Punishment and Penance – Part 1

Anthony D’Mello placed the plate of food and a tin cup half-filled with water in front of his guest. The man was a wretched mess with blisters on his feet and scars festered with blood and puss on every part of his exposed skin. He fell greedily upon his food and started devouring it in the most disgusting way possible. Within minutes he had wolfed the meal down and washed it down with water from the cup.

His hunger satiated, the man fell upon D’Mello’s feet and started weeping openly. “God bless you and your family, Sir. I thought I would die all alone in that shed, but somehow you stumbled across me. My ancestors might have done something real good for God knows I am a sinner.”

D’Mello smiled and to his guest, it looked almost like a grimace. “I’m sorry my friend for I couldn’t offer you better hospitality. I’m a doctor and your wounds have been very heavily infected, septic at places. So I am not in a position to offer you the comforts of my home. I hope you don’t mind this tool shed. I’ll make it as comfortable as possible for you.”

“You are a Godsend, Doctor,” the man continued to sob “Such kindness, I don’t deserve it. Please let me not be a burden to you. All I need is a night’s sleep, by God’s will I shall leave you tomorrow.”

“Nonsense! You are not a burden, my friend”, D’Mello opened his bag and rummaged through its contents. “You are severely injured and to be frank I have been thinking of calling the Police because in my opinion you have been subjected to torture. But first I need to clean your wounds, and then hook you up with some antibiotics and pain killers.”

At the mention of the Police, the man started shaking his head no. “Doctor, please don’t call the Police. You will only make things worse for both me and you. In fact, just let me go. I have been judged guilty by our Lord Jesus Christ and been punished plenty over the past week. But in my heart of hearts, I know that my soul still weeps for its crimes even though my body has been punished. Just let me leave and hopefully, this rotten body might become pure by expelling the dirty soul inside.”

D’Mello was quite taken aback by this sudden outburst. He gave his guest few minutes to compose himself while busying himself by spreading an assortment of medicines and instruments on the carpentry table in the tool shed. He cleaned the wounds on the man with copious amounts of antiseptic and hooked an IV line into a vein in his left hand. D’Mello went out and came back with an old night lamp stand on which he hung a bottle filled with a concoction of heavy antibiotics, sedatives, and pain killers. The man’s head jerked sharply as the potent mixture made its way through his veins and slowly relaxed as the sedative started taking effect. Within minutes he was snoring softly, all troubles of his world forgotten. The doctor took one long look at the man and started his preparation for the evening. With all the tools he felt were required placed in a neat line on the work table, he picked his tattered copy of the Bible and sat quietly in the lone chair present in the tool room and started reading. 

Minutes slowly trickled into hours that passed by. The only sounds one could hear from the tool room was soft breathing from the sleeping man and the steady rustling of pages from the Bible, D’Mello read. Around midnight, the man woke up with a groan and noticed with a sudden dread the various power tools laid on the table. The doctor took one look at him and offered a wry smile.

“Don’t be alarmed, my friend. They have their purpose to serve as do we. How are you feeling now?”, D’Mello placed the bookmark carefully on the page he was reading and reverently kept the Bible at its usual place. The man’s eyes went round as he saw the doctor donning a canvas apron and picking up a sharp scalpel.

“Doctor, are you going to kill me? If you are, please do it quickly. I have been tortured a lot in the last few days. Please consider this as a doomed man’s last request.” The man was still groggy because of the sedatives and painkillers and in a desperate attempt to get up, he fell down pulling down the bottle of medication attached to the IV line crashing it in the process.

“My friend, I believe there is some more time before you meet your end”, the Doctor offered, making no effort to help the fallen man who was now making pathetic efforts to pull himself to a vertical position. Instead, he nonchalantly picked the power saw from the table and plugged it into the power source. He switched on the saw for a brief moment, nodded with satisfaction as the circular steel blade whirred with a demonic squeal at nearly 2000 revolutions per minute, and placed it back on the table.

By then, the color had left the man’s face and he just sat down seemingly in acceptance of his predicament. D’Mello sat next to him on the floor and placed his hand on the man’s knee, “Tell me, my friend. Do you want to die?” The man started shaking his head signaling a vigorous no. “But you were so ready to die this afternoon? The wonder a full belly and a bottleful of medicine does to an almost dead man”, the doctor almost whispered words sent a chill up the man’s spine.

“Please doctor, spare me. I don’t want to die, not now, not here, not this way. Please, I beg of you, spare me. Don’t let my blood soil your hands. Just let me go and I would be dead soon.”, the man looked into the doctor’s eyes and found nothing in them.

“Tell me this, my friend. Who tortured you and why?”, the doctor had closed his eyes and was resting his head on one of the legs of the work table, the scalpel lying on his lap.

In spite of his groggy state, the man felt suddenly wary. His gray eyes darted between the toll room’s door and the now unattended scalpel. He felt the adrenaline coursing through his veins pumping his nervous energy to a level he usually experienced during his hunts. He was determined to come out of this alive. He simply refused to die in a derelict tool room in the middle of nowhere at the hands of a psychopath. He knew that the next few minutes were key to his survival.

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8 thoughts on “Punishment and Penance – Part 1

    1. I started to watch Hostel nearly 10 years back but chickened out after just 10 minutes. Thanks for the comment, Upasana. Part 2 will hopefully tie the lose ends up.

      Like

    1. Thank you very much, Akshata. A Part-2 was initially planned and then I dropped it because of absolutely no views for this post. Now, I’m motivated to finish the strange tale of Dr. D’Mello and his guest.

      Liked by 1 person

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