Smita Jain posted under Flash Fiction QuinTale-48 on 2023-01-18

“We will send you back.”  The words reverberate in my ears as I wake up from sleep. I had slept off last night with the vibration of these words in my ears. The roseate dawn attempts to peep into the room through the curtained window. The chirps of the birds grow louder every minute. The mellifluous chants from the near-yet-distant temple trickle into the surroundings. Had this been yesterday, I would be up and about by now, looking forward to the day. But today isn’t yesterday. Everything around me is the same. But I have changed. Once again. I was better off in the orphanage, after all I was sure I would not last for more than two days in this colossal five-storey mansion when they had brought me here from that cramped, dingy building three years ago. But love changed all that. The love of a couple with everything in the world but a child to call their own.  I got drenched in this love, and my harder core melted away. I started to love my adoptive parents back. They say that love has no conditions. They must not be human. Once the ‘light of our lives,’ I have become unwanted. Being ignored, like the antique rocking chair in the corner of my room, would have been better; I was used to it once upon a time. But being unwanted gives me a heavy, indescribable feeling. Is this what death feels like? The dead don’t talk, so I don’t know. I close my eyes, toss, and turn. Yesterday isn’t a dream; my parents want to send me back to where I came from. Now that they unexpectedly have a little one of their own flesh and blood, there’s no place in their hearts for me anymore. We will send you back.”  The news was broken to me yesterday with downcast eyes.   I may have come from the orphanage, but that is not where I belong after three years.  Where do I belong, then? I shrug off the warm blanket, jump off the bed, walk towards the window and draw away the heavy curtains. The fresh morning stares back at me.   I look down at the ground where the house stands, five feet below. More than my height. I turn around. The toys, the bed and the rugs that I thought were mine mock me. The room of once fond memories appears like a trap. The house my adoptive parents had assured me was mine is now a mirage. I swivel around to the open window, climb up the mirror seat, and gingerly put my legs on the window sill, using the wall for support. Slowly, I take my hands off the wall. Taking a deep breath, I look up and jump down.  The echoes of we will send you back grows distant as the verdant ground draws near.  I embrace the earth with a thud Am I dead or merely lost consciousness? I wonder as I close my eyes.   Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!