It has been six months since I met Jenifer. The last time we met was at a friend's birthday party.
She called me today to meet her at a cafe on Central Road in Aurora City after lunch. I couldn't say no to her. She isn't the kind of person you can easily meet.
Jenifer is that person who comes suddenly into our life, stays for a while and vanishes. She can be described as a loose flower that flows with the wind.
I went to the cafe and spotted her, waiting for me at the table beside the window. I don't like to keep a lady waiting. So, I apologized to her for being late and took my seat.
We had a long conversation about us, family, movies and TV series. We also smack talked about our friends. We were having such a good time that we didn't realise how time went by.
The clock said it was 4:10 pm. Jenifer wants to go to her home before five. Reaching home before 5:00 pm is a typical thing for Jenifer and I've known this since our college days.
So I didn't insist that she stay with me for a while longer. We left the cafe and I thought I should drop her home. At first she was reluctant but then she agreed.
Jenifer's home is a 30-minutes-walk from the cafe. We could've taken a minicab. Instead we walked to her home.
The streets of Aurora City are anything but dreamy. It's crowded, puddles are everywhere and you can see polythene bags flying to and fro. It's not a pleasant scene to imagine.
It was already 5:00 pm and we were near an alley that led to her home. Before we reached the alley, Jenifer held my hands and stopped me. I asked, "What happened?"
"We'll take another alley. It's not safe here," she replied.
"Why?" I asked again. She pointed to a middle-aged woman who was standing in front of the alley.
"See that old lady? She is someone you should not mess with." I took a glimpse of the woman. She was like a guard dog with a knobstick.
Brushing away the uneasiness, I said to Jenifer, "Oh come on. She must be a security guard who is here to protect your neighbourhood from danger".
"No, she isn't. Now let's go to another alley," Jenifer sternly said.
As we continued walking, I saw that she was sweating as if she had seen a ghost. I don't know what was going on. "What's wrong with this woman?" I asked jenifer.
"It has been 20 years since the nuclear war was over. Doctor Shimmer was responsible for the war. This woman lost her husband and children in the war. As Dostor Shimmer belonged to our kind, the old lady has a grudge against us. If she sees us roaming the streets, she will beat us to death," Jenifer said.
"So she thinks that your kind is responsible for the war?"
"Yes. And everyone in the country still sees us as the enemy."
"That's ridiculous! Haven't you filed a case on her?"
"We did but it won't work because the police see us the same way," Jenifer said, as if it's normal for the police to refuse to help her kind.
We came to another alley and saw that woman again. "We're late. Let's go to the previous alley," Jenifer said.
I continued our conversation. "So, for 20 long years this woman has been haunting your kind?"
"Yes. We call her the Butcher of Grimm Alley."
I was amazed that her kind is scared of this woman. 20 years is a long time to be living in fear of an old woman.
It's like a fairy tale where people are afraid of a witch who likes to kidnap children. Whatever the case may be, citizens of a country should hold the people accountable for the war, not their kind, race or sect. No one has the right to take the laws into their own hands to ensure punishment.
The old lady was here again. This time, I was adamant on Jenifer going home. So I devised a plan and said, "I'll talk to the old lady and distract her. In the meantime, you'll pass us and run home."
"It won't work. Her senses are as strong as a feline's."
"Keep faith in me. When you reach home, just give me a call."
I walked up to the old lady and she stared at me. A chill ran down my spines. "Ma'am, how are you? Do you know where Mr Guptil lives?" I asked her.
"I don't know anyone by this name. Why are you asking me?" She replied.
"I thought you were a security guard. That's why I asked you."
"Security guard? Do I look like a security guard to you?"
"Your knobstick made me think so."
"Oh yeah? Listen, Sherlock Holmes, or whoever you are, mind your own damn business and don't come here again." She said, annoyed.
"But I'm looking for Mr Guptil. If you can tell me where he lives, I can leave you be."
My phone rang. It was Jenifer. I rejected the call and told the old lady, "Okay, old hag. Continue doing your own damn business." And I made a run for my life.
I called Jenifer. She picked up the phone and thanked me. She promised to meet me again when the time is right.
At midnight, I was thinking that although the war had happened 20 years ago, it left permanent scars and the casualties can still be felt.
Bad thoughts and ill intentions are widespread in our society and people like Jenifer have to bear the burnt.
I could save Jenifer only today but can I forever make the world a safe place for her?