The Serial Killer
Waking up from sleep, struggling in the congested bus for a lonesome seat, swiping the smart card and walking to a little cubicle with a workstation that stares at one with a familiar sense of boredom is hardly anyone’s childhood dream.
Yet, she lived with valour amidst souls who slogged continually, without any purpose like zombies, dragging their feet as they walked, sipping endless cups of coffee near the vending machine, indulging in frivolous banter and then dozing off on their way back to their homes in crowded buses.
Life seemed lifeless and she was dying for an element of mystery, for an adventure, something that could give her much needed thrill in her mundane life. “Excuse me, I think you have dropped your handkerchief here,” a deep voice whispered near her ears. Like a sudden bolt of thunder from nowhere, this voice brought her back from her daydream to the canteen queue where she was waiting for her meal.
Regaining her composure, she looked down to find her favourite pink handkerchief lying down on the floor, almost like a dead body that lies in a clumsy posture on the ground after a free fall from the seventeenth floor.
With accelerated heartbeat and a hint of excitement, she turned back to thank the man who had just entered into her life in the most melodramatic way, just the way it happens in the movies.
As she turned back, she caught his first glance and she froze with horror.
He was tall, sturdy with straightened hair falling till his neck, parted in the middle and his eyes shone like yellow sapphire, almost like that of a cat. It was the first time she had seen him in her office and it was the first time that someone’s appearance had terrified her to the core.
With a clumsy expression she thanked him and as he smiled back, she turned her face from him, a tiny bead of sweat escaping out of her contorted face.
“That is a cute handkerchief by the way,” the man with yellow eyes whispered again near her ears, this time with a sly grin. His breath smelled like raw meat and her head started throbbing out of fear. She quickly rushed from that place, rapidly pacing away from the canteen.
The whole day, she could not concentrate, she wondered about the absurdity of that situation and about the eeriness of that man’s appearance. Seeing her puzzled expression, a colleague of her stopped by her cubicle. “Are you all right?” he asked casually.
She nodded back absentmindedly, looking at her keyboard. After a few more questions, she suddenly blurted out, “Well I met this guy today in the canteen, who had these strange yellow eyes, I don’t know but I haven’t been feeling very good since then,” she sank her head in between her palms.
“Oh! That means you met Manohar, he just joined our office today. Poor guy! He gets noticed because of his yellow eyes, more than anything else,” her colleague enthusiastically added. “You know him?” she asked with crouched eyebrows. “Of course I do, we have known each other for quite some time, he’s a sober guy. That yellow thing is a result of some genetic defect, people often judge him by his looks but he’s got used to it,” he said in a melodramatic way.
With a pang of guilt, she was relieved to find out that Manohar was not a blood sucking psychopath as she had imagined him to be. “Looks can be deceptive,” she thought to herself as she braced up to leave for the day.
As the doors of the lift opened, she was shocked to see only Manohar there, his yellow eyes glistening like amber street lights. “Hi, we had met earlier,” she stammered. “Oh yes, I remember that,” he smiled back. “Hope you are not scared now, I just look like a serial killer, I am not one,” he hissed in a low voice as the lift descended.
Assuming it to be a joke, she smiled back awkwardly avoiding all possible eye contact with him. Her heart skipped a beat as something like a rat’s squeak reverberated through the lift suddenly.
Her breath froze as she looked at him in sheer horror after he tried to clutch something in his jacket. “It’s my pet rat, he is usually asleep now, today he is awake by chance,” he explained as the rat squealed. Hurriedly she pressed the button of the next floor when all of a sudden, the power broke down and they were left in sheer darkness.
The rat was silenced all of a sudden and all she could hear were sounds of violent gulping. Manohar’s eyes shone like radium in the dark and her voice got choked as she saw it nearing closer to her.
“Looks can be deceptive, you know,” he grinned slyly as she could feel his breath stinking of a dead rat’s meat. “No! Don’t kill me,” she gasped as she opened her eyes to see a lift full of strangers gaping at her with surprise.
“Are you okay?” a concerned lady asked. “Too much of work maybe, you dozed off in the lift itself,” another one added. With an embarrassed expression, she moved out of the lift and stood near the parking lot, perplexed at the absurdity of things.
A car wheezed past her suddenly, she rubbed her eyes to see Manohar driving it. He was holding something in his left hand, something like a dead rat. As he drove past, something at the back of his car terrified her to the core, something that read, “You’re next.”