A harsh light shone into his eyes. He slowly and unnaturally opened his eyes, and blinked twice. He lay motionless for some time and stared with a cold finality into space.
A melancholy wind brushed past, and he shivered. He was naked except for a tattered pair of shorts which clung to his scrawny legs. A half broken bracelet clung to his left wrist. A long, crescent shaped scar ran down his right shoulder, the remnants of a clash with a pack of stray dogs. His face was grimy and taut, the silt of months of living on the footpath adding layers to the dirt. He was just another of those faceless, nameless people, the kind who you look at once, take pity, and then forget in the next instant.
But his eyes. They were another matter altogether. They had the depth of someone who had plumbed the depths of life, and had faced tribulations that most people his age could only dream of. They were cold and distant, yet at some sub-conscious level you could see traces of a life left behind, a warmth that would shine through for a second, before drowning again in a sea of fear. You could almost feel his fear, it was everywhere, in the way his eyes kept darting around, in the way he curled himself up at the slightest sound, and in the way he clutched at his little red doll.
The little red doll startled me. No, it wasn’t because he was too old to play with a doll, it could be just another trinket of a life long lost that people of his kind usually carried with them.It was because the little red doll was, in every way, an antithesis of himself.
The doll was immaculate. It was clothed in a red frock with golden buttons which shone. The fake hair was perfectly combed and parted. The little white shoes were polished to a gleam and even the eyebrows were prim and proper.The only place where the doll was dirty was the place where he clutched it tightly to himself, a last vestige of his memory.
I felt pity, for the boy, for his doll, for a world that went on untroubled despite millions like him.
The wind started up again. The streetlight flickered and went out.
I turned and walked away.
That night I had a dream that will stay with me forever.
It was the boy and his doll. His eyes were wide in fear as he clawed desperately at the ground to get at his doll. Unseen hands came out of the darkness. His eyes grew wide with fear, and a horrible scream ripped the night apart.
I woke up in a cold sweat.
The next evening, my road home from work took me past the streetlight once again. It was light enough for me to make out the shadows, and my eyes furtively searched for him. Unable to find him, I was turning back, when, ironically, the streetlight came to life.
There, under the light, at the very spot I had left him yesterday, I saw the little red doll. The blood froze in my veins.
The doll had no head.
Open IIT Creative Writing Gold for this one! 😀