It was a dream. Taqib dreamt. Dusk in Madras was always a calm affair. The streets were jammed with sheets of sunlight. There were a few clouds in the sky. Darkish clouds. An evening perfect for murder. It however did not occur to Taqib that he should kill anyone or be killed. He sat by the window in silence. The cars crept along the road evasively like silver coffins of steel. They were in no hurry. Time crawled with the aid of the slow sunset. Taqib held a bottle of Budweiser which he sipped as he gazed into the horizon. His grandfather lay in the next room lost in a haze of dreamless sleep. He considered himself a burden to the family. Ever since the passing of his wife seven years ago, his health had deteriorated and he was heavily dependent on allopathy. Taqib knew he was dreaming. He twitched ceaselessly in bed. He dreamt that his grandfather slept while he sat in the front room sipping beer. It seemed so real. So natural. It might have even been real. But it was a dream and he wasn’t aware that it was, because he was too immersed in sleep. He could almost taste the beer. It burned his throat and cooled his organs. It was then that the idea of murder struck him. He was unaware as to why such a thought might pass his mind. He hoped that one of the cars on the road would run into a truck and get smashed into bits in front of him. But it didn’t. Nevertheless, he was patient. Dusk was a time to sit and brood over the hopes and desires of a lifetime. Dusk was an endless stream of light that filled the planet with hope. So he hoped. The Grandfather’s hoarse voice beckoned Taqib. He needed water. Taqib got up and he saw a faint movement near the window. He went up close and found a detestable creature staring into his eyes. How he got up there lies in the science of dreams. Yet there he was, grinning a grotesque grin. “Druva, what in God’s name are you doing here?” Asked Taqib. “Haven’t you heard? I am an assassin by profession”, replied Druva. “Indeed. What a coincidence! I was just thinking about how wonderful a day it was to kill someone”, said Taqib . At these words, Druva’s eyes lit up. He pointed at Taqib as if in a trance and was swaying with the consistency of a Marijuana addict and with a sudden movement jumped through the unsurpassable grills of the window and landed in the room. The grandfather, who was confined to his bed, was listening to the conversation. He knew something was wrong, but couldn’t do a thing but sit and wait. And wait he did. Taqib placed the bottle of beer on a table and landed a punch on Druva’s left jaw. It hit him hard, for Druva stood cluthcing his face for a few seconds. Druva issued a tough upper cut on Taqib’s jaw. It didn’t hurt. Taqib was dreaming. He twitched in his bed. By the unwritten laws of Dreams, Taqib found a sturdy vessel in his right hand. He landed several blows on Druva’s head and the latter fell onto the ground, and died bloodless. Taqib stood panting, the beer in his body was now pulsating with life. Dropping the vessel, he walked to his grandfather’s room. The grandfather was silent and made no enquires regarding the noises from the front room. Taqib walked back out to where the corpse lay in a heap of skin and bones. Dusk still persisted and he realised he must hide the body before anyone turned up at home. Slipping out of the flat, he returned with a long black sheet. It was pitch black. He wrapped the body into the sheet and tied it with twine for there was no rope. Following this, he rolled the body behind the sofa where it wouldn’t be visible. Dusk never seemed to pass and the maidservant was sweeping the floor when she got dangerously close to Druva’s corpse. “You’ve swept enough”, said Taqib. “But I have to complete this room.” “It’s clean enough.” She eyed him suspiciously, for he had never spoken to her personally. She walked away and Taqib sighed. Everyone was at home and he tried to think of a way to dispose of the body which would begin to rot in a few day’s time owing to the heat and humidity of Madras. He couldn’t imagine what it would smell like. The following day TV channels spoke about the mysterious disappearance of a youngster and the papers were teeming with news. That evening, a police officer came to the apartment and f ired several questions. As per reports, this was where people had last seen the missing lad. Naturally, th household was shocked and upset at the fact that they had been pulled into the crisis. Taqib remained silent. He had to dispose the body, for he believed he sensed a movement of the sofa before the officer sat on it. The family was still recovering from the shock when Taqib decided that he would get rid of the carcass the next morning, as early as possible. The morning unfurled as a grim one. The clouds hid the source of light and weighed anchor in the city. Taqib was ready. He made sure everyone was asleep, after which he pulled out with care the corpse of Druva, wrapped in a black sheet. It was unusually light. After all, it was a dream. He heard his grandfather’s bed creak as he turned his heavy old body to a more comfortable position. Like a maniac, Taqib ran with the body into a place filled with trees. This was not the Madras he knew. It was a forested Madras. The result of a dream. Taqib found an old abandoned well. It was deep and filled with water. He couldn’t decipher if the water was clean or not. It didn’t matter. He flung the weightless corpse into the depths of the well. It floated on the surface and camouflaged with the water. Taqib hurried back home and tucked himself safely into his bed. He dreamed that more policemen had come in search of the missing boy and that his grandfather was about to reveal where he was. However, he had managed to silence him. The policemen left and the family remained in a grave state. The dream ended. After it the real dream. A stray ray of sunlight woke Taqib and he arose, dripping with sweat. It was all a nightmare. He sat awhile and looked about. He wasn’t in Madras. This was his village, the countryside. Sighing with relief, he climbed off his bed and went to the restroom. He felt strange. It must be the cramps in his thighs, he thought. He looked into the mirror to brush. He froze for a minute. He was Druva. He looked at his hands and sweaty face. It definitely wasn’t him. “Ammi?” No reply. “Abba?” No reply. He slowly opened the door of his bathroom. There was no bed. His bookshelves were a myth. Instead, there stood tall trees and in the middle, where his bed once stood, a deep dark well.