Gone Astray: Chapter 2 – Split

Jacob is a wreck on that bed. I mean, other than a cast on his left arm, his body is fortunately unharmed. But more than his body, his mind seems to have been the most afflicted. His expression is blank and he has been staring at the worn ceiling ever since I entered his room in the hospital. Only recently did he start talking, but the only thing he’s murmuring is a name… Keisha. One of the nurses told me that his sister is missing and that he was maddened with a drive to find her. Apparently it was really hard to restrain him in the beginning, then he had suddenly calmed down and had slumped to the very position I’m seeing him in. The police were a handful. Looks like Jacob caused a lot of chaos on the streets, and they were out for money. I could only redirect their greed for the fine to Jacob’s parents who are currently in China on a business trip. And inadvertently, they came to know about missing Keisha.

I don’t know what they are planning on doing, but as being merely their neighbour, that is all I can do. I look back at the still Jacob and sigh. I was asked to look after him in case of any trouble, but this wasn’t what I had expected. He is physically fit to be discharged at any time, but it doesn’t look like he is mentally stable. I leave him in the hospital to hopefully pick him back up the next day. And my hopes come true. Jacob seems to be able to talk properly again, and he is responding normally. But the gloom from the previous day still hangs over him like a dark cloud. I had visited the police station after my first visit to the hospital to report Keisha missing, and I try to console Jacob with that fact. He doesn’t say a word, and that continues all throughout our journey home.

We reach the door of his house after half an hour. It is a rather nice house, at least compared to mine that is just to the right of it. Jacob unlocks the door and both of us step inside. I raid the kitchen to try and find something to make him with my mediocre cooking skills. I end up making him a bowl of cereal. As he slowly munches on his flakes, I reassure him that his sister would be found soon, and that if he needed anything he could come to me at any time. He thanks me desolately, mispronouncing my name in the process. James is to be pronounced “ha-mez”. He’d done it countless number of times in the past, so I had just given up telling him. With that, I slowly retreat from his house.

As I stroll over to my house, I wonder what’s going on in Jacob’s head, whether he’ll be OK all alone in his house. I pull out the keys to my front door. Why didn’t I bring him to my house? You know exactly why, a small voice inside me says. I enter my house and shut the door behind me with a soft click. The interior is dark, like it always was. All the curtains in the house have been closed since forever. But one little ray of light manages to sneak in through the hall window onto a spot on the dusty floor. I stare at it for a second and I feel my eyes widen in astonishment. Blood. And not just a drop, it’s a whole streak of blood, like as if something bloody was dragged into my bedroom. I stare at the door to my bedroom unsettled. What the hell is this?, I ask myself. Suddenly the small voice in me perks up again, but much louder this time. You know exactly what it is!, it says, almost excited. With my hands trembling, I turn the knob dead slow and push the door open with a loud creak. At first, my eyes couldn’t adjust to the darkness. Now they have, and I can’t breathe anymore. There is a girl. Her wrists and ankles are bound in tight jute. When she sees me she tries screaming through her gag, but all that comes out is a whimper. Dried up blood covers the right half of her face and soaks her black jacket and pink shirt. She squirms uneasily and tries scurrying away from me hurriedly, to no avail. Who in the world is she?! What is she doing there?! Wait a second… My brain tries coping with the situation. Keisha…?

Aah… Keisha. I’d had my eye on her for a while. Such a cute little thing. She caught my attention during her seventh birthday a month back. She looked particularly extravagant that day, and every day since then. I stare at her bound on the floor. It was difficult tying her up. She just wouldn’t stop moving. So I had to get her unconscious. I hope I haven’t scarred her pretty little face too bad. It looks like she’s lost a lot of blood though, it’s made a huge mess. It messed up one of the sleeves of my only coat! She has a lot of spirit, and I am going to have to break that spirit little by little, slowly and gradually. Keisha stops squirming and lies still on the floor. I feel myself chuckle a little. Talk about breaking spirit. Upon closer inspection I realise she has passed out from fatigue. I kneel down and grasp her chin gently with my fingers. Seeing her face that close puts my senses in overdrive. The shampoo she uses, the sweat from her jacket, the tinge of blood, all of that fills my nostrils in one big whiff. Perspiration from her skin, the stickiness of the dried blood and her soft breath tingles my fingers. It was really easy bringing her here though. All I had to tell her that day by the intersection was that her parents were caught in a plane accident. Oh the expression of horror, confusion and anxiety on her face was priceless, it was worth framing. I can’t believe James can’t remember dragging her in here. But well I can’t blame him, I am the one who did it. He doesn’t even know a thing! It helps when he’s being asked questions. He’s been interrogated by so many people, so many times, for all the crimes that I have committed. They all walk away without a clue. Split personality is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

-Tejas Harirajan

 

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Tejas Harirajan

Jack of a few trades, master of some. Loves League of Legends, beatboxing, basketball, Frisbee and writing stories.

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