There is a complete silence in the street. It is 2:30 in the morning. No sign of any mortal except for a woman in a black saree standing on the balcony of her apartment on 10th floor. She stood there for a few mintues as if a statue. She murmered something to herself, closed her eyes and jumped. Only seconds later, a loud thud is heared. The guard of the building came running to the spot to see her body covered in blood. He immediately ran inside to call for help, but the woman had already died.
Two Months After-
“It happened again, doctor”, said Ajay to his psychiatrist. “She had the same dream for past two weeks. I have given her the medication you prescribed for insomnia. She is able to sleep well but she keep getting the same dream every night. I am really worried. Please can you help me.”, pleaded Ajay to the doctor. The doctor replied, “I can assure you that it is not a major issue. She might have faced some sort of trauma in past. Why don’t you bring her next time and I will do some routine checkup. Meanwhile, I am writing some new medicines. These will help with her relax.”
Ajay returned to his office after collecting medicines from the pharmacy. Ajay, a tall stout man in his late twenties, works as a investigative journalist for IndiaToday magazine. He recently got enagaged. Although he has yet to tell anyone of this news, so no one knows, neither his family, his friends or his colleagues.
As Ajay reached the office, he had barely settled in, when a middle aged woman came to his desk. “Hi, can I help you?”, Ajay asked her. “Yes, beta. Um.. I wanted to talk to you about Maya. You wrote an article on her about the woman who committed suicide by jumping from her balcony two months ago”. “Yes what about it?”, he asked, Ajay was slightly frowned by this unexpected visitor.
“Well, I don’t think my daughter would commit suicide. There might be someone behind this”, with that she started sobbing uncontrollably. Ajay tried to console her. After a while she calmed down and said, “Yesterday, I went to her apartment and wanted to locate her mobile phone, so I called.. and someone answered it. Whoever has her phone, must be behind all of this. Don’t you think?”, she said while trying to hold back her tears.
Ajay was shocked upon hearing this. He said almost immediately, “Have you told this to the police yet?”. She replied, “I went there but they dismissed me by saying that it was a clear case of suicide and do not believe of any foul-play. They further told me that someone must have stolen her phone before she died. They have taken down a complaint, but I am not very hopeful of finding its whereabouts. If.. If maybe you can try finding the thief, we might just find out who killed Maya”. She chatted with Ajay for a while, almost pleading him to investigate the case. He assured her that he will try his best.
As she left, Ajay quickly gathered his things and made his way to the exit. He wanted to reach home as quickly as possible. As he lived at a walking distance from his home, he sprinted towards it possibly knocking people on his way. After few minutes, panting and sweating as he reached his building, he swiftly unlocked his door and raced to his bedroom. He flung open his wardrobe. There were stacks of clothes present, some hanging, some neatly folded in rows. He pushed them away only to find a small rectangular carboard box containing newspaper clippings and some other stuff. He quickly ruffled through the box to find out an old mobile phone. He grabbed the phone immediately and started examining it. Only then, someone tapped on his shoulder, frightended, the phone slipped from his hand and landed on the floor. He turned around to see her fiance, Maya bent over to pick up her phone. She said, “What are you doing with my phone?”. Ajay replied stammeringly, “I.. I was just checking to see whether it is working or not. Your mother came to my office today, she is unaware of your existence and she even called you up on this number. Why haven’t you talked to her or anyone about you being alive?” Maya didn’t reply and left the room. Ajay followed her and asked again. He said, “I think we should tell everyone about you and our engagement tomorrow in the party.”
The next morning Ajay woke up to an empty bed. “Maya”, he called for her, but no answer. He called her again while looking for her. She was standing still in the balcony deep into her thoughts.
He tapped her and asked, “Maya, when did you wake up”, she didn’t reply. He continued the conversation, “Acha listen, did you take your medicines yesterday. I am worried about you. I think it’s best that we go to the doctor tomorrow, he even asked about you today”, she didn’t budge. He hugged her and soon went inside to take a shower.
It was evening, people have started flowing into Ajay’s apartment. Ajay very recently moved to this place. It was small yet had capacity to hold atleast thirty people. Very soon it was full with his family members, close friends and a couple of colleagues. “Everyone, I have an announcement to make”, said Ajay to a curious looking crowd. And then he told them about his engagement. People were shocked. Soon Ajay was swarmed with questions and congratulatory remarks. He didn’t mention anything about her fiance other than her name, so naturally everybody wanted to meet her. He calmed them and promised to answer their queries but first he needed to escort Maya downstairs.
Maya wore a black sari which only made her look more beautiful. Ajay complimented her and asked her to come down to the party. But Maya simply refused. She was transfixed and stood still in the bedroom’s balcony. Ajay tried a lot to persuade her, but she didn’t oblige. Disappointed and reluctantly he went down. He made up an excuse of her being sick and not able to come down. There were whisperings all around the room. They suggested to meet her upstairs, but Ajay declined the offer only because he was afraid as to what they might think of her. And after a while, people started leaving and Ajay too, tiredly retired to bed. He couldn’t sleep all night. He was humiliated and baffled as to why she wouldn’t meet anyone. He was eager to go to the doctor’s office the next morning with Maya.
Next day at the pyschiatrist’s office-
“Hi Ajay, please come, sit. I see you were here for your fiance’s trouble with her recurring suicidal dream. So tell me how is she. Did the new medication helped?”, doctor enquired. “Not at all doctor. Infact the condition has only worsened,” replied Ajay as he spitted out the entire incident of last night from the party. “Ask her yourself doctor, as to why she is acting so strangely, ask her.. go on..”, said Ajay as he motioned towards the chair next to him.
The doctor was silent for some time and taking a deep breath he replied, “Ajay, you are sitting next to an empty chair.”