“He says he’ll be late and has asked us to wait upstairs in his room.”
Her eyes gleamed with excitement as I said this. I anticipated and dreaded her reaction, so before she could conjure up plans in her head I told her that we should continue to wait in the reception area.
“Oh Come on Ashvaq! When do we ever get such an opportunity to be together? Don’t just blow it away by being a sissy”, she whined.
“I am not being a sissy. Its just that I think its safer down here. Anyways its hard to keep you under control in public”, I reasoned.
“I promise I’ll behave”, she tried to cajole me.
I shouldn’t have fallen for her bluff. We were making out on a bed in the room that our client had booked for us in Hotel Taj when he arrived. Luckily he did not suspect any anomaly
I couldn’t generally stand to be with the clients as they didnt give me much respect. All they were busy doing was leering at her and makinglewd comments at her. I got out of the room at the very instant that he asked me to. I took the elevator down to the waiting room. I had an hour or so before I could be back with Reena. My mind started travelling back in time and space. I started reliving the time we spent in the room together. I regretted the fact how I had always been apprehensive in reciprocating my feelings towards her. I had a family to take care of back home in Bihar and I couldn’t risk losing my job. This was the most paying job that I could get with my qualification and I just coudn’t risk being caught getting cosy with her. I loved what had just happened between us a while back but I was not sure if I was the right guy for her. I loved her but I could not live my life on the edge as she wanted me to.
With each passing moment my urge to meet her kept growing stronger. My heart sank lower in my chest thinking about what she was doing in the room with the client. I tried to distract myself by watching TV. They were showing a feature on a local MLA Sukhbir. They kept droning about all great work that he had been doing for his constituency. I knew it was all a lie. I had been around a lot of politicians. They were all liars goaded by avarice and lust.
It was already 2 hours since they were together and I hadn’t got any promised call from the client. I went upstairs to check if everything was all right. I heard loud music playing inside the room. They didn’t hear my knocks. I started banging the door but no one answered. I heard a faint explosion. I recognized it as a gunshot. I stood transfixed unable to decide my course of action. I started running back to the reception to ask them for help but then remembered that I had a key to the room that I took from the reception when I was waiting for the client. I put the key in, unlocked the room and entered in.
I was shattered to see what lay infront of me. Reena’s body was nailed on the wall with her hands stretched apart and a million wounds on her body. She was motionless. I could not gather the courage to go upto her. I was getting nauseous with all the blood that was there in the room. I saw the client lying on the ground with a gun in his hand. He was dead too.
I knew that the police would be here anytime after the hotel authority came to know about it. I had to get out of this place as soon as possible. I had a family to support. I couldn’t afford being caught by the police. No one was going to believe my innocence. I knew then and there what I had to do. I walked out of the hotel looking as calm and composed as I could. I took the next train to my home. I spent the next two days trying to obliterate two years of my memories with Reena,whatever we did in that room and the sight of her hanging on the wall – dead. I found a job in Bihar and stayed back there for the rest of my life. I knew Reena would have wanted me to go back and avenge her death. But I couldnt, It was way too risky and I loved my family a lot.
You dont know me, so please dont judge me yet.
We have waited for clients in a lot of places – cafes, parking lots, restaurants but today was probably the acme of our career. The client had asked us to wait in his private suite. I found the thought very thrilling but Asvaq seemed scared as usual. I sensed that ever since the client called us to inform about his delay, Ashvaq was prudent to keep an eye on everyone around to check if there were people from our work place or perhaps people who knew us. I tried to tease him by playing footsie with him. He enjoyed it but not as much as I wanted him to. If only I could get him by myself for sometime, perhaps I could get to see how he enjoyed my affection. I had loved him for a long time but had never been able to spend even an hour in private with him. Our work ethics didnt allow us to fool around.
Today was indeed different. I had plans of my own. I knew today was going to be our last day at work. I had planned out the future me and Ashvaq would have together. And I had ensured that money would not be a hinderance to our future anymore. We could quit our jobs and relocate to some other city and start afresh. He never said so but I knew he didn’t like my work and my job made him even more disgusted with his job. And I am going to make amends for all of it today. Today I had my plans.
“Will you behave yourself”, was the first question he asked before entering the room.
“No. not today”, I replied.
Just as he locked the room behind my back upon entering the room, I cornered him near the door and planted a kiss on his cheeks. I realised he was more comfortable with it within the confines of the room. He ran inside the room and scanned the entire suite to check if anyone else was there. He returned assured, lifted me up and laid me on the bed. We made love for fifteen minutes or so. We didnt go all the way through since we were aware that the client could have arrived anytime.
“You love me?”, I asked.
“Of course I do”, he said.
I knew that look in his eye. They couldn’t lie to me. They never did. He was too good to be in this world. I knew he didnt belong here. He never did. He was here for me, because of me.
I could have stayed in the bed with him forever had not there been a stomping at the door. Ashvaq rose from the bed in a swift motion and almost instantaneously put his shirt on. It was funny to see him agitated like a kid. I couldn’t stop myself from laughing.
“Are you freaking insane ?”, he whisphered, “Go inside and arrange your clothes. I’ll handle him.”
The knocks grew heavier as he set up the bed straight. I went in to make arrangements for the client. I could hear the client from the other room. I entered the room with a bottle of whiskey. I realized within the very first few seconds of the interaction that this client wasn’t an everyday guy. His eyes weren’t ogling at my body. He seemed like a man with a mission. He asked Ashvaq to go outside and come when he called him. He locked the door and put on the music on a very loud volume. He asked me to take my clothes off. While I was at it he slapped me right across my face. He almost knocked me unconscious and before I knew it he had put a tape across my mouth. And that’s when I realized he wasn’t there for the usual business. He opened the suitcase he had brought with him to display all the stuff he had carried in it. It had knives, screws and a drilling machine!
He nailed my left hand to the wall. I shrieked in pain but the loud music he had put on suppressed my cries. He nailed the other hand too and began gashing my body in random motions with a sharp knife. I was losing my breath but the unbearable pain forced me to scream. He stopped for a while, put his hands on his ears, hunched forward and sat down. He looked up after a while with teary eyes. He walked upto me and drilled a hole right through my throat. I dont remember what happened next.I passed out or probably died. I dont remember.
“That bloody whore! she thinks she can blackmail me and get me to sponsor her life with that rotten scum lover of hers? She has no idea who Sukhbir is. I’ll teach her a lesson that they’ll remember forever.”, he said to me.
“Sir but you know I don’t do killings. I am an engineer for god’s sake.”
“You do as I say or you’ll never see your wife again”, he threatened me.
I got back to my house with a gift for my wife. I had brought a dress for her. She was the most precious thing that had happened to me. We had our dinner together and discussed the plot of a popular sit-com. I contemplated over the talk I had with Sukhbir. He was the most powerful and notorious MLA of the town. He had an image of a saint in the public but only his closest associatates knew his real self. Off lately he had developed a liking for a prostitute Reena. And was visiting her quite frequently, Clearly the girl found a way for making a living out of this. She started blackmailing him with threats of going public about his fling with her if he didnt pay her up. He took it lightly initially but then it occured to him how adamant she was in her threats. He promised her he would send his man to her at hotel Taj and then settle it once and for all. He was indeed going to settle the matter but not as she had intended it to.
“Give her the most painful death you can think of. Kill her like the Jews killed your Jesus. You know without the clothes, nail her body, whip her, cut her, just make her realize how big a trouble she had called on herself”
And thats exactly what I did. After I killed her, I saw the stillness on her face. She reminded me of my wife. but her eyes had fear for me. I couldn’t look at her anymore. I knew I would never be able to face my wife again. I had done something she wouldn’t approve me of. She even resented the fact that I worked for a corrupt politician. Today I had crossed all limits. I felt ashamed of myself. There was no way I could go back home with my blood stained hands.
I heard a loud knock on the door. I knew it would be her lover. I held my gun to my head and pulled the trigger.