Garv was aware of his uniqueness. He was not a normal person. There was something that was driving him, something dark. He knew he could be a danger to everybody, so he decided to resign from the college. The next day after Srijeet’s death, Garv took a resignation letter to the Dean of the College.
‘Sir, may I come in?’ Garv gently opened the door and slipped inside the cold room of Dean. Ms Samantha was sitting in front of the dean, talking about some official issues.
‘I’m sorry I think I popped in, at a wrong time.’ Garv tried to walk out, but the Dean interrupted him.
‘Oh, Mr Garv Raichand, it’s completely fine. You are most welcome to join us, you’re a part of this college after all. Ms Samantha here is discussing the details about the fest we are going to organize next week. Feel free to share your young ideas, mister!’ the old, grey-haired dean felt elated.
‘Umm, well, Sir I am here to submit my resignation.’
The dean and Ms Samantha, both looked at him with a shock in their eyes. He had joined hardly ten days ago, why was he resigning so early?
‘Why, Mr Raichand? Is everything alright?’
‘Yes, absolutely sir, it’s just that I want to return to Delhi.’
‘But why? Kolkata is equally beautiful, isn’t it Ms Samantha?’ the dean asked her and she replied in her coy smile.
‘Of course it is, Sir’ Garv barged in, ‘But my family is in Delhi and my old parents need some support.’
‘I…’ Ms Samantha interrupted in between, ‘I know I’m no one to say this, but you should give yourself one more chance. Life is a long journey, and you can’t keep running away.’
‘What? Running away? I’m not running away, ma’am…’
‘I’m a psychology professor, and an expert in my field, I can read faces. You can’t lie to me.’ she smiled. She looked even more beautiful wearing that wide smile of hers!
‘Ha! Don’t underestimate the reading power of a psychology professor, Mr Raichand. If you feel depressed in a new city and new place, please feel free to seek the guidance of Ms Samantha here, she’s very good at counselling people!’ the dean advertised and chuckled.
‘Uh, well, okay…’
‘Mr Garv, would you please join me at a dinner tonight? My home?’
Garv pressed his lips, he couldn’t say no, ‘Sure! Why not?’
‘This is my address.’ Samantha forwarded her business card to him and he took it with shaky hands.
‘Sure, ma’am, see you later, I mean, tonight.’ Garv walked out with a blank expression on his face. He had no idea about whatever happened inside.
Garv had a history of ‘weirdness’ and ‘freak’. He was bullied in school a lot. He used to be weak in studies, short in height and his traits weren’t that masculine as boys preferred to get someone into their gang! He was always a little more feminine. Not a gay, but very delicate and emotional inside. He would easily cry if anyone said something to him. His tears were as easy to generate as a smile on a girl’s face with a bunch of flowers!
But something happened when he entered standard eleventh. His behaviour changed. His aggression became fierce and his anger was uncontrollable. He had taken enough shit from the world now, and he thought now it was his time to return it back, with due interest!
He would always remain out of fights, but if someone bullied him, he would be gravely sick or dead soon. Fear crept over. School children thought he was some kind of demon or something because whoever argued or fought with him, wasn’t alive to see the next morning. There was something bad linked with him. Something even he was unaware about. Something unexplainable and unthinkable. He tried telling it to his parents, but they thought him to be depressed and took him to a counsellor instead, who advised him to put his leisure time in something he loved, and that was cooking.
He joined Home Science in college because medical or mathematics didn’t gel well with him as home science did. He felt at peace and felt as if world was full of pure souls and good people only. His inner self would be calm.
Years later, it was here in Kolkata that he experienced that dark energy surrounding him again. In the first ten days, his life changed as he felt that anger and aggression seeping back into his mind, and the death of Srijeet was a big blow to Garv. He thought it had all stopped, but it hadn’t.
Tonight Ms Samantha had invited him over for a dinner and wanted to discuss about his guilt and sudden decision of resigning from college. He got ready and reached outside her colony, precisely – the graveyard at 09 pm sharp. He was scared to step ahead, and thought to call Ms Samantha to confirm the address first. She asked her to come-in, and unwantedly, he did.
He entered her home, which was as strange as her personality and dressing-sense. She had always dressed in black and so was her home – all black and dark. There was red light in the corridor he was walking through, there were paintings on the side-wall and a very strange smell surrounded the house. He gulped and knocked the door.
Samantha, dressed in black as usual, opened the door and greeted Garv. He presented her a bouquet of white and yellow roses, but she didn’t seem to like them much. They walked in. Garv’s first sight of her house scared him to death.
The walls of her living room were painted in red, and the red was a typical blood red. The walls had blank framed hung on them, with no picture or painting inside. There were cats roaming here and there and meowing in creepiest way possible. He was shivering inside. There were weird symbols on the walls and ceiling. He couldn’t understand whether it was a house or an asylum!
‘Would you like something?’ Samantha asked.
‘No, just plain water for now.’ Garv swallowed a lump.
‘Here…’ Samantha took out a bottle from under the sofa. Garv freaked out.
‘So, do you want to talk about it, or should I initiate the topic myself?’ Samantha broke the ice and started with an unusual conversation.
‘Talk about what?’
‘The resignation. Srijeet’s death. Your aggression.’
‘WHAT?’ Garv felt as if someone gave him a hard blow on his chest. He was almost choking. How could she figure everything out within hardly five minutes of meeting and that too in Dean’s office?
‘Garv, there’s a dark energy surrounding you. You may not understand it, but its there, behind you. It’s so attached to you that wherever you go, it follows. It has latched on to you and is feeding off you now. Your decisions, your hatred for someone, matters to it. Whoever you hate or think about killing even in the most casual or comic way, it will do it for you. Unknowingly and unwantedly, you are acting as its master now, and it has become your slave. But it’s overpowering you bit by bit. You won’t understand before it becomes your master and you become a slave in front of it. It’s very powerful, Garv. Don’t think you will just shoo it away like that. You can’t…’
‘I don’t…I don’t understand a word you are saying Ms Samantha, I think I should better leave.’ Garv was sweating profoundly.
‘You think I’m joking? I saw it the day I met you outside the library when your laptop was lost. I knew it that day only that you are not an ordinary being.’
‘What are you saying? I don’t think I should stay here…’ Garv got up to leave, but Samantha stood in front of him.
‘Where do you think you are going? You can’t leave this place, until I want you to. Go, try?’ she smiled.
Garv ran for the door. He crossed the creepy hallway and the corridor and reached the door. He opened it. There was thick fog outside. Zero visibility. He couldn’t see beyond another door, and as he opened that door, he again reached the same living room he had started from. Samantha stood in front of him.
‘I told you, you can’t leave unless I want you to.’ she smiled and the cat meowed. Garv was trapped.