It was around 4 in the evening. Heavy rains were lashing the streets, the roads looked perfectly wet and those green leaves looked completely washed. Devraj was driving his hatchback car. He was aware of the various sounds his car was making but, was conspicuously neglecting them. He had a wave of thoughts within his brain and the wave was seeking most of his attention. He didn’t even care about the mechanics stall which went back, he just kept on driving. It was now turning dark and the window pains were completely covered with rain drops while the wiper worked on front glass. Devraj could here those rain drops falling on the roof and within these sounds were also the sounds which car made. At a turning on the highway the car finally gave up and stopped. Devraj was now present in the moment and made several attempts to get the car started. After around 10 failures he finally got down and opened the setup of car. In these fraction of seconds Devraj’s white shirt was completely wet and those brown trousers too. He tried all the engineering he know but, the car didn’t start. Frustrated he went back inside the car, wiped his broad face and curly hairs. He took out his shoes and kept them on the back seat. He strength-ed his seat back and sat. He closed his eyes and felt the silence within all the noise and the comfort within all the disturbances. He was almost asleep.
A man in his 50 s with hair pony tailed wearing white jacket and black pants knocked on the window of car. Devraj woke and without much thinking opened the door. He sat inside. He told Devraj that he was travelling on this highway on his motorcycle, since its raining immense he came for shelter inside the car. Devraj passed a smile and told him his name. Nothing more. The moments were quiet. The only sound was that of rains. It was 6 o clock in evening and the ambiance outside was blue.
“What you do ?” The man asked
Devraj never told about his dual life to anyone. Suddenly he felt like speaking everything to a stranger and bringing down the burden of guilt in his heart.
“I work with a contract killer. He kills and I take care of the body. Mostly I burn them by splitting kerosene”
The man wasn’t shocked he smiled and asked “What else troubles you?”
Devraj was now confident and smooth. Without thinking of consequences he was releasing the guilt.
“Guilt. It troubles me the most. Every time i go through this highway to burn the bodies I promise to myself that i wont do it again. But, these situations in life they make me do it every time. I have a family to feed. I never see the faces of people I burn. I have a mindset that they will haunt me and in fact I firmly believe that seeing those faces will change my life forever. I will see them everywhere and every moment i will suffer from guilt. They might try to finish me.”
The man had a sleek smile on his face.
“Devraj. There is something else that’s troubling you more today.”
Devraj was quiet for sometime. He could feel the burden relieving as he kept on speaking the truth.
“Today when i received the body i could sense his hands moving. I could hear fade voices of help. I felt like i can help him but then I did not. Today, i felt like a killer” Devraj’s tone was heavy and somewhere his heart was crying.
“See Devraj. I have done the same work as you but in a different country. I have burned more than 50 people and some could have been saved. But, I didn’t save them. This is a business and we are businessman.”
“How did you lived with the guilt of not saving lives ?” Devraj asked while amazed at knowing the truth
“I had a method”
“What method ?” Devraj saw a hope in conversation
“I never saw faces of dead people. But, I always saw faces of people i felt like i could save and I used to see them till they didn’t die. This gave me a satisfaction that I didn’t kill them. See Devraj the guilt will be there for ever but the frustration of not saving a life will never come back again after this.”
Devraj was slowly gulping in the advice. His brain was not judging and he felt like doing exactly as the man said
“Its time I bid good bye. My motorbike is some distance back. Thanks for the shelter and do take my advice” The man exited with a smile and also the rain has stopped. It was 8 o clock in night.
Devraj opened the hatch back and it was empty as it should be. Then he lifted the mat and from below that he lifted the back seat. The body was there wrapped in black. Devraj used his blade to cut down the upper portion and saw the face. It was A man in his 50 s with hair pony tailed wearing white jacket and black pants. Devraj could feel the chill within his body. His body hair straight. He looked every side to find him but he was nowhere. The cold winds were making Devraj more insecure. For few moments he couldn’t think of anything. Frightened he came back inside the car. He saw his cell phone which notified of 11 missed calls from his wife from period of 6 to 8 pm. Devraj was confused. If he was awake and talking to the man then why didn’t he hear the ringtone and attend the call.
The night was young and it started raining again.
The release of guilt or the welcome of fear.
A Dream or a Reality.