A Broken Heart (I)
15 years ago
“Vikram make it fast before father catches us.” Tina, a sweet girl of 9 shrieked, looking around with her alarmed eyes, making a 13 years old Vikram do her dirty work by stealing their father’s gun and cap.
“Shut up, Tina. Don’t disturb me.” Vikram mumbled nervously as his hands shook while pulling out the gun. A layer of sweat coated his body due to hot weather of mid-summer. Their father was still in the shower and mother was in the kitchen, cooking the meal for the evening. Tina scoffed at her brother’s fear and pouted. Vikram loves his sister and will do anything for her, even take the scolding from father for breaking the rules. The bond between the two siblings is very strong.
Mr. Naren Singh, the father of these two troublemakers, is a simple man in his early 30’s. Although, he was wise but was famous for his short temper and dangerous aura. The two kids feared their father and followed his rules religiously. Only an insane person will think of poking the beast. Simran Singh, the mother of two, usually brush away their concerns telling that the dark vibes coming from their father was a part of his profession. Being the chief superintendent in the head police department of the city wasn’t a joke. His serious profession demands such traits because of the rising crime in the area. But despite the busy schedule, he was always there for his little family. Their expectations and needs were his primary priorities. He was a good husband and a great father who was determined to bring his children with values and discipline.
Pulling out the gun from the belt and grabbing the hat kept beside the police uniform, the kids ran out of the house and eagerly rushed to the backyard. It was evening and summer breaks have just started. Tina giggles and jogs spreading her arms in the air, celebrating the little victory of stealing from their father. Her happiness mattered so much to Vikram. He smiled and shook his head at her childishness.
“Okay. Since I stole this gun, I will be the cop and you will play the thief.” Vikram declared to which she gave puppy dog eyes and pouted. He scoffed at her poor attempts of changing his mind and wore the big cap raising the gun, already descending in his role. The loose cap hung ridiculously on his small head.
“Tina Singh, you are under arrest for eating the cookies of my share at last evening, secretly,” He said imitating a gruff voice, trying to match it with that of a scary man making her let out a surprised giggle and raise her hands in surrender.
“But….. but officer Vikram, I am innocent. That’s a lie.” She said blinking her eyes innocently to which he smirked.
“Liar! I saw you with my own eyes when mom was combing my hairs.” He said and pulled the trigger of an empty gun making her scream in surprise then duck and run towards the swings. He laughed as well and ran after her. “Run as far as you want, thief but the long hands of Vikram will always catch you.” He hollered and pressed the trigger again chasing her, making a fake ‘boom’ sound. Due to this frankness and childishness of his kids, Naren always empties the gun when comes home.
Tina squealed and ducked again throwing a small pebble at Vikram’s way which hits his nose making him halt and wince.
“You are going to regret that, thief,” He screamed in fake anger and pressed the trigger again. The evening was fine and warm as the gentle cool air blew. Sun was about to set and moon peeked in the sky. Birds were flying back to their shelter and the kids heard their mother humming a tune in the kitchen while stirring the soup.
“You are so slow, brother,” Tina said panting, making him smile and shoot her again. She gasped and brought a hand on her chest faking the death then laughed and ran again as he neared her.
“Children, get inside. It’s getting late and the dinner is almost ready. Wash your hands.” Simran called from the kitchen making both of them groan in disappointment.
“Let’s go inside, Tina.”Vikram, the ideal son said pointing the gun to the ground but she shook her head in negative.
“A little more, brother, please. 5 more minutes, this is so much fun.” She said and Vikram rolled his eyes. Smiling secretly, he pretended to think for a moment then suddenly ran after her. She saw it coming and ran as well. Vikram pulled the trigger and it clicked empty once again while Tina rushed their father’s car and stopped. She was cornered and had nowhere left to go now, and turned towards her brother wide-eyed.
“Caught you,” Vikram said and whistled. She shook her head in annoyance and raised her hands in defeat.
“Let me go, officer Vikram. I swear I will never eye your cookies ever.” She said biting her lip making him raise an eyebrow.
“You promise,” he asked lowering the gun, happy to finally get her where he wanted her to be.
“Pinky promise.” She said offering her pinky finger in peace and he shook it with his own. Suddenly, she pushed him on the ground and ran away laughing.
“Oh, brother! You are so dumb. I swore to not eye your cookies, alright, but not to touch them and savouring their sweet taste.” She squealed making his eyes widen in shock and he screamed in frustration.
“You monkey, you fooled me,” he yelled and ran after her again pointing the gun while she ran towards the front door of the house where their mother was waiting. Without thinking and still playing the role, he pulled the trigger again and the world around them collapsed halting the universe.
A loud ‘boom’ echoed and Vikram’s breath hitched in horror. He was thrown back due to opposing reaction of the trigger. The ear piercing scream of his mother rang tearing the calmness of evening. The sound of heavy breathing of Tina overpowered the flapping wings of scared birds as she fell on the ground with a thud. A trail of red liquid squeezed out from the hole at her back which was just made by the gun in Vikram’s hands. Everything was happening in slow motion as his heart stopped in shock and legs gave away.
“TINA” his mother wailed in agony while running towards the unmoving figure of his sister, lying on the green grass. His vision blurred as he kept sitting there immobilized, looking at the soul-shattering view. “TINA. MY BABY.” His mother cried.
Hearing the commotion from outside, Naren and a few other neighbours stumbled out of their houses and surrounded the mother-daughter pair.
“What the hell?” a shaky whisper left his father’s lips followed by a tear from eye. His eyes widen as saucers revolting against the impossible scenario and gulped bringing a shaky hand to his hairs. Then his eyes land on the poor Vikram, holding his gun. He swore aloud remembering how he had used the satin thing today over a group of goons and forgot to check the safety in stress after returning home. He took long strides in his terrified son’s direction and for the first time ever, raised his hand to beat the living daylight out of him. The impact was so hard that Vikram fell on the ground with a split lip. The people surrounding them gasped and took a hold of Naren before in madness, he attacks his son once again. In the middle of chaos, someone yelled for an ambulance. Simran was sobbing loudly and calling for help clutching an unmoving Tina to her chest.
After a few moments, loud sirens were heard and a big white van stopped in front of the gates. White uniformed men rushed forward and snatched a limp Tina from her mother’s hold and entered back in the van. Vikram ran after them as well and saw them pressing two iron like wired things on her chest. With each touch of that satin thing, her body raised high from bed then fell again. Simran sobbed quietly in Naren’s arms, both of their eyes trained on their only daughter. After a long moment of struggles, the man stopped. Removing his mask, he shook his head making Simran scream aloud and extend her hand longingly in Tina’s direction. She wanted to hold her child, but Naren pulled her back crying himself.
“She is gone. She is gone…..” he chanted those words like a prayer making Vikram cry too, but in confusion.
‘Where did she go? She is laying right here, in front of them. Are they all blind?’
He thought and questioned them to aid his curiosity.
“Where did she go?”
But as his words poked him hard, Naren growled and lunged at him.
“You, bastard! You killed your own sister. You killed her. She is dead.” He screamed again and again as a few men from the neighbourhood restricted his movements and pulled him back before he could harm Vikram more. The world around Simran darkened and she fell unconscious. Vikram gasped cupping his mouth as tears streamed down his 13 years old self.
’Did I kill her? In real?′
The innocent child questioned himself as trauma hits his body hard.
After that, everything happened in a blur.
The young boy was dragged to child services and later was thrown in juvenile by the authorities on juvenile justice under high-security prison after proved an offender.
The boy found himself behind the curtains of darkness that even didn’t notice the days change. His mind was numb. He didn’t notice when two men grabbed his arms and threw him in a dark place? He winced as his knees hit a cemented floor and the flesh got scratched. His mind was so overwhelmed by his mother’s wails and father’s hatred that he didn’t notice them locking the bars and moving away after kicking a plate full of tasteless rice and curry in front of him.
He was just staring. Staring at nothing. Staring in the darkness. The darkness slowly engulfs his heart and mind, under the mercy of God and destiny.
Everybody registered it. Every single soul registered the fire of the gun, even if they were somewhere else in their houses doing daily chores, or minding their own business. But nobody noticed the innocent tears and silence behind those dead eyes, looking blankly at night sky glowing with stars.
It was just a scary accident, wasn’t it?
You can’t lose custody of your children just for being in jail or prison, but if you don’t visit or communicate with your kids for six consecutive months, your parental rights can be permanently terminated on grounds of abandonment.
Same happened to grief-stricken Naren and Simran.
They lost their son along with the daughter.