‘A Daffodil on the Grave’ by Geon Pauly

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The dusk was well past. It was getting darker with each passing hour; out in the sky and in her heart. She had been waiting over an hour the most, but it felt like an eternity. She had tried calling out for help a few times, but all she heard was the trees rustling against the wind.

“Roger, please come back. I am…scared.” Darcy squeaked in desperation but soon realized, her outcry, it was vain after all.

A few moments later, to her much sought relief she heard footsteps in the distance. It was music to her ears. He emerged fidgeting with a radio in his hands, “There you are. I’ve been looking for you all over. Why aren’t you where I left you?”

“I…must have…lost…” she was half-trembling. He grabbed her cold hands that were desperately seeking his touch and kissed her forehead as he embraced her in his arms, “Look, what I found.” he said showing off the half-broken pocket radio which luckily had its antenna intact. “I think it’s working.” he ran his fingers over the output speakers desperately trying to turn it on by rotating the broken knobs endlessly.

“Not like that. You’ll break it.” she replied paying heed to the cracking sounds of his hands working on the radio, “Guess what? It’s already in bad shape.” as she got it in her palms and started examining.

“So, I got it to the expert. Now, let me know it if works.” he replied as he tried to slip-out his fingers from her palm.

“No! No!” she yelled landing an immediate reflex slap across his temple. She clutched onto his hands all the more tightly, “Where the hell are you going?”

“To find a phone or something.” he rubbed his head in pain, “Darcy! Look in my eyes. Listen to me when I say this. Don’t lose hope, there has to be a way. It’s just messing with us playing hide and seek. We need to find it.”

“It’s been an entire day, Roger. You’ve gone like a hundred times and come back empty handed and a bit more bruised each time,” she ran her hand over his temple feeling the fresh trickle of blood. She had just accidentally slapped a fresh wound right in its heart. She was submerged in guilt again, she felt putridly horrible, “Roger, there is no hope for us. Neither for this town, nor our country, nor this continent or I suppose the whole of mankind.” she began to sob, though Roger stood unfazed by it.

“Darcy,” he held her head between his palms, “Always remember. As long as there is life, there is hope.”

She smiled, “Roger that!” she signaled as she rested her head on his chest.

Just then they felt it again. The tremors! “Hold my hand, let’s head for the table.” he said as he dragged her and ran as fast as they could.

“Please, don’t stop this time. End it! Once and for all! I am tired. We are tired.” she screamed hoping, that for just once in her life, her yearning be answered.

Life had been too cruel to Darcy; born to a catholic couple in central Delhi, she had kick-started life itself on the wrong note. Her pre-mature birth had resulted in her mother’s demise during her delivery. Her alcoholic father who craved for a son, never treated her well, for he considered his innocent child as his wife’s murderer. Most nights after he was dead drunk, he cursed her, “You know why I named you Darcy? For you brought all this darkness into our lives. You…are ‘the dark force, the dark one’ …that has ruined my life. I hope you never see light in your life.” words a bit too harsh for a little girl to hear on a daily basis.

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