Nine. My wrist watch never failed me with bad times. After climbing those dreadful thousand stairs, I stood there in my corridor, rested my limbs. Walking up fifty stairs… turning yourself to take another fifty, until you get your door. It sucks. The bulb was scintillating. Those manipulative pair- my neighbor. I wonder they have paid for any repairing. Hated those two.
‘777’ I stared. I loved my room number. Oh! That fight with Sarma to change my room number. I still recall sometimes; it was beautiful there. I was happy, had a week leave… finally. Every inhale was lazy, eyes glared the roof… cold gust soaked in rain poured through the window, stretched myself on the cushioned mattress, the smooth lightlessness. I flaked out.
Pork is certainly not the best choice for dinner. Acidity. I wish I was born with a better gut. Eyes blinked through darkness, the right hand brushed my abdomen… other flapped searching for bulb switch. An hour passed midnight. A sound: the hard heel of shoe hitting the concrete stairs looming with every tick in my clock.
“Who might be so late?” eyes rolled over my forehead revising the list of every affair in our apartment. It’s hard to have the track when you are always late from work. I was all ears, it paused. Noiseless again.
I want to sleep.
Switched A.C to 20. Summer showers have always been the thin line separating warmth and cold. Winter was the only season I cherished. I Closed my eyes.
I want to sleep.
The door knocked. It was my front door. Eyes shocked open, grabbed my phone in prompt…it wasn’t mother. Another slap on my door. There wasn’t still a word. I lied on my bed as blood surge though my veins and heart pumped louder. I didn’t blink, didn’t move. I was shivering. My soul trembled, I felt the bones fluttering against the muscles and my eyeball, it stared the bed room door, waiting if might open.
Pinned my pupil on the door. It didn’t open. There wasn’t any beating on my door, I blinked. I was conscious now. I could see the sun reflecting on my door. Skin was still cold and breath heavier. I jumped of the bed swiftly locking the bed room door and jumped back on that cushioned mattress.
Oh! My mattress of foam. I miss it.
I was petrified. I wanted to sleep. I conked out.
I overslept, barely saw the sun. Trust me, you would regret every minute sleeping all day. I looked at the clock- Eleven.
“Not again. Not again.” I needed to yell, “Why couldn’t I sleep when it’s actually time?” felt scratching my eyes out. I closed my eyes. It was those grim knocks on my door … echoing my ears.I was startled, looked at my bed room. It was locked.
Left the lights bright. I closed my eyes.
“Just keep your eyes closed. Eyes closed!” I said in my mind, hoping a dream. It’s impossible when you spend the whole day sleeping. I grabbed my phone opened Netflix, earphones weren’t an option. My eyes gazed the door with every strokes of violin. I could still feel my cold feet.
1 a.m. Eyes laid on the door. Daunting soundless dark hours. It knocked. The front door. Again. My hands, they were shaking. My eardrums vibrated with every forceful hit on my door, intensifying each time. I pushed myself against the wall, held my limbs tight with arms, rested my chin on the knees staring the door knob. Forehead dripped in sweat poured down my cheeks.
I was concussed. It paused.
“Delivery.” Someone said suddenly. The voice: a perfect melodic resemblance to the clown. That canine filled jaw studded in blood, fresh flesh stuck besides his every tooth… his inhuman bloodthirsty white eyes.
“God. Save me. I want to live.” I cried. The door was still closed.
1:30 a.m. Clock ticked louder. Footsteps! My eyes pinned on the door, chanted ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ louder each time. That sound of shoe clicking against the floor, that resonance just like the day before. It was moving down. Fainted.
Dead air. Again. I repeated the ‘Hanuman Chalisa’.
“Help… Help me.” A weak moaning scream. “Please help. He will kill me.” Woman cried in her broken voice, her painful screams echoed the darkness.
I sat still. Frightened.
“Help me” she wailed again.
I resisted every urge to be a savior. What if she was a ghost luring me? What if it was the clown changing his voice? The thoughts of scary clown slashing my ribs apart with his razor-sharp teeth.
“I don’t want to die.” I said to myself.
Slowly let myself off the bed. I opened the bed room door. It was black. Trembling limbs… pounding heart, I fastened against the switches. There was no one. Picked up the SG cricket bat: My favourite. I stood facing the front door, held the knob.
“What the heck. Why the fuck am I doing this? Stop.” I closed my eyes.
Unlocked the door.
A step in the corridor. It was dark. Florescent tubes are of no good. Saikia’s LED sprinkled its fainted brightness, I could spot the stairs. Held the railing with one hand, I looked down bending my spine. There was no one: just cold dead air and she was screaming. Languid steps: palpitating limbs shivering soul; I advanced with forethought, rolling my eyes over each corner. My sandals kept clinging to the stairs. Didn’t bother, Perhaps the air. I thought.
Lily’s essence burst through my nostrils. It was sarma’s corridor- First floor. Flower pots garnished with glowing paints; the hall was our miniature nursery. I looked around, lilies were enticing and fresh as ever. I closed my eyes held onto the railings, long breaths. Calm.
“Help me, please someone help me.” The women yelled. She blared.
“What happened to all? Aren’t they hearing this horrible moans?” stricken Sarma’s door with all might. It opened. There was no one. No reply. Stilled. Checked every room, clutching the bat with both hands ready to swing. Deserted. A vacant hall. I rushed to the corridor.
Sat on the stairs, long breaths lulled my pounding heart. Slow, precise footsteps; fingers haven’t liberated the railings. I moved down- kneeling. The screams were sending chills down my spine, I was shaking. Metal smearing against other: an unforeseen buzz.
Cars arranged in perfect rows, the lot barely had slot for another wagonr. Fluorescent tubes glowed its fainted brightness; scraps of blackness stretch through car park. Pitch darkness paralyzing my legs, fingers gripped the bat tight I fastened in the direction of noise. Brightened my mobile flash, walk down the darkened aisle… heart palpitated, fastened with every clang as I pass those rear glasses wrapped in grit.
I stopped. Numb.
Standing ten meters against the lift. I halted. The lift opened on the spur of moment. It’s been ten years since I moved in, that old piece of shit had never worked. Lights turned on. I closed my eyes. I didn’t want to see, that lift painted with bloodbath.
A body clung against its floor; screaming. I wanted to run away, my body benumbed. Her limbs chained to the corners, peeled off its skins. I could see the muscles rinsed in blood, her veins- purple threads pulsating… nails plucked off from toes. The floor engulfed her red blood cells.
I couldn’t close my eyes. I couldn’t blink.
“God help me. I want to live. I can’t see this.” I cried in my mind.
A man in a severed red shirt walked passed. I didn’t see his face; just stood there, Paralyzed. His ragged clothing’s scarcely covered his brown skin and hair crammed with soil. He didn’t look me, paced himself facing the lift. Sat by her side, placed his fine sword on the floor… felt her unpeeled upper body, his fingers touched her skin. She screamed.
I couldn’t close my eyes.
I was shot.
I opened my eyes. I was on a chair in a barren room with a clock handcuffed to the table. I waited awake, hours passed by. Alone. A person came in; shirt tighten around her arms, his shoes matched the black pants, hair combed flawlessly. His mustache had the perfect cut.
“Why were you killing her?” he sat on the table, beside me.
“What? Why would I kill anyone? I was saving a girl.” I looked at him. Astounded.
His red eyes starred me. My skull hit the steel table. He grasped my hair, tightened his fingers. It was hurting. He banged my head against the desk until it stained in red. My nasal bone cracked, I heard. Blood dripped down my forehead. An excruciating pain.
I looked down at my ruined red shirt. I could see my brown skin.
I passed out.