And there it began,
The fall, the rise,
The mad, the fun,
From right and left,
Whence the King had died.
And there it began,
The fall, the rise,
The mad, the fun,
From right and left,
Whence the King had died.
There came the three,
The silent, short and troubled,
Settled down a tree,
Asking one and other
The first talked first,
About the rules and laws of jungle,
The second felt last,
While the third raised the fist.
There came the fourth,
Who cannot stand the noise,
Settling in middle,
The fourth spoke in murmers,
The third one lost the calm,
The Fist rose again.
The second found the sound,
Yet jammed it down the throat.
Day was neat and pure,
The tree was green and dry,
The rules and laws of jungle,
Stayed the same as then.
But the three of them and fourth,
Lost a teeth or two.
The page broken,
Crimson ink flows,
Word by word to the floor,
Shattered at the glassy tile,
The silence broken sullen,
Air of blissful taste,
a painting of bloody dreams
An art of wishful times.
Read Burning Shadows chapter 1 here ==> https://arunwrites.home.blog/2020/10/09/burning-shadows-chapter-1/
How can someone describe things that they can’t understand? Their eyes, face and emotions tell a better story than words. Disconcerted was how I would tell mine when I saw the Space communication and research facility at the west hill countryside. A giant research facility that stood at the dead centre of a sombre village town fenced off by electric wires with three large towers and a gigantic communication dish used for satellite communication that could cover the entire facility if put upside down. Half the residents engaged in farming and fishing while the rest fled the state in fear of the facility. When the call came to me early after Christmas night telling there was news at the west hillside, there was only so much one could hope from that place. I could have turned back when the guard at the gate stopped me from entering the facility, I could have. Yet I went on arguing with the him till an officer came by and asked me my ID.
“Shirley, from The Nation daily I see,” the officer said with a wicked grin lining his face, I was sure he knew me from television but not wanted to show it on his face. “We are not letting the medias in.”
I knew very well the facility won’t let anyone in without an authorization letter from the officials and I had none, but that couldn’t stop me. As I looked around there was a crowd gathered about the gate, mostly reporters and cameramen trying to gather whatever was going on from outside. There was no way I could get in if they can’t.
“We have witnesses stating that about seven ambulances rushing out of the facility early this morning to the State general hospital,” the info I got from the call that morning. His grin remained on his face, which slowly started to show a few of the white teeth underneath.
“Nothing fatal, there was a minor accident in the facility, nothing that needs to be worried about.” He said clapping his hands together as if things were as normal as before. But I needed answers.
“My sources find that the people who were taken to the hospital, some of them suffered severe injuries,” which was utterly fake, trying to bait the officer into giving up more than he intended.
“Then your sources must have been wrong, there were no such situations. The state would officially address the event very soon and then you will know the truth,” he said but the grin he wore now disappeared. He kept his hands at the back and walked to the facility. “Looks like your charm didn’t work this time,” someone called out from the crowd and I knew who it may have been. Being sure nothing much could be acquired from standing there I turned towards the crowd to search for the familiar face.
“Look who we have here, the Great Dev if not who,” I said as I saw him standing with his video camera a little away from the rest, the eyes of the crowd turned to me, some of them smiled some scowled, I get it, being better isn’t easy. He bowed to acknowledge my praise. I knew Dev from several years back when he used to work for the Nation daily, we started almost the same time, an energetic young man who always had the thirst for more. But the boundaries of a media company could only hold him for so long that he quit his job one day out of nowhere and went on to explore carrying his video camera as a freelancer. I always appreciated his effort and dedication but never his character. So if he was there filming, there was plenty wrong at the facility.
“I see that you are early,” he said, a half burning cigarette on his lips.
“Not early enough,” I said eyeing at the crowd of journalist waiting for the moment to burst out the question rolling in their mind. “What have you got?”
“Questions have been asked,” he said. I nodded realizing that he didn’t get anything better than I did.
“I hoped to see you here today, inside the police car for breaking into the facility,” I said with a weak smile, it was true, I honestly hoped he would do that.
“I almost did that, but gave it a second thought,” he said cracking a laugh, “you’ve got anything?” I shook my head, it was a dead-end. Every case was until it wasn’t. “What could go wrong at a facility like this?”
“Everything.” We stood there till noon hoping someone would come out of the gate, to give away anything worth the wait, I almost gave a thought about slipping in but no the security was tighter than ever, chances of getting caught were higher and I didn’t have time to spare sitting at a police station. Dev proposed an idea to get lunch as I hadn’t had breakfast I jumped into going with him, also asking around a few of the residents would shed some light about the matter.
We chose a grey and shady restaurant a little away from the facility, the giant dish at the facility was visible through the window, much of the tables were empty, a middle-aged man worked the table. “Perilous business up at the facility, isn’t it?” Dev asked the waiter who came by the table. The man nodded, he was smiling not showing any sign of awareness about what was happening, “You’ve heard anything?” he asked again. But the response came from behind, an elderly man who sat with a woman eyed us from their table.
“Wicked things going up there, these godless man bringing destruction upon us,” the man said, his face reddened at the mere sight of the giant dish through the window, “First they took our land, now our lives, soon they will be digging our bodies from the ground that is if they could find them.” The woman next to him laid her hands on his shoulders trying to calm him up, which seemed to have some effect on him.
“You working for them people?” He asked, the wrinkled forehead narrowing down in disgust.
“No, we’re reporters. We heard something happened at the facility, thought about learning it, No luck yet.” Dev said, me waiting for him to work his magic, I was fully aware of his ability to make people talk.
“They won’t tell a thing, always been that way, those demons. The last seven days, I am telling you, there were unusual things about, our animals could feel that they are restless like they are going mad.” The woman whispered to the man trying to remind him of something he forgot.
“Yes, the sound. There had been these sound at night, deadly noise, like a siren. Nothing like I’ve ever heard before, trust me when I say that, I’ve been in the army and have heard all kind of alarms and siren. That is nothing as such. I can’t sleep at night, no one here can.” His hands trembled at the thought which he now tightened to a fist. “I don’t hope the government will do anything about it. They don’t even care about us.”
“I heard there was a lot of ambulance going this way today morning, some accident up there maybe,” I said trying to make him talk more about it.
“Accident? You think they cause accidents. Its devilry that’s what they are doing there. People have been going missing for the past two weeks. I am sure they must be doing some evil tricks on them.” Missing, that was something new. On one hand, people going missing from the village and the case of ambulances running out of the facility on the other, some part of my mind wanted to bring those ideas to a conclusion. But no, without sheer evidence those were just assumptions. But I wanted to know more.
“Missing? who?” I asked. He eyed me as if I asked something I shouldn’t have. He shook his head and stood up, “I have said more than I wanted to.” He gathered his belongings and walked out followed by the woman, “If you could do something, please make them stop the sound.” And they both went out.
Dev looked at me, a sceptic stare that shared the same questions as I did. The man may be exaggerating on somethings, the facility was made for satellite communication, not for human experimentation, but if people were missing there should be some explanation. My question was if the facility and missing cases were same or two widely different ones that shared no links whatsoever. I needed firm proofs to reach either end.
“How far is riverside,” I asked Dev, he was staring at the giant dish, “six or seven kilometres, probably half an hour ride, why?” he said without taking his eyes off the window.
“I have a case I need to look into,” I said as I started to get up from the table and made my way to the door.
“Do you want me to join you?” he asked, I knew it wasn’t because of old times sake, it was pure professional interest if the case was worth his time he would work it out, but it would only hurt my ego. Moreover, the case came to me, specifically to me.
“No,” I said, “we don’t work together anymore, remember” I smiled as I went out of the door watching him nod his head in agreement.
If there are moments to cherish in life, hold it, treasure it because when things go downhill they will let pull yourself up. But there is only so much one can do to keep it sane. When the brisk monsoon comes calling the name of chilling winds of midnight, make sure to stay inside underneath your warm and cosy blankets or the dead rats will find you. To all the misfortunes I may have burdened myself with, no one had the mind to tell me that, if they did I would have stayed there. When a dead rat bathed in the crimson of what I could assume was its blood was found in the porch I choked on the coffee in my throat assuring me again that walking into one’s porch isn’t the best idea to do in the morning, try the garden, that would be better. Anyway, I had put down my cup of brewed coffee, slowly turning cold.
Picking up the remains was one thing and washing away the blood another. It took a considerable time of my lovely, engaging morning to dig a grave for a garbage rat who had the misery to be torn to pieces by a rowdy cat, which I now spotted strolling around my backyard watching me do the dirty business for him. Snow white with green sharp eyes, walking to a rhythm of its own. One rat could not make me late for the office, but the traffic did and I blamed the stinking cat for that.
There will always be a rising urge to do certain things that we promised ourselves not to do ever, at the least for me I didn’t have another choice but to walk straight into the porch the next morning where I was warmly welcomed by a severed body of a garbage rat, luckily I hadn’t taken the coffee early which saved me from puking over it. I must admit this one was a bit bigger than the one I found yesterday and the rowdy cat if not, a ruthless killer was doing a good job at that. I dig the grave near to the one found last day, hoping they both belong to the same family and wouldn’t want to put them apart in their final sleep. As before the cat walked in the distance watching me with its keen eyes. I couldn’t help but throw a stone at it to save me from its dreadful stare.
Let it go was my first thoughts when I was able to catch the rowdy cat in a netted basket the next evening, I would have if he didn’t put another ugly dead rat at my doorstep to the porch early this morning, three days on a row I have seen a dead rat to start my day, which I can guarantee did no help to make the day any better but only made it worse hour after another. But its sharp eyes were calm and pleading, its soft cry was enough to melt my heart to raise the basket and let it free. It ran faster that I couldn’t spot him when he rushed through the sidewalk. Last chance.
It truly was the last chance, when I sat in the car’s driving set ready with the basket on the backseat ready at my arm’s length, waiting for the cat to jump in anytime soon at the doorstep pulling the ugly carcass for me to see when I wake up as he did early that morning. A week, seven days in a row, the menacing cat left me filthy rats torn to pieces. This time I couldn’t let it pass by. I was determined to catch it red-handed and do whatever I had to make sure it didn’t repeat it ever. So I decided to stay up all night in my car, still and silent, except for the rain that made monstrous echoing through the porch. I cursed like never before on the cat for making me stay out in the cold night. Ones or twice I drifted off to sleep but made myself wake up, there was more pressing issue than one sleepless night.
It was nearing dawn, I could tell, the rain got even stronger as the night passed. The smell of wet soil brushed through my nose, making my already drowsy eyes weigh heavier, another ten different smells came with it. One particular made me nauseated, it took me some time to place the stinking smell, the dead. I could tell that because I have been seeing dead rats at my doorstep every morning for the last seven days I was more than familiar with the smell and there it came again. I leapt over my seat to have a good look at the outside where the cat must be, there wasn’t any however the stinking arose to a level that I wasn’t even sure if it came from the outside, anyway I chose to get my basket to ready myself to leap into the ground if I find the rowdy cat.
Fear always arises from questions when one can’t find all the answers and that is when it captures us. But it can only follow until we find the unanswered a logical explanation, for my knowledge was limited to find the answers that remained, moreover I couldn’t even find the right questions in the first place. My first and foremost question was Who killed the cat? As I looked back at the basket, inside the snowy fluffy cat lay in the pool of its blood. The sharp, uneasy eyes stayed shut, letting itself sleep through all the tortures it had gone through. My second question was How did a dead cat manage to get inside my car’s backseat? I was sure that the cat was not inside before and there was no other way it could have got in unless it learned to open the door and chose to die inside by gutting itself. It was enough questions for me to get out and run into the house.
The last part of fear comprises suspicion, we always try to tie in each event that we can’t understand to our fear, which rises suspicion over anything that happens to us, the dead rat that lay at the doorstep as I made my way into the house kept on feeding the fear in me. For everything that happened on that night and seven days before, I was convinced enough to shut my porch with brick and wood and bar my door hoping it would stop whatever evil that was in play outside. And I truly agree with the fact that it did help to keep the evil at bay, to an extent. Now, I find dead cats at my kitchen sink.
And the storm passed, leaving the boy in the desert of bones. His sweat kissing his lips on the way to its grave. Two times, he failed, thrice, he tried. And now he stood with the fruit he desired, of a stubborn tree.
He gaveup his hope. But hope never left. It stays.
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.
The smell of asphalt made his headache even worse than before. His walk home felt like an eternity when Mahinder paced the freshly tarred road cursing, barely able to keep his eyes steady. The street was darker than he knew. When he slowly neared the interjunction, his two-storey apartment building came in to view, on top standing like a black hole, sucking all the moonlight into its core. Below stood the house owners grocery store which was half-lit. He almost thought of cutting into the interjunction, taking the east road to avoid confronting him, but a man walking from that way to the main junction made him think twice, the weather was getting cold and time had gone off course, might just sneak through without the owner noticing.
All his plans were doomed when he heard the owner call out.
“Mahi” a hefty man in his sixties came out of the half-closed shutters. Mahinder had no option but to face the owner.
“You are late today, working overtime?” the man asked cleaning his greasy hands on a cloth. Mahi worked late at the school where he taught especially when the exams were up. But today that wasn’t the case. Just a bloody headache.
“Yes,” he had to lie, rather than giving a long account of what happened. He desperately wanted to get into his room, lie down and never wake up.
“I know you are working hard to meet the ends, but if you need any help let me know. Okay.” the man put his hands on Mahi’s shoulder. Mahi smiled and nodded, slowly making his way to the steps nearby. He turned back to see a man standing near the steps staring at him. Maybe the owner, Mahi thought and continued up the stairs. He turned back to check and saw the man following him.
“Excuse me? Can I help you?” Mahi stopped and asked the man, was he the person who was coming from the east road, because he didn’t see anyone else on the streets.
“What do you want?” he asked again. He was alarmed, who was this guy, a thief, some maniac. But his thoughts were interrupted when the man turned back and ran down the stairs at a fly. Mahi followed him, by the time he reached the ground, there was no one. The owner was closing the shutters. Seeing Mahi staring abruptly at the darkness around, the owner got off the van.
“What happened, Mahi?” he inquired. His head was throbbing, almost as if his veins would burst open. Where did he go? Who was it?
“Did you see anyone run away?” Mahi asked the owner, gasping for breath.
“Now, no. What is the matter?”
“I saw someone follow me upstairs and then ran off,” Mahi told.
“I didn’t see anyone. It might have been a stray dog.” the owner said, scratching his head with a doubtful look at Mahi.
“No,” Mahi said, he knew what he saw, that was a man. Is he lying? why didn’t he see him? If I saw him, he surely had. He was tired, thinking more did only make his head burst open. Better get back, he thought.
By the time he was awake Mahi was far exhausted than when he slept. The vague memories of his dream flashed through one more time before vanishing into the void. It was dawn. The faint light of the new day could hardly touch the bedroom window. The time was hitting six. I need to sleep more, he thought. lying back to the bed, searching deep into the abyss. He was sweating, why? His muscles were straining. All he did was lie down. There was no hope in finding it. He woke up and switched on the lights. They blinked twice before it steadied. He noticed a dark spot on the right wall, bigger than his fist. That wasn’t there before. He leaned to touch it but it slowly closed on its own, blending into the rest. This wasn’t the first time Mahi has seen that. Buses, classes, restaurants everywhere. A dark spot that closed on its own, a spot no bigger than a coin at first. It was only getting bigger and bigger. He understood that he had some serious brain damage. The continuous headaches, dark spots that weren’t there. He was sure he was losing his eyesight.
Did he see the stranger follow him last night or was it just another hallucination his brain damage brought? He could not think any longer. Thinking made everything worse. As it always has in his life. I must seek medication.
On his way to school, Mahi stopped at the owner’s shop noticing the crowd that gathered around. He saw the owner standing near the entrance talking to three policemen who towered over the short man. Mahi cut his way through the crowd and met the owner.
“Mahi, You were right. Someone broke into the shop yesterday night.” The owner holding Mahi’s hand, the policemen closely examining both. Mahi was petrified, so that wasn’t a hallucination. Someone did follow me. Maybe he was trying to rob me but took the chance to rob the shop.
“Did you see his face?” asked one of the policeman.
“No, I wasn’t able to. It was dark.” Mahi responded, still in his thoughts. “Was he a theif?” Mahi turned to the owner.
“Yes, but he didn’t take a thing.” the owner said, not able to believe for himself.
“What?” Mahi was puzzled.
“Well, he didn’t take anything and we don’t even know how he got in at the first place.” the policemen said.
“What about the surveillance camera, that does work, right?” Mahi asked the owner. The policemen shared a look at each other, the owner was trying to catch his breath.
“Come on, Mahi. I’ll show you.” the owner pulled him into the shop followed by the policemen. A computer was placed at the cash counter, where the owner went on clicking something and called Mahi to look. The video clip showed nothing except a well-lighted shopping floor. It remained as it is for the rest of the time.
“I don’t see anything out of order or anyone. Where is the robber?” Mahi asked. The owner stared at Mahi, his eyes were slowly swelling with tears.
“There isn’t any.” the owner said. But his face said there was more than something normal about the scene.
“Then how do you know there was someone inside,” Mahi asked. These people were just wasting his time.
“Look” the owner skipped to 5:47 am. The steel door at the backend of the shop that was used to unload the packages opened on its own. Tears were rolling from the owner’s eyes. Mahi couldn’t believe or didn’t want to. The policemen felt the same way. Either the camera wasn’t properly working or the door wasn’t locked, that was the only logical explanation Mahi could come up with. But the policemen and the owner convinced him better. They were properly locked and had found the key in the lock. Someone used the key, the owner kept in his table to open the door. But who? there was no one inside. No trace of anything living that could have opened a door with a key. The backdoor stayed open as it was when Mahi left for school.
The day wasn’t entertaining, like almost the rest of his past. On his way back, the thoughts came back to him. Why did the man follow me? Why didn’t the owner see him? why did he break into the shop if not for stealing? And why was he not captured by the camera? All the Why’s were running one after another through his mind. He decided to take the east road. Although it was a longer route, he had time to spare.
The east road was quiet and peaceful than the main one. Shadier if not anything else. He had never even thought of taking the road before and it hit him hard on the back as he had to find the way on his own. The road extended to the interjunction where it met the main road. He almost reached the back entrance to his apartment building only a few feet away from the backdoor of the owner’s shop which the thief used to escape. He caught a glimpse of someone pass through the main road down in the direction to his home. The person was walking fast, almost into a run. Mahi felt something amiss and thought to follow him. Nothing was visible of him except a shadowy outline. He went down further the road to meet the interjunction saw the man continuing his walk towards the stairs. Then he stopped. Mahi leaned on the wall on his side to stay hidden from him. He had to find out who that man is. Mahi almost dialled the police when the owner came out and spoke to the stranger. He sighed, moved towards them both to listen to what they were saying. The lights were dim and the shutter was half closed like the last day. Mahi stretched himself to listen and heard a bit or two of the owner’s voice.
“……working overtime?” the owner’s voice fading. He couldn’t make the other persons reply but the owner was patting the man’s shoulder.
“……..meet the ends. if you need anything let me know. Okay,” The owner said, this time a lot clear. Mahi was confounded, this felt very familiar, he remembered having the same conversation with the owner, very recently. Like the last day. Several questions passed by his mind but he ignored them when he saw the stranger walk up the stairs to his home. What? Why is he going that way? Why didn’t the owner stop him?
Mahi followed the man to the stairs. The owner was busy loading something to his car that he must not have seen Mahi. The old man will hear from me for this, let me find who that is first. The stranger went up to the gate on the stairs and locked it from behind then he noticed Mahi. He stood there looking at Mahi but continued walking up. Mahi was terrified he didn’t understand why the owner let a stranger to Mahi’s apartment and what did this man want? He followed the man up to the gate when the stranger looked back again at Mahi and spoke.
“Excuse me? Can I help you?” Mahi froze, that wasn’t right, he said the same thing yesterday when he saw the stranger, his very familiar voice. Diming light from the moon showed the man’s annoyed face.
That can’t be… No…
It was him, Mahi itself. Or an impersonator. But no, it was himself. The face, the same one he had been staring at in the mirror now standing upfront. Was he having a hallucination, he tried to wake up from his sleep, the nightmare. No. It wasn’t one.
“What do you want?” the man moved towards Mahi. Everything he felt till that moment started fading, they were turning black, the dark spot appeared, growing over the stairs and his home like vine roots. He ran down the stairs, more like jumping the steps. He wanted to run to the nearest hospital but he saw the owner standing near his minivan. Mahi saw the half-open shutter and ran into the shop. The inside was growing black as the dark spot grew further and further. He hid behind a farthest aisle and stayed there. What has become of him? Why was there a man like him? Why did things happen yesterday repeat? I was standing exactly where the stranger was standing yesterday? What is going on? Am I becoming blind or is the world growing dark? He was now sitting in the middle of nowhere, vast blackness. His body illuminating bare grid lines. What has become of me?
He heard the shutter close and voices of two men from outside, he knew who they were and what they were talking. Exactly what he asked the owner yesterday. He sat in the blackness as if there was no return.
As time passed by, the gridlines started to appear around slowly bringing the light back. At the first sight of light Mahi stood up and ran up to the front door, but they were locked from outside, but he knew there was a back exit. He searched for the key to the door and rushed to the back as soon as he found it. The door flung open welcoming the faint light of the new sun that made the blackness retreat. He looked at his watch, 5:47 am.
I was the robber and the stranger who followed me yesterday. But I was the one sleeping in my bedroom.
Thank you for reading the first part of Yesterday night. I will be uploading the Second part very soon. Comment your thoughts and reviews.
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An icy mountain once stood,
Blocking the raging sea from finding me.
The wind that came gushing,
Hindered by the gigantic rocks.
The clouds came raining,
The peaks pulled them out.
At last when the sun came up,
The icy mountain melted.
Flooding mine, in its own tears.
Away from the sea and storm,
To the valley of flowers.