The Kill

​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. 

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