Payback

It was colder than he remembered. The bluish glow of the laptop filled the room. Odd, he didn’t remember switching it on. Chat boxes popped up. They all said the same thing.

A mosquito hummed near him. He jumped out of bed. He was drenched in sweat. There was a bluish glow in the room. His laptop had switched on. A Google chat pop-up was showing a chat conversation.

“hi….it’s me….”

It was from Krishnan, his best friend.

Abhro slumped into the chair. He felt weak. Was he hallucinating or was this some prank?

Just yesterday he had lost his friend in a car accident. How could it be possible?

He tried to close the window but the computer didn’t respond. He tried to open control manager but nothing worked. It was strange. He opened the battery to force a shutdown. Just then another message appeared……

“You know it wasn’t an accident…..”

Abhro felt very nervous. The battery was now in his hand yet the laptop was on. He grabbed his phone and called Krishnan’s wife, Sunita.

“Are you online?”

She replied, “at this time? No……why do you ask?”

She sounded tired. The sadness was apparent in her tone.

“Either I’m hallucinating or I’m going mad…..i’m getting chat messages from krish saying that he didn’t die in an accident…..”

“must be a glitch…..restart your lappy and see….”

“I tried…..nothings working…..i have the battery in my hand & the lappy’s still on…..wait, another message!!!!–’I…..was….murdered’–got it????? Please can you come over fast????? I’m freaking out now…..”

“ok ok….hold on…I’m gonna be there in 30 minutes….just hold on…..take deep breaths and calm down…..it just a small glitch….there’s nothing as ghosts”

Click……the line went dead……

“Hello…..hello??????abhro????? Sunita frantically dressed up…..grabbed her car keys and purse from the table and ran to lift. She pressed the button again and again. It didn’t respond.

“Bugger…”

She ran down the stairs. The guard was sleeping in his room.

“Kundu-da…” she called him, “…..thora gate khuliye jaldi…” (please open the gate fast)

She got into her car and started it. The engine hiccupped and died. She tried again. The engine spluttered and died.

“Shit….” Sunita opened the bonnet and got out of the car. She checked the battery. It was out. She was taken aback. It wasn’t a month since she had replaced it. She didn’t have time now to try recharging it. The guard stood beside the gate dozing.

“Kundu-da dekhiye koi taxi hai aas pas?” (Is there any taxi available nearby?)

Sunita slammed the lid, took out her purse from the car and locked it. She was worried. She was sweating on a winter night. She went to the gate. The guard had waved down a taxi. Sunita jumped in.

“Beadon street…..jaldi chalaiye…..bahut jald hai”. (Beadon Street and please drive fast…its urgent)

The driver nodded his head, “Pachas rupiah zyada lagega….” (It will cost Rs 50 extra)

“thik hai….jaldi chaliye”. The cab sped away. (Yes okay. But please go there fast)

Sunita closed her eyes and lay back thinking what Abhro had said. His computer was working without power!!! That was impossibly weird……

The taxi slowed down. “ab kaha? (Now where)” the cabbie asked.

“woh samne wale gali-ke pas rokna. (Please stop in front of that lane)”She paid the cab and got out.

As she went up the stairs, she felt cold. Abhro’s door was open. Now she really felt strange. She stepped inside and switched on the light.

Her screams and shrieks woke up the neighbor Mr. Roy. He came to see what the commotion was about. He found Sunita screaming hysterically at the door. He went inside.

On the table was a laptop switched on but its battery lay by its side and on the chair in front was a dead person whose jaws had been ripped open by fear and his eyes nearly popping out of their sockets, paralyzed in fear of some unknown adversary. The message on the laptop screen read-

“Be prepared to meet me soon…I’m coming to get you…..”

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