He could see red. It was more like vermillion. Something shone bright. It felt like he was staring into the sun. His eyes cautiously half-opened, only to see sunshine easing its way in through as Nupa raised the blinds and grinned that grin he remembered from the first time he saw her. His feeling of fondness was interrupted by flashes of red; this time, a deeper shade. In what felt like less than a second, reality took over. The previous night’s events inundated his mind like a tornado attacking an unsuspecting town. Fear paralyzed the whole of him. Guilt engulfed him. That he slept blissfully after his sinful act sickened his guts. He could still see it all fresh in his mind. She couldn’t scream, he had gagged her. She was powerless, his little one. He remembered how her eyes welled up in pain. She wriggled and twisted. It was a deep slit; the collar of her favorite purple top was soaked in blood. The stars on the collar weren’t even visible. He saw how she dreaded him that minute, it killed him inside. She was his only baby daughter. He couldn’t see her writhe in pain. He just couldn’t. Yet, he did, for a whole minute. He wept; he stood there watching her and let his tears gush down as they did. He’d sworn to kill, if any man hurt his little girl; he never never saw himself there. What else could he have done? She knew too much. If she said a word about Riya outside, it would ruin his life forever, and not just his. Nupa would never forgive him. Everyone would despise him. It was a choice between his everything and his little girl. He had to let her go. He remembered how he saw the girl freeze. He was trembling as he closed her door shut and walked to his room where his wife was asleep and sleep-talking. He could not recollect how he slept through the night. He wondered if the little one had told her friends what she had seen earlier that week. What if she had? How would he face Nupa if she found out? The thought of it petrified him. Riya was one thing. He had slaughtered what Nupa loved, more than she loved him. He’d be known as the beast who slayed his own little one. He was a murderer. He was a bastard; he was disgusted. He closed his eyes.
He sat upright, watched Nupa as she walked across the room; he smiled a contrived smile. He was glad when she smiled back; Nupa hadn’t noticed the sweat on his forehead.
He could see red. It was more like vermillion. Something shone bright. It felt like he was staring into the sun. His eyes cautiously half-opened only to see sunshine easing its way in through as Nupa raised the blinds and grinned that grin he remembered from the first time he saw her. She was still that lovely beautiful woman he had met nineteen years back; how he loved her! It was the thought of her and their little girl asleep in the other room that kept him a very happy man. The little one was going to turn 14, she wanted to go for a sleepover. It felt unbelievable that their little bundle of happiness had grown up so much; he was overwhelmed. His eyes filled up every time he brought back memories from the day Nupa delivered her. They were blessed. He got out of bed walked to Nupa and kissed her forehead. He concocted what the little girl called Daddy’s Sunday Strawberry Smoothie and walked to her room to wake her up. He twisted the knob; the door squeaked as it opened. He dropped the glass. He screamed as he scampered towards where his baby girl lay. Nupa rushed to the room in alarm, she stopped at the door. He felt the girl’s wrist and banged his fist on the edge of the cot. Nupa stood motionless. She couldn’t see; it was blurry. An appalling shade of red was all she saw. The shards of glass that she had stepped on didn’t hurt her foot. Her only child was no more. She wailed deafeningly. Then again, hysterically. He’d sworn to kill, if any man ever hurt his little girl. That second, he knew he’d find the man and rip his ribs out. Only, nothing would bring back his girl. It killed his insides to see her frozen.
He was to blame. He whispered to Nupa that it was his fault, all his. He shouldn’t have left his only child alone. He sobbed uncontrollably. He never had his whole life.
P.S. : The above is a fictitious narration, inspired by the unsolved Aarushi murder case about which numerous stories/theories were conjured. I shudder when I wonder what the man in case 2 would go through, if he were accused of murder. The world could get sadistic sometimes.