Made in China
I have subscribed to an App on my phone that would send me daily prompts to interpret as I please, and blog the result. Todays prompt was;
You pick up Chinese food from a local restaurant, but when you get home you find something unexpected in the bag.
Here is my story for it
Made in China
Sushant Gupta shut his computer, stretched his hands above his head, cracked his knuckles and let out a mighty yawn. He looked around his empty office and realized that once again he was the last one left. He slid his laptop inside his bag, added two files to it and slinging the bag across his chest and walked out of the office.
Stepping out of the elevator he stepped into a pleasant evening. Hands in his pockets he started walking the short distance from office to home. Twice a week he looked forward to his indulgence of beer and a takeaway Chinese meal, both of which he which he picked up on the way. A short walk led him to the local food joint he favoured.
It was funny that even after eating the food for more than a year he still didn’t know what the dishes were called. Gestures worked as he pointed out his usual’s on the pictorial menu. As he casually waited, his eyes darted around anxiously into all corners of the tiny 4-table restaurant and the open kitchen, and he was relieved to find out she wasn’t here today.
Within minutes a bag full of steaming deliciousness and a cold bottle of beer were his accompaniments to his apartment. As he let himself in, he was thankful for having a flatmate whose work saw to it that he was traveling almost 20 days a month, leaving the flat to Sushant.
After a quick change he started unpacking his meal. The fragrance of the Pork curry made his stomach rumble. He inhaled the Beef dish and his mouth watered. What would his parents think if they found out that their son, who grew up in a God-fearing, no-onion, no-garlic, pure-veg household had become a habitual carnivore. His hand dived in for the steamed rice when he felt another box tucked away at the bottom of the bag. Puzzled, he took it out. He didn’t remember ordering anything other than his usual menu.
It was a takeaway box all right, but sealed. He shook it and it made a muffled sound. Opening the box he found tissues wrapped around an object inside. He looked at it for a moment, wondering if he should just discard it. But curiousity got the better of him and he removed the object.He gingerly felt around it, it seemed hard. Should he open it, or not, he wondered again. He unwrapped the tissues with trepidation, to find a rattle inside.
Turning it around in his hand he shrugged. What was a baby’s rattle doing inside the bag? What did it mean? How had it got here? His conscience nudged him with a gentle reminder of Li, but his mind hastily pushed it away.
He turned the rattle in his hand again. It looked liked a usual rattle, but he was missing something. He kept staring at it till he realized that the rattle didn’t make any sound. From some unknown reason that sent a chill down Sushant’s spine and he abruptly threw it away. As it lay on the ground he kept staring at it and let out a nervous laugh. He couldn’t believe that a stupid item like a baby’s rattle had unnerved him. He picked it up and re-examined it, wondering what to do. Should he go to the restaurant and hand it to the restaurant owner, old man Mac, or just throw it away. He was confused, and scared.
His conscience nudged him once more, stronger this time, and he remembered Li. Young and innocent Li, the old mans daughter who helped out at the restaurant after school. Li, who blushed every time she handed him his takeaway. Li, who used to lookout for him and pat her hair and straighten her dress when she saw him approaching. Li, who thought he looked like an Indian film star. Li, who thought she was the luckiest girl alive, when he started giving her attention. Li, who agreed to meet him away from the shop. Li, who trusted him till he made her regret it.
He shivered, remembering his last meeting with Li, where the tears flowing down her face made it difficult for her to speak and how he had pushed her away and walked off, threatening to tell her father everything if she didn’t leave him alone. He was being cruel, he knew. But that was the only way he could get rid of her, he assured himself. Then, and now.
He wondered what to do, and what was happening. Li hadn’t been at the shop this evening, he had checked. Then who had put the rattle in his bag, and more importantly, why. Was Li trying to tell him something, he swallowed nervously. And if yes, then what?
A loud thudding on his door made him snap out of his reverie.
More thudding followed. He knew no one here and had no visitors, ever. He was careful to never invite Li home either. As the thudding got louder and more frequent, Sushant found himself sweating. How had his pleasant evening changed so soon?
Now someone was pounding at the door, screaming out in a language he didn’t understand. From the voices outside he realized there was more than one person. Now someone else began pushing on the flimsy door, while another continued pounding.
Sushant didn’t know what to do.
Suddenly the lights went off, filling him with icy dread, and the pounding got more insistent. He looked around helplessly, but darkness enveloped everything. The door finally gave way and by the faint light that spilled in from the corridor, he saw three men enter. He started stepping back, but tripped on something. The men walked in, talking loudly amongst themselves and shone a flashlight around his house. On the floor, Sushant tried to curl himself into a ball, an invisible ball hoping their beam of light would miss him and they would leave. Silent sobs escaped his throat.
From underneath his hands that covered his face he saw the light, and the men saw him. They lunged at him, pulling him up, slapping, punching, kicking at him from three different sides. He screamed, they hit him some more. He screamed again. They continued raining kicks and blows. He was in agony.
They paused abruptly and one of the men shone the flashlight in his eyes and Sushant blinked. Before he had time to react he was being punched in the stomach again. To his right he heard a faint hiss, and the beam of the flashlight was turned to show a knife being slid out of its scabbard. Sushant screamed. And screamed some more, as the knife was plunged into his stomach, again and again. And then he woke up.
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