I have subscribed to an App on my phone that would send me daily prompts to interpret as I please, and blog the result. Todays prompt was;
You pick up Chinese food from a local restaurant, but when you get home you find something unexpected in the bag.
Here is my story for it
Made in China
Sushant Gupta shut his computer, stretched
his hands above his head, cracked his knuckles and let out a mighty yawn. He
looked around his empty office and realized that once again he was the last one left. He slid his laptop inside his bag, added two files to it and slinging the
bag across his chest and walked out of the office.
Stepping out of the elevator he stepped into
a pleasant evening. Hands in his pockets he started walking the short distance
from office to home. Twice a week he looked forward to his indulgence of beer and a
takeaway Chinese meal, both of which he which he picked up on the way. A short walk led him to the local food
joint he favoured.
It was funny that even after eating the food for
more than a year he still didn’t know what the dishes were called. Gestures
worked as he pointed out his usual’s on the pictorial menu. As he casually waited, his eyes darted around anxiously into
all corners of the tiny 4-table restaurant and the open kitchen, and he was
relieved to find out she wasn’t here today.
Within minutes a bag full of steaming
deliciousness and a cold bottle of beer were his accompaniments to his
apartment. As he let himself in, he was thankful for having a flatmate whose
work saw to it that he was traveling almost 20 days a month, leaving the flat
After a quick change he started unpacking his
meal. The fragrance of the Pork curry made his stomach rumble. He inhaled the Beef
dish and his mouth watered. What would his parents think if they found out that
their son, who grew up in a God-fearing, no-onion, no-garlic, pure-veg household
had become a habitual carnivore. His hand dived in for the steamed rice when he
felt another box tucked away at the bottom of the bag. Puzzled, he took it out.
He didn’t remember ordering anything other than his usual menu.
It was a takeaway box all right, but sealed. He
shook it and it made a muffled sound. Opening the box he found tissues wrapped
around an object inside. He looked at it for a moment, wondering if he should
just discard it. But curiousity got the better of him and he removed the
object.He gingerly felt around it, it seemed hard. Should he open it, or not,
he wondered again. He unwrapped the tissues with trepidation, to
find a rattle inside.
Turning it around in his hand he
shrugged. What was a baby’s rattle doing inside the bag? What did it mean? How
had it got here? His conscience nudged him with a gentle reminder of Li, but
his mind hastily pushed it away.
He turned the rattle in his hand again. It
looked liked a usual rattle, but he was missing something. He kept staring at
it till he realized that the rattle didn’t make any sound. From some unknown
reason that sent a chill down Sushant’s spine and he abruptly threw it away. As
it lay on the ground he kept staring at it and let out a nervous laugh. He
couldn’t believe that a stupid item like a baby’s rattle had unnerved him. He picked
it up and re-examined it, wondering what to do. Should he go to the restaurant
and hand it to the restaurant owner, old man Mac, or just throw it away. He was
confused, and scared.
His conscience nudged him once more, stronger
this time, and he remembered Li. Young and innocent Li, the old mans daughter
who helped out at the restaurant after school. Li, who blushed every time she
handed him his takeaway. Li, who used to lookout for him and pat her hair and
straighten her dress when she saw him approaching. Li, who thought he looked
like an Indian film star. Li, who thought she was the luckiest girl alive, when he started giving her
attention. Li, who agreed to meet him away from the shop. Li, who trusted him
till he made her regret it.
He shivered, remembering his last meeting with
Li, where the tears flowing down her face made it difficult for her to speak
and how he had pushed her away and walked off, threatening to tell her father
everything if she didn’t leave him alone. He was being cruel, he knew. But that was the
only way he could get rid of her, he assured himself. Then, and now.
He wondered what to do, and what was
happening. Li hadn’t been at the shop this evening, he had checked. Then who
had put the rattle in his bag, and more importantly, why. Was Li trying to tell
him something, he swallowed nervously. And if yes, then what?
A loud thudding on his door made him snap out
of his reverie.
More thudding followed. He knew no one here
and had no visitors, ever. He was careful to never invite Li home either. As
the thudding got louder and more frequent, Sushant found himself sweating. How
had his pleasant evening changed so soon?
Now someone was pounding at the door,
screaming out in a language he didn’t understand. From the voices outside he realized
there was more than one person. Now someone else began pushing on the flimsy
door, while another continued pounding.
Sushant didn’t know what to do.
Suddenly the lights went off, filling him with icy dread, and the pounding got
more insistent. He looked around helplessly, but darkness enveloped everything. The door finally gave way and by the faint light that spilled in from
the corridor, he saw three men enter. He started stepping back, but tripped on
something. The men walked in, talking loudly amongst themselves and shone a flashlight
around his house. On the floor, Sushant tried to curl himself into a ball, an
invisible ball hoping their beam of light would miss him and they would leave.
Silent sobs escaped his throat.
From underneath his hands that covered his
face he saw the light, and the men saw him. They lunged at him, pulling him up,
slapping, punching, kicking at him from three different sides. He screamed,
they hit him some more. He screamed again. They continued raining kicks and
blows. He was in agony.
They paused abruptly and one of the men shone the flashlight in his eyes and
Sushant blinked. Before he had time to react he was being punched in the stomach
again. To his right he heard a faint hiss, and the beam of the flashlight was turned to show a
knife being slid out of its scabbard. Sushant screamed. And screamed some more,
as the knife was plunged into his stomach, again and again. And then he woke