Saturday, April 17, 2010

Motionless

"Is there anything else you would like to tell me?" asked Dr. Mary.

"Our office is on the platform facing the tracks. We shifted to this one a few months back. There is a glass window between our desk and the platform. Its a one-way see-through tinted glass; so, we can see the passers-by on the station but nobody can see us. Most travellers used the glass pane as a mirror to see themselves. When John had joined the office, he used to get startled by the sight of the onlookers but with time, like all of us, he got used to it. And recently, he even started gazing back at them. I just remembered this because when I saw his picture in the newspaper, the staring eyes reminded me of how he used to stare at the travellers. He was a gentle, reticent and good man."

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"How is Rita, Dr. Mary?"
"She is doing well. I have succeeded, after a long time, in making her write. She has kept a diary and every now and then she writes about her past."

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He never spoke much. He had a rigid routine and his needs almost never changed. After so many years of living together, it had become completely unnecessary for us to talk. I knew what he wanted at any given second of the day. He seemed content with his life. He never made any attempts to improve it and never complained. He had no friends.

The stares began a few months back. I woke up one day to see him sitting beside me and staring intensely at me. I was completely shaken. It was an icy cold lifeless stare. I shrunk away from him and got out of bed. His eyes didn't move, he didn't budge. I slowly walked to him and shook him. He looked at me, smiled like nothing unusual had happened. I asked him what the matter was and he just said "I was lost in thought."

Then slowly it felt as though he became completely oblivious to his surroundings. He began staring at people as though they didn't exist. When my friends visited us, he would not notice them entering or hugging me and even after they sat down around us, he would be mute and staring at the wall or at the door. He had to be shaken out of his morbid reverie.

So many times, I spoke to him for five or ten minutes thinking he was there talking to me, but he was not. Only after he was shaken and explicitly told that I was talking to him, would he listen and participate.

He looked stoned (he wasn't). He only drank a little and perhaps it was only then that he was merrier than usual. When I asked him about it, he said he didn't feel any change in himself. It was as though people around him had stopped existing for him and he had to be consciously made aware of the fact. Movement, sounds, smells - nothing could reach him any more.

I couldn't stand the eerie transformation. He was a dead body, a zombie. He was inert, motionless. And his eyes, that vacant stare was the gaze of death. It had an unchallengeable, callous stillness that chilled my bones every time I saw him.

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Rita Anthony, a 45 year old woman was found sobbing in a pool of blood in her house at 34, Lessing Gardens, this morning. Beside her was the hacked body of her husband, John Anthony, an officer at the local Railway Station. Her neighbours had heard her screams early in the morning and informed the police. The police forced the door open to enter the house. Rita surrendered herself willingly and when questioned, said "Yes, I cut him into five pieces with that", pointing at the axe that was found beside the dead body. When asked for the reason, she said "I couldn't stand him any more." She refused to speak further and has been silent and morose. Sergeant Edward King and Dr. Mary Thomas have been assigned to the case and Mrs. Anthony is in solitary confinement at the Sherwood Psychiatric Centre.

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