He emptied his third cup of coffee with his medicines and set it down on the plate. He ran his fingers through his unmanaged hair making it even messier than before. Today is the fifth day and she still didn’t come. He never asked her about her address as that would have been sounded too desperate for a mere acquaintance to ask but now he wishes he did. Radhika was very regular about the morning walk so far. She is an Indian woman working here as a professor in the city university but again so typical of Brayan he never asked the subject she teaches. There is every possibility she fell ill but somehow Brayan couldn’t think of something so simple but again that’s Brayan- nothing is ever simple for him. His wife left him only for his suspicious nature. He has been in therapy for years now but that didn’t change anything.
Radhika is somewhere around fifty, coming every day with her thermos filled with coffee to share with Brayan after they walk five rounds of the Central Park. Brayan is sixty-two, last year he retired from his job of the librarian from the city library. Not that he liked the job much but at least it used to keep him engaged. But now the days are all empty and he feels happy to spend some time in the morning with his morning walk partner Radhika who talks all the time about her colourful Indian culture. But now the question is what happened to her all of a sudden that she stopped coming to the park for the walk? He folded the newspaper aside and got up from the table. He put on his coat and left his home with the car keys.
The university campus is huge and there are many departments but finding an Indian professor named Radhika was though hard but was not impossible. Brayan finds out she is a professor of psychology in the psychological department of the university and as he had worried, she had not come to college for the last few days. It was a bit of struggle to take out the information about her home from the person who keeps the official records of the university but a hundred dollar bill always makes things easy. Brayan got the address of Radhika’s house and headed in his car immediately towards the place.
The south Maple streets are quite empty in the afternoon. Surprisingly the street seems very familiar to Brayan but it is just that he has seen it in the envelope of the yellow street lights. Brayan couldn’t remember exactly when he came to this place but the whole place is coming back to him like a page from a déjà vu. Brayan didn’t feel much difficulty to find the house where Radhika lives as the roads, the buildings, the sidewalks, the roadside trees all seems very familiar to him. Brayan stood in front of the big blue door with the lion face brass door knocker fitted just in the middle of it. A faint memory of his hands knocking that thing in the light and shadow of the evening flashed in the screen of his mind and a cold sweat run down through his spine. He turned the doorknob and as he expected it was open. Brayan entered the house and suddenly the smell of rotting flesh gasped his breath and there was she lying on the floor still the way he left her that night. Neck slit open, eyes popping out in disbelief, saree bathed with the sticky fountain of blood. Brayan now remembered it all.
Radhika was an expert in hypnosis therapy. During their chats between the morning walks Radhika told him that she could help patients with depression and suicidal tendencies and Brayan request her to hypnotise him and help him out with his depression. That night Radhika invited him for dinner and after dinner, she hypnotised him to his past, where a very dark secret was buried for years. Radhika took her to that age when he was married to Maria whom he loved with all his heart but never trusted a bit and one day when he felt she was cheating on him he killed her and buried her in his backyard which no one ever came to know. But in the state of hypnosis, he told that all to Radhika and after waking up he was left with no option than to kill his only witness. Brayan was a patient of extreme depression, for which he used to receive very high medication for years. That night after coming back home he took way more dose of his medication to control the tension and as a result of that he eventually lost all the memories of that night. The siren of the police van could be heard loud blazing outside like a whipping lash. The horrid smell of the rotting corpse made the neighbors call 911.
Debjani Mukherjee, an MBA in applied management has a passion for studying human life and put her observation and feelings into words. Her poems, articles and short stories are published in many international anthologies and magazines. She is a regular contributor to magazines like GloMag, Destiny Poets, Different Truths, Tuck magazine etc. Her short story “ The Summer Moon won the summer contest of the USA based magazine Academy of heart and mind. Her other short story “The Paper Boat ” recently managed to secure its place in the top ten list of the prestigious Bharat Award for literature international.