The Trapped Butterfly – Chapter 1

The Trapped Butterfly – Chapter 1

scintilla series

The Trapped Butterfly – Chapter 1

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The joke was on me. My friends tried to warn me, tried to fight with me, for me, but I hadn’t taken heed of their warnings or their desperation to save me. Neither I took heed of their pleas. It has been five years now. 

I had been with him for bloody five long years, away from everyone I knew before him. He liked it that way, me absolutely at his mercy. My day started and ended with him. We had a pleasant day if he wanted, or a day filled with my screams if that was what he wished for. It was all him, and I was nothing but a puppet in his show.

Not one soul from my life before him was now connected to me. I had accepted my fate. I agreed on a destiny of life laden with loneliness and confined with fear and terrorizing shudders that racked my body every time he lost his temper. My instant reaction would always be to curl myself in a ball, so I could save myself, any way possible, but it was nothing but a lie. I could never shield myself from him. He never let me. My tormenter consumed me, even my pain, my shrieks, my despair. He wanted everything that belonged to me.

My friends complained, explained, even ranted their frustration, but nothing worked. I was in a bubble. A mist of a lie formed by Mohnish Shankar. 

They tagged us as childhood sweethearts, even though we didn’t know each other as children. I met him for the first time when I started my junior year at Raheja college for my studies after passing with merit in the tenth standard. 

His arrogance, wacky nature turned me on. My eyes would melt when I saw him on his bike, speeding on the roads without a care in the world. 

My heart would break every time I saw him with other girls, but now, I couldn’t help but think, were they lucky? At least blessed than me. He had looked at me once, and everything changed. It all became him and what he wanted. 

His possessive nature swooned me over, but my friends warned me against him. They felt he was a crazy man. A madman, that’s what they called him.

Was it true?

Things between us weren’t serious, not before life pulled the rug under me.

Someone had never absorbed me, loved me, and when he showered me with attention and affection, I lost myself in the pool of his feelings. I let him overpower me, as it felt good. But soon, the possessiveness became obsessiveness. The power became control, and I felt trapped in his world. He became my jailer, and it all came down to what he wanted, how he wanted. 

When he wanted me to breathe, I was allowed to consume oxygen. When he demanded the opposite, I could just pray to God that it wouldn’t kill me. 

I started shivering as my mind went to the last time when he cut off the oxygen, his hand firmly wrapped around my throat. Only my eyes were permitted to plead. 

Mohnish loved my begging, my tears. It turned him on. He even drank them sometimes when he was in his worst sadistic self.

It all started casually, and I never thought it would reach this stage. 

Mohnish effortlessly compelled me to shift with him after college got over, and we graduated. He would check my phone, my last calls, my messages, and I let him. But it wasn’t enough for him. Nothing ever was. He installed an app to check the things I deleted, and if I ever did, I would be a meal of his temper. His paranoia became my nightmare, and gradually I made my permanent residence in hell.

Mohnish installed a live location app to track my whereabouts. I let him do everything, so I could just live and breathe. That was the only way to get some peace. I wasn’t working, and my dream to work after completing my studies shattered without an opportunity. He hadn’t let me. Five years later, my life was nothing but him, all him and his desires, wishes, needs.

I let out a long breath as I put on my favorite dark blue shirt. Today was a big day. It was nothing short of a miracle for me, and it made me nervous. I wasn’t used to life outside the confines of my barricades.

Life had somehow granted me a ray of hope, and I had to tread carefully. If I didn’t, I would lose my one chance at some freedom, even the minuscule amount of independence. I was ready for scraps, any crumbs that would give me something other than the horror my life had become.

“Where are you going?”

My breathing hitched up as I felt him nearby. He was a predator, and I never heard his footsteps. He glided like a pro and always startled me. There were times when he caught me using my phone because I couldn’t sense him, and what came next was a horrendous experience I couldn’t forget for days.

“I asked you something, and you know I hate repeating myself.”

“Um… we talked… about this.”

“I don’t remember.”

“The part-time job. I am joining from today. It would help you buy that bike you wanted.” I tried to remind him this was for him. But he was unpredictable, and I waited for the ball to fall. I could never guess which way it would go. He hadn’t gotten angry for a week, and I couldn’t start my job with a fresh bruise.

“I don’t know. I am having second thoughts about this.”

Mohnish glared, and I knew he was gauging my reaction. My mind screamed, red alert, red alert, but I schooled my features. If he saw even a slight change on my face, he wouldn’t let me go. 

Our eyes were locked, and I remained passive or tried to. Mohnish hadn’t asked me a question. It was just a statement. I clenched my palms behind me in a fist, my only way of showing how terrified I was.

My excitement at anything other than him was unacceptable, and I had learned my lesson quite a few times. If he felt I wanted this, he wouldn’t let me have it. I didn’t dare look away as he stared into my eyes. Slowly his face became hard, lips pursed tight together, and eyes narrowed. I was going to lose this.

“What do you think?” he asked after being satisfied with my silence. I glanced down at my feet. He loved me that way. Closing my eyes, I gave myself whatever strength I could before I darted up at him.

“If you feel we can manage on your salary, I can call and cancel. I thought you didn’t want to ask money for the bike.”

I bit my lip, frightened by his reaction. My throat became dry as I held my breath for his decision. It was now all about him. My ray of hope was now in his hands. Suddenly feeling the weight of my despair, my shoulders sagged, and I let them. I had failed again. I wanted to cry, but that was only in the shower, and only if I was alone.

I didn’t attempt to wipe the sweat from my forehead as his razor-sharp eyes scrutinized me. He was too vigilant and waiting for a misstep from my side, a blunder that would lead to God knows what. 

Please God, anything except his anger. Not today, please.

He grabbed my arm, and a yelp escaped my throat. I winced when he roughly pulled me closer and kissed the side of my neck while I choked on my breath.

“I hate sharing you and your time with the world.”

“I know,” I answered, my tone meek. Ugh, I bit my lip hard when I felt a sting. Mohnish was marking me. His tongue soothed the burning sensation as he licked the wound, but I smelled copper and knew he had bled me.

Suddenly, he pushed me away, his face grim. What had I done? Was it my wince?

“I…” I started, but he held out his hand in front of me, silencing me. I gulped as I waited for what came next. A tear rolled down my right eye, and he caught it. His thumb ran circles on my cheek.

“I love this, you know, your tears, your fear. Baby, only I am the one to make you feel this way, and it should always be this way, understood?”

I nodded, and before I could speak and give him a verbal answer, the back of his hand left an imprint on my right side. The force staggered me backward, and I was about to fall, but he caught me.

“Never nod. How many times should I say this? I want an answer whenever I ask you a direct question.”

“Sorry, Mohnish… It’s only… you…” I faltered, and my words dawdled with the hiccups that left my throat. My cheek was burning from the hit, and I let my palm soothe the sting as I covered the area. The tears fell, but I waited for his decision.

“Fine,” he spat and turned, walking away towards the cabinet that was full of drinks. I saw him open a bottle of scotch and drink it directly. He was drinking neat, not a good sign.

Fine? For what? Should I go? Or should I cancel?

I wanted to ask him, but the words won’t come out. People say you get used to the life you live for long, and I had lived this for ten years. Five years in college with him and five years of staying with him. But I still wasn’t used to this. 

The pain still broke me from the inside, the ache pierced me, but the hope still struggled to remain alive inside me.

He spun, and I sucked in a breath. His eyes were black.

“Go but change. Wear something that doesn’t show your tits. They are mine.”

“Okay, Mohnish, I will change.” I hastily replied before earning another smack from him. I was going. My dream of working was finally coming true.

My voice was devoid of any emotion, but the excitement was bubbling inside me. I felt my heart would jump out of the happiness I felt inside. 

My ray of hope was alive. A possibility to live. I couldn’t believe I would see another living soul after six months.

My face crumpled as I thought about the last time I met someone. Six months back, a neighbor had knocked, and I helped her by lending some sugar. The result of my kind gesture was to be locked up in a room for six months.

“Don’t leave the office, not even for lunch. Pack something from home.”

“Yes.” I rushed.

“I will come to pick you up. I wanted to drop you, but dad called, and I need to be at the site. Fucking hate this. When would dad stop making me live on scraps? That old sly needs to die.”

I gulped but didn’t comment. Mohnish had talked about this far too many times for me to react.

“I will wait for you near the entry gates. My shift would be over by five in the evening.”

Mohnish nodded and left. Once I was sure I was alone, I crashed on the floor and started panting. The sobs racked out, and I let them. I will be late by a few minutes, but I needed this more than anything. These tears freed me from my guilt, my pain, and I needed to let them out to survive.

When I felt my tears dry up, I stood on shaky legs and staggered inside the bedroom, towards the washroom. Splashing water on my face, I let the cold water relieve the pain. 

After towel drying my face, I opened my makeup kit for the concealer. Three large lines marked my right cheek, and it screamed abuse. Well, it was, but it was my life now, and no one could know. There were things that revolved around my silence, and I would do anything to keep it that way.

I thought about my mom. She always said survival comes before pride. She would be proud of me. Dabbing some cream on my cheek, I spread it with a brush until the marks were thoroughly hidden and my face looked perfect. 

Yes, mom, I had survived another day. It’s all for you. I would sustain this for a lifetime if that meant your safety. You are the only family I have now, and I promise I won’t let you go. I won’t lose you like I lost dad and Soorya.

I closed my eyes, and all I could see was the smiling face of my little brother, Soorya. He gave me strength in time of need, and today I needed it. He may have been gone forever, but his love stayed with me. It didn’t let me lose my mind, even if my hell tried to stir me towards craziness.

Tears poured down my eyes, and I wiped them with the towel before they could ruin my makeup. My makeup wasn’t just for beautifying my face. 

I didn’t care about how I looked even a bit. In fact, I had stopped staring at myself in a mirror a long time ago. I couldn’t look into the eyes of a girl so broken, so wrecked. She begged me to help her as if that was possible. 

So, I took the alternative. I never really looked at myself when I stood in front of a mirror. Even when I hid my marks, I never dared stare into my eyes. I had let my soul down, and my eyes showed me that. This makeup was a barrier, a safety net I couldn’t lose. No one could know about my truth, and I would do anything to keep it that way.

Are you intrigued by what happens later? Read the book to know.

Note: This story speaks about physical and mental abuse. If you are a reader with certain triggers or sensitivities, please take heed of the warning.

Know the main protagonists.

Aarvi

Aakash Duman

Read other short stories.

I Confessed (click to read)

My Soulmate (click to read)

The What If Romance (click to read)

A Touch From a Stranger (click to read)

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