A small junction where two well pitched paths and a byway meets. A huge electric pole at one side having a filament bulb that functions quiet abnormally, lights for few minutes then blinks then goes off and so on. Just a few number of houses around, not much movement of people and vehicles. Quite silent and sleepy area it was. It was somewhere in patan.
Winter season had already arrived making the day shorter. The evening was crossing it’s time leaving the responsibility of ending the day for ‘Night’. The houses that were scattered with big spaces between them were already lighting themselves up. That electric pole had also switched on it’s inconsistent bulb just to deliver a little hope of light for the pedestrians looking for the way towards their home.
A girl, all alone with skinny jeans and tight leather jacket with her purse hanging by her shoulder and a plastic bag in her hand. She must’ve been returning from shopping. It may have been late for her to catch a local bus/micro to home. A kind of fear in her mind that she was walking all alone in such restful area with no people walking around. She had only her shadow as her company but it wasn’t reliable as it would leave her when the bulb hanging by that pole goes off. And all she could hear was the barking dogs, nothing else. She pulls out her cell phone from her skinny uncomfortable jeans time to time just to check out the time and to pass that lonely walk ASAP.
As she arrived at that junction, she saw two boys walking towards her from other side of the road. They seemed healthy and strong. One guy was wearing black mask while other was with a cap. They were walking down the street to that junction discussing about something they need to find. The girl had a short glimpse on them and so did they.
She was already having fear in her mind of walking alone in that silent and dark road. Now, the fear got added. Wasting no time and thinking nothing she took her path from that junction, the third path which was the byway leading to a narrowed road. The boys seemed a bit confused at that junction. They gave a look at both of the roads in front of them. Then, as soon as they saw the girl taking the byway, they followed her.
She was walking ahead in that narrow path with just a few number of houses. Every shutter was shut already. The rays of light coming from the windows of the houses was showing her the way. She turned back just for a second to check whether the boys were behind her or not. And they were. Now, the fear in her mind was crossing the threshold. She started taking the bigger steps and started walking faster.
The two boys on the other hand were behind her on the same speed. As soon as she would increase her step size and speed, they would do the same. They were talking something in much fainter voice as well. They were murmuring continuously. All she could hear was the sound of their footsteps which was increasing more and more. She knew it they were coming closer and closer. Their black shadow was approaching to hers. Her heartbeat started to beat more. It wasn’t letting her to move faster off-course. All of a sudden, she felt herself so weak that the purse and the plastic bag in her hand were being so heavy to her. She started sweating, don’t know because of the walk or fear. She took her phone out, it was almost 9 o’clock. She wanted to call someone but it would be so foolish idea to call someone and tell them that she was being followed by two boys there. So, she just called her mom and told that she will be home within 15 min. She assured herself, boosted up her confidence and tore apart her fears. She continue walking more faster trying to dispel the thoughts that were concerned with the two healthy boys walking behind her.
The boys were constantly talking with each other. She couldn’t figure it out though. She overheard some of their phrases like “is there someone around?”, “seems like she is the only one here”. Now, she lost her boosted confidence. She got some kind of indication that the boys were chasing her. Their walking behind her was completely pre-planned. Her heartbeat started beating more hardly and frequently than before. She started thinking so much about the possible happenings in next few minutes. “What if they tease me? What if they come and talk to me? What if they touch me? What if they kidnap me? What if they sexually harass me? What if they try to feel my body? What if they try to rape me?” With generating such apathy in her mind, she was manually adding fear within her.
Then, there was load-shedding. The only hope she had for her protection left her alone again. It was darkness all around. Her mind went crazy thinking that maybe this is the place where one of the above possibilities would happen. Her mind started giving a lot of responses to that thinking. The boys on the other side were now walking more closer like they were trying to catch her. Now, she was confirmed that she was on target. She couldn’t think of anything. She couldn’t make a decision what to do. “ should I call someone? Should I run? Should I shout? Or should I fight back?” Then, she thought it would be better to run up to her home which was not more far away now. She started walking more fast and more faster. The boys behind her also were walking faster on the same rate as hers.
Suddenly, she heard them saying,“hey!”
She got her heartbeat something like a drum set. She started walking more fast. She was running now.
She again heard them saying, “hello! Bahini.”
She stopped right there. That polite words from behind was unbelievable to her. She took a few seconds to confirm if she heard right words. She gave enough time for her heart to reset. Then, she turned back. The boys were standing there being confused.
“why were you running? Were you scared? We were trying to catch you up from that junction and ask where this road ends? There were no other people walking here and we found only you so we followed you. We need to go jawalakhel and we had never been in this area before. So, can you help us out?” They asked her slowing down their breathing.
“Yes, this way will take you to jawalakhel.” She replied them with great relief.
“Thank you! bahini. Go home safely.” They said and took their way ahead.
And there she was standing being thrilled about what they said and what they did. She felt so stupid, so foolish to think like that. Moreover, she felt apologizing that she thought they were RAPERS just because they were BOYS.