She ran out of the room and up the stairs, and she could feel Aryan’s
hatred pursuing her, like some violent, evil force.
She stayed in her
bedroom all day.
Aryan knew. He knew. She could not face him
Finally, night came. It was the middle of July, and the air still held the heat of the day. Juhi opened her bedroom windows wide to catch whatever faint breeze there might be.
In Aryan’s room, Nurse Anju was on duty. She tucked the cover around Aryan. She took one last look at Aryan and retired to her sitting room to watch some late night tv. She kept the sound low so that it would not disturb her patient. But Aryan would not have heard it in any case.
His thought were
The house was asleep, safe in the gaurded concrete fence. A few faint sounds of traffic drifted up from far away Marine Drive. Anju was watching a late night movie. She wished they would run an Aryan’s film. It would be so exciting to watch Mr. Aryan on TV and know that he was here in person, just a few feet away.
At four a.m., Nurse Anju slept in the middle of a horror film.
In Aryan’s bedroom there was deep silence. In Juhi’s room, the only sound that could be heard was the ticking of the bedside clock. Juhi lay in her royal bed, naked, sound asleep, one arm hugging a pillow, her body dark against the white sheets. The street noises were muffled and far away.
Juhi turned restlessly in her sleep and shivered. She dreamed that she and Raj were in Alaska on their honeymoon. They were on a vast frozen plain and a sudden strom had come up. The wind was blowing the icy air into their faces, and it was difficult to breathe. She turned toward Raj, but he was gone. She was alone in the frigid Arctic, coughing, fighting to get her breath. It was the sound of someone chocking that woke Juhi up. She heard a horrid, gasping wheeze, a death rattle, and she opened her eyes, and the sound was coming from her own throat. She could not breathe.
An icy cloak of air covered her like some obscene blanket, caressing her nude body, kissing her lips with a frigid, malodorous breath that reeked of the grave. Juhi’s heart was pounding wildly now, as she fought for air. Her lungs felt seared from the cold. She tried to sit up, and it was as though there was an invisible weight holding her down. She knew this had to be a dream, but at the same time she could hear that hideous rattle from her throat as she fought for breath.
She was dying. But could a person die during a nightmare? Juhi could feel the cold tendrils exploring her body, a male hardness pressing her against bed- and with a heart-stopping suddenness, she realized it was Aryan. Somehow, by some means, it was Aryan. And the quick rush of terror in Juhi gave her the strength to claw her way to the foot of the bed, gasping for breath, mind and body fighting to stay alive. She reached the floor and struggled to her feet and ran for the door, feeling the cold pursuing her, surrounding her, clutching at her. Her fingures found the door knob and twisted it open. She ran out into the hallway, panting for air, filling her starved lungs with oxygen. The hallway was warm, quiet, still.
Juhi stood there, swaying, her teeth chattering uncont- rollably. She turned to look into her room. It was normal and peaceful. She had had a nightmare. Juhi hesitated a moment, then slowly walked back through the doorway. Her room was warm. There was nothing to be afraid of. Of course, Aryan could not harm her.
In her sitting room, Nurse Anju awakened restlessly, and went to check on her patient. Aryan was lying in his bed, exactly as she had left him.
But, Anju took no notice of the cover she tucked around Aryan before retiering was not there.
After that the nighmare kept recurring regularly, like a black omen of doom, a prescience of some horror to come. Slowly, a terror began to build up in Juhi.