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I followed Dev Sir into the office. I looked around and could see surprised faces looking at me. Some of them stood from their chairs. There stood Mohammed Bhai smiling at me. I greeted him as I moved past. Then there was this Northeastern guy Kalyan, who had a disliking for me for no reason. If I were a farmer right now, I would have stuck his head on a scarecrow in my fields and used the rest of his body as a fertilizer. Later, animal charcoal maybe.
Then there was Solomon. People hated him because he used too much profanity while talking. I liked him because he always spoke the truth in people’s faces. World needed more men like him. And there she was, that lying cunning woman, Ankita standing and looking at me in a shock. “You never expected me to return, right?” was what my eyes said as I looked at her. Sandy stood beside her suddenly looking at me. “Wow!” I said to myself. He was the second one in line after me. “Come in Jeff.” I heard Dev Sir.
I entered the room and sat on a chair in front of him. “So… How have you been?” He asked me. “I don’t know… Honestly! I mean I was kicked out of my job and then the man behind it commits suicide, but people and police call it a murder and keep me on surveillance. So that’s too much to take in.” I explained to him looking aimlessly in a direction. “I had no idea what to do.” I added.
“Wait!! You were under surveillance?” Dev Sir asked in a shock. “They didn’t tell me officially, but I had policemen follow me everywhere I go. They stood outside my home the whole time. I even had Inspector Girish paying a visit to my place. I didn’t take any offense, but it’s been a bit nightmarish.” I explained him the whole situation.
“Well… I understand. I got a report yesterday about Deepak and trust me he was not an ethical person. Seven girls have come forward informing that he sexually exploited them in the name of promotion and date raped one of them. He had also manipulated us here and got a lot of men like you fired from their jobs too. That made me investigate your case and it was Inspector Girish who found your call in Deepak’s Pen Drive. He had edited the part where you did the sale. So, it was not heard anywhere.” Dev Sir informed.
“That’s insane!!” I replied in a shock as I had no idea about the sexual exploitation part. “Yeah! It’s sad that he’s no more. No one should deserve it, but he wasn’t a good person.” Dev Sir said. He then offered me to join back the office. “Same work, same team. A pay rise to compensate for everything that happened in the last few days. And a better work culture will be my guarantee to you on a personal level. What do you say?” He offered. How could I refuse? I had scores to settle here.
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world sir.” I replied with a smile. “I just have one concern. As I walked in, I’ve been getting a lot of stink eye from my colleagues. I don’t think a lot of them would be happy to work with me again. This bothers me a lot.” I added. I was not coming back till they publicly fix the damage for me.
“That’s not a problem! We’ll fix that.” Dev Sir replied and started calling someone from his intercom. “Hey! Come in. You’re needed.” I heard him say and then hang up the call. “So, when do I come back?” I asked him. “Well! Today if you’d like.” He suggested. “Today it is then.” I replied and felt the door opening. I turned around and it was Ankur. He entered looking at me. I just kept smiling at me.
“Ankur! I’m rehiring Jeff.” Dev Sir said. “And I’m about to fuck your ego big
time.” I thought to myself. “I want you to escort him back to Mohammed’s Bay and have a huddle. Tell everyone that Jeff is innocent. He has nothing to do with Deepak’s death and he is coming back. And then I need you to return his ID Card in front of everyone. Also publicly apologize on behalf of our organization.” He completed. Ankur was about to say something and was again stopped by Dev Sir. “No! No… Shut up! Shhh! It’s an order! Now go.” He said with an intense look.
Ankur just nodded and left the room. I stood up, shook hands with Dev Sir. “Welcome back.” He greeted me. “Thank you, Sir. Means a lot.” I replied and then I left the room.
I just wanted Dev Sir to make up for the humiliation I suffered during the termination. I never knew he would give me an added incentive with that by getting Ankur to announce my rehiring publicly. Ankur stood there as soon as I came out. Every time I looked at him, I remembered the corpse of his mother inside his house. “Stay here. I’ll bring your ID Card.” He said in a low voice and left.
People looked at me as they passed by. “Are they calling you back?” Asked Ashraf Bhai sitting right in front of me. “You’ll get to know.” I replied with a smile, but I guess he already got an idea. “Everyone can I have all your attention?” I heard as Ankur entered the floor once again. “Please stop your work for a while.” He added.
Everyone stood up. They all looked towards him. “Two days ago, we all lost Deepak. It was reported to be a suicide. But people did have their suspicions. However, everything has been investigated and there was no foul play. It has officially been ruled out to be a suicide. I’ve just received a report that the case has been closed.” Ankur made the announcement.
“On the other hand, most of you all know that Jeff was terminated. That was personally investigated by Dev. We all found that it was a miscommunication from our end. Jeff was framed.” Ankur said looking at me intensely. “He is innocent.” He announced after a pause. I could see in his eyes how badly he wanted to take those words back.
“So, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back! Jefferson Raghav.” Ankur announced and everyone clapped. “This was the toughest thing you have done since preserving an old woman’s dead body in your home… Well, I’m guessing so.” I thought to myself. “Please come Jeff!” Ankur called me out.
I went forward and Ankur handed me my ID Card back. “Welcome back.” He said with a fake smile and made me stand by his side. I turned around and I could see everyone looking at me and clapping. Mohammed Bhai was all smiles. I saw Ankita and looked into her eyes from the distance. She looked extremely nervous. Her brown complexion suddenly looked darker. Her eyes turned a bit pale with dark circles around them.
“Jeff… I know what happened with you was a total misuse of power. We cannot change what happened. But we’ll try and make up for it.” Ankur said as I kept staring at Ankita and anger started to boil inside me. “So, I apologize to you publicly on behalf of each and every person who works here. You’re welcome back. We’re all happy to have you.” Ankur added and then we both turned face- to-face, shook hands and hugged.
“How does it feel now?” I said in his ears with a smile. We then separated from that warm hug and I could see him hiding a lot of his anger and rage behind that smile. The veins in his forehead looked as if they were about to burst out. But he couldn’t do anything. And that gave me immense pleasure.
“I’ll complete the rehiring process and let you know once it’s done.” Ankur told me before I went back to Mohammed Bhai and my place where I used to work. Almost everyone came and congratulated me. I then sat at my system and got to know that my credentials no more worked. So, we had to place an order for getting it to work again. That would take 24 hours of time, so I just needed to sit and kill time for today.
As I kept talking to people, I realized that they never knew who I really was. They thought that I was one of them while I was not. I wonder who among them would be what when they there was no one around them. Thinking all this, I saw Ankur walking towards the Men’s washroom. He looked at me when he went past the workstation, guess he wanted to talk. Well!! let’s have some fun!!!
I then got up and followed him to the Men’s Washroom. I stood near the handwash. Most of the people had left as it was already evening. So, the washroom too was empty. I turned around and started setting my hair as I saw him coming. “Feel good?” I asked as he stood beside me.
“What exactly are you up to Jeff?” He asked and that made me laugh. I
understood what he was trying to do. “Trying to set my hairs.” I said looking in the mirror and smiling. “You are very well aware what I’m trying to ask you.” He exclaimed. “I’m not well aware what you’re trying to ask Ankur.” I replied.
“Why did you come back? You could have gone anywhere. But you returned for a low paying sales job. What is your motive for coming back? You want to kill me? Or Dev? Or someone else in cold blood just like you killed Deepak?” He asked me.
My smile grew broader at his stupidity. Why would I kill anyone!?!?! I’ve never killed anyone. These were suicides as reported. I took a deep breath as I closed my eyes. “You’ve got it all wrong Mr. Srivastav. I just hope you get over it as soon as possible. That would be good for you…” I said. “And your Mother too.” I added after a pause and that shook him. I kept smiling.
“I’ll see you around.” I said and began to leave. I knew he was about to make a move. I just didn’t know if it will be aggressive or something more of a nervous response. He then caught me by my collar and pushed me to the wall. “How did you know about my mother?” He asked me. “Aggressive. As he pretends to be.” I responded to myself.
“Well! You mentioned… I guess. And that she doesn’t move and you’re the only one doing things for her like feeding… At 3AM in the night.” I again told him with a smile. He realized that I was the one stalking his house at night. “Do not ever do that again. Or I’ll kill you.” He tried to threaten me.
“Oops! That got recorded too… Did Deepak teach you how to edit shit out?” I told him laughing and that got him even more angry. I knew that he was recording. That was the reason why all he was trying to do was get information out of me.
Realizing that he failed this time, Ankur left me and stepped back. I winked at him. “So sad. And so predictable.” I said looking at him. “I will expose you really soon Jefferson Raghav.” He said with a red face. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m just here to work, earn and then go home.” I told him with a smile again taunting him this time and left the place.
Ankur must have thought that I was just a reckless killer who went loose cannon on his victims. He thought I will be an easy nut to crack. I loved it when these corporate idiots underestimated people around them. The moment they started feeling superior of themselves was the moment they would be struck down. Deepak felt invincible after he got me kicked out. That was the very moment his fate was decided to be on a Postmortem Table. They all think they are the superior ones while they are not. They are just made to feel that way. So that they can be easily taken down when the need arises.
As soon as I came out of the washroom, I came face to face with Ankita. She looked extremely pale. Her eyes were all sucked inside her face. Cheeks gone in. As if she hadn’t slept since days. Her face and the smell of her perfume now made me irate. The control that I had over the situation and myself back when I was with Ankur moments ago was slipping out of me. I could feel anger build up slowly. The toughest part was that I had to continue to smile. I now knew how Ankur might have been feeling when he was made to hand me the ID Card in front of everyone.
“How are you?” She hesitated and asked but I never replied. I was just taking my own time to calm myself down so that I could say something to hurt her. Suddenly I felt as if I could not hear anything she said. Everything was like a blur echo in my ears. I was no more smiling, and I was filled with anger. I closed my eyes for a while and saw myself catching Ankita by her hair and banging her head on the wall beside us. I kept banging her head till she wasn’t breathing anymore.
I was brought back to my senses by Ankur when he slightly pushed me with his shoulder while going. I realized that Ankita was still standing in front of me talking nonsense. “I should have let Deepak fuck you.” Was all I could say with a smile. She stopped talking after I said that. She was shocked.
“Date rape would have been much satisfying. You too deserve to be used that way.” I added making sure I hurt her with every word I say. She could not say anything after that. I then left and went back to Mohammed Bhai and my gang. Now all I had to do was to wait for the clock to strike 7PM. I’ll be leaving by then.
My anger and frustration knew no limits with the way things were going. Announcing the rehiring of that cold blooded murderer Jeff back to office was the worst moment of my life. I can’t express how much I regret every second of his presence in this office. I tried to take the situation in my own hand and ruined it. I still don’t know how Jeff knew that I was recording the conversation we were having. And now he knew about my home and mother.
I have got under his radar since the day I fired him with Deepak. He has been stalking me. Maybe to kill me. I would need to find out a way to stop him. Thinking about all this I moved out of the washroom and there this bastard stood right outside the gate talking to his girlfriend. I gave him a shoulder push while going.
I tried calling Girish to talk to him, but he never took my calls now. I was unable to concentrate on my work. I desperately wanted to expose Jeff. I could not get my mind off it. There was a fucking criminal working in the same place that I did. And I was unable to do anything about it. Especially after getting an idea that I will be his next victim soon. I kept hallucinating him coming in right now and strangle me with the phone wires. There were plenty here. He could do anything to me. I had no idea about his MO. I was losing my mind over this whole thing.
I then looked at the watch and my shift ended. I picked up my stuff and forced myself out of the office. I was so paranoid that I kept looking around if Jeff was somewhere behind me or watching me. There were others leaving with me as well. I made sure to stay in between the crowd. I felt safe there.
I sat in my car, threw the laptop bag behind, and closed all the windows making sure that I don’t get spotted by Jeff anywhere. Once I was out of the building, I took a sigh of relief that it was over for a while and I was safe. I felt the streetlights on my face and the traffic sound outside made me feel much better. I stopped at a red signal. I looked around and could see some youngsters having fun in their car. There was music, dance and loads of laughter. I’ve always wanted this but could never get.
I was always a loner in school back when I was in Delhi. Especially after I accidentally killed one of my friends on a field trip to Sultan Ghari. I pushed her off a higher part of the monument. She fell and never moved again. There was blood all over the place. I was rusticated from the school. They couldn’t put me in jail or correction home because there was no evidence. But then the same school made sure I never get admitted in any other school till I had to relocate to Hyderabad.
I was told by my father that I was not good for people and I should keep to myself. I’ve been staying away from people since then. I don’t make friends. I only had my mother. Dad left us after a while when we were young. He thought that we were both insane people after my Mother beat up our maid for stealing from the house. It’s just been the two of us since then and it’s been good that way.
Me and mom joked that maid is still somewhere in the backyard. But then one of these days, I pushed mom mistakenly after an argument. She has been angry with me since then. She doesn’t speak with me. She just sits there silently. She shouldn’t have been so angry. I had to do everything for her. And that day that bastard Jeff trespassed my property. I wish I could teach him a lesson.
I was all lost in my thoughts when suddenly I felt a hand coming from behind me. It came as fast as a bullet and started to strangle me by my own tie. There were medical gloves on them. The hand moved front tying the tie to my seat. I could not react but only get traumatized over it.
Before I knew, I could not move my head. To my shock, I see Jeff rising from back seat and coming and sitting beside me, fastening his seat belt. He then picked up my phone and checked it once and then threw it outside the window. “No!!!” I shouted and Jeff looked at me with those eyes. I froze completely. “That’s it. I’m about to die.” I said to myself. “Miss me Daddy?” He asked. “Fuck you!” I replied and he started laughing. That was the evilest laugh I’ve ever seen.
I needed to strike when Ankur never expected me to. That was the reason why I left the office at 7PM with Solomon. I made it evident with everyone that I did not bring my bike that day. I had given it for a paintjob already. Solomon gave me a ride till home. It was around 20minutes away from work. I changed and took a local bus back to office after 15 minutes.
A local bus because its crowded and there are no CCTV Cameras. I reached office by 8:43PM and sneaked from the back entrance into the parking area. I lock picked Ankur’s car and hid behind the driver’s seat.
I already made sure that Ankur was paranoid enough to run as fast as he can, enter his car and drive out without checking inside it. I was looking at him when he opened the gates, and I knew he was terrified. I waited till the car moved out of the parking area to the main road. I did not want to be spotted inside or anywhere near the office. So, I made sure till he was out in the street and at ease thinking I won’t be a problem for him now. That was when I struck.
I suddenly sat behind him and without giving him a chance to react, I tied him by his neck to the seat from the back. It wasn’t tight enough to kill him but kept him on the edge mentally. I came front and checked if he was recording anything on his phone and tossed it outside the car. I never needed to do that. I just found it amusing to torture this guy.
I then put a duct tape on both his hands and made sure they were stuck on the steering. “I’ll take care of the gears.” I told him. “Please don’t kill me.” He pleaded. “Oh, come on man!” I shouted. “I would never kill you. I never kill anyone. I never even killed Deepak. That was what I was trying to tell you.” I explained to him cheerfully.
“Then why were you stalking me? Why are you in my car?” He asked. “Just
wanted to check if the rehiring has been done or not.” I joked. “Please leave me. I won’t be a problem for you anymore if that’s what you want. I’ll stay away from you and your life.” He started crying now. “Please Jeff. At least for my mother.” He added.
“Shut up! I’ve been to your house. I’ve seen that ugly corpse in the name of your mother… Sitting on the chair. You could have put some make up on her man she looks fucking creepy.” I told him. “She is not dead.” He yelled. “She is just angry with me. Do not call her dead or else I’ll kill you myself.” He kept yelling till I slapped him hard with the back of my palm. “Watch your tone motherfucker! And yes! She is fucking dead.” I told him. “You’re more fucking twisted than I ‘am.” I told him as I laughed.
“What do you want from me?” He asked me as he wept. “Nothing much. I just wanted to have a talk with you.” I replied. “What is it you want to talk to me about?” He asked me. “Well, you see, no one else apart from you see me for what I ‘am. So I thought I can lighten up a bit talking to you.” I informed him. “About what?” he asked as he cried.
“Keep driving. And I’ll tell you a story.” I instructed him. “So, it happened back in my school in 8th standard. I’ve been a late sleeper since birth. That was one of the reasons why I used to be late for my school bus by a minute sometimes. The driver used to be irate about it. He would always blame me and my brother every time the bus reached late to school while that was never the case. Asshole never knew how to drive.” I told as Ankur kept silent.
“One fine day he misbehaved with me. I used to play trump cards in the bus, and he snatched them from me for no reason. The next day he did not stop the bus even when me and my brother were on time. Okay! Take a right now.” I stopped and instructed Ankur.
“My neck hurts.” He said as he took a right. “Good. Now keep driving straight.” I instructed and continued with my narration. “So, the very next day after that, I got my father involved. He pulled the driver out of the bus and beat the living hell out of him for the misbehavior and for not stopping the previous day. That bastard felt humiliated. He planned on taking a revenge. A couple of days later he caught me in the men’s washroom and blindfolded me and beat me up like a crazy fuck.” I continued with my narration as Ankur drove.
“He was about to sodomize me but then he was caught by a lecturer of mine, and the management got him arrested. And he was never seen again. Now take left please.” I again stopped and instructed him, and he did that.
“Is that why you’re this way?” Ankur asked me. “I was unconscious for a while. The medical staff at the school injected me with HDACi’s so that I have no memory of whatever happened. It’s a drug used to erase traumatic memories. But that’s all bullshit. Firstly, you lose all the empathy you have for the world as a side effect.” I noted as per my experience.
“Secondly, everything remains in your subconscious mind. I kept having nightmares over the years where I could see flashes of what I went through in the men’s washroom. I woke up peeing in bed. The motherfucker was about to rape me.” I told him. Ankur heard everything silently. “How do you remember it when they erased your memory?” He asked me.
“Yesterday I met a classmate from my school, and she happens to be into meds. I spoke to her in the evening about having no feelings at all. She pulled some strings and then found out the information and shared it with me this morning.” I told him. “Now stop!” I added and he stopped the car. “What is this shithole? Why are here?” He asked me. “I’ll tell you in a while. You just shut up. Don’t break my sequence.” I told him.
“Years later I come to know that someone helped that driver in trying to attempt rape on me. I knew that someone and where he lived. You want to know who that guy was?” I asked Ankur. “Who?” He asked me. I took a newspaper from the back of the seat that I had placed. I opened the third page and showed it to him. “This guy. Ankit Kedia, the socialite. Died by committing suicide. Just because someone uploaded his videos of child abuse on a porn website, and he could not bear the humiliation.” I continued with my narration. “That’s as per the police report. I’ll tell you what exactly happened.” I started again.
“I entered Ankit’s home. There was no one around. I went in and hid in his closet. Waited for him to come out. I then attacked him from behind. I blindfolded him just like I was. I traumatized him just like I was. He told me everything. He told me where the driver would be. He kept apologizing. He kept shouting for help, but no one listened. He had a reputation in public.” Ankur listened closely to everything.
“Ankit Kedia. Son of a fucking businessman. Up and coming CEO. Famous among elites of the society. The only way to destroy him was to fuck the image that he had in public. I had found videos he shot on his phone while he abused kids. So, I uploaded the videos online in front of his eyes. I then untied him. He now stood there like a fat piece of garbage. Naked in front of me. He could not stop crying. I never felt pity on him. I asked him what he would do when the media questions him about the videos. How will he face his family after they were exposed to what he was? Will people want to do business with a pedophile anymore?” That left Ankur guessing for a while.
“He only had one answer for all such questions… He ran in front of me to the balcony and I ran behind him. I saw him going off from the railing. A big piece of fat meat flying out of the balcony in the air. I saw him going down. I saw him landing on the ground. Blood splashing out of his mouth and his nose. I stood there and savored every moment of it. By the time I got down, there was blood all around him. He wasn’t moving. He looked aimlessly towards the sky. Just like your mother.” And Ankur tried to stare at me but couldn’t because of being tied up.
He was terrified to say anything after I narrated the whole incident. “I went and checked his pulses, and he was dead. I coolly walked off the property and reported the cops about it before returning home.” I told him.
“So, it was you?” Ankur asked me. “No. It wasn’t me. He killed himself. I was just there when it happened. You see… I already told you I don’t kill people. I just talk to them… And then they kill themselves. I just happen to watch the whole show. I enjoy every moment of it. I love it when they beg for mercy. I feel ecstatic when they die. I feel empowered. I just feel like… God.” I replied as I felt terror in Ankur’s breathe.
“Even today, there will be a death. There will be a killing. I will not be doing it. I would just sit and enjoy the whole thing.” I told Ankur. “Then who will do it?” He asked me. “You.” I gave him a shock.
“What the hell?? I will not be killing anyone. Especially not for you. I am not like you. I don’t enjoy it.” He said. “Doesn’t matter. Still, you will be killing. Or else you get killed. Its quiet easy here. I’ll just pull a cable, light your lighter and leave. I’ll then see the whole car exploding. That would be much more fun.” I told him. “Why are you doing this to me?” He said and cried. “It was Deepak who kicked you out. I was just doing my job.” He replied.
“I already knew you both were equally involved. I have people in your workstation my friend and they talk. So, if you don’t want me to kill you and then expose your mother’s corpse for the neighbors to see and the entire city to talk about it, you need to kill someone else for me.” I told him and he started crying again. “Please don’t do this Jeff, I can’t kill someone.” He kept crying as I kept looking outside.
“There… There he is. He is out. Come on. Let’s go. Just drive as fast as you can and run him over. Think of him as it’s me. Think of him as if someone who you hate right from the bottom of your heart. Think of it as a scarifies that will help you get your Mother back. She will talk to you. She will eat with you. She will laugh with you.” I encouraged him and pulled the gear. I saw his expression change as soon as I name dropped his mother. He looked more determined.
“Go go go!” I encouraged further and Ankur sped the car as fast as he could. I just sat beside him without blinking an eye. I looked at that fat man walking all drunk slowly. We approached him. Slowly getting closer to him. He had no time to think. He turned around and the headlights shined in his eyes. I saw his face and he saw mine. It looked as if time had stopped as the car crashed into him.
I could feel the car touching his legs and breaking it. He went weak and could not do anything. His face smashed on the bonnet and I saw him rolling over the car. His body smashed the front windshield, then twice on the roof and then he was thrown to the back of the car. I looked behind and I could see him fall off the car. There was a thud sound on the ground as he fell. Ankur gained his senses back and smashed the brakes with his leg. The car stopped making a screeching sound. Ankur was breathing heavily.
As soon as the car stopped, I took out the keys from the ignition and went out to check if he was still there or dead. I reached slowly and could see him all bloodied up taking his last breath. He could not get up again. He looked at me. He was trembling in pain. “Jj… jee… Ffer…” and he did not speak again. He did not even move. I could see men rushing towards him. I had less time. I went forward and checked for his pulses and he was gone.
I then came back, sat in the car, put the key in the ignition and asked Ankur to drive which he did. There were men running behind the car, but they couldn’t catch us. I felt epic after that. I had a glow in my face. Ankur noticed that.
“That was amazing.” I told looking at him with a smile. “Please man! Don’t talk. Don’t even come near me. You made me kill a human being. I didn’t even know who he was.” He said in a low tone as he silently drove. I looked at him and he looked completely broken. Just like his windshield. There was blood on his hands now. Just like his windshield.
“Please leave me and my mother alone now. I did what you asked me to do. Killed a random stranger just because you wanted to enjoy.” He said. I had closed my eyes and leaned back on the seat relaxing beside him as he continued to drive. I could feel peace with every breath I took. “It was not a random stranger.” I said in a peaceful tone. “It was the driver who made me the way I ‘am today.” I informed Ankur as we moved past Pritam Bar.
“Okay I did that for you. Now please let me go man. That’s enough for me for today. I beg of you man. Please let me go.” Ankur begged. We were at full circle here. “Remember I begged you to give me another chance in the conference room that day. Did you give? You threatened to get me thrown out by the security. Now give me one fucking reason why should I let you go.” I asked him and he was speechless.
“Good! Stay quiet that way and continue to drive…” I was now ordering him. “Be a good boy and I’ll tell you another story. About a friend of yours, now remembered as Deepak Reddy. I’m sure you must be dying to listen to it. It’s way more fun than the previous one.” I told him as we drove away closer to Ankur’s eventual fate.
“There is no filter between my brain and my mouth.”