“Mumma, I can’t solve this sum,” Megan broke her trance. Since the phone call from the police station, Meredith was lost in the past. She was looking at an old picture of her mother. “I will check sweetie,” she forcibly brought herself back to present. Post dinner, Megan urged her to tell a bedtime story. Meredith smiled a little and agreed.
“There was a little girl named Meredith.” “Same as yours Mumma?” the eight-year-old queried. “Yes sweetie,” Meredith continued. “She was fond of flowers. Her mother had gardened myriads of it for her. Bees and butterflies had found a happy abode there. Every afternoon, Meredith would play with them.
One day, a butterfly sat on a flower. Elated, she adjusted her big hat and kept nearing with silent steps. She was about to touch it, suddenly someone said, “Stop. You will hurt it”. She turned, and the butterfly flew away. A boy of her age smiled at her. She frowned at him. Squabbles started.
That summer afternoon, Meredith was crying, holding a bird with broken wings. He assuaged her and nursed it until it was healed. Jim, the house help Jonathon’s boy won Meredith’s heart and friendship too”. Megan fell asleep. However, the memories kept engulfing Meredith’s mind. The truth was no fairy-tale.
There was a monster inside her house. On the slightest of mistakes, he would shout at them madly and occasionally beat too. She wanted to grow up fast. So, she can go far away with her mother. The monster was not pleased with her friendship with Jim. One day, he released Jonathon without citing a reason. Meredith lost her only friend. Her mother tried to stop him. Next morning, the swelling and bruises on her body were screaming the story of last night.
Years went by. She met Peter in college. He was decent and caring. The two fell in love eventually. The monster roared on her audacity when he came to know. She was appalled. Her mother intervened to calm him down. He furiously choked her. Meredith pounced on, but a monster he was. Her mother breathed her last. In anguish, she ran to the police station.
A decade has passed. With Peter and Megan, a happy life she was living. However, the phone call opened her past wounds. The officer was requested to call her by the monster. He was dying. He wanted to meet her once before he closed his eyes forever. What does he want? How dare he to call? Questions kept rioting in her mind. That night, Peter embraced and consoled her. “Go, only if you want to,” he said.
Next day, Meredith reached the jail hospital. An ailing, quivering, wrinkled body looked at her with teary eyes. “Forgive me,” he begged. Her heart was throbbing audibly. No, she could never forgive the monster, her father. But, a strange feeling inside pushed her. “I forgive you,” she uttered and left. The ghost of her past was gone. She was at peace.
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