Monday, October 15, 2007


"...if you hadn't gone through that experience, you'd agree with me." Rohan finished.

Rita said nothing. Head bowed, she stared into the flames. Beyond the bonfire, the waves crashed onto the shore. In spite of herself, she shivered. Rohan sensed her withdrawal, and put an arm around her shoulder. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to remind you of... that time. Innocents do get caught in the crossfire of every law. But if you look at the larger scheme of things, it serves as a deterrent to others..." Fire flashed in Rita's eyes. She stood up, flinging away Rohan's hand.

Speaking as if lecturing to her class, she said, "So I'm a deterrent, now, am I? The scars on my back are good to show others, all those memories of the lockup..." she shuddered again, " are worth collecting into a book, eh?" She moved into the darkness at the edge of the treeline, so that he wouldn't see the blood rushing to her face.

Rohan flinched at the venom. "The alternative is worse," he said, "Unless people are afraid to break the law, it has no meaning. In fact, I'd say a week isn't enough. Look at America, they lock up suspects for months at a time. Crimes in the US are nonexistent today. Everyone's afraid of doing anything out of line with the law. Imagine India becoming so safe. Rita, where are you going?"

Rita was invisible from the beach. Rohan looked for her for awhile, then muttered, "She'll be back," and sat down to toast his hands.


The amplified voice cut through the darkness. A spotlight rested on Rohan. The boat edged towards the shore - why hadn't either of them noticed it before? "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?"

Rohan stood up. "N...nothing, we were just..."

"HOLD UP YOUR I-CARD," the voice commanded.

Rohan's hands went to his pockets. "Rita, my wallet... I gave it to you when we went swimming... Rita? Rita?"

But Rita was nowhere to be seen. The spotlight searched among the bushes, but there was no one. It returned to Rohan.


"But I'm not... I'm just... RITA! Come here! I'm not a smuggler, I...we're here for a vacati... RITA!!!"

A figure had moved from the ship onto the shore, and was even now handcuffing Rohan. Rohan took a step back, tried to pull his hands away. There was a click somewhere, and pain shot through his legs. "DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ESCAPE. IF YOU ARE INNOCENT, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR."

Rita suppressed the urge to come out into the open, to prevent what was happening. She could make out Rohan's expression; memories flooded through her mind. Yet the conversation had pinched, had awakened a fury.

She looked forward to the conversation when - if - he returned.

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