of that COST Life
Not many moons before, one night turned to be the most dreadful one for the Mishras. It was the night when terror struck their ‘Om Sweet Home’, as was inscribed on the name plate on their door.
It was 2 a.m. when Prerna, the only daughter of Mr. Mishra, heard a soft knock on the door. Ignoring it, she went back to study for her exams. She then heard it again and this time the knock was a little louder than earlier, perhaps demanding her attention. Prerna was unsure. She thought of waking up her dad but she then thought it would simply be the wind outside…as it is, it was a stormy night. She ignored it again. Somewhere deep in her heart, she was sure that the 3rd knock is about to follow. And as if listening to her instinct, she heard the 3rd knock but this time the knock was escorted with a voice. The female voice was at first unclear but then perking her ears up, she heard it explicitly calling out the name - Vineet!
Vineet was her brother, 2 years elder to her. She thought maybe it was some friend of Vineet, who was stranded in the stormy night. That was the first thought that occurred to her, which was immediately replaced with a pang of realization…uh-huh! 2 in the night!?!? Quite unlikely, she thought. She muttered some courage, hesitating to accept any thoughts about the supernatural existence just outside her house, while walking towards the door. She first peeped through the keyhole and found the side-face of a girl dressed in white, standing outside her door. She looked pretty but her face didn’t seem familiar. She was soaked in rain and had the damsel-in-distress expression. With her confidence regained, as Prerna realized that there is no such ghost thing, she opened the door and was thinking of ways to greet this girl, when she saw nobody there. Spooky, eh! She was bewildered. A sudden pang in her chest, reminded her of the horror show she watched earlier that night with her brother Vineet. She immediately banned those thoughts and shrugging her shoulders, closed the door. She insisted on thinking that maybe that girl after the 3rd knock must have felt her try for help was in vain and must be trying some neighbour’s house.
She went back to her book and this time she started reading it aloud to escape her fear and keep her superstitious thoughts at bay. It was not even 5 mins after this episode that she again heard a knock. This time it was a proper knock…not a meek one but a strong one. With fear gripping every part of her body, Prerna resumed her sanity by thinking that the girl, on the other end of the door, must not have found help elsewhere and was trying again at their door. Mustering some courage, Prerna hesitantly called out…”Whoz this?” The girl answered…”Vineet, Vineet…is Vineet in there?”
“Huh,” sighed Prerna…it IS a girl, afterall…not some stupid ghost. Prerna immediately rushed to open the door but then stopped on her tracks almost suddenly. She thought of peeping through the keyhole again and this time she could see nothing but just white. Everything was plain white…it then struck her that maybe that girl is standing right in front of the door and maybe its her dress that is making it look white. Discarding all these thoughts, Prerna clapped her palm on her forehead, smiled and mumbled to herself…”Ya right, Miss 007…just open the door, ok! That poor girl…” thinking thus, Prerna opened the door and found the girl right in front of her door. Prerna looked at her and was struck dumb. She was shocked, taken aback by what she saw…she pointed at that girl, holding her chest firmly, words refusing to leave her mouth, she tried to speak…”your eyes…y..you..you’re a …”
And that was the last she spoke. Prerna died on the spot, had a heart attack. She fell on the floor with her hands pointing towards the girl, all frozen in terror. What scared her was that the girl’s pupils were all white, and the thought of her looking through the keyhole at Prerna from outside the door, was shuddering. The sound of laughter echoed the house. In no time, the owners of the laughing voices came out of their hide-outs…it was Vineet and his friends, trying to play a prank on Prerna, who was so scared after watching the horror show. Vineet was teasing his sis, when Prerna ignored the whole idea of supernatural and with an attitude of a bravado, replied to her big brother…”Oh, puhlezzz, I aint scared, AT ALL.” Vineet just wanted to make sure she accepts that she is scared and so this prank was plot. The girl with the white pupils was actually Vineet’s girlfriend Seema, and she was wearing white lenses, only to scare Prerna out of her wit’s end.
But the group stopped laughing almost immediately at the sight of Prerna, who was no longer Prerna but Prerna’s corpse. Vineet was all shocked…his eyes staring unbelievingly at his sister’s dead body. He slowly moved his hands over his hair, in shock, and pulled his hair back and wailed loudly. The sound was loud enough to wake up the Mishra household.
Mr. Raj Mishra rushed outside to see what’s going on, at this odd hour, past midnight. He saw his daughter lying on the floor with her hands erect, pointing at Vineet now…and her eyes as if torn open in shock. He was unable to figure out anything and held his daughter’s wrist. He checked for her pulse but found no movement of blood within. He turned to face Vineet, held him tightly by his shoulders and spat out words in fury…”What has happened to Prerna? What went wrong…Who did this? And even before Vineet could answer anything, Raj went over his knees in front of his daughter and started wailing loudly. Hearing the sound, the neighbours came rushing in and found Prerna lying dead in shock. Immediately, one of the neighbours rang the police station and called for an ambulance, first.
It was late. Prerna was never to come back. A small prank had taken her life. Vineet was still in shock and unable to say anything. He just sat down on the floor, on his knees, and kept continuously staring at Prerna’s dead body.
There was a lot of hustle and bustle…the police came in, the ambulance took away Prerna’s body in a stretcher, the voices around were at first, loud and audible but soon, for Vineet, he stopped hearing the screams of his friends, the cries of his father, the neighbours trying to wake him out of the shock…everything went blur. The sounds and the faces vanished in front of Vineet’s eyes. He lost consciousness and was hospitalized.
He woke up after 10 hours. The silence of the hospital room and the white paints on the wall, the white ceiling, everything reminded Vineet of what happened a few hours ago. His sister Prerna must have seen all white and must have been scared like he is now…but the difference is – she was scared TO DEATH. At the thought of it, he went cold, cold as dead.
“How am I to accept this harsh truth? How do I cope up with this big a loss? All for this insane JOKE! A JOKE! I did THISss.” Saying so, Vineet hit himself hard…once, thrice, and he went on…when a nurse hearing the noise came rushing for help.
Vineet was soon taken to a psychiatrist. To be a patient of this patient doctor was considered to be the best hope for a person with psychological disorders/stress. The doctor was a bald gentleman with a French beard. He looked more like a judge of a court than a psychiatrist.
Doc clearing his throat, “uh, huh, so are you guilty about what you did?”
Doc continues: “So, what do you feel right now? Do you feel like harming yourself?”
Doc further probes into Vineet’s psyche by asking more questions.
A long pause. Then a loud noise. Vineet answers, screams, shrieking in pain: “WHY AM I ALLLLLLIVEE? WHY???WHY??WHY?
10 mins pass. 15. 35 mins.
Doc continues to stay silent.
Vineet gives out a hysterical laugh. His eyes are blood-hungry. He looks at the doc and smiles. He bends his knees and sits staring at the doc. Err, the doc’s dead body now!
Vineet picks up a fruit-cutting knife from the fruit basket on a table next to the doc’s study table. He gradually moves towards the now-silent doc, hesitant at first and then the steps are bolder. Far bolder than he ever was! He is carefully dissecting the doctor’s chest, paving his way towards the doc’s heart, pumping its last. He wants his heart. He wants it soooo bad. He wants to feel life. He has forgotten how it is to be alive. He wants to see a heart beat. He carefully removes the doc’s heart. Careful even more in holding the heart in his palms, Vineet walks towards the window pane. He breaks the glass and leaves the still-pumping heart on the parapet.
Vineet then slowly moves back towards the doc, sees his still fearful eyes and remembers what Prerna went through. He thanks the doctor’s corpse. Rushes back to the window, picks the heart again in his palms and climbs down the pipe. He then goes to the cemetery where Prerna is buried. Using a shovel kept there after burying a recently dead body, he digs and digs even further until he sees Prerna. He places the heart on hers, which has stopped beating after the prank, all in the hope of having it pump again to life.
Wish life’s regrets could be done away with!
Vineet then walked away, assuming he gave Prerna her heart back. It was just his attempt at satiating his guilt, getting rid of the heavy feeling on his heart that stopped his heart beat long back. He wanted to feel life, taste life, see its beauty, hear laughter…but he was dead. It was his soul that was now seeking riddance, peace. And his search for peace continued…JUST ONE PRANK!
You think its stupid, yes, it is! Coz it is so stupid to have been the cause of the end of one life…one beautiful life. You may/may not be, but there are still people who are sensitive. Respect others!