This window seat had been his object of affection but even as a beautiful landscape of lush green trees rolled by, he simply stared into nothingness. The candy he had been given a while ago had lost all its sweetness and was almost bitter now.
He had wanted to object putting it in his mouth but the stench of his motion sickness-induced vomit on his shirt which hadn’t gone despite cleaning up and the array of fresh and old hurt marks across his limbs made him follow orders and cower in terror instead.
How did he reach here? Last he knew he was playing hide-and-seek with his friends in a deserted building in the outskirts of his town. What had the stranger looking for directions offered him? Oh yes, chocolate, and not the 50 paise one he had to beg to his mother for. It looked expensive and was wrapped in a golden foil. It had literally melted on his tongue!
He had generously shared it with his best friend. Too bad, after they woke up in a room with ten other kids, suddenly he had branded him his arch enemy for pulling him in with him. He had been beaten black and blue for trying to escape once and was now sitting with the worse of the two bhaiyas they were travelling with. He hardly ever looked up from his crotch.
The bus halted at a refreshment centre. He didn’t know where they were headed or why. It didn’t seem promising. As the bhaiya sitting next to him stepped out to relieve himself, the boy relaxed a bit. This time he looked out the window and saw a couple of boys seemingly of his age playing with spare tyres at a mechanic shop nearby.
“Will I ever be free again? Can I switch this window seat with them?” he wondered.