Winter’s child

 

“Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold.”As Eve stood shivering on the bathroom mat, looking at the red streak snaking down her legs, the chill rose up to freeze her from within and outside. She fought the tears tottering on the slippery threshold of her consciousness, wondering why this was happening to her.

 
She had followed the Doctor’s orders and she and George had seen to it that they did not miss the days marked on the calendar. It had not been easy but neither of them had demurred. Yet, it seemed that the seed she desperately hoped would bloom refused to take root. Her womb continued to be barren, month after month. At times, she wondered if God was punishing her for something that had in no way been her fault.

 
Shoulders drooping, she dragged herself back to bed. George stirred but then snuggled back under the warm covers. Sleep evaded her though she tried her best to court it. Ruefully she let it slip away and resigned herself to a few more hours of “mind-hoopla” as she called it. Her mind flitted from thoughts to memories to thoughts in a never ending loop.

 
She was born into a wealthy family but her parents were too busy playing to the gallery to really care. The children were just trophies to be exhibited on certain occasions. Her elder brother Josh was a carbon copy of their Dad and idolized him. Their younger sister was a wallflower, with no opinion of her own and content to live as directed. Eve, on the other hand was a rebel.

 
Thus she was happy to leave home for college at nineteen. There she met Matt. He was a pleasant change from all the people she used to meet in her pseudo life at home. Both felt an instant attraction, which over the next two years developed into deep love.

 

Eve knew her parent’s reaction to her choice and so she hid it from them till the day Matt joined the hospital as a full time Doctor.
Matt promised to take her to meet his parents during Thanksgiving. They both wanted a Christmas wedding.

 
The meeting however never took place, nor did the wedding. Driving to work next week, Matt met with an accident and he died on the spot.

 
Eve was beyond herself with grief and went home for the first time in four years. She was sick so often that it took her some time to realize that she was pregnant. She was shocked at first but then overjoyed .However, her joy was short-lived for her family did not approve of her having a baby out of wedlock.

 
She could still remember the conversation word to word.

 

Her Mom had looked at her with utmost distaste as if she was something the cat dragged in “Why must you insist on bringing shame to the family name?”

 
“After all that we have done for you is this how you repay us?” shouted her Dad, his swarthy face turning purple.

 
Not to be left behind, her ineffacious brother declared, “We can’t let you have his bastard.”

 
Her sister of course had nothing to say.

 
Eve decided not to bow to their pressure tactic but she had underestimated her parent’s guile and wickedness. One night, they drugged her and spirited her away to a private nursing home. When she came to, it was already too late. As soon as she could walk, she left home and never looked back.

 

 
Even George believed she was an orphan and she had no intention of revealing these dark secrets to him, ever.

 
She sighed and decided to get up as dawn crawled in slowly. She put the kettle on and watched snow drifting down relentlessly. The sky looked dull, just like her mood. She called her Doctor around noon from her office-she did not want George to be privy to this setback-at least not today. Her Doctor told her to come in the next day.

 
Next morning Eve woke up and was taken aback. She had not bled at all during the night-what was going on? Was she ill?

 
With trepidation she walked into the clinic. The shadow of uncertainty loomed large as she lay down on the examination table.

 
A few hours later, she was driving back, a smile on her lips. The miracle of spring was accumulating in her womb and she could not wait to celebrate its arrival with her beloved George.

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This is my response to Speakeasy’s weekly prompt #157 which required us to (a)write a response(fiction or poetry) in 750 words or less (mine is 748, including the title) (b) using the following sentence as the FIRST line in your submission: “Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold.” and (c) make some reference to the media prompt,which this week the  drawing above, by Leonardo da Vinci, entitled Study of a Womb.

The challenge is open to everyone,so if you want to join in or read the other entries,please click on the url http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/fiction-challenge-157-open/

 


The survivors

Lion

 

The survivors
Without a word, she dropped to the ground. She had no energy left. Her half naked body shivered and her mind telescoped within itself. She was oblivious to the hushed murmurs that rose from the group of women surrounding her or of the midwife cleaning and covering her up. Her eyes were fixed on the small, immobile bundle. Her fourth child had arrived into this world without any noise, as if protesting against the atrocities of the past. A still born…

 
She was not sure if she should be relieved or sad. She, Radha, the third wife of the village Chaudhary had failed to give him a male heir yet again. Her three daughters had been killed as soon as they had uttered their first cry. Radha had been told of the fate a new born girl would meet in the Chaudhary household by Lalita and Amodini, the first two wives of Chaudhary. They had undergone the same pain and had finally been thrown out of the house.

 
The first time it happened, Radha had cried for months but this time, she was numb. She wondered if this little one already knew that she was going to be killed-was unwanted and so had decided to end it all before it began. The Chaudhary was too egotistical to even harbour the idea that a woman was in no way responsible for a child’s gender. Not that anyone in this village knew or understood such things.

 
She knew that her time to be evicted had arrived when she saw her husband eyeing the Priest’s nubile daughter, Pallavi. His hungry gaze reminded her of a cat she had once seen, climbing a tree slowly, stalking its prey-a young bird. She thought that it ironic that the Chaudhary did not want any daughters, forgetting that it is finally a woman who gives birth to a man!

 

 

When she heard that a marriage proposal had been sent to Pallavi’s house, she shuddered at the fate that awaited the poor girl. She wished she could do something to save the young girl from her husband’s clutches but her husband was a powerful man. No one could help her and anyway all the men in the village had the same attitude. The date for her husband’s marriage was fixed .It was going to take place in three months time. She prayed for a miracle.

 
Unfortunately, nothing happened and the marriage took place on the scheduled day. Chaudhary decided not to throw Radha out simply because she was still young and beautiful. It also gave his ego a big boost to have two young wives at his beck and call, to satisfy his every need.

 
Two weeks after the marriage, the Chaudhary had to go to another village for campaigning. Panchayat elections were close and he wanted to win again. Meanwhile, Radha and Pallavi became good friends. Then, one day Pallavi confessed that she was in love with a young man. However, he belonged to a lower caste and though he was very intelligent and was going to college, they could never be together.

 
Radha got an idea .She knew there was a chance that the Chaudhary could be beaten, God willing. She remembered reading in “Mahabharata”, the epic. Kunti and Madri, the two wives of King Pandu had conceived children by invoking different Gods as their husband had been incapable of having coitus.Though, this was not really the case, and a little twisting of the original tale may work wonders here. It could also mean salvation for her and Pallavi.

 
She decided to talk to Pallavi about her plan.Pallavi was scared at first but then she caught on to it and became excited. For the two weeks Chaudhary was absent, Radha helped Pallavi meet her lover and they cohabited. Her lover was leaving for the city after the two weeks and Radha and Pallavi decided he need not know anything about their plan.

 
A month later Chaudhary was given the good news that Pallavi was expecting.

 
Both Radha and Pallavi prayed and eight months later, their prayers were answered.Pallavi gave birth to two bonny babies-both males. Everyone rejoiced and the Chaudhary threw a huge party. The two wives looked at each other and smiled, knowing that they would take this secret to their graves.

 

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This is my response to Speakeasy’s weekly writing prompt #155. The challenge this week is to(a) write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 718 words,including the title) (b) using “Without a word, she dropped to the ground.” as the first sentence, and (c) make some sort of reference to the photo prompt (which is posted above).

Speakeasy is open to everyone and if you are interested in participating or reading what other contestants have submitted for this contest,please click on this link http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/155-open/

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