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Chapter 40: Der Schrei
He didn't have any visible response for a few long minutes. She held his gaze and her insides felt clenched up tight.
When he still didn't utter a word, she spoke.
"All good souls leave the Earth too soon, Arnav. In that respect, your sister's goodness outweighs my brother's by eight years."
He sat up then, giving her his back.
They stayed that way for a few more minutes. The light from the end of the hallway had advanced enough to make his hair glint blue.
She wished he would speak. She wished he would yell or scream or even walk away from her. Anything so that they weren't caught in this prolonged tipping point…
"You are the girl who hung onto those window bars and watched me that day in the hospital."
She looked up in surprise.
That was not what she had expected him to say.
"When they were wheeling your brother into that operation room, I was causing a ruckus in that hallway, yelling for my sister's eyes to be returned to her."
"You're not angry?" she asked in a low voice.
"About what?" he asked without turning around. "It's like her eyes cheated death for eight more years before it was found out, hiding in this house… And when death struck again, it was merciless. It took your brother too…"
She sat there, his words reverberating with a peculiar tension that made hold her breath. He was sitting absolutely still without turning around.
"Arnav…" she called and suddenly he boxed his hands over his ears and doubled over to emit a scream so loud and guttural and she felt her insides splinter.
For a moment, all she could do was watch in horror, but when he rocked back and forth clutching his arms over his head, she reached for him, expecting him to push her away.
At first he did nothing but keep on rocking back and forth, but when she refused to let go and held onto him, he turned into her.
She stood there on her knees as he pressed his face into her stomach and held him while his whole body shook violently.
She closed her eyes as she felt hot tears roll down her cheek and drip onto her shawl and into his hair.
She could feel a heated wetness through the cloth that separated him from her. His tears were hot enough to scald.
She held him that way until he stopped shaking.
When his hold around her waist loosened, she looked down.
"How did he die?" he asked, not looking up.
When she remained silent, he finally looked up.
"They didn't know." She answered.
He had no response to that.
"He didn't die here, Arnav. He died while he was at the medical college. There were no drugs that they could find in his system. At least none that could be detected after death."
"LSD alone will rarely cause death." He said.
"I was speaking of possible cause of death from impaired judgment, which is a very real side effect of LSD. But nothing of that sort could be the cause of death anyways as he was simply found dead in his bed one morning."
He was quiet again for several long moments before he let go of her fully and straightened. "I am going to sleep now. Don't wake me until I wake on my own. And don't come to me even if I scream bloody murder in my sleep."
He stood up.
"I will." She said as she stood up with him.
"Come again?" he asked..
"If you scream bloody murder in your sleep, I will come to check on you." She said neutrally.
"I don't want you to." He said now, his eyebrows drawing together in irritation.
"I want to." She answered as she started walking back down the hallway towards the main wing. Chaturangam will have to wait for another time.
"I don't want you to." He said again, angry now, as he followed her.
When they reached the end of the hallway and she knew that he knew how to get to his room, she turned back to face him and spoke politely. "It appears that we are at a stalemate. The only way to solve this is to avoid screaming bloody murder, Arnav. So try that." She told him before she walked away without giving him any more chances to refuse.
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