You’re gonna replace her.” She suddenly looks up at him. “What?!? You’re obedient... you got a great figure and you’re mute. You can’t say anything!”, she signs, ‘I’m not gonna let him in. I’m not gonna do this.’ She tried to push him out. Instead he pushes her down and says, “Remmber the consequences! He’s coming and that’s final.”. He leaves the house.

She enters her room looking down. Aksh rushes over to her. “Was it Samrat?”, She nods. “What’d he say?”. She doesn’t sign anything in response. Aksh lifts her chin up and finds tears flowing down her face. His fist tightens, “He seriously doesn’t understand his limits. I’ll give him a lesson he’ll never forget.” Aksh rushes to exit her room, but she stops him by holding his sleeve. He stops and turns. She smile at him and signs, ‘What happened?’.

Shocked, he says, “Do you not realize that you’re crying?”. That painful smile disappears from her face. She let’s go of Aksh’s sleeve and brushes her cheek. She feels a substance so unknown to her. She quickly hide her face in her hands. He rushes to her and forces her

Hands off her face. “You are making my heart hurt even more.”. He brushes off the tears from her face but they continue to flow. Her facial expression, for the first time ever, is so clear. She seems so vulnerable. “It’s okay. I’m here for you. I’ll always be here for you.

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