I finish filing my work and Am ready to leave for home. As soon as I reach the lift, the lights in the building go off…
Shit! I always end up in awkward situations like this every-time. Ronit asked me just fifteen minutes before if I wanted a drop back home and what did I say? I said no. At-least if I had gone with him I could have avoided this situation. I’m stuck alone in the office lobby, in the nineteenth floor of the building with no light and no lift.Being fiercely independent has its side-effects too, just look at me for example I’m living in an unknown city all alone in a flat ten kilometers away from my office, I’m stuck here but no one knows about it. Even if I died here tonight, no one will know till tomorrow morning.What is wrong with me? I must stop thinking of horrible things that can happen to me.
Now no use wasting my time regretting anything or over-thinking, I have to take the stairs. I cannot see anything. Let me at-least turn on my phone-torch. Good! It’s working. Where is the security guard?
‘RamLal, RamLal bhaiya aap kaha ho?’ I shout looking down from the stairs.
‘Meeta behen I’m in the ground floor.Come down carefully,there is some shattered glass on the stairs.’ RamLal’s feeble voice reaches me from the ground floor.
‘Okay. Wait up till I reach there.’ I scream at my loudest voice, making sure he can hear what I say.
I hold my torch-light high up and walk downstairs swiftly. By the time I reach fifth floor from the nineteenth floor I’m panting heavily, also sweating profusely. God! I have to go down another four floors! I sit down on the steps for two-minutes, in the dark,panting… I search for the water bottle in my bag. I suddenly feel a hand on my shoulder.I’m stunned. I instantly turn the torch towards the person behind, the torch turns off… Low battery… I’m hyperventilating now.I’m scared.
‘Who who is there?’ I shout at my loudest voice.
‘You will never know darling…I love you from a very long time… A very long time… From the time you were a student at Brigade high School. You are gorgeous…’ He said. This sent a shiver down my spine… I didn’t know how to react. I clenched the pepper-spray in my bag, ready to attack the man in the darkness.
‘Behen are you okay?Where are you? What is taking you so long?’ RamLal bhaiya shouted from the ground floor.
‘Bhaiya… Some one is here… help me…’ I screamed with tears running down my cheeks unconsciously.
‘Don’t worry I won’t harm you. I’ll not even try to contact you after this. I just needed to tell you how I felt… That’s why I was always around you. I came for you from Bangalore to Mumbai.’ He said.I could feel his breath on my shoulders. I loathed myself for letting someone harass me and not doing anything.
‘I’m coming to you behen. Just don’t panic..’ Security Bhaiya said. I could hear him running up the stairs with full speed.
‘Bhaiya… Hurry up…’ I shouted as I tried to free myself from the Man in the Darkness. He held my hands from behind.I kicked him with my legs, but he seemed too huge to feel anything. Suddenly I could feel his mustache on my face, he kissed me on my cheek, and kept some plastic bag in my hands… Making me hold it…I shouted for help and kicked him harder.trying to free myself from his hold.
‘Bye Sweety. I’m going now, I’ll meet you next after fifteen years.’ that Man said in a creepy voice and I found my hands free suddenly. By then Bhaiya was up with a bright torch and we saw this man disappear into darkness, Bhaiya tried to catch him but he ran away.
‘Behen, Are you okay?’ RamLal bhaiya asked me. I nodded trying to catch my breath. I felt so disgusted for being touched by some unknown stalker. We walked down, bhaiya handed me a bottle of water. I finished the whole bottle. The security Bhaiya called Ronit and told him about what happened. I was blank about whatever happened to me just now. Ronit was almost half-way home, but he came back. I sat in the car. I sat in his car, Ronit pointed out the marks on my fist, that man’s finger marks. I felt so weak at that minute. I loathed myself for being so helpless at that moment. What would I have done if RamLal bhaiya wasn’t around at that time? I was molested in a span of few minutes.I did not even know who he was. All I knew was that he was a psycho stalker who followed me right from my school days. I did not recognize his voice, I did not know him at all. I went through the contents of the cover he handed me. It contained some love-letters written in blood, it freaked me out. I showed them to Ronit he was stunned too.The cover also had my photographs from very private occasions of my life.The occasions I shared only with my dear ones. I looked outside the window as we rode across marine drive. I cannot believe I left myself to be harrassed by some stalker and did nothing.I felt so disgusted at myself.
I looked at the letters once more… I did no recognize the hand writing… Who was this man? I closed my eyes trying to cool myself and trying to erase the nightmare I just had. Ronit looked at me with concern , he said ‘Sorry, I shouldn’t have left…’
We soon reached in front of my apartment. I was about to get down from the car, when a face from my past flashed across my eyes. I knew that that was the face of the Man in the darkness.
Ronit asked ‘Hey, what happened?’
‘Turn around. We’re going to police station.’ I said browsing through those letters to confirm my gut-feeling.
‘But we do not know who he was, what will you tell them?’ Rohit asked turning around.
‘ I know who he was. The Man in the Darkness… I can’t believe it took me so long to recognize him…’ I said with conviction.
‘How do you know?You haven’t even seen his face.’ Ronit asked as we rode towards police station.
‘Every girl knows who that Man in the Darkness is by her instinct… It just takes extreme situations to make her realize his true face…’ I said trying hard to hide my tears from him. He looked at me and wiped them away. His touch was the only comfort I needed that minute, the rest I knew how to take care of…
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