The next morning found Gayatri and Varun standing at the point near the river where the filming had taken place. The time was 6.30 AM, and the Sun was rising. Varun did not want to attract too much attention to what they were doing. He wanted to get it over with quickly. Gayatri was looking very apprehensive. She kept repeating, ‘Be careful Varun.’ Again, and again.
Varun rapidly changed into his diving gear. He smiled at Gayatri and said, ‘Don’t worry. I have done this once before at this same spot. It is not too much of a problem.’
He put on his diving glasses and waited for half a minute. Then he smiled at Gayatri and jumped straight into the deep end. He explored the bottom of the river swimming far and wide. Every time he ran out of breath he had to rise to the surface to take in a mouthful of air. After the fifth or sixth time he was at the bottom, a glint from something metallic caught his eye. It seemed to come from some distance away to his right.
He came up for air again. This time he swam to the exact point on the surface of the river, below which he had seen the metallic glint. He dived in and realized what it was that he had seen. He was stunned, for he could roughly make out the shape of a car. He thought to himself, ‘What is a car doing here?’
The front portion of the steel body of the car was stuck deep into the sand. He could not see the front part of the car at all. He looked through the windows of the rear seats. There was nothing inside. Then he moved to the back of the car and looked at the closed boot. Could there be anything inside it? The lid was severely rusted. He thought he might be able to break the lid open if he could find a big stone.
But by then he was out of breath. He rose to the surface again and gulped in a mouthful of air. He saw that Gayatri had climbed down the side of the cliff and was standing on a ledge. She was gesturing to him asking him to come back. He waved at her and dived in once more. He reached the bottom and looked around for a reasonably big stone which he found quite easily. He hit the lid of the boot with the stone at the point where it closed.
The lid flew open. Before Varun could blink, a loud terrifying scream came from inside the boot. A cold clammy, hand reached out of the boot and pushed him aside forcefully. Varun could see that it was a skeleton covered completely with slime. A horrible, slimy zombie. With a whoosh, it rushed up towards the surface of the river. He recovered from the blow he had been dealt with and frantically chased the zombie. But he was too late. He could hear a loud petrified scream.
He knew that voice. It was Gayatri’s. He came to the surface and saw that the zombie had grabbed her and wrapped itself around her, crushing her body. It moved down towards the bottom of the river again. He went after it with all the strength he could muster into his tired arms and legs. He saw Gayatri’s lifeless body floating near the bottom.
He reached her and wrapped his arm around her with one hand and made his way up to the surface of the river. He could see the zombie floating some distance away. He ignored it and made his way to the rocky surface of the ledge on which Gayatri had been standing. He laid her body on the the ledge. He tried his best to revive her. He tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. He pressed her chest repeatedly trying to pump out the water in her lungs. But all to no avail. After fifteen to twenty minutes of desperate effort, he realized that he had lost her.
Finally, with tears streaming down his cheeks, he scooped her lifeless body in his arms. He screamed like a man whose soul had sunk into an abyss of sorrow…
The nurse at the Damodar hospital looked at her famous patient, the actress from Tamil Nadu. In the last 24 hours, her condition had improved steadily. The pustules on her body were slowly drying up. The hair that had grown on her arms and legs had fallen off. They had removed the bandages and she was looking more like a human being and less like an animal. The nurse had had nightmares for the past few days. Her head was turned towards the monitors when she suddenly heard a voice from behind asking her a question, ‘Where is my husband?’
The nurse turned around in startled surprise and looked at Anandi. The young woman was wide awake.
‘Just wait dear. I will call the doctor and he will let you know about everything.’ The nurse walked out of the room and informed Dr. Peter that the patient in the isolated ICU had just come out of the coma…
This post is a part of #BlogchatterA2Z 2023
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