This is the contiunation of the the story Yesterday Night. To read the part 1 :Yesterday Night – part 1.
“You there, get up” a hoarse voice startled Mahinder from his sleep almost jolting him down the bench, His head was ringing from the maddening sound inside his ears calling him awake.
“Go find somewhere else to sleep.” Mahi felt an arm fall upon his shoulder before he could respond to a major force made him consider his balance, slowly falling to the pavement. By the time he could manage to clear the head and look up, the City park Security guard had already made his way further the road.
Did I sleep here last night? Mahi asked himself, from what he saw the last night, nothing felt real anymore. Who knew his greatest fear would be seeing himself from a third-person view, repeating exactly what he did last night. Was it all real or just the brain damage, He kept asking himself the same question from last night.
Surely I didn’t sleep here last night, Mahi kept on thinking as he walked away from the bench. He met the main street that had rose even before him, now crowded with working men and women, children who were rushing to their school. Vehicles that raced through the black roads. He felt something eerie in the air, almost as if eyes were watching him. The feeling he had when the stranger followed him that night. Stranger? People shared their looks at him, the man who was cleaning his store, the girl who was waiting for the bus, the woman who held her bag tightly when he walked nearby. Why are they looking at me? I am overthinking, there is nothing unusual. I must have had a bad dream. Yesterday night must be a nightmare I had. But how did I sleep in the park? Everything felt real.
He tried to cross the street when he clutched onto his pockets finding his mobile vibrating. ‘Principal’ the caller was named, he made a run for the other end when the horns came from both sides.
“Where are you, Mahi?” a softer voice much better than the one that woke him in the morning. The school principal, why is she calling me now, he looked onto his watch, it wasn’t working, 5:47 the time as it got stuck. He checked his phone 10:13 am. He clenched his fist almost starting to bang it to the near post. He was late.
“I am on my way, Ma’am,” he said trying to keep his voice sane and composed.
“The meeting has already started and if you wish on keeping the job get here in 5 minutes,” the voice demanded. He had all the wishes in the world to keep on doing the job, not that he wanted it, but he didn’t know any other work he was good for. He went on to a sprint as soon as he cut the call agreeing to her demand.
Five minutes and forty-six seconds that was the time clocked when he reached the Principal’s office, where seven of the teachers who he was familiar with and another four of the staffs sat in a semi-circle centred by the Principal, a woman in her late forties.
“I am extremely sorry for being late, I had a rough night yesterday,” Mahi said as he went into the room.
“Sure looks that way,” a man sitting in the front row smirked. No one could complain him, Mahi looked that way, his clothes unkempt and hair untidy. He did a lot of running the past 12 hours. But Mahi’s mind only went into the people who surrounded him, he was searching for a familiar face, one he had known for a long time, his face. Has he came here, What if he comes here as I always do. Fancies.
“We can’t accept this manner of attire and your tardiness. This school has its rules and discipline. If the teachers can’t follow that how are you going to make the students do that.” The principal exclaimed.
“I think we could pardon him this time, Ma’am. He is just young.” The man who smirked from the front row said. Mahi’s attention was never in the conversation, although he was the topic of it. The meeting went on for another ten or so minutes and concluded that he was marked on leave that day so the day’s pay was cut. Mahi felt embarrassed when he walked out of the principal’s chamber. A wave of sudden anger flushed his mind, he could hardly contain it. When a soothing voice came from behind his ears, the science teacher, “it is your hour in the fourth standard.” He obeyed what the teacher said, suppressing the hate and fear within, walking into the corridor and onto the classroom that spelt four. The student’s welcome didn’t help him either, they were talking, some were shouting, throwing things around. He banged onto the table, twice, to let them know he had arrived.
The class went on for another half an hour, the rage he felt inside when the students kept picking on him asking questions playing with his patience felt very new to him, never had he felt that way. He stayed in the class, trying to calm his nerves when the students went to the playground for the break
A sudden glance at the gates made things worse. It can’t be, he thought. He looked again but all the things he told himself to believe otherwise were now shattered. Across the ground, near the gate stood a man, who wore the same dress as Mahi, looking straight back into his eyes. The same man he saw the last night, the man who went into his home, looking and acting just like him.
This has to stop. I must find who that is. Mahi walked out of the class. The students were everywhere on the ground, making it harder to find his way to the gate. He saw the man move away trying to hide.
I am not letting you escape, he went on to a sprint, making his way through the children around. He was closer, the man was right behind the gates now moving away.
“Hey!” Mahi called out trying to get the man’s attention. “Stop him” As if someone will care to listen and stop the man. Mahi had his focus on the man that he failed to see the obstacle that appeared before him, he stumbled down and rolled twice on the ground.
He felt pain rushing from his head, his veins were pumping blood faster, his heart booming at an alarming rate. He tried to stand up and a darkening hole appeared, spreading before him. Everything around him started to pitch black as he saw the last day.
This is all coming back, Mahi thought as he saw his body turn into gridlines, illuminating against the darkness.
“Sir,” he heard a voice as of a water drop in the distant, he turned back, the blackness slowly faded, his body returning to the way it was. He heard the voice again, louder this time.
“Sir, what did you do?” a boy cried out to him, Mahi couldn’t make much out of his yelling, he looked at the gates, the man was gone, he saw many more of the students running up to him the security guard following them closely.
“You nearly killed him,” the boy pointing toward another lying, his face half painted in crimson blood, Mahi froze, he choked, his eyes locked onto the red on the face. He saw the boiling eyes of students around him, some tearing up, others yelling. He was shaking, out of fear and remorse, Did I do that? How did I? Was he that I stumbled upon.
Soon came the teachers, some of them helped the boy carried to the school nurses office, while others kept complaining Mahi’s indiscipline and deranged mind, the teacher who smirked in the morning rushed to Mahi. He felt embarrassed and insulted before the students.
“You are mental.” The teacher called him out, holding Mahi’s collar, trying to overpower him.
“Do not call me that,” Mahi spoke out, freeing himself from the teacher’s hold. “It was an accident.”
“Slamming a child to the ground, you call that an accident. Running through the grounds like a mad man, You are mental.” The teacher pushed Mahi down to the ground. All the rage Mahi felt and contained from the morning came back seeking revenge, and this time he didn’t hesitate. He lept onto his feet and punched right on to the teacher’s face. Blood spurted from his nose as he slowly fell onto the arms of other teachers, Mahi felt a slight console that his anger washed away.
“You are absolutely insane,” the security guard, who was trying to help the teacher stand now rushed to Mahi’s side. He felt his adrenaline rush, faster as if he had no more control of the body. The students circled the scene not making any sense of what their teachers were up to. Mahi knew standing there would not help the situation, he had to go find that man, this could not be let to play anymore.
No more second thoughts, Mahi turned back pushing the children from his way towards the gate.
“Where do you think you’re going?” The security guard followed Mahi, but he went into a run that saved him from the guards hold.
“We’re going to call the police, you understood. They are going to take you,” the guard yelled at him, giving up the chase.
Mahi felt the world running faster, his eyes couldn’t focus on a single point. His heart booming faster and louder. He ran like a mad dog, letting his legs take wherever it went.
It felt like an eternity when he stopped. The sun has started to dim its light. As the sun dropped to its resting place, Mahi needed to stay somewhere, he was south of the city, an area he had less ventured to. Shops and houses all lighted and merrier, a warm feeling of being home. He stood there sulking in the scene. Why haven’t I ever came this way before? He thought.
He stayed long enough, that he no longer felt his legs. His hunger calling up to feed it. He must rest, stay low. Maybe the police were on the search for him. He wasn’t sure. He walked into a brightly lit restaurant packed with people. However horrifying the days have been for him, luck was still in his sides when he was able to find a vacated table at the backend of the room. He settled himself, no one came to take the orders and he felt thankful for that. He felt immense relief as his legs rested. The people, their laughter and giggling, how happier would the scene have been if nothing happened in the morning. A happy day and a lovely evening to hope for. He checked his phone, there were dozens of missed calls and messages from the principal and other teachers. There were other unknown numbers too. A message said the parents of the boy he hit had filed a complaint to the police. Also a complaint about attacking the teacher. There was also a call from his house owner, which meant the police were on him and have come to his house. There is no going back there.
A man came talking in himself, yelling and laughing at an imaginary friend or fiend in his mind. He joined Mahi in the table not at all bothering to ask Mahi’s consent.
Mahi put less mind in him, feeling the man would stop bothering. He kept his eyes on the tv away from the man.
“Checking whether your photo comes up on the screen. Are you?” He asked out. Mahi felt as if he was sinking into the armchair he was on. Was he asking me?, he thought and looked at the man, a man in his thirties kept staring right at Mahi, a funny smile in his lips. Mahi did not answer.
“Do not worry, it hasn’t yet,” he said again, thudding on the table to a rhythm in his mind. “How was your day then?”
The man asked as though he could read Mahi’s mind, is he drunk or designedly playing with me. Was he policemen?. The question raced at him one after another.
“Tell me what do you fear most?” The man asked. Mahi ignored the question, keeping his eyes on the television.
“Ah, the classic answer. I’ve known men who talked silence to me. It is quite enjoyable, I must agree. But now is not the time. Come on, shoot away one.” The man said, the same funny smile teasing Mahi.
“I don’t fear anything. Please mind your business.” Mahi said wishing he would stop, he tried to move his legs to get up but it was unresponsive to Mahi’s commands.
“Sit down, sit down” the man laughed and said,” don’t strain the leg too much. I can understand. This bloody leg, always keeping you seated at awkward places.”
“And how come you are at such a beautiful place and not enjoying the evening”. The man continued, “I know, right. A young man, tired and sweaty gets into a packed restaurant after a day’s running, not ordering a single cup of water, moving further into the shadows. How come, eh?”
“Please, just leave me in peace. Why don’t you find someone else to bother.” Mahi pleading, his patience running out.
“Can I? I like to talk to troubled minds and I can swear I have never seen a worse being than yours.”
“Or what? you’re going to call the police, no you are not. Because you can’t. Right?” the man thudding his thumb on the table faster creating a tension in the room.
“All right, I will leave you be, do you have some change to spare. Living is an expensive business. Care for some?” he held out his hand to Mahi. He sighed and checked his pockets.
“You could have asked for it first rather than making a show for it,” Mahi told from relief when he handed some changes to the man.
The man laughed. “You have to earn your money, right? Anyway the shows over. I have to make my way to my den.” The man walked off, at the door, he stared out through the glass door for some time and shouted.
“Life was meant to go in a path that was given to us, stray away there will be blackouts.”
Is he talking to me? What is wrong with this guy, it doesn’t make any sense, life was meant to go in what path, who chooses those paths? Mahi thought.
“You.” The man turned to face Mahi. “You, Mahi, next time you see “you” somewhere, surely will, say hello for me to him.” Then he walked out. It took a considerable time to understand the man’s words. His eyes lit up when he found out the sense in it. He knew, he really knew what was happening. How did he know my name?
A sudden strength pulled him up as he rushed out of the restaurant, pushing away whoever stood on the way, but the streets were packed with people. There was no trace of where the man went. He walked along the sidewalk, exposed for anyone who was looking for him to find.
He ran back to the city. The light of the sun had faded into the sheer darkness that now shaded the city. He walked the deserted roads and wondered. The streets were dense only an hour back, now a deserted graveyard, where the buildings reigned. He had to rest for the night, going home was not an option, sleeping at shop doors would be deadly. If humans succeeded on roads in the morning, dogs ruled them at night. Sleeping anywhere was good as dead.
He made for the city park, where he slept last night. If everything that happened was true and not a delusion he created, then he would be lucky to see himself next to the bench he was on. His eyes stayed open as much as it can, looking for the familiar face to appear but it slowly bought the darkness in when he nodded off into the sleep.
“Get up,” a monstrous voice screamed at his ears, a forceful kick at his knees threw him off the bench. “You people are everywhere, infesting the city. How many of you should I wake up? Get off!” He kicked Mahi again on the legs. The pain was overtaken by his feeling of loss in the middle of nowhere. It was the same guard who woke him up yesterday. What if the other guy is still around. Mahi got up and looked around. There was no sign of him other than joggers. He recalled the way he used the last day. I will find him in one of the places. Mahi knew. He went into the city. The crowd were the same as yesterday so has been before that. He crossed the street and reached the bus stop. The principal called him yesterday at the same spot. But the other guy was not here, the time was the same, he should have been somewhere around, but no. I have to go to school, he thought, Mahi knew it was as dangerous, the police could be around or one of the staffs or students could spot him. But he knew if there was one way of finding him that was it.
He made his way to the gates, sneaking and hiding behind whatever he could find, and peeked through the grills looking out at the building, the students were in the class, nothing must have happened yet. Class fourth was straight to the gate, he could make out someone sitting on the chair inside. Time went by as he stood there watching, waiting if the man would show up and the bell rang for the break. He knew the time has come, Mahi had to do exactly as the other man did the last day. Walk up to the gate and stare right into the class. Mahi walked slowly to the place where the other man stood and waited for him to get out of the class.
The man sitting on the chair stood up and walked out of the class, the light illumined his face, it was the teacher he punched on the face, now wearing a bandaid over his nose. This is not right. It must have been me, who should have come out. Is it not happening. Is it not repeating?. He felt someone grab his shoulder from behind and felt a hard hit on the side of his face.
The light passed through when he slowly tried to open his eyes. Several men towered over him, some wore police uniforms and others with familiar faces.
“Trying to sneak up on me, eh?” the security guard said, rubbing his knuckles.
“We are taking you under custody for several charges under your name,” The policemen held Mahi up and cuffed his hands. I should not have believed in it. They were right. I was being insane. It was reckless of me to come here for them to find me. At least I won’t have to run anymore.
“Take me to a doctor before putting me in jail, could you?” Mahi asked when they seated him in the Police car joined by another officer. He remained silent, Mahi knew, if he was truly insane, they can’t punish him for the charges. The car went past the school and onto the busy street. Everything he felt from that night at his home were his delusions, hallucination his mind made up. Then who was that man who talked to him last night at the restaurant? Was he real or another imagination?
A dark spot appeared before him, it is not real, is it? Mahi held his hands out to touch it. The policeman closely watched him. The black spot grew, swallowing Mahi into the vast blackness as before. His body turning into gridlines.
“Stop! Stop!” the policeman screamed out. He looked ghastly, his face pale and lips shivering. The car stopped and the officers in the front looked back. They were dumbstruck.
“Where is he?” one of the officers in the front asked. The second one in the driver’s seat kept staring at the officer behind.
“Where did he go?”
“I don’t know,” the officer said, “he was right here, then he disappeared.”
When Mahi saw light again, he was back at the school gates witnessing the police arrest the other man and taking him in the same car he was in a minute ago. What is happening? It is not my imagination. Not my brain damage. I… I…. his thoughts stuttered. The world was spinning faster, there can’t be worse nightmares.
He understood the man’s question, his greatest fear was seeing himself in flesh and blood standing opposite to him and it had come to be true.
He ran, once again.
Thank you for reading. I will be posting the final part, Yesterday Night Part 3 shortly.
Thanks to Getthemysteriousblogger for suggesting the tag line. Cheers to you.