Friday, February 09, 2007

Edge

Disclaimer: Dark Stuff. No goofiness. No friendly abuse. No delightful miscommunication. No arbit science fiction. Just exploring the dark depths of human mind.

What if your worst nightmares all happened in a day. Would that tip you over the edge?


Hick stood 30 stories above the ground on the edge of the concrete parapet wall that stood between him and a violent death. His bare feet twitched on the cold and rough concrete, his chubby toes peeping over the edge down at the sidewalk several hundred meters below.

14 hours before....

Hick was happy. After all, who wasn't, on the day of his marraige. By 7:30 AM, he was already 4 hours awake into the day - he had been too excited. He and kate had decided that the ceremony was going to be small and in a local church. Only her family would be there and 3 of his closest friends. Of course, he had no family. His mother died when he was 10 and she had never talked about his father. So that left just the 3 friends he had grown up with. Kate, had a full family that would come for the wedding. The small table top clock buzzed: 7:45 AM. He had set that the night before. He walked up to the adjacent room where his friends were sleeping, "Guys, Wake up! We have to be in the church in an hour" To think they were going to be his best men. He smiled to himself as he thought of Kate getting dressed in the bridal gown in her home. She would be coming to the church with her family. Hick was happy.

This high the air was chillier and the large lightning bolts seemed to be closer and larger. As he stood, erect, his arms outstretched like he was about to fly, he shivered. A tall clock tower nearby glowed brightly, its unceasing roll of hands pausing that moment over 9:45 PM.

12 hours before....

Hick sat speechless in shock and fear totally oblivious to the chaos around him. Nurses rushing like hushed ghosts and doctors talking in whispers. The long white corridors with white walls marred up to half its height with a gray paint. He looked down at his hands. Blood. His tux was covered in blood too. He looked up directly at the bright light bulb in front of him. Somehow he didnt squint. His eyes stared right through it. A small door to the left read 'Emergency' and lay uninvitingly close. Far away, in one end of the corridor a small window let the bright morning sunshine drift into the hospital.

He needed to find out how Kate was. If she was treated then maybe they could go and continue what they left off: get married. It was totally out of plan, sitting here in the hospital. Today was only about marraige. But how the hell was he going to get married without Kate. He laughed loudly.

"Hick!", he broke out of his reverie. Kate's mom. Her eyes tear streaked, her lips quivering. Kate had told him that she was always easily scared and nervous. He smiled patronisingly, "Kate.",she whispered.
"Kate'll be alright mrs. Tyler. Sit down and rest", saying he moved in the visitors couch to let her sit.
Mrs. Tyler began to sob hysterically and it began to irritate him a little.
"Hick", she gasped between sobs,"Kate is dead!"

Far away, down in the streets there was a festive mood. Shops were covered in cheerful lights and Parents were shopping with their children. Boys were buying gifts for their girlfriends. Traffic was clogged. Red clad santa clauses stood in front of buildings giving wide beaming smiles at children and demure girls. Churches were holding special masses. After all, it was the christmas eve. Time for festivities. But that was all far far away.

Up here, several hundred meters above the ground, the world was different. The air was several degrees colder. It was dark and foreboding. Tall, Dark buildings stretched on all sides like cold monsters. Far away the sea could be seen, covered in a deadly silver sheen of the moon light. Up here, it was all evil and gray. And Hick was all alone.

6 hours before.....

He had sat in devastating silence in his office. He didnt know why he came there. He couldn't stand the hospital anymore. The crazy woman, Kate's mom, kept repeating that she was dead. He had to get out of there, at least Kate became alright. He couldnt go home. Somehow it seemed uninviting. So he had sauntered into his office on a sunday. In the cool confines of his office away from the maddening mid day heat. He switched on his friendly computer and enjoyed its pleasant glow.

"Hick", his boss. He didnt expect to see him here on a sunday.
"Oh, hi"
"I've got to talk to you Hick. Please come into my office"

4 hours before.....

Being fired is not pleasant. Especially if your boss accuses you of malpractice that you had no idea of. Hick roamed listlessly on the streets bumping through the crowd and trying to make sense. Disgrace...ashamed...thief...words kept ringing in his ears. He laughed hysterically. Great day so far. His marraige didnt happen and his Boss had given him a holiday. He wanted to talk to his three friends. It would be a great story, woudnt it.

Hick began to look for them...

2 hours before....

Hick had just walked out of the bar with his 3 friends. They were drunk and racous. It had been great; dinking with the three of them. A perfect way to cap a great day. Hick laughed and his words slurred with alchohol. That was when it happened. Screech of tires and a loud cry of pain. One of his friends lay there under the large SUV, its frightened teenage occupant stumbling out...


15 minutes before....

Hick had calmy walked into the building and taken an elevator to the thirtieth floor. Then he had climbed the small set of stairs onto the terrace.

He had come this far. From the morning just 12 hours before. 12 hours of digesting, assimilating and mulling over the events that were too incredulous to believe. Fate had dealt one massive, deadly blow after another. The sickly white hospital corridors, the retchingly yellow street lights, the blindingly lit office space, the dark alleyway - all the worst nightmares becoming a reality within 12 hours. Nightmares you woundn't wish on your worst enemy.

He stepped closer to the edge. He swayed slowly on the edge, a momentary hesitation and fear making him immobile. Jump, a voice screamed and it will all end. He turned down and gasped. The street was too far off. It was going to be painful. And 30 stories of horrified flight, screaming, arms flailing. Maybe, he needed to review his mode of death. What if he just took some pills. Or just shot himself. But he would need a gun for that which he could not purchase without a license. He was just wasting time, the voice said again. Just jump.

He nearly jumped but stopped himself as he saw Kate. She stood on the terrace smiling blissfully at him with his friend and his boss. Ah, they were all there. His life was back to normal. So, like he had done for the past 15 years he stepped off the edge and walked back to his room. Hick was a poor man, a man who had lost his job over no fault of his own 20 years ago, a friend to a terrible accident 18 years ago and his wife on the day of his marraige on a beautiful christmas day of 1990. As he walked back to his room talking to his wife, the city rolled happily towards the christmas of 2006.

Fear of death can do wonders.

3 comments:

sudharshan said...

Hey nice write up buddy, ARR fading ... was really fascinating

btw why is that all ur post runnig to pages if printed ;) but definitely a page turning like gud books

raju said...

@sudharshan - thanks...should try n write some small posts from now...

Vivek Sonny Abraham said...

Scary..!