She heard his footsteps, as she waited patiently, in the dark, under the staircase.
For years, this is how she had been waiting for him, when he’d arrive home dead drunk at midnight, her mouth gone dry and her heart pacing faster than ever. His unsteady steps would lead him into the living room where he’d crash upon the settee, flopping on it, his arms dangling from the sides, and the head drooping to one side, swearing and screaming at her. They’d often have heated exchanges after which he’d display his usual violent streak, while she would try and pacify him to calm down. In the morning he’d be sober again, making sure she kept everything that happened the night before, a secret from her family.
She spent years convincing herself into believing him when he said he was trying to mend his ways. With the help of a friend, she once got amulets from a Babaji who was known to cure such wayward men, but it never worked. She even went to see an astrologer at the behest of her mother who was known to have quick remedy kits for such lost souls. But, even that didn’t work. She tried coaxing and cajoling him into changing his ways, but the more desperate she sounded, the worse the situation turned. She made peace with him. But, his violent outbursts only got worse with time.
The night when he threw her out of their home, keeping all her savings to himself, she cried herself hoarse all night, battered and bruised all over, blood dripping from her face and neck. That was the night she swore, she would make him pay for what he had done to her.
Now, years later, she could still feel those emotions coming to the fore, as her mind raced on, while she waited for him, under the stairs with bated breath.
“Who’s there?”, thundered the voice, as she heard the sound of heavy footsteps coming down the stairs. The storm continued battering the neighbourhood, showing no signs of relenting whatsoever. She marvelled at herself for the calculated risk she had taken in the morning. Her resolve was now growing stronger by the day—it had to be now or never.
“Who could it be?”, he muttered again, this time, somewhat agitated. He peered into the keyhole to see if anyone was outside the door. Not finding anyone, he was convinced perhaps it was a stray cat that had jumped in through the broken window at the back of the house.
As he was entering the kitchen, she slipped out from the hiding, pushing him and throwing him face down on the floor. In a split second, she pinned him down with all the might she could muster in herself. He struggled to fight back, but her moves were quick. Not one to waste any time, she pulled the trigger, firing six shots, one after another.
Seconds later, she stood up, turning away from the blood-splattered floor, while her body kept shaking in the aftermath of what had just happened. It was all over. Numb as a rock, she stood transfixed by the door. Her gaze was blank, as was her heart, drained of every emotion that had ever troubled her tormented soul for so long. That is all that mattered.
The sight of onlookers gathering outside the gates and the siren of the police car did not seem to bother her anymore.
This week, the word prompt is BLANK.