A rapist’s mind

Adamant until the last breath

He awoke as usual by the Warden’s clangs on his metal door, the sunlight streaming in a bit harsher today. He strode out defensively against his own mind which kept reminding him of the day his fate had been sealed.

“How could they blame it on me?!”, He remembered himself yelling after the verdict in the confines of his new home; his lawyer tried to hold him down.

“…when they can’t even control their own daughters?!”, his sentence broke as he saw another photo of the girl on the TV screen. Her undead eyes blazing down to his soul and making him even more restless.

His mother had broken down hitting her head crying “This is all my fault! I shouldn’t have let him go with those hooligans!”

His Dad had been standing in the center of the room condescendingly croaking an age-old statement.

“He’s a kid. He’ll lear--”, yet for some reason he couldn’t complete his statement.

Two months and the fire had stayed the same, his eyes sunken, his gait undeterred.

The kitchen lady mutely added an extra sweet to his plate today. He didn’t eat it. He didn’t deserve pity, he deserved actions.

An elder convict pat his back sympathetically but he jerked his hand away. His fury bursting to ignite each one of those principled elders.

Where were the elder men who yelled at girls for showing their skin? Or the old ladies purchasing their granddaughter’s long sleeved kurtas in shops?

He hastily left the canteen and walked back to his room. His cleaning duties had been revoked for the last week.

Upon reaching his room, he withdrew a cigarette he’d managed to get from the guy. He lit it and watched the matchstick die out to ashes. Ashes; What was left of his house after the riots, What would be left of him tomorrow.

How dare they support a girl who shamelessly invited others to see her skin? And send him to the gallows?

He stared hard at his hands as the cigarette shrunk. He couldn’t be wrong, he was punishing her for her shamelessness. Then why were they crying for her?!!

“Ow”, he cried as the cigarette butt burnt his palm. The world was unfair. Angry tears spilled out as he blamed all his elders, all his friends those knaves who twisted the truth to slip out, who didn’t stand up for him when he needed them most. Even his mother cursed him…she had always helped him by sneakily giving him money when his father denied him. Infact, that day she had given him some to party with the traitors he had called friends.

“Something wrong, brother?”, His cell mate asked from the door as timid as a deer.

Of all the things he could say, spit out or yell, he least expected laughter. Yet there he was, laughing maniacally at his state; his pitiful wretched state. His cell mate vanished before he could answer.

He laughed until it lost all meaning until he began crying, sobbing, until his eyes ran dry with his heart aching; His inner voice reaching a “Maybe”. He felt gut-wrenching pity for himself. He blamed all the people who’d let him come to this, to experience such things in his life.

He didn’t even realise when he slept and if it was plain stupor or he’d passed out but they woke him up in dead silence. Feet shuffled outside the cell and he thought he saw his cell mate peek through his torn sheet. They threw some black clothes on his bed and told him to get ready as they waited outside.

“Keep steady”, the warden grunted behind him as he almost tripped and fell in the loose garments. He was wide awake but in a stunned silence while it started kicking in two months late.

In all the anger, he hadn’t fulfilled his goodbyes. He hadn’t met his mother and his father hadn’t met him.

“Any last wishes?”, He was startled awake as he stood by the noose. When had he climbed those stairs?!

“M-my mother.”, He croaked through his sore throat.

“What about her?”, The man waited with the black cloth bag in his hand.

“Give her a saree.”, He said, his eyes filling up as he was pushed near the edge. He had clamped his eyes shut as they were pulling the black bag on his head and in the last second he opened them and his breath stuck painfully in his throat.

Diagonally below him, he saw her. She was bleeding from her abdomen and down her legs, her clothes hung in tattered shreds, her bones looked twisted at some points, her hair tattered in clumps. She held a rod. The rod. It was wet and dripping with her blood. Her lip was swollen and scratched by where he’d punched her. Her nose heaving in deep, short breaths. Her eyes were the same blazing swords cutting down to his soul and making his intestines churn.

He closed his eyes tight as the noose was placed around his neck. Then he heard it, the clank of metal gears and levers that pulled the wooden trap below him open. As it tightened around him, he opened his eyes and through the black cloth he saw her; she opened her swollen lips and screamed that scream he could never forget.

Suddenly, he knew what that “Maybe” feeling was. It wasn’t pity for himself. It was guilt. His eyes were stinging as he looked at her, his parched lips opening as his sodden face washed by tears. With his last breath he tried to whisper a word of apology but to no avail. As the executioner and the other men unhinged his body from the noose, he noted in a monotone, “Another tongue-biter” as the blood dripped from his mouth.