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It takes a while for Inez to gain consciousness. Meanwhile, a worried Ms White runs hither and thither, asking the passers-by if they can do something to help Inez out. Luckily, a doctor is chanced upon, and when Ms White tells him what caused Inez to lose consciousness, he is taken aback. He immediately understands what might have led to the state of affairs.
He goes on to take a pill from his pocket, asks Ms White for water, opens Inez’s mouth, and makes her ingest the pill. She regains consciousness in no less than a second, spitting out the water she was given, a bout of coughing following soon after.
Notwithstanding, no sooner does she awaken than her eyes well up with tears even as Ms White makes her drink some more water. The doctor bids adieu, making a quick move. But what Ms White told him continues to hover in his mind, and he feels overcome with fear, disappearing into the jostling crowd soon after.
After a while though, Inez recalls a dream she saw while lying unconscious. She tells Ms White that she was cycling through a grove of timber trees where a gentle drizzle was falling. She felt happy in the dream, but when she woke up, the reality came back to haunt her.
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Soon after, as if something were wrong, Inez murmurs a word or two to herself. Quite strangely, she doesn’t get back to what led to her becoming unconscious. Whether she remembers it or not is something that Ms White seems to wonder. But Inez only feels something is amiss. Remembering the barking dog incident, she tells Ms White, ‘It was surely a bad omen. Plausibly, as an augury of sorts.’
Omens. They have always played a major role in Inez’s life. She learnt about good and bad omens from her mother Olivia D’Souza, a clairvoyant and dream interpreter. Ms D’Souza was one of the most reputed in the business and made tons of money by interpreting dreams and presaging people’s lives. And even as Inez was used to having a chat with her mother every morning, today she had missed it.
‘Are you okay, Inez?’ Ms White splutters, bringing back Inez to the present.
‘Yes,’ Inez responds, her tone indifferent.
‘I think we should go now. Right into the room.’
Inez and Ms White rise to their feet, moving to the destination that they see right in front of them. Inez feels she should contact her mother and tell her what transpired yesterday and today, planning a way to move forward with the task she had on her hand. And although she is afraid that the bad omen may affect her first meeting with Pierce, she feels interacting with someone may provide a ray of hope.
And then, she remembers what led to her fainting.
DO READ | The Shepherd’s Lot
PS: This chapter has been written by Gaurav Kumar and edited by B Sudharsan.
Categories: Round Robins