I was trying my best to speed across the death valley. My heart was racing faster with every curve that the rickety path threw my way. I could feel my palms getting sweaty against the steering wheel and my eyes were getting shifty and blurry making it almost impossible to focus on the road. It wasn’t easy manoeuvring these roads at this time of the night. The clock showed 3:33 am. All I craved for was some peaceful sleep but it was monumental that I reach my destination before sunrise.
It would be Déjà vu again when Rishi and I embarked on our holiday to Manali. Rishi thought it would be ideal spot to celebrate three years of togetherness as a couple. Surabhi and Manak, a loving couple were our hosts at Manali. We booked a room for two weeks in their home via couchsurfing.com. They graduated from being our hosts to our travel guides to friends.
Being adventure lovers, it was Rishi´s grand idea to celebrate atop the Rohtang Pass. We loved the mountains and the snow. We invited Surabhi and Manak to join us on our road trip for guidance as well as company. The more, the merrier as they say!
Rishi drove on our way to the top amidst our chattering, singing and shouting in glee. I must admit that I was mildly disappointed when the much anticipated proposal did not happen. For some reason, I thought Rishi had this all planned as a line-up for our D-Day.
Anyway, I didn´t have much to complain other than the much anticipated marriage proposal as we had a wonderful time atop the Rohtang Pass. Before we knew it, twilight beckoned us. Manak decided to drive the car this time around and since I was the one who was good with deciphering roadmaps, I sat in the adjacent seat next to the drivers´.
It was going to be a long trip. We yapped with gay abandon as Rishi and Surabhi kept us company from the extended car trunk. Before you feel any sorry for them, let me tell you that there was ample space for four adults back there.
Suddenly, we heard a strange thumping sound.
“Is that a flat tire, I hear?”
I looked at Manak in bewilderment and before I could shout out for Rishi, Manak was out of the door. I followed him quickly.
Manak pounced on Rishi who was desperately holding onto his pants. I was in a state of denial and shock at this bizarre turn of events.
“My Rishi! Nude in the trunk with Surabhi.”
Surabhi bunched up her salwar before covering her bosom with her palms. She had her gaze down, too embarrassed to have been caught in the act. I stood in transfixion at the ugly events unfolding before my eyes. I screamed at Manak to stop, as much as I was, as angry and disgusted as he was.
But this despicable act of infidelity seemed to have unleashed the beast in Manak. Before I could stop him any further, Manak stabbed Rishi repeatedly before pushing him off the cliff. I stood as a helpless bystander as he proved to be too quick and violent for me.
Surabhi and I couldn´t stop screaming at this insane savagery and we ran towards each other for protection. Before Surabhi could take cover in my arms, Manak pulled her by the hair before repeating the murder, this time the victim being his beloved wife.
I could not watch two coldblooded murders in one night and so, I ran towards the car. Manak scared the s&%$ out of me and I couldn´t afford to take a chance driving back with him. Without wasting any more time at the jinxed spot, I switch on the car to head back towards the town.
I thought I heard Manak scream faintly my name. As I looked in the mirror, I gasped at the sight of Manak committing suicide by falling off the cliff. Damn! The night was just getting bizarre by the second.
Suddenly, it hit my mind that I was the only witness in three unnatural deaths. The police would be knocking on my door soon. I would be their prime suspect. I should have never agreed coming to Manali. On second thoughts, does it matter? Once a cheater, always and everywhere one. And this was the man that I was hoping to get married to. But the biggest shock was Manak. It was as if he was possessed by multiple spirits. The ease with which he went on a killing rampage without flinching was the chilling stuff that murder stories were made of.
It was almost 6 am when I reached the homestay. I plonked onto the bed and slipped my hand underneath the mattress and took out the bottle of paroxetine.
I don´t need you anymore, baby! I must admit that you did well. But, I have a find a way to dispose you before the cops come in.
I smiled at the nasty turn of events. Just the way I liked it!
Injecting paroxetine in Mayank´s body was as simple as lacing his drinks every night. Rishi thought he could con me into coming to Manali in the hope of love and adventure. The fool didn´t have a clue that I knew all about his roaring past with Surabhi and his driving force to go to Manali in the first place.
What about the police? The rental car which came with CCTV cameras attached to it should take care of all their interrogations and off my back.
“What sadistic pleasure do you get in killing people? Can´t you just give God a chance to perform Karma?”
My poor father pleaded with me ages ago. He was the only one who saw through my bluff, having caught me once plan and execute a murder. He linked all the connecting dots which traced back to me. I did away with him as well. The child is the father of man indeed.
I gave him the same answer which I will give you now.
Did I set this murder trap as an act of revenge or punishment? The answer is that it wouldn´t matter who was in Rishi´s place. He just happened to be the unfortunate player on my chess board. Or stage, as Shakespeare would have quoted if he were alive.
All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.
I do not want to seek revenge or punishment on anyone. All I want to do is have some fun. Be the stage director. I don´t go on a murder rampage but I do indulge in these Shakespearean escapades once in a while. On a nice full moon day! I am quite a perfectionist that way when it comes to minute details like that. The stage and its setting ought to be flawless. Like this Midwinter´s Night.
Until the next!
I’m participating in the Write Tribe Festival of Words – June 2018