Samir walked into the apartments to find them empty. Persephone was nowhere to be found. He cursed himself for not leaving a guard at the door. He should have known that she had no intention of resting she was as stubborn as a mule.
“Persephone madam I have some...”
“She is not here Bahadhur Singh.” Samir muttered.
Samir noticed her camera was missing from the side desk and realised she had probably become bored and gone out to take pictures. “Let's go and find her.” He said striding out of the apartments with a very worried Bahadhur Singh in his wake. Maybe he should have warned her about the danger she could be in, but he had wanted to shield her from the darkness. He just hoped that she had not stumbled into his uncle, aunt or Raghav's path.
His lips were just about to touch hers, repulsed she tried to shrink back but found that she could not. His face had become a mask of ugliness. Persephone fought the sleepy feeling with all her might, her eyelids kept drooping, she fought to keep them open. His mouth was on hers, Persephone felt sick, he tasted of alcohol and cigarettes, he crushed her lips bruising them with his fevered attack, his mouth trailing down her throat bruising and biting.
How was she going to get out of this situation her body was not responding to any of her commands. For the first time in her life Persephone prayed fervently for help, as Raghav picked her up and carried her through into his bedroom with a ugly smile on his face.
“Sir, we have looked everywhere.” One of his men said to Bahadhur Singh. All the servants are going around looking for her. A crease of worry on his forehead Bahadhur Singh replied “She has to be here somewhere, she wouldn’t have got far. Ask all the rest of the servants in the palace and check if anyone has seen her.”
“Yes Sir,” the man ran off to do as he was bid.
Samir had jumped into the jeep and was going around the pastures of the horses and the far buildings looking for her. With every moment that passed his dread increased. His phone rang, braking hard he answered it quickly hoping that Bahadhur Singh was calling because he had found her.
“Sir, one of the servants from the palace said he has seen madam with Raghav earlier. I am going to his rooms to see if she is there.” he voice full of panic he terminated the call. “I hope we are not too late!” He muttered to himself as he ran with some of his trusted servants towards the palace.
Samir drove at breakneck speed towards the palace. Guilt washed over him in heavy waves. Why had he not intimated to her the dangers of the palace. Why had he insisted on bringing her back here when she could have been safer at the hotel she had been staying at. It was all his fault, if Raghav had...he couldn’t even bear to think about it, he reached the main doors, almost crashing the Jeep into a wall, he jumped out and ran just as Bahadhur Singh and a few of his men also reached the steps.
Raghav shrugged off his shirt. She looked absolutely delicious lying there on his red coverlet unable to move. Her terrified eyes watched him with dread, her white long skirt and a white top making her look virginal and untouchable. Her eyes kept closing but she kept dragging them open. He could see she was fighting hard but they were clouding over slowly but surely. Tears ran down the sides of her face, he reached over and brushed his thumbs over the bruised lips that he had just tasted, he could not wait to have more of her.
“You Phirangee girls are always such a treat, I wonder how many 'boyfriends' you have had? So beautiful, no wonder that half-brother of mine is mad over you, with your skin the colour of almonds and your lush mouth that resembles a crushed red rose, delicious!” he hissed.
He climbed on the bed, leaning over her he bit into her neck. Her terrified eyes stared at him, smiling a very ugly smile he whispered, “ Don’t worry Perse you won't remember a thing tomorrow, that's my guarantee! Its a shame though, as I would have liked you to remember the pleasure I am about to have but then again its best you forget, you may not enjoy it as much.” He laughed lasciviously, tugging at the buttons of her white top.
He muttered a curse as a loud banging interrupted his enjoyment, angrily shouting to ask what the problem was.
“Raghav sir, Raghav sir, Samir and his men are heading here!” screamed a man through the door.
DAMN! Raghav sprang off the bed like a flash, his eyes wide with fear. Samir! Grabbing his shirt and jacket he ran through a door and made his way through a side entrance that led out of the palace. Behind him he heard a crash and he assumed that Samir had broken the door to his bedroom. There was shouting behind him but his frantic frightened breathing became too loud for him to hear much, as he ran as fast as his legs could carry him as far as possible from Samir and the fate he now realised awaited him.
Samir crashed through Raghav's bedroom door and scanned the room his heart pounding with fear at what he might find. He saw her lying so still on the bed. Only her eyes moved as she stared at him and they looked terrified.
“Persephone!” Samir's face contorted with pain as he saw the dishevelled state of her clothes, he walked over to her and wrapped her tenderly in a sheet. He saw the bruised lips and the marks on her neck and anger like he had never known before filled his mind, he was going to kill Raghav for this.
Her eyes closed but she dragged them open again. Tears flowed relentlessly out of them and ran down the sides of her face as she looked at him. Those beautiful blue-violet sparkling eyes of hers looked dead, the look in them told him everything.
“He is gone...shhhh, dont cry. I am here, you are safe now, my love.” Samir whispered to her.
“Persephone madam, thank god we were in time!” Bahadhur Singh said with effort, his voice hoarse.
Samir gathered her up in his arms. “Persephone, I should have warned you about Raghav, I should have warned you about them all. Forgive me Persephone, dear god, forgive me Persephone.” He repeated holding her high against his chest, carrying her back to his mothers apartments. He looked into her tear filled eyes that she was still fighting hard to stop from closing. “I will not let anything happen to you, you are safe now, my love.” he reassured, his eyes dark and filled with pain at seeing her like this.
“I will call the doctor, it looks like he has drugged her, she is unable to move at all!” Bahadhur Singh said as he pulled out his mobile and started dialling, his face a picture of concern.
Persephone, finally stopped fighting the instinct to stay awake, her eyes closing as she felt Samir's familiar arms holding her safe against his heart.
He felt her go limp and held her even tighter. She looked like a broken doll in his arms, her skin pale, it seemed as if the sunshine had seeped out of her and left a lifeless body. Raghav would pay for this he vowed. He carefully laid her on the bed and covered her with blankets she seemed so cold, he looked at Bahadhur Singh his face filled with guilt and pain.
“Bahadhur Singh get a team together and start the search. I will not let him get away with this. First he tampered with the plane and now he tried to...!”
“Samir, Sir, I have already started the search, I am also calling the local farmers to keep a lookout. He ran in such haste, I am sure he has no money or transport, so I am assuming he will not get very far. I will just go and call a few more people and see where the doctor has got to.” Bahadhur Singh said hurrying to the office.
Samir paced up and down in the bedroom, his eyes fixed on Persephone, she was so pale, so still, he willed the doctor to come quickly.
“She is deeply asleep. Whatever he has given her has knocked her out. I am not sure what he gave her, she may remember what happened when she wakes or she may not. Sometimes if the drug is a weak batch the victim remembers everything but we won't know for sure, till she wakes up. The fact that she had already taken some medication earlier may also have an effect on what he gave her. Just keep a close eye on her. If there are changes let me know I will come straight away.” the doctor said with a frown.” She had liked Persephone and to find that this had happened in the palace was beyond her comprehension. “Have you caught the person who did this yet?”
Samir's face became a mask of anger. “No not yet.” he muttered tersely. But he was not going to give up until he found Raghav.
“What?” Amar Singh paled, as he heard what had happened from his manservant. “Raghav tried to molest that woman? He is a bigger fool then I realised. This is the biggest blunder he has ever made, he has gone mad.”
“Kya hua? Why are you shouting?” Choti Raani asked as she walked into his office. They had both been away since last night at their Delhi apartment, making sure that the funds that they had hidden away were within reach if they needed them in a hurry. She had urged Amar Singh to take action to safeguard their future, what if Samir suddenly decided to throw them out of his palace? They had been building up quite a nice little nest egg on the side, from the money that Samir had sent for renovations and the Tiger project, she wanted to make sure that Samir would not find that money.
Amar Singh dismissed the servant and went to the window from which he could see the comings and goings in Raani Saheeba's apartments. “Raghav tried to molest that woman Samir has been seen with. That Raghav would be this incredibly stupid I hadn’t even thought. Why didn’t he stick to the servant's or the farmer's daughters?”
“Raghav has always been an opportunist, if he thought he could get away with it, he would give it a shot.” Choti Raani said with a wry face. “No amount of warning him of the consequences, or educating him would have stopped him, his brain resides mostly in his trousers!”
“Samir will leave no stone unturned to find him I am sure.” He said, as he watched Samir stride angrily out of the apartments towards the palace. “Ah! Looks like he is coming here.”
Samir strode angrily through the beautiful marble corridors of the palace, full of priceless art and exquisite architecture but they held no pleasure for him at the moment. This place had only given him and his mother pain, ever since he could remember. He would happily hand over the palace to the people he decided. Without bothering to knock he strode into his uncle's office.
“Where is he?” he demanded.
“Who?” his uncle asked, pretending to be working on some papers.
Samir was in no mood to beat around the bush. “You know very well who I mean! Don’t pretend otherwise! But since you want to play games, where is Raghav?”
Choti Raani walked up to him, placing a concerned arm on his, said, “Samir dear, we have only just returned from Delhi, why are you looking for Raghav so urgently and why are you so angry?”
Samir looked down at his aunt, this was the woman who had watched his mother die and not lifted a finger to help her. This was the woman who had pretended to be his mother's friend. Only a few days ago he had been feeling so sorry for her having to put up with her husband and nephew, but he learned that she was as bad as them.
Taking her hand he deliberately pushed it off his arm feeling repulsed, he did not want to be near any of them, but he had to find Raghav and he was sure his uncle would know.
“Where is he? I know you will have information about his whereabouts.” Samir questioned angrily.
“I don’t know where he is.” His uncle replied. “He has not contacted me at all, here have a look at my phone if you don’t believe me.” he said offering Samir his Blackberry.
“I don’t want to look at your phone, uncle just tell me where to find him.”
“Samir, how should I know? He doesn’t tell me where he goes, he is a big boy now, and what has he done that you are so angry about?” His uncle said standing up his gaze dark and hard.
“Fine if that's how you want to play it, when he contacts you just tell him that whichever corner of this earth he runs to, I will always be after him, and my reach is worldwide, and I will not rest until I find him.”
With a hard stare at both of them he turned on his heel and went back to Persephone.
Amar Singh sighed and sat back down, Raghav was a blundering idiot he had now spoiled it for all of them. Picking up his Blackberry he dialled his number and waited for him to pick up.
Bahadhur Singh was sitting by her bedside keeping a vigil when he returned. It was getting late and the night had crept in unnoticed by either of them.
“Sir, I will get some food organised for you.” Bahadhur Singh said looking at Samir's drawn and tired face.
“I am not hungry Bahdahur Singh,” Samir said , sitting down on the bed staring at Persephone's pale face.
Bahadhur Singh, put a gentle hand on Samir's shoulder and said softly. “She will be fine, madam is a fighter. The doctor has said, its just a question of letting her sleep. Now I am sending some light food for you, make sure you eat it. When madam wakes up, you need to be fit and well to look after her.”
Samir nodded looking up at Bahadhur Singh, his eyes suspiciously moist, Bahadhur Singh was the closest thing to a father he had ever had, in-fact he was more than that.
Pulling up an armchair next to her bed, he warily sat down. Pulling out his mobile Samir called his team in New York and told them not to disturb him for the next few days. They were to handle all matters only contacting him in an absolute emergency. Then he called a private security team he sometimes used and asked them to fly in, Persephone was to have around the clock protection in India and England until Raghav was found.
The screams were stuck in her throat. His face was ugly, his lips formed a sneer, laughing he pulled her towards him. She fought him tooth and nail but he kept coming, she was unable to push him away. She had to keep fighting, if she didn’t she knew it would be too late for her. He kept chasing her through the darkness, terrified she screamed for Samir to help her.
The scream woke him up. He jumped up from the armchair he had been dozing in by her bedside. Persephone was fighting with the bed sheets, her arms thrashing about as she fought the demons in her dream. She was covered in a sheen of sweat. Samir climbed on to the bed and gently took a hold of her, she was still hitting out at anything and everything, her eyes tightly closed tears streaming down her face.
“Shhhhh....! you are safe Persephone, my love, you are safe!” He gathered her up in his arms and held her tightly not caring that she was still trying to hit out.
He soothed her with soft words, as the sobs racked her body, she felt so incredibly fragile in his arms. Finally as his words penetrated the dark fog that was clouding her brain, she opened her eyes and looked at him.
Moonlight flowed brightly into the room, casting a white blue light over the bed. The Moon's rays tenderly fell on her pale face, his arms held her tightly against his warm hard chest as she looked up at him.
Deep Sapphire blue pools filled with pain and terror stared at him. “Samir! Samir...he tried to ...he tried to....!” she whispered, unable to go on as sobs shook her again.
“I was so scared Samir, terrified, if you had not come when you did then..” A sob shook her “please just hold me, just hold me please.”
“It's all my fault! I should have warned you about him, about them. Persephone I will never forgive myself for this. Ever.” he said vehemently, hating himself.
“Samir it wasn’t your fault.” she said, “Why are you blaming yourself? She replied, puzzled that he would think that.
“I should have warned you about them, instead I let that animal attack you!” His voice held a tremor filled with pain.
Persephone stared into his face, tight lines of worry were deeply etched in his forehead, his eyes were full of regret and concern for her.
“Its..not your fault..” she whispered suddenly so tired. She turned her face into his chest and whispered “please just hold me, don’t let go.” falling asleep again.
Gently he brushed the tears away from her damp, pale cheeks, lifting her up into his lap, settling himself against the headboard, he held her all night whilst she slept safely in his arms.
His eyes glittered fiercely in the moonlight. Raghav was a dead man walking.
© Jane Meme Copyright 27.02.2012