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The Dark Path

Updated: 23 hours ago

I woke up to see the doll my Supriya used to play with and her very thought rushed tears into my eyes.

My wife was still asleep. Picking up my phone, I called Arvind to ask, “Can you give me the address of that charlatan? I would like to visit him.”

As I heard, “This is a bad idea, Sharma. Your daughter is with the Gods themselves.”

I shouted, “We don’t know that! I should talk to her.” and my tone woke my wife.

Observing her, I knew she realised I was running behind my friend for contacts. Without a second thought, she closed her eyes not intending to have another argument like the previous night.

Meanwhile, Arvind again suggested, “This isn’t the right way, Sharma.” and I stayed silent before he realised I wasn’t going to give up.

Cursing himself for mentioning the charlatan, Arvind gave the charlatan’s number in distaste.

Cover Photo by Ravindra Patoju

As soon as I got the number, I called but no one attended the call. A couple of hours later, I called from work a couple of times but no one answered the call and after I came back home, I spent my entire evening neglecting my wife’s words about not approaching this charlatan again and continued to contact him. That night, I called one last time but still, no one attended the call.

Not believing for a moment that my daughter left me and unable to even ponder on the thought as to why anyone would even hurt my innocent child, I cursed myself and every God I ever knew for not picking her up from school a bit early. Struggling to even close my eyes as I was consumed with regret, I fell asleep at four in the morning.

No amount of consolation from my wife or support from my friends could fill the void from the moment the police told me, she is suspected to be dead. No drug or drink could help me in this pain.

As soon as I fell asleep, I could see an angel standing before me. Looking at me, the angel asked, “Do you want to meet your daughter?”

My happiness knew no bounds and before I even answered, I could find myself in an unending hall filled with children.

​They were playing, eating and rejoicing in harmony. These little angels were relishing every moment to their best. In this hall of happiness, either sadness or darkness were nowhere to be found and when I searched for my Supriya, I found myself standing before my child’s favourite doll.

​I could hear her voice as she cried, “Why are you trying to force me to live in this doll, papa? Why are you punishing me for your desire?”

This made me wonder about the result of my unending desire. I realised, I was trying to bound my daughter into a doll just so that she could talk to me. While I regretted my action, she shouted, “Why don’t you let me live in peace!”

With her voice echoing in the now empty hall, I woke up trembling. Taking deep breaths, I could see the doll staring at me and when I turned on the bed light, I could see a missed call from the charlatan.

I blocked his number and decided to never call him again but there was also a thought that said, “Isn’t it just a dream?”



This contribution is edited by Sreekar Ayyagari & Tarun Chintam & photographed by Ravindra Patoju.



This flash fiction is also available in paperback & ebook.

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