It was midnight. Lucy lay languid in her cosy bed, waiting for sand man to pour in just that extra grain of sand to make her forget the harsh truth and slumber once again. The fickle finger of fate had driven her into this traumatic phase of her life.
The past week, Derek, the love of her life was run over by a truck. On her wedding day.
Dealing with anguish of losing someone without whom she could never imagine her life had crippled her mentally. Maybe that was the reason behind those recurrent dreams…
Or maybe because her mind was too exhausted by dealing with the loss. It was harder when she revisited old memories, quietly to herself. It was not easy to bury them, and she couldn’t make them disappear. They were a part of who she was.
She watched Derek being run over by that truck, a Red Volvo. She watched his life float away, his blood spewing on her snowy nuptial attire, she watched him struggling and trying to enunciate words he wanted to say, but his eyes revealed them for him. She watched him take his last breath before he closed his eyes forever.
It was equivalent to being pricked by a thousand needles. Only more painful. Especially because she wanted to help him. She had seen the truck and she ran after him, calling his name. But she was late. 10 seconds too late. He lay in the middle of the road and there was nothing she could do about it.
And those indelible stains of his blood –they were there. On her wedding gown. As if to never let her forget what had happened.
But why she had those dreams remained a mystery for her. She did everything she could to run away from what had happened. She did not attend Derek’s funeral. She couldn’t. She was staying at her parents’ house for a while. But it seemed like she could never hide from the reality.
That night reaffirmed this. She was asleep, perhaps praying to her subconscious mind not to encounter any “dreams” that night, but wishes hardly ever come true…
She saw a figure, presumably that of a young girl, walking towards the altar in the vacated church where Lucy was to marry Derek. Her vision was foggy and everything around her seemed hazy. She struggled hard to scan the area around her; the figure of the little girl walking towards her in the dimly lit church. It was dark outside and inside wasn’t any better. Everything seemed to swirl around her, covered in a veil of ambiguity. Finally when the girl emerged out of the murky darkness and approached her nearer –she gazed at her, flummoxed. The girl wore a wedding gown and clasped a bunch of white jasmine flowers in her hand. She remembered how long she had deliberated before settling down to pick out the flowers for her wedding. There was something pristine about them. She felt an innate sense of tranquility by the sight of those flowers. Like nothing could ever go wrong. But everything had changed now.
The girl, about 8 years old, spoke in a gravely severe voice. “Remove the blood stains, Lucy”.
“They shouldn’t be there. Remove them, from your wedding gown. You don’t know what lies ahead. If you don’t do it within these two days, you will be faced with the consequences you’d have to put up for the rest of your life. Consequences far beyond your imagination.”
She woke up with a startle, aghast. She wanted to know what the dream signified. What was the reason behind those dreams? The next morning, she confided about everything in her mother. But she whisked it away. She told her things that annoyed Lucy.
“Lucy, you’re too caught up with whatever happened. But it can’t be undone. It is time to let go; to look ahead. Once you do that, those dreams won’t bother you anymore.”
How could her mother possibly expect her to look ahead? And more importantly, how could she brush this whole thing off like that? She saw it, that girl, clutching those flowers that SHE had picked for her wedding day.
Who was that girl? Why did she want the blood stains to be removed? Questions were weighing her already stressed mind down.
However, the following night passed peacefully. Sans any “dream”. She was surprised she finally had a peaceful slumber. Maybe her mother was right after all…
But her thoughts soon contradicted the reality when her mother rushed to her room, distraught.
Lucy’s mother had that dream. That girl, the church, the flowers –she had the exact dream which had haunted Lucy all along.
One thing was certain. Those dreams WERE real. Not a manifestation of Lucy’s imagination. It also implied that it was the only way out for Lucy was to get rid of Derek’s smeared blood on the wedding gown. And Lucy did exactly that.
Lucy was frantically washing off those smudges of blood of the person she loved the most. It was evening, but the stubborn stains of blood had refused to die. The redness of those stains had diminished, but not gone. It took her all day but the outcome was futile. Lucy felt incapable and vulnerable. She found her hands covering the stream of tears rolling down her face. She did not want to feel this way anymore.
Lucy put the wedding dress back with no intention of trying to remove those red patches of blood.
“I’m done”, she said to herself. She couldn’t care about any sort of consequences anymore.
“There could be nothing worse than losing Derek.”
The following night, she saw her again –that girl, in the dark vacated church. She warned Lucy that it was the last day to remove those blotches of blood from her dress.
Lucy woke up with a shudder –terrified. “It was just a dream” she thought, trying to console herself. It was still dark. Cold beads of sweat ran down the sides of her face from her forehead. She looked at the luminous alarm clock in her room. It was 2:50am. She tried to get out of her bed, but was entangled in the sheets. After struggling for a little while, she carefully got out of bed and slid her feet into the downy slippers that were neatly placed beside the bed post. She dragged herself to the bathroom door, whacked it open, and switched on the light.
She had spent most of her nights curled up in a corner of that bathroom and crying herself to sleep, in the past week. But this time, she did not cry. She wiped away the sweat on her forehead with her hands and washed the smeared mascara that had cracked and settled in the little wrinkles under her eyes. She noticed the icy terror that had grabbed her heart swirl away as she unclogged the sink.
She stood there and looked at her reflection in the mirror. She stared at her eyes. Derek had always admired the way her eyes lit up whenever they spoke about their wedding; and the way her nose wrinkled when she smiled. Those almond shaped eyes which once exuded sheer joy now looked mournful.
She knew it was the last day for her to remove those dark red splodges of blood from her dress which was supposed to be as white as a freshly washed linen cloth, convinced that it was the only way she could escape the ”consequences”. But she was too tired to try. She didn’t like the feeling of being alive in this world without Derek, anyway.
She shut the bathroom light and walked back to her bed. She despised the darkness…it reminded her of the dream too much. And she was too exhausted to think about it right now. She dived under the covers and tried to go back to sleep. But more she tried, the more she found herself falling into a semi-conscious limbo where the “dream” still haunted her.
There was a sharp rap on the door. It was only 5 o’clock in the morning. “Who could it be at this unusual hour?” Lucy thought. At first she just assumed that her exhausted mind was making her imagine things. Perhaps it was those dreams. They had seeped deep in her mind, and in her heart, blurring the line between reality and illusion. For a minute she thought she had gone stark raving daft, and ignored the rapping on the door. She pulled the covers over her head, trying to muffle that bothersome sound. But then she heard it again. And again. And this time it was followed by a door bell.
“Okay, so one thing is clear now –I’m certainly not imagining things.”
Lucy leaped out of bed. She quietly tip toed her way to the hallway, lest she woke up her parents who were asleep in the opposite room. She hesitantly walked towards the door. There was another knock.
Lucy felt a lump welling in her throat.
“Hello?” said Lucy “Who is it?”
There was no answer. But she heard it again –the rapping on the door. She could feel the hairs on her neck stand and goose-pimples break out all over her body. The coldness of the brass handle went up her hand and into her heart. Her heart pounded, trying to free itself from her breast and escape the horrifying fright that had took over her as she pushed down the handle and let the door swing open.
Lucy’s jaw dropped. She found the little girl that had been appearing incessantly in her nightmares standing opposite to her. She held a bunch of white jasmine flowers in her right hand and the left one behind her. Lucy felt too incapacitated to speak. Her handicap of expressing what she felt at that moment made her face look blank, like the pages of an unwritten book. She knew her end was near, but the little girl seemed too innocent to be carrying a dagger in her hand. As the girl slowly moved her hand to reveal what she hid behind her back, all the beautiful memories of Derek flashed before Lucy’s eyes, making her zingy and terrified at the same time.
The girl revealed to Lucy what she was clutching in her left hand.
Lucy stared at what the little girl held in her hand, perplexed, as the little girl said -
“Aise daag, waise daag, jaise bhi daag ho, Surf Excel hai na. Ab jasmine ki khushbu mein bhi uplabdh!”
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