Robust was sitting quiet alone in the train compartment, when a girl entered.
She was very pretty with long-straight blonde hair and, a fair young face with slightly pink cheeks. Her eyes were the colour of forget-me-not blue dazzling brilliantly like two sapphires under her brownish eyebrows. She was wearing a peach frock, that came upto her knees and a little red handbag of leather oscillated in her hand, as she sat down neatly in front of Robust facing the window and slowly dangled her feet beneath. But Robust noticed, her skin was very pale too.
Robust was so much infatuated at her simple beauty, that even when the girl noticed him staring at her, he forget to remove his eyes.
'Why're you gazing at me like that?' She asked him with a mingled expression of boredom and suspicion.
'Just watching you' Robust replied briefly and made the best effort to remove his eyes from her attractive face.
'It's indeed thrilling to be stared like that!' The girl said with a mocking smile, turning towards the window.
This was the first time, that Robust saw her smiling face, which was in fact, far more lively and cheerful.
The wind gushing through the open window, had made her lenghty-loose hairs go flowing over her shoulders.
It was the lattermost night train, which departed at the station of New York at twelve midnight and headed for Boston. Precisely, as it was the last train, the comparments remained generally empty.
Today was same too.
'What's your name?' Robust asked suddenly.
'Lolita, and you?'
'Robust...um...has no one come with you?' He asked in an odd way.
'No--' The girl replied, still looking outside the window.
'Are you not afraid of travelling alone in an empty train at night?' Robust asked still in his inquisitive manner.
'No, and why should I?' The girl said, turning away from the window to look at her partner.
'Do you know...who am I?
'No--ofcourse not, who're you?'
'I'm not a good person!' Robust said with a sudden feeling of guilt in his heart's core.
'Oh! Is it? Don't worry...say me, who're you?' said Lolita, in her same non-chalant voice.
'I'm a robber...'
'Oh! Only a robber?' She giggled with sheer delight.
'No...a murder and a harasser too...' Robust replied slowly in an utter shock.
'Oh yes? Then do tell me some of your life's thrilling stories!' Lolita urged him, as if a child is insisting his mother for listening bed time stories.
Robust was so much bewildered getting this unexpected answer, that for a moment or so, he was completely unable to find a single word.
Finally, pushing away his embarrassment, he said;
'I've murdered about six people in my life...and, I've harassed and robbed many people too...I don't fear anyone. I do whatever I prefer to.'
He stopped and lifted up his head to look at his listener, but no sooner had he raised his head than, a tremendous wave of absolute shock struck him:
The girl was laughing softly with her hands pressed on her mouth.
She gave a final mirthful laugh and said;
'You're a very gallant youngman, you know--'
'Don't you fear me?'
'No, and why should I?' Lolita said again, with her smilestillstretched on her lips.
'What if I ravish you?'
'I don't mind'
'Um...'coz it's natural'
'WHAT? ARE YOU CRAZY?' Robust blustered out on her, burning in his whimsical rage. But the girl was still as relaxed as a silent fallen leaf.
'No, I'm not...'coz I believe...that there must be some reasons for which you're doing this...maybe it's an emergency or something like that, and...therefore I won't ever mind if you abducts me. Rather, I'd be happy, if someone else's happy!'
All of a sudden, Robust felt a great stabbing sense of pain and inquity within his heart, that seemed to crush it into powder.
The barrier of his heart, his guilt,his hidden grief, his every pain gave away; and two large drops of water squeezed out from corner of his eyes.
He did not know, where they came from; he did not know, what they meant; he did not know, what they wanted him to know; but the only thing, that he wanted, was to sit there with this naive, sinless, guileless girl with an extremely immaculate-taintless soul: who has so spontaneously embraced this cruel world...
It is indeed hard to say, that for how long they were sitting in this pin drop silence, when there was a distant soft whistle heard and the train, with a little jerk decelerated.
When the rumbling sound of the wheels finally stopped, Robust got up from his seat. Till then he was sitting so mesmerized in one position, that when he got up, his legs seemed to be too weak to support his weight.
Anyhow, he made to the door to get out, but as he was just to place his foot outsidethe compartment, he turned around to look at the girl.
She was still sitting there looking outside the window, as unpertubed as ever.
'Lolita! Aren't you coming?' Robust asked her unable to hold his brimming curiosity.
'But this is the last station'
'Don't worry. I don't need to.'
For Robust, this was enough to burst out. Forgetting his weak legs, he ran upto her and started roaring uncontrollably;
'WHO'RE YOU? WHY DON'T YOU COME DOWN WITH ME? TELL ME!! SPIT IT OUT!'
He made to hold her, but another strike of lightning hit him hard, as the body he wanted to hold was actually nothing but air, it was too mortal and fragile, and preternatural...
He couldn not hold her; she turned her handsome- smiling face to him, and said in an unearthly voice;
'I said you, I'm of no importance...you're very good, I'm no one anymore to change this unimproved world-- but you can---I can only reform a heart, but not more than that...leave me and go, live your life...but do remember me and my words forever...'
And before the latter could understand or say anything, she was gone, gone forever and ever...
Robust was left standing petrified and befuddle in the quite quiet and deserted train, with no human and no nonhuman.
Only those last powerful words reverberated in his mind.
And then, he took the solemn oath in his firm heart and got down the train with his head held high.
--- HEDWIG'S QUILL
30 SEP 2021
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