Screaming For Air

Savitri was naked, drenched in sweat, shaking. The water faucet under the sink had struck her near the left eye where the first trickle of blood broke free, yet she wasn’t feeling the pain. The bath tub had blocked the shaded window from her sight. The stained glass on the window threw playful patterns on the bathroom floor. On other days, she would’ve spent minutes admiring the different hues while taking a break from the book that she would read while sitting on the pot, but today the colors were fading fast to black.

“Haha, I told you she’ll fall down,” She heard Hari’s rude laughter. “What a dodo! For our next jeopardy, I predict that she’ll lose her voice. Oh look, she’s peed all over the floor!” Savitri tried to scream. The silence resounded violently across the walls and threatened to choke her. Hari’s laughter amplified her headache. Preeti was asking her to stay still. As per her, Savitri was going through the last few hours of her life. “It will be over soon,” Priti said. “Enjoy it, because death is not the end, it’s the completion. It’s a closure.”

“What bullshit!” Savitri tried to tell herself, but even that wasn’t registering clearly. “Hush now, let it come to you.” Priti teased Savitri and giggled. Hari’s laughter boomed louder than before. Neha asked Hari if she could pull at Savitri’s left foot because it’s wiggling was making her nervous. “Go right ahead, my girl!” Hari said.

Savitri felt Neha’s imaginary fingers envelope her ankle and pull at it. That’s when Savitri snapped! “Must… must… break. Must free.” Savitri started to pull herself together. “Neha.. is not.” And just like that, Neha wasn’t. Neha’s voice wasn’t being heard by her anymore, her cold fingers were gone. “Hari wasn’t.” The pain was subsiding. The convulsions were coming under control. Hari’s voice had left her head, her headache had moved to the background. “They may not be real,” Priti said, “But I am!”

“It is not… time,” Savitri’s voice echoed in the empty bathroom, “It is not your time.” Savitri said to herself and then to Priti, “It is not your time.” And this time, for the first time in her 37 years, she drove the voices in her head away without any external help.

She slowly got up to wipe the floor and herself.


I was listening to Alone in the Universe by David Usher before I wrote this piece.


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