WHEN SHE MET AT THE TOLL GATE

“It is March 15th, 1933 and a sunny day here. Wilson and I have had a little walk to catch the sun in the woods. On the way, he asked me if I still miss you. I took a long breath and lied to him that I do. He didn’t know that I talk to you every day. Anyways, I should be going now. It is already late, and I need to wake up early tomorrow. Bye love! Take care,” said Henry, and went to bed.

Henry was getting ready and heard big horns honking from a distance. He buckled up and went to stand in his tollgate box. “Why are you rushing today?” Wilson asked from behind. “The news is that the Mayor is doing intensive checks on every tollgate since an immigrant has gone missing to make sure things are at the place all by himself. He wants to see where the mistake has been made,” said Henry. A big black car arrives, and a man with grumpy hair and brown eyes peeped out the cars’ window. He looked very professional and with no mark on his suit. With a strong voice, he asked, “Hey mate! How are you doing? Any information on that immigrant?” Henry replied, “No, sir. My job is to get the security check done and not allowing any person who intrudes our security system to pass by. I would never let these kinds of threats be a burden of our nation. I will definitely let the police know if I get any information on the same.” “Alright! That’s good. Make sure you don’t mess anything up. We do not want any other person to go missing who can be a threat. Get back to your work. Let’s leave Steve,” said and the Mayor of the town left. “Sure, sir. Thank you for paying the visit,” said Henry and got back to his work. Wilson got some coffee for Henry, and they were chitchatting while they were sipping the coffee. Wilson asked Henry about the immigrant that everyone is looking for. Henry said he didn’t know much about that matter and don’t even want to know. While Wilson was about to ask something. Henry asked him to go and cook lunch for them.

“I don’t understand why does Wilson always poke his nose into serious business. He is just a kid. He should be having fun rather than putting himself into all these things. He is only 18 yet. I should try making him understand all these. Good night, love,” Henry said and went to bed. Wilson eavesdropped this conversation and wanted to see who he was talking to. He slowly came to see but couldn’t find anyone. He thought Henry was seeing someone and didn’t tell him since he believes he is just a kid. He leaves back to his room.

The next day in the morning, while Wilson was watching TV, he asked his brother Henry, why is he not allowed to go to school and get studied like other kids. For which Henry replies, “You are still a kid. Enjoy your childhood. Also, the world out there is vicious, and I don’t want you to be a part of their atrocities. You watch TV, talk to me and cook. That is way more fun. For now, let me do my work.” While Henry goes to work, Wilson slowly intrudes his room so that Henry can’t hear the sounds. He tries to find some clue about the person he was conversing with last night but ends up finding nothing.

Days passed Wil listening to Henry talking to someone and Wil finding nothing. He suddenly started doubting if his brother has gone mad, and he should help him. He tried many times, talking to his brother about his mental state but failed. So, he finally thought that he should reach out to someone’s help. But, he knows nothing beyond the Tollgate house and the woods, and his brother is always around. So, it seems impossible for him to sneak out and reach to someone until he gets an idea.

Wilson plans to get out of the house while Henry is caught up talking to his person in the night. There was a constant thought in his brain that if he gets caught, then what would happen. Still, he gathered the courage to do so. The other day while Henry was in his conversation with his night person, Wil slowly tries to sneak out. Wil walks towards the door with a small knife in his hand and slowly opens the door without any noise. He successfully comes out and runs for help without looking back. When Henry was finished with his conversation, he goes to check on Wil and finds him nowhere. Henry walks outside and loudly starts shouting, “Wil, Where are you? Come back.” And he continues to call along his way, trying to find him. He searches until morning and finds no trace of Wil anywhere. He kept searching for his brother for days. One day, there came the news that a boy was caught up at a nearby town by police, and they alleged him of trespassing as he had no ID. But, while the cops caught him, he was shouting, “My brother is mad. He needs help. And I have come to find someone to help him. Please leave me.” He was taken to the police station, and he was asked to call his family to prove himself innocent. The boy was terrified and but having no choice agreed to the same. He gave the address of their home, and the police are trying to reach out to his family. When Henry heard this news, he was sure that the boy was Wilson, and he decided to go to the police station to get him.

He reaches the police station, but to his surprise, it wasn’t Wilson. Yet, when the boy saw Henry at the station, he shouted, “Brother Henry, you came to save me. I am sorry I ran out of the house. But please forgive and take me out of here.” Henry was in shock when he heard this. He couldn’t understand what was happening. Neither anyone knew that Henry had a brother who ran out of the house, nor Wil had any friends. By the time he could process, a policeman came and asked Henry if the boy was his brother. Henry hammering said, “No, he is not.”

The boy shouted, “Really. Am I not? I know it was a mistake to run, but do you think that is worth me imprisoning? Please, don’t do this, Henry.” Henry shouted back, “Stop! I don’t even know you.” The cop questioned Henry that if he didn’t know him, then how is the boy calling him with his name and gave them his address. Henry said that it could be a trap that the boy is setting up to use him against his brother. He added that the boy himself could have done something to his brother and come in his place. The boy appeals to the cop to go invade his home, and he will find the evidence of his claim. The officer then asks Henry to take him to his house right away. Henry disagrees with that but couldn’t stop as it was an order. The police took Henry and the boy to his home. The cops start searching everywhere for some proof. They find nothing, not even a single picture. That is when the boy asks them to try searching if there is something hidden under the house. Policemen start tapping hard on the floor to see if they can find some clue. The boy insists them to hit harder and see if something comes up.

Henry starts sweating and looks panicked while the police were doing this. As it was the wooden house, it is easy to find if there is something under the floor. They found something odd at a place and hit the ground harder. They broke the wooden tile where they found the sound the strange and finds something which was beyond imagination for them. Until the cops started questioning, Henry tried to attack them with an ax and runoff. The police tried to convince him to put down his weapon, and as he tried to attack them, one of the cops shot him on his shoulder. While he fell on the ground in pain, one of them took of his ax and put the handcuffs. When all this was happening, the boy was crying by sitting at a place they dugout. It was a woman’s rotten dead body there. As the cops had no time figuring out what it is, they sealed the house for police work and took Henry to the station. The boy went along with the police. After reaching the station, Henry received the treatment from the doctors. He was put in a cell under doctors’ vigilance. The cops put the boy in another cell until the next morning. They took both of them for investigation and understand what’s happening.

The boy was asked the story behind the whole facade. He started by confessing, “My name is Eric. I am from Ireland. The dead body we found at Henrys’ home is our sisters’. Last year my sister, Christin, left our home. She left a letter at our house that she is going to find a new place for her to live and that she is not happy with the life she has. Since then, we have been trying to track her, and one day we get a letter from her. It said she is happy and moving in with a man named Henry and that she will be writing us a letter whenever possible. But, she never mentioned, who is Henry and what he does. But, we were happy for her. Then after some time, we again got a letter. My parents decided that they want to meet her directly and not through messages. They saw the address the letter came from, it named this city. They reached to the address and tried gathering information about a man called Henry. They found a few names and went to every person they found with the name. One day they found out the right one and, without any delay, went to meet them. My parents were more than excited to meet them and made me a call before they meet her. They said they were thrilled and will call back after meeting my sister. But, to my fate, that was their last call. I waited and waited but didn’t receive any call. I was worried and came here to find where they had gone off. I filed a complaint about my missing parents, and nothing helped. I then started to search for them for myself. As I am a minor and had no ID, it didn’t take the American government long enough to file me as a threat. Since then, I have been hiding from the police and trying to find my family. It took me a lot of time, money, and petty crimes only to find out that my family was dead. When I learnt that the culprit behind their death is Henry, I did want him to be caught by police. But I couldn’t do that alone. I needed help. So, I started learning about Henry. I found out that my parents and sister are not alone who suffered his wrath but also his little brother, who he kept hidden for years. I tried to help myself through his brother. One day while Henry was working at the Tollgate, I slowly reached back of their home and left a letter into their home. Luckily, Wilson picked it up and read the whole message. He understood the situation and agreed to help me. In the letter, I had mentioned that if he is willing to help, he needs to just get out of the home that night. We ran, and he mentioned the weird things Henry does every night. And I was sure that he has done something to my sister and he has hidden something in his house. So, I asked Wilson to run and never come back. I got myself caught to the police, and this all happened.”

The cop was shocked after listening to the story and asked him how did he found out that his parents were dead and certainly killed by Henry. Then the boy laughed and said, “I am not an idiot officer. I wasn’t an unloved kid that my parents wish to be left behind. I never let their heads down like Christin. Yet they were happy to meet her. But, my parents got themselves killed on the journey. Anyways, to keep that aside, I was sure that my parents were dead but was unsure of Henry being the culprit. When I spoke to one of his friends, he said that Henry has not been quite meeting him since his wife left town with her parents. Right there, I understood that he was the one to kill my family, as my family never made home. But, I still don’t know why he had killed them all. He even told Wilson that his wife left town with their parents. So, it is clear that he is the culprit. Yet, I want to know why he did kill them all.”

The police officer was quite convinced with the story, but he still had to investigate Henry. “Hi Henry. How are you feeling right now?” asked the police officer and continued, “The reason I am talking politely to you is that I expect genuine answers; if not, I know other ways to ask.” “I will. But I want to know my brother is safe,” Henry said. The police officer replied, “Your brother is far away and safe from you.” Henry shouted, “I have never hurt my brother. I have loved him always and I was keeping him safe.” The cop replied in anger, “Yes. We know how you treat your loved ones. How about your beloved wife, Henry?” Henry said, whimpering, “You don’t know anything about us. I have not killed Christin. She is the love of my life. I have always wanted her to be with me. But I am sure a culprit. She was just a simple girl trying to find a life, and I ruined her life. Christin came to the town, finding work. She met me one day at our tollgate. She asked me if I want her for sexual activity, and if she can help. She was working as a prostitute. But, when she was talking to me, all I could see was her almond eyes shining and the boldness of seeking no shame in the work she does. I fell for her right there. She did prostitution for a living, but she was just as unique as any other woman. I followed her each day to find out how beautiful she is from inside. The woman I fell in love with was just beyond incredible. One day when she was standing at our tollgate looking for customers, I approached her one day and confessed my love. She denied for the fact that she is not willing to marry anyone. I got into a rage and grabbed her into the woods. I raped her while she kept screaming. I felt like an accomplished man only until she angrily beat me and said, “Only if the sex was the ultimate shame of ones’ life. You neither succeeded in winning me nor in calling yourself a man. You are a shame on yourself.” There, that was when my soul was broken. I knew I was none to get forgiveness. But, I kept begging her for days to forgive me. One day she accepted to do so if I am willing to marry her and yet not stopping her from doing what she likes, including prostitution. I was more than happy to do that and so I married her. She was my everything, and we were a happy couple. Until one day, her parents appeared. She was glad to see them. We had a beautiful family lunch, and we decided to go roam in the woods. Wilsons’ condition was getting better, but he was still a cancer kid. So, we asked him to stay home and take rest. While we went into the woods, I saw Christin very happy to be with her parents. But, slowly, her parents started to throw malignant words towards her. Though she ignored them, they just had a thought that Christin is an abomination and needs to be punished. They just shot a bullet into her heart, and I couldn’t stop the moment. I saw her dying infront of eyes, and I couldn’t resist but to kill them mercilessly then and there. I stuck a branch into her mothers’ heart and beat the hell out of her father until he is dead. I just cleaned up the mess and buried them deep in the layers of ground. And until someone comes, I ran away with my wife’s dead body. I came home and explained Wiiil everything, and he helped me bury her. So I buried her in the ground of my house. That way, I felt I could talk to her, and she would listen. I spread the rumour that she left with her parents.” If Wil knew about this, then why did he not tell Eric about this. Why did he lie to him?” asked the cop. Henry loudly and continuously laughed and said, “That   is because I was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder and he wanted to get off easily.” Saying this, Henry pierced a pen into the cops’ hand, and the other authorities came running and   took him off while others helped the officer stuck with the pen in his hand. Henry was laughing loudly all through his way while he was being dragged to prison.

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penfluky

Writing is not a skill acquired through practice. Not for us, at least. Writing is a phenomenon that occurred to us when we wanted to shout our thoughts out. It occurred when our brains formed a labyrinth of thoughts with no way out. Only way was to break the walls, the walls we constructed in our minds. The walls which stopped us from letting ourselves out. We broke the walls using the most mightiest weapon, the pen. Writing was our way out of that maze. Words and sentences flowed like a stream of some river, which consisted of A2Z instead of H2O. Soon the river filled the brain and the labyrinth was not visible anymore. 

2 thoughts on “WHEN SHE MET AT THE TOLL GATE

  1. అక్కా మనం తెలుగు మీడియం ఇంగలిస్ కాదు

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