You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.
- M. Scott Peck
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It was getting late enough to be worried. I once again stepped into the balcony and looked down. Except for a drenched street dog that was lying down miserably near the gate, there was not a soul to be seen anywhere. Rain water had puddled under the lamp post. A breeze ruffled the mango tree in the courtyard and a few twigs fell down and broke. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Did I hear a soft knock at the door? I turned back to hear more knocks. The nervous soul in me pushed me hard to unfasten the door and receive the eerie visitor. I was disappointed to welcome the dog rubbing itself against the wall to get rid of the mud stain off its back. The pour outside has gradually increased over an hour’s span. Competitively accompanying the shower, the lightning and thunder made their presence felt, sending a chill down my spine every time they transpired. Rainy evenings, being highly desolate and bleak, always failed to ameliorate. Living in the exurbs contributed in excess to the cause.
She was already two hours late and the cat and dog weather further effected more jitters. She had never been this delayed since the eviction of her ex-boss who was known to catheterize work by staying people from leaving on time. Plaguing and tormenting the fellow staff definitely drew a harassment case against him and was eventually evicted from the company. Although her new boss was no good, he knew his limits. Working for a consultancy firm, conspiring to gratify a stranger’s need, providing premium solutions to the most ludicrous problems, being a true-blue and maintaining your vim all through the day is absolutely a whizzo. Being a writer, this is one portion of the jungle I have never a paid a visit to. Time after time I have tried to play the messenger for my thoughts to be transformed into an assemblage of letters. Wretched, melancholic, irradiated, resplendent, intrusive or a medley, they indubitably satisfy my ever growing hunger to write and also warrants my stomach adequately.
The downpour had lessened as I planned to put into writing the fragile and iron deficient, yet with multiple shades, layers of my roommate’s life. The profession, the related pressures, deadlines, and ambitions certainly needed recognition. They are always revealed in a ghastly manner. As I was trying to conglomerate these quality thoughts, my spooky ringtone sent me into jitters.
Caller: Hello is this Leela?
Leela: Yes, May I know who this familiar voice belongs to?
Caller: This is Mr Bhansal, Head constable of the R.K.Nagar police station. This is in regard with a corpse found near the children’s playground by the side of the gutter. We obtained your contact details from the ID card lying beside the corpse. Could you please come across to the police station and identify the person?
This unmistakably hinted at my only close acquaintance. Right at that moment in time, the news sent down excessive current down my spine. The constable kept forcing more details into my tympanum, but the frozen ear drum did not care to dispatch them further.
As soon as the constable hung up, I pulled up an overcoat, put the lights out, fumbled with my keys, as my hands never cared to stop quivering, to lock the front door and hurried out of the house. Cutting across the tiny tarns and creeks on the roads designed by potholes, I had to fight through the news as it caused tremors in almost every part of my body. Conventionally it was time for some waterworks to scale down the heaviness in my heart, but then I also had to realise it was also the time to have a cognizability of thought to react meticulously to the circumstances that follow.
She was my alter ego, a kindred soul and maintained a sibylline reputation that gobsmacked every class of audience. Her assertive yet up talk speech pattern, winsome smile, and the apple of almost everyone’s eye she definitely procured a smorgasbord progeny of green-eyed monsters. Fighting through various odds ranging from her parents’ divorce to sustaining highfalutin boyfriends, she managed to get past the finish line consistently. Her autarky and optimistic approach never cut short her desideratum. Amalgamation of these characters unquestionably shaped her into the most beautiful alloy.
I was guided into the inspector’s cabin. He briefed me about the evidences and suspects to which I paid no heed. My mind was still clogged with her memories. I also got a chance to put forth my opinion of each of the suspects, the prime suspect being her current boss. The inspector further enquired about her daily routine, friends, other relationships and her behaviour off-late to gather more clues. However I could not help the inspector in any way as she did not show any change in her mannerisms lately. Her colleagues, the staff of her company, her boss, the security guards and surprisingly her ex-boyfriend were summoned by the police for enquiry. In spite of searching the entire hay stack, the infinitesimal pin was never to be found. More or less every soul interrogated divagated from the topic and spoke about her fascinating traits. After some serious grilling I was allowed to take leave. Even though the waterworks seemed to find their only way out, they were not at their beatinest. The bereavement was indeed challenging to digest, yet it was a day of fete for I had managed to achieve what I had wanted to. She was finally gone.
Her beneficence, benevolence, altruistic nature and star quality were definitely unmatchable, yet enviable. She has a dynamic personality, a dogmatic presence and expertise at everything, which added more fuel into the phlegethan burning inside me. I was over shadowed and deprived of the limelight. I was bulldozed in every aspect of life. She took possession over my entire biological clock. Nevertheless people praised her for her contributions in my latest book and I was nowhere to be seen in the picture. A large number of polemics were held between the two of us, but it never helped in the long run. She, under no circumstances mended her ways. The spotlight seized rubbed additional salt into my wounds. I may tend to sound like a psycho, yet she deserved it wholly.
The sublime weather, the uninhabited lanes, the goat, in the form of her boss, who was ready to sacrifice it’s head, and thus the booby trap was set in stone. A personal accomplice of mine was ready to transform the plan into action. An acquired polka dotted tie from the boss’ office was employed to strangle the unarmed woman using gloved hands. Similar to every other crime the tie was devoid of the assassin’s fingerprints. Witnessing the spectacle from a distance, I managed to look at those youthful hands, trying to free her neckline off the leather. Her cries were long lost in the graupel. The deserted vicinity was further deserted by the soul which deserted her body. My accomplice made a quiet escape after committing a larger than life exhibition of the perfect crime.
Recollecting a lot more reminiscences made a mess of my gray matter. It was time for relief and revival. I was on the line of earning serendipity with my next book. As I walked past the last stair onto the second floor towards my door, I witnessed wet footprints all over. It was beyond doubt the monkey business caused by my neighbour’s little girl. Stripping of my saggy crocs, causing my legs to step on the wet floor, I noticed a pair of formal shoes. Rummaging around for my keys I realised those were HER shoes.
I also realised the footprints matched the shoe size. All the vim died down within me. I was dragged down into a confusticated state. The very instant my phone was sent into vibrations with the creepy ringtone further giving my goose bumps. The inspector on the line conveyed to me that the accused was none other than her boss and he had been arrested. To everyone’s surprise he had even confessed to the crime. My legs gave away at that very moment. The pipelines of blood in my head caused immense pain due to the excessive pressure originating from the blood passing through them. The inspector continued to furnish more details acknowledged by her boss. While the inspector hung up, the door made a shrill noise unfastening itself from the latch exposing the hall devoid of everything.
SHE was there, sitting right across the hall giving me a bloodcurdling stare. Her globular, protruding eyes got my legs quivering. The fragile, lean figure drenched from the cloudburst, sporting the blood stained attire, gripping hard onto the arms of the chair. Her right hand produced circles and ellipses in thin air with the same polka dotted tie. She slowly developed a sheepish grin as she scanned through my body from head to toe. My stomach was commencing to throw up while my knees gave me a cold shoulder on retaining the shape of my debilitated bag of bones. The sheepish grin disappeared nevertheless was replaced by a wider, yet daunting one.
As I swooned by the open door and fell forward, a picture of her intimidating face with a wide open mouth, screeching at the top of her voice got trapped into my mind's eye. I fell to my knees, while she walked into the horizon of the balcony. The everlasting rain seemed to cease as she disappeared. I tried to yell at the top of my voice looking for help, yet there was no one to hear my agony. BAM...the door shut.