Chapter 2 – Sketch
Soumya had a bewildered expression on her face because she never expected so sudden turn of events. Shia was about to throw her precious panda toy out of the window, then all of a sudden, everything darkened in front of Soumya’s eyes, as if someone switched off the lights, then the very next instant, she saw the same boy from morning holding her school bag in one hand and her panda toy in another. She instinctively took her bag and toy from the boy’s hands and felt warm in her heart and it seemed as if the commotion in her heart suddenly vanished. This was quite shocking for her, but when her gaze fell on the four girls, she was completely stunned. A moment ago, they were laughing and having fun, but at present, there was a look of horror in their eyes and were trembling, as if they couldn’t breathe.
This lasted only for a short time, and all of a sudden, the girls looked normal once again. The beautiful girl was still on the floor staring at the boy, but the other three girls stepped back all the way to the blackboard then stopped but didn’t stop looking at this boy’s back profile with a terrified look in their eyes. While Soumya was still shocked at all this, with an astonished and curious look in her eyes, she finally focused her gaze towards the boy and saw that he was writing something on his palm.
“Is he writing something for me? What is he writing? He seems so serious like he was in the morning, what should I do? Because of him, I got my precious toy back, how should I thank him?” So many questions, one after another, weaved inside Soumya’s mind, when at last, Rudra showed his palm to her.
‘You are not as timid as I thought.’
When Soumya read it, she hastily lifted her eyes to take a good look at Rudra’s emotionless face, and what she saw completely left her stunned. She couldn’t understand what she saw in him, but it was different, not scary but something incomprehensible to her. All of the questions revolving in her heart suddenly vanished, and the only things that remained there were gratitude, calmness and a mild sense of warmth. From the time she entered the classroom, she was excited, scared, nervous and insecure. She knew that this was going to be new and challenging for her and she could only rely on her own strength to get through this, although she was different from others and it was going to be tough, but she wanted to lead a normal school life which her deceased mother always wished for.
Rudra was looking directly into the eyes of Soumya, as if trying to read her like a book. When he sensed that she had calmed down, he looked towards Shia once with an indifferent look in his eyes, then walked to his own seat, sat down, and started reading the thick book. No one noticed but at this time, the characters on his left palm vaporized in thin air.
When Shia fell down, she twisted her ankle and was unable to get up due to intense pain. She was very much angry at Rudra and firmly decided in her heart that she would teach him a lesson. The three girls snapped out of their trancelike state when Rudra went back to his seat, and rushed to help Shia get up, and then took her to the school infirmary.
All of the students in the class were stunned, they couldn’t believe what they just saw. Rudra, the most unsocial guy of their class, just hurt Shia and her group?
The old man was floating near the classroom entrance far away from Rudra said in a serious voice: “Brat, you don’t know restraint. These are mere high school girls and you used that on them?”
Rudra didn’t say anything and continued to read the book on Quantum Physics.
Soumya realized that she still hadn’t thanked Rudra but just then, a teacher entered the classroom and the class started.
At this time, the old man was still hovering near the entrance of classroom, and his gaze was fixated on Rudra, as if he was looking at something else.
During the class, Rudra kept the book inside and decided to concentrate in class. It was his policy to never get on the bad side of the teachers unless it was absolutely necessary. There was something bugging him for some time. How was Soumya going to study in the class when she couldn’t hear? He carefully observed her and discovered that she was taking accurate notes and was literally writing down everything in her notebook while her eyes were fully focused on the teacher.
Rudra didn’t know much about lip reading but he knew that lip reading was something very tough to grasp and those who couldn’t hear from birth found it very difficult to learn as they never heard people talking. So there was a possibility that Soumya lost her hearing at a later age and that’s why she was so good at lip reading.
The school bell rang announcing the lunch break. Soumya was planning to thank the boy during the lunch time, so when the lunch break started, she quickly wrote down ‘Thank you’ on a page of the notebook she used to communicate with others and turned back, but saw that the boy was no longer on his seat though his school bag was still there, perhaps he left while she was busy writing on her notebook.
Soumya didn’t know what to do as she was new in the class and had subconsciously started to feel safer around him. Now that he was not there, she got anxious and quickly shifted her gaze upon her notebook without looking at other students in the class, who were constantly looking at her like small kids looking at a wild animal in Zoo, but no one from class came to greet her because they were scared of Shia. Shia and her group went to school infirmary in the morning itself and hadn’t returned since then.
Soumya was worried and a bit scared that the girls from morning might come back, but suddenly, the scene from morning appeared in her mind. The image of the boy holding her bag flashed before her eyes, and in that image, there was a deep look in his eyes, so deep that she felt as if she was being sucked into them. Soumya looked at the ‘Thank you’ she had written on her notebook and thought: “Just saying thanks is not enough.”
She took out a sketchbook and a sketch pencil from her bag and started sketching.
On the staircase leading to the rooftop of school, with the book in his hand, Rudra was stepping up and the old man was floating above him. Rudra reached the door leading to the rooftop, glanced at the lock, and the lock opened automatically with a ‘clink’ sound. He pushed the door and went on the rooftop then with yet another ‘clink’ sound, the door immediately closed and locked. Rudra looked towards the beautiful blue sky with few patches of white clouds here and there, then sat down with his back supported against the railing and started reading.
The old man looked at Rudra and said: “You never answered my question, why did you use that?”
Rudra replied while keeping his eyes on the book: “It was necessary to scare them. If I was lenient then that would have left scope for them retaliating later by bullying Soumya just to prove that my interference has no effect on them. But now, they are scared on a subconscious level and whenever they would think about bullying, the terror implanted in their minds today would show up and stop them. However I can be wrong because Shia seems like a persistent girl.”
The old man said in worried voice: “What if Shia comes back to class and tries to bully her again?”
Rudra replied in a calm voice: “According to my observations of Shia, she is the type who maintains appearances in front of everyone, so she would never come back to class limping on one leg.”
The old man excitedly said: “Don’t tell me you deliberately injured her leg? Damn, you are so evil! Ha ha”
But at this time, a mischievous smile appeared on the face of old man as he asked: “Why did you decide to save Soumya? The aloof Rudra I know never interferes with someone else’s problems.”
Rudra didn’t say anything and continued to read.
The old man looked irritated and said: “Hmph, ignoring my question? Fine, but heed to this old man’s warning because I am far more experienced than you. You try your best to stay away from others but today you broke your own rule and saved Soumya, and this is going to change a lot of things. Just because you are aloof and unsocial doesn’t mean others are as well. My intuition says that you have already become an important existence for her and this is your doing, so when the time comes, deal with it instead of running away from her like you did a while ago. You escaped and didn’t even give her a chance to thank you.”
Rudra glared at the old man and said in a firm tone: “You know why I follow the rule to stay away from others including my own family. I helped her just because I saw a determined look in her eyes, even if she was scared and was on verge of crying, she still didn’t give up and continued to struggle. That’s what made me to instinctively help her!”
The old man looked at the firm expression on Rudra’s face and said with a smile on his face: “Don’t be mad, I was just teasing you, in fact, I personally think you did a very good thing.”
Rudra closed the book and kept on one side, closed his eyes then said, “I am taking a nap because I don’t feel like going back to attend classes, so don’t interrupt my sleep got it?”
The old man flew up high into the sky while laughing loudly and saying: “Cutting classes on the very first day of school? Ha ha.”
Few hours later, the school bell rang indicating the end of school day.
Rudra woke up from the loud sound of school bell. He picked up the book then opened the lock on the door to staircase and went back to the classroom. He entered the empty classroom, picked up his school bag, stuffed the book inside the bag, and then walked towards the school library.
He had already told his brother that he was going to spend the night in a friend’s house so he couldn’t go back home so he decided to spend all day in the library reading the book in order to prepare for the plan tonight.
After entering the library, he quickly found a corner seat.
He took out the book from his bag, but something fell on the floor from his bag. He picked it up and saw that it was actually a sketchbook and the name ‘Soumya’ was written on its cover.
When the old man saw that it was actually Soumya’s sketchbook, he became very excited and said in a loud voice: “Hurry up and open it, let’s see what’s inside!”
Rudra was a bit surprised, many questions spurred in his mind instantly. Was this someone’s prank? Did someone deliberately put her sketchbook in his bag?
He thoroughly checked his bag but all of the things inside belonged to him. He then slowly opened the sketchbook and what he saw completely left him stunned.
When the old man took a peek, a totally bewildered expression appeared on his face.
It was a beautiful sketch and looked very realistic with ‘Thank you’ written below it. In the sketch, Rudra was standing with a school bag in one hand and a panda toy in another, and there was a black aura wrapped all around him, as if coming out of his body.
The old man looked towards Rudra and said in a serious tone: “She saw!”