“Come this way,” whispered my elder sister as she pulled me to a corner.
“Don’t go inside,” she cautioned me. “A huge man is waiting. He’ll pretend to be nice and then will hurt you. The bad man will offer you chocolates too, just the way it happens in mum’s stories.”
My elder sister’s big eyes looked scared and her face was pale.
“What to do, didi?”
I felt very nervous and tense. She sat down on a low bench with me, her small head bent down in thoughts while her bunched hair looked upward defying gravity. We were wearing matching yellow frocks and I snuggled closer to take in her warmth.
She looked up; her eyes were brighter.
“He might have had his way with me but I won’t let him harm you,” she resolved.
Exactly then Nimmi aunty appeared in the long corridor and came towards me. She was dressed in starchy white and had eyes that appeared kind. It was this pleasing exterior that had made mum trust her. I shuddered as she held me by my arms.
As she took me away, I saw through the corner of my eyes the horror stricken expression on my elder sister’s face. She froze for a second and then ran away. To get help, I told myself.
“Aunty,” I started. “My tummy is aching. Please let me go.”
“No it’s not, keep walking with me,” she said.
“I want my parents, please,” my voice was breaking.
“Forget about them.” Nimmi aunty was getting stern.
Soon I was inside a room and the bad man described by didi gave me a vile smile. He came closer and squeezed my cheeks.
“Look how pretty you are,” he said.
I grimaced and looked away. Nimmi aunty picked me up and took me towards a bed to lay me down. Horrified I started flailing my arms and legs. I began screaming at the top of my voice too, hoping for a miracle.
“Stop crying! Your elder sister was braver than you, sweetheart. Do you want me to love her more?” He was coming towards me.
“Do you do this to all girls?”
“Yes! You see, I like little girls more than little boys. Hahaha…”
His small eyes shone in the bright light and he seemed like a real monster.
“Didi said you’d hurt me and…and…there will be blood.”
“Didn’t she talk about the big chocolate bar that I’d give after I’m done?”
He cupped my head in one hand and forced a needle through my left earlobe.
“Ahhh…” I cried. But he swiftly pierced my right earlobe too.
I was preparing myself to howl, but to be fair, it did not hurt that bad. Perhaps I was braver than didi.
I managed a smile and accepted the chocolate. Soon we were taken home by our nanny. And in the evening mum and dad took us out to buy earrings. All’s well that ends well, I thought happily.