I woke up from the sound of someone crying. It was pitch dark, I couldn’t see a thing, but for some reason, I was sure that this wasn’t my room. It felt different — the taste of the air in my mouth and the feel of the bed on my skin. Even the orientation of the room felt different. And the crying? I lived alone.
I peered hard into the darkness, in all directions. Towards the front and the back, the left and the right. But wherever I saw I could see nothing but a darkness so black that it felt unreal, as if I was suspended in an empty space surrounded by miles of nothingness around me.
This darkness was uniform — extreme black -with not a slightest of variation that could help me make out the nature of my surroundings. And for the first time, I was more scared than intrigued by this situation.
Meanwhile, the crying had stopped and had turned into a sob as if whoever it was crying was now aware of my presence around it. That it somehow knew that I was now awake and was thinking about it and so it had become conscious.
It doesn’t make sense, I thought, at the absurdity of this situation. What is this place? I tried to remember where I was the last time. Any recollection would help me to make sense of this situation.
I remembered kissing Nisha.
I had met her at one of the nightclubs. She was exactly the kind of girl I liked. Smart, witty. Uninhibited. We made out in the car, and then in the elevator. And continued making out as we enter her posh flat. It was the best night in a long time.
In the morning I left her flat and drove to the office and then went about my day as usual. In afternoon I went out with my team for snacks — it was Sahil’s birthday — he gave us a treat. It was all hunky dory, till then. But what after that?
It was then the memory started becoming sketchy.
I remember someone shouting, Nisha? Yes, it was her screams. But why did I return to her place? I had no intentions of seeing her again. Or at least not for some time.
She was screaming madly, but at what! I couldn’t recollect. I remembered feeling cold. It was windy and the cold wind found its way into my bones. Even insider her flat!
And then there was a loud crash. Nisha was lying on the floor.
I couldn’t get a clear look at her, for she had fallen behind the table. I saw her body limp on the floor, face down and hands spread wide. I ran towards her. She wasn’t moving, she wasn’t moving at all. It scared me to the death.
I reached for her shoulder and slowly turned her around, turned her over, and then as she toppled to her side, I shrank back in shock, it wasn’t Nisha. But a girl I had known long back
How could she be here? Wasn’t she dead? I must be dreaming, I told myself. I laughed, yes it was a dream, and any moment I will wake up. I pinched myself hard, and I cringed in pain, for the pain was real.
And then the girl’s face twisted in the ugliest way possible. It then turned into a smile, mocking me. As if turned on by a switch, her eyes opened but in place of the eyeballs, there were two empty hollows as dark as the darkness I was currently in. I shrank back in horror.
And then I felt it. A deep impact on my head. Somebody had hammered my head with something metallic. There was a blinding pain in my head. So much that I felt I would die if this pain doesn’t stop soon. That this pain was beyond my capacity. And that the dying must be easier than to endure this pain any longer.
Then as if my prayer was answered the pain disappeared. It lasted only for a fraction of moments. And after that, it disappeared. The feeling disappeared. The surroundings around me disappeared. And in the last, my existence disappeared. For I had stopped existing.
And then in that darkness in which I had woken up, I realized, it was ‘that’ girl who was sobbing — the girl from long time back — and the sound of sobbing that I was hearing was the same sound she made that night, when she lay in front of me on the floor, naked, begging, crying, sobbing, before I, mercilessly and cruelly, killed her.