Avanthika

This article is written in the first person of a girl; a daughter who goes to visit her father in the Bastille during the French Revolution. Read on to find out more.

Today I finally had my greatest wish come true.  It should be the happiest day of my life.  However, the question arises as to how I can be happy when the man I owe my existence to, languishes in prison.

The waft of wickedness that one can slightly sniff from the outside of the Bastille grows stronger once you are inside.  The eerie silence sent a chill down my spine for I knew that men lived there.  The thought of the man being driven into silence due to the evil enrapture of these cells made me think of Father.  There were thoughts whirring my mind.  Could father have been driven into silence and madness?  The thought in itself made me shudder.

 

The grey, cold walls enveloped me in their icy breath. Each step I took, seemed to be as heavy as the leaden hammer of a heart that beat in my chest. My short and fast breaths were the only sound I could hear. Even the men in the Bastille who were alive, seemed to have lost their souls to the silence. The warden who was leading the way seemed to have lost all hope in this dismal setting- as if he himself was prisoner. It had been precisely three years after my father had been taken captive and it was today, that had shone itself to me as a candle at the end of the dark tunnel that was my life. But Irony had to present itself, fully costumed, in this dark hell hole.

Presently, we were at the door of my father’s cell.  The faint tapping of of something unfamiliar to me, could be heard on the outside of the door.  The grim faced guard gingerly nodded and turned the key in the lock.  At first, all I saw was the dark, the mist and one broad beam of light falling on the floor — assuring me that I had the ground to hold me from under.  I had just taken a couple of steps into the room, but my eyes had already scoured the whole place.

It was a small, dark, misty room with a barred window.  There was a crumbling wooden desk that told of poor craftsmanship  by the window and a worn out stringy cot against the wall.  At the foot of the bed sat the spectral being, making shoes. The spectral being, that was once my father.  It was the hammer that I had heard, tapping away the nail in the shoe.  It was a hushed rasp that escaped my throat – ‘Father’.  He looked up in a slow and sickish manner. The one beam of light in the room then fell upon his face and in that instant, everything seemed to slow down. The lively brown eyes I had always found comfort in were now replaced by two unnaturally yellow orbs in his grey face. Gone was the face I knew, only to be replaced by what could have been a grey rag cloth. His hands did not cease working.  I stood staring, willing myself to say something but the words did not come.  My worst nightmare had come true — he was driven into silence and his memory was gone. He did not know me, and in that moment I wished I did not know him either. I took a step forward but he only cowered further away. Stuck for a response I stood there. Every few minutes he looked up, as if willing me to leave.
I had been forgotten, rejected and locked up far away within the Bastille of my father’s mind. The man who was my everything was gone, he had vanished in the Silence. And yet, joy soared withing my chest. He is alive if not well.  I’ll find my father, the man I knew someday, somewhere.

Avanthika

 

Author: Book Club India

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