Be my bride: Short Story
‘India is a spiritual haven for lost souls. Its mystique remains unequaled. A beautiful creation of divinity…’
Sammy was mesmerized by these words as she looked out of the aircraft window. She was clueless as to what prompted her to take this step. She was not an impulsive gal. Her decisions were always premeditated. Of late she had been feeling an urge to let go. Let go… of what? Why?
She led a lonely life in America. Her professional life was so engaging that she rarely had time for her private life. She had a few friends. As for her family, her mother abandoned her when she was ten. Her father died soon after her mother’s perfidy. She was raised by her paternal grandmother. After Sammy moved out, her grandmamma turned a recluse. Sammy was no longer in touch with her.
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Robin, her ex-boyfriend, recently got married. Robin’s desertion imparted purpose to Sammy’s life. She dived headlong into her career. In a few short years, she had been promoted to the rank of departmental head of the beauty section, Harrods America.
Sammy was a conventional beauty. She was successful. She had everything going for her. Yet she missed the presence of a man in her life.
She had been meaning to take a few days off from work near Thanksgiving because she despised the environment during the holiday season in her office. She was working round-the-clock to avoid delaying her assignments and also to ensure she was not missed during her absence.
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It was another of those hard nights. Sammy and Jeremy, the night watchman, were the only two people left in the upper half of the store. Sammy was closing her office when a commotion in the beauty salon next door led her into the presence of a strikingly pretty brown, slender girl. She had black penetrating eyes… It was her outfit that caught Sammy’s attention. She was struck by its color. It was an eclectic compilation of western dresses. Its color was burnt orange with shades of red. She looked around. Jeremy was not there. Sammy felt creepy. Whom had this woman been talking to?
Sammy, revived, called out to Jeremy. No words came out of her mouth. Sammy was horrified and backed away from that woman. She was smiling. She extended her hand and said, “Come to India… discover love…” She came forward towards Sammy and entered.
What transpired, Sammy could not recall. She had only a faint memory of Jeremy carrying her in his arms. It took her days to recover. On regaining her strength, she had found out Jeremy was off-duty that night. She was found in an unconscious state. Why was she in that condition? No one knew. Doctors blamed her nerves. They advised fresh air and loads of rest.
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Why did she choose India? Where did this tourist guide to India come from? Sammy was perplexed as she reclined in her seat and dozed off.
Sammy was distraught. Something was on and she could not locate it. Sammy was in a desolate region. It was dark. Was she in Agra?
Sammy was petrified as she scanned her surroundings. She then heard slow, muffled sounds. She headed in that direction. The sight she beheld deadened her senses. A man, rather, an elaborate caricature of royalty, stood pointing an accusing finger at her. Was he a ghoul? He was dressed in a deep red robe embellished with jewels of all kinds. His gaze bore into the deepest recesses of Sammy.
It was at this juncture that Sammy was shaken by a violent spasm. She fell unawares. The woman Sammy encountered in America hovered over her. And the man. Sammy could hear the distinct religious chants.
His roaring laughter shook up Sammy. She was amazed to see herself sitting beside that man, clad in a royal overflowing robe, around a shallow bowl of fire. Sammy exchanged glances with him. He grinned and within seconds he lunged at her. Sammy fell backward but was caught by strong arms. Turning around, Sammy was astounded to see him. Another man appeared on the horizon. He staggered forth. Sammy threw up. It was him. Bewildered, Sammy started screaming. Her pleas for freedom went unanswered.
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It was then that the man spoke. His voice was hoarse. He revealed a secret which he felt would change Sammy’s life. She was his wife. They were man and wife eons ago. She died leaving him to survive through eternity. He had come to reclaim his love. The woman Sammy met in America was a priestess and she was the one who kept alive his optimism. The wait was over.
He then implored Sammy to join him.
Sammy’s wails were heard by some tourists who called the cops. No one could be traced.
Sammy was glad to be in America. Her new life held immense possibilities. She was immensely delighted to be finally rid of her burnt orange, with shades of red, clothes.
(This short story is written by an Indian writer, Molly Kumar, who is based in Zambia, Africa)