Winning entry (Contest #2): And then there were none
by Mythili Seshu
The cameras flash and the snapping of photos begins as soon as I leave the court.
Immediately I am surrounded on all sides by a pack of reporters.
I can’t breathe.
“Mrs. Mrinal are you satisfied with the punishment given to the murderers of your daughter?” the first hyena pounces, pushing the microphone into my face.
“Mrs. Mrinal what would you like to say to other mothers who’ve lost their daughters?”
As the reporters bombard me with questions, pretending like they actually care about me instead of the money they’ll be paid, I don’t say a word.
Silent tears fall down my face as my lawyer and a few police officers escort me through the crowd.
The next day, the newspaper headlines are enough to trigger me once again.
MOTHER OF RAPED & MURDERED GIRL ISN’T SATISFIED WITH JUDGE’S SENTENCE
No, I’m not satisfied.
Seema was tortured and left to die.
How can I be satisfied unless the murderers of my daughter are dead?
I can’t sleep these days. I relive my daughter’s last moments and feel as lonely as she felt that night.
Rakesh left. He’s a coward who doesn’t want to fight for our daughter.
He has a new wife now. New kids. New life.
Everyone feels so sorry for me now.
I still have her clothes and belongings.
I smell them and hold them as if I’m holding her.
I see her face everywhere.
I sometimes see her around the house and call her name.
She teases me and her laughter echoes, as she runs everywhere.
No one saw her coming back from school with a gap-toothed smile on her face.
No one saw her comfort me when Rakesh came home drunk.
No one saw her defend me when he tried to hit me.
She was always there for me, and I for her.
But then she lies on the floor, bleeding.
Her innocent eyes crying out for me, “Amma, amma…..”
His parents blamed me.
“You let her wear those short dresses.”
Rakesh blamed me.
“You didn’t teach her to behave properly.”
How dare they?
The nation claimed to be with me.
They held up their candles and said their prayers.
But soon, the same thing happens to another girl.
And my Seema is forgotten.
My Seema was a nameless girl.
There were people supporting us.
And then there were none.
She is a dusty file in the circuit courthouse.
But I, I will fight for her, till my last breath.
Mythili Seshu is a tenth-grade student studying in Dubai. This is the winning entry for Short Story Writing Contest #2.
Judge’s remarks: Often we read headlines which disturb our peace of mind. But what is the state of mind of the victim’s family?
The writer has given us a glimpse of the inner world of an anguished mother. Though one feels her emotions, there is also a sense of detachment. Which is necessary to retain one’s sanity and carry on this lonely battle.
The story was edited by Rashmi to give it more focus and clarity. However, the writer’s words and flow have been retained, as far as possible. Well done, Mythili!