Ugly Minds
Ugly Minds

Ugly Minds

* Trigger warning : Violence, torture, discrimination, death, suicidal thoughts.

Saya slowly opened her eyes to find herself sitting all alone in a chair in the middle of an unfamiliar corridor. She looked by her side and noticed all the chairs were empty. The bright red cushions were distracting. The walls were painted in black and the light on the ceiling was making her feel dizzy.

She didn’t remember how long she was sitting there. She turned to the ends of the corridor on both sides to see if someone was coming. There were doors at each end that were open shedding little light from outside. She felt the urge to stand up and walk out of there.

Where am I?

What is keeping me here?

Why am I here?

Who am I waiting for?

These questions kept bugging her. For some reason, she didn’t remember anything other than her name and that she must sit there.

The blankness killed her. 

Kill?

Am I dead? 

She shook her head at that thought. Suddenly she turned to her right believing she heard something.

She thought she was delusional. It has been dead silent as far as she could remember.

“What is this place?” she whispered slowly: half-expecting an answer in return. 

Maybe some ethereal voice would answer her. But nothing happened.

“Hello?”

“Is anyone there?”

She asked as she looked around.

Why can’t I get up and leave? 

Why am I here in the first place?

She didn’t know the answers to the questions that kept piling in her mind. 

She slowly leaned on the chair; the cushion was comfortable. Something told her that she must have been there for some time. She closed her eyes as she leaned and tried to think of something. Any thought would be helpful. The time seemed to stand still. With the silence and no memories, it felt like she had died.

Saya sat upright after a while.

So this is life after death? It is nothing: Literally, she thought.

She smiled as she tried to make sense of the place. The inherent human habit to make sense of something, especially when the mind demands it, worked up inside her. She didn’t remember her life but she did know how the world works – how everyone tries to make meaning out of their lives. 

To think it all ends and comes to this- this nothingness.

She laughed a little louder. Saya’s laugh- that little sound was relaxing. 

She laughed again as she looked around. She laughed louder as the minutes passed. Her laughter became howls and growls over time and she finally stopped after a while to catch her breath.

She caught her stomach as the pain of continuous laughter made her feel alive for a while. 

As the pain faded away, she wanted to laugh out loud again and feel something. But her mind suggested something else. She pinched her wrist. The stinging sensation faded in a second or two. She did so again: this time harder. She repeatedly pinched herself until her skin reddened and the pain was durable as the time passed. The paining sensation was not pleasant but it made her feel something. She felt the need to punish herself.

A flash of memory struck her. 

***

There were bloodstains on the floor. Her blurred vision was making it hard to figure out where she was. But the blood was a lot. It was apparent that something bad had happened.

***

Saya gasped. She looked around the dark corridor expecting to share it with someone. The disappointment made her frown. 

But soon new questions occupied her mind.

Was it my blood?

Where was I?

Why was my vision blurring?

It looked like she was laying on the floor. Saya sat there as she tried to wreck her brain for more answers. But she failed to find answers.

“What happened?” she whispered. 

Still, no ethereal voice answered.

“What happened?” she asked out a little louder.

Saya closed her eyes and breathed unhurriedly.

“WHAT HAPPENED?”

“WHY AM I HERE?”

“WAS IT MY BLOOD?”

“DID I DIE?”

Saya felt like her throat might explode after the shouting so loud. The dryness and aching of her throat felt familiar. She wondered if she always shouted like a maniac.

But the absolute silence was maddening; now more because of her rising heartbeat. She kept her hand above her chest to calm down.

A tear escaped her eye. She touched her face in shock as she wiped her cheek. Why was she crying?

Another memory flashed before her eyes.

***

It was dark. 

Tears kept flowing down her eyes and she kept groaning as she cried.

“Not fair!” she murmured as she cried. She was crouched up against the wall. Her face was completely wet with tears. The incomprehensible feeling of sorrow kept her from any other thoughts. 

She cried out loud as she murmured “Why?”

***

Saya looked around the empty corridor and shook her head. 

Her mind commanded her to feel sad and heartbroken.

Why?

She didn’t know why but she felt an immense sense of pent-up grief. She felt tears escape her eyes as she looked at the black wall in front of her. She sniffed as she kept crying and she slowly wiped the tears. It felt like her suffering was not an easy one. 

What happened to make her cry like this? she kept thinking.

Looking at the black wall, she felt this burst of emotions- sadness, hopelessness, and most importantly heartbreak.

Who am I crying over?

“Sathya” the name came across her mind. Immediately it triggered some tugging sensation- like her mind was nagging her to remember everything. The name was not alien. The name gave her comfort in an instant.

“Sathya?” she said in a low voice.

“Sathya” she repeated.

She kept repeating the name for a long time like it will bring back her memories. She wasn’t getting tired of it.

Who was Sathya? The question was drilling her mind hard as she tried to remember everything.

After some time: She didn’t know how long it had been or if time was stagnant. But she stopped and looked around at the empty corridor. 

Why was she here all alone? 

Where was Sathya?

Saya’s mind was feeling like it might explode at any moment.

“Saya?” a voice distracted her. Saya turned to both sides of the corridor thinking there was someone else. But the same emptiness welcomed her. Saya looked down at her feet and noticed the tidy floor for the first time.

“Saya” again she heard a voice. She didn’t even bother to look up. She knew there was no one else. It was all in her head – the voice, the sadness. Without her memories, nothing meant anything.

Sathya – the name meant something to her.

***

A scream louder than the thunders filled her ears. The scream was so loud that it was scary. Saya walked out of her room – the connecting hall was all dark. All the rooms were dark just like hers. The thunders, stormy winds, and rattling windows were making everything eery. The endless screaming got louder as she reached the stairs.

She climbed down the stairs as she kept shivering. The screams filled her ear with horror and worry. She heard the screams from the backyard and now also waves of laughter. As she quickly walked towards the backdoor and opened it up she saw that the barn was lit. Who was there? She kept wondering as she took slow steps towards the barn.

She saw them – the men of her house gathered.

They were laughing at something before them, but their back posture was all that was visible to Saya. Saya took in a sharp breath and hugged herself- the chill of the night had crept on her. She stood there trying to see what was so entertaining to them.

“How dare you steal from our home?” one of her brothers growled.

There was that scream again. It was a woman.

“No!” Saya shouted making all of them turn towards her. As they all turned she saw a woman tied up to the wooden pillar. She looked like she was getting beaten up for all this time – saree torn here and there, bleeding badly, and covered up in bruises.

“What are you doing here?” her uncle came and grabbed her wrist forcibly. He pulled her away from the barn.

“What were you doing to Lakshmi? She is our maid. How could you beat her like that?” Saya shouted as tears ran down her cheeks. Her brother came there by then.

“You better get back in!” he growled.

“That’s right” her uncle nodded as he went back to the barn.

“Brother! What is happening?” Saya asked in a broken voice as she wiped her tear.

Her brother looked back at the barn and then at Saya. He pulled her back inside the house and then towards the stairs. Saya quickly freed herself from his grip and looked at him with bloodshot eyes.

“She stole from us. She gets what she deserves!” her brother yelled.

“If she stole from us complain to the police. They will arrest her. You had no right- “

“The police are here as well. We are just teaching her lesson before she is arrested.” Her brother cut her off.

Saya realized, that among the men were some with khaki uniforms.

“But-“

“No Buts just go back to your room!” her brother growled and left her standing in the middle of the faintly lit hall. 

Saya stood still- hearing the occasional screams and waves of laughter.

***

As Saya remembered this, she couldn’t help but cry. Her memory was coming back to her. She clawed the cushion on the chair as she cried out loud. The horrifying sight of Lakshmi hung up like an animal and then tortured for the entertainment of the monstrous beings that called themselves human.

***

The next morning, Saya’s brothers and uncles acted like nothing had happened the previous night. They were all smiles and as usual. Her father didn’t even look at her- maybe he was guilty. Guilty of the crime? No! Guilty of getting caught? A little.

But little did they know what they did will come back to them. 

That evening Saya was called by Sathya. Sathya the man of her dreams. Saya has been in love with him for years now. Every time she sees him around her neighborhood, her heart melts. She has never spoken with him though. But he knew she exists. Everyone knows her family. Being a family of status and higher caste they were well known. But Saya didn’t want all that. She just wanted to be invisible.

When Sathya invited her for a meetup, Saya was trembling with fear. What was she going to say? She had so many things to say. Years of yearning made her know a lot of things about him. 

***

Saya’s memories were rushing. Sathya was the man of her dreams? Why did she meet him? What happened? The questions rose in seconds and her thoughts became more clear.

***

“Saya?” Sathya asked as she approached him.

“Yes,” Saya replied timidly as she tried not to look at him directly. 

Did he come to know about her love? Even the thought made her anxious.

Sathya looked at her directly: things seemed to slow down. He was looking at her. At her!

But then something heavy hit her from behind and she landed down with intense pain. The face-front fall was not easy on her. The hard concrete made sure her whole body hurt- mostly her face. Saya tried to breathe slowly and she tried to reach her head. She tried to move but it was hard. The pain in the back of her head was becoming unbearable and her vision had begun to blur. Someone turned her around and she tried to see who it was.

“Sathya?” she whimpered in pain.

“This is for Lakshmi.” He yelled.

Saya cried in pain. She felt wet from her head to neck. The blood kept flowing down and the pain was making her faint.

“Just because she is a low caste woman, you would go as far as to kill her?” Sathya growled.

“What did she do?”

“WHAT DID SHE DO?”

Sathya yelled on top of his lungs.

“Sathya?” Saya said again- now just a small whisper. Everything was becoming blurry and her body kept failing her.

“A SWEETBOX?” Sathya yelled.

Sathya knelt by her side in anger and kept punching the floor. 

He growled in anger and looked up to his friends by his side. They were all grim and angry.

“Your family killed her because she stole a sweet box?” he asked in a low voice now. 

But Saya was already losing her consciousness. She couldn’t hear things properly. 

“She was not my family. But she has fed me so many times as I roamed these streets begging for food!” Sathya cried.

Saya’s eyes teared up and she couldn’t help but cry. Over a sweet box? Her family tied up Lakshmi and tortured her over a sweet box. She couldn’t believe they beat her to death.

Saya yelled in agony as she kept punching the cushion by her side.

The ugly minds of people can urge them to go to any extent. 

What kind of people- monsters would do such a thing?

A sweet box?

***

Saya shook her head as she growled in agony. She didn’t know if she was dead or not but she didn’t want to go back to the hell where that happened. Staying here without anyone or anything was maddening. But at least she didn’t have to talk to monsters who were pretending to be humans.

“Saya?” this time the voice seemed real. Saya looked around thinking maybe now that she remembers her past it was time to move from there- wherever that was.

But suddenly everything became bright and she closed her eyes instinctively. When Saya opened her eyes again, she was in a hospital. Her family was around her screaming delightfully. The doctor was by her side in a moment.

A tear escaped her eyes as she saw all of them. 

Why?

Why didn’t I die? She thought.

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