Short Stories

The Hanging Man


The hanging man

‘What is hanging !?’ Aditya asks to reconfirm if he had heard his girlfriend correctly.

‘A man…. there is a man hanging from the ceiling in the opposite apartment,’  Ruhi repeats the line she said a minute ago.

‘Ruhi….’ Aditya looks at his mobile screen and says, ‘I think you had a nightmare. Just look at the time….it’s 3:30 am.’

‘What do you mean?’ she looks irritated. ‘Is 3:30 am the perfect time to have a nightmare? Or can’t people commit suicide at this hour?’
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‘Suicide ?!…….’ a scream escapes Aditya’s mouth. She said the fatal word with such conviction that it acted as an alarm clock for Aditya’s brain. ‘Are you mad?’ 

‘See for yourself,’ Ruhi pulls his left hand in an effort to make Aditya get up from the bed. But it needs tremendous muscle power for a female who weighs barely fifty two kilos to move an almost eighty kilos male body.

‘Wait….’ Aditya removes the blanket away.



This whole idea of having a party at his place was a total crap. Ruhi made him invite their entire college gang. Seven amongst them threw up a large share of the five-star restaurant’s home delivered food inside the commode after gulping bear beyond their capacity. What a waste of Aditya’s hard earned salary ! That’s why he wished to spend only a quiet romantic evening with Ruhi and ‘celebrate’ his promotion. But have Ruhi ever listened to him in past six years? Then why would she do now?

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The only good decision Ruhi took was to stay back at his place. She had to give her parents a well-rehearsed excuse of a pyjama party in Nikita’s house though. But by the time everyone left, neither Aditya nor Ruhi had an iota of energy left in them to do anything else. In fact, Aditya can’t even remember when he drifted away to sleep. When did Ruhi wake up?

‘Come fast,’ he hears Ruhi’s voice from the living room.

‘Coming,’ Aditya flinches after letting his feet out on the cold floor. Doesn’t Ruhi feel cold or what? His head is aching because of the alcohol. Only Heaven knows what she has seen at this hour? He puts on a jacket and comes near Ruhi. 

‘Look there,’ she points her finger to the darkness on the other side of the giant window. Aditya tries to figure out what she is referring to. After a few seconds, a chill runs down his spine. He takes a closer view. Ruhi was right. There is a building just opposite to his apartment. A man is hanging from the ceiling of one of it’s room in the tenth floor. Aditya looks at Ruhi. Fear is evident on both their faces.

‘What do we do now?’ Ruhi asks. ‘Shall we call the police?’

‘Police?’ Aditya freaks out. ‘No…no way, Ruhi.’

‘But why?We should call the police. I mean….’

‘No Ruhi. We can’t. Calling police means they may interrogate us too. I can’t put your reputation at risk. Moreover, this is a bachelor pad. If my house owner finds out about you, then it will be another problem. Please understand.’

‘Then?’ Ruhi asks something which Aditya doesn’t know what to answer. His eyes go back to the man hanging in the air  wearing dark coloured pant. The man is visible only from his waist though. But Aditya can imagine how a dead face may look like.The view is definitely not for the weak hearts.

‘We can’t do anything right now,’ Aditya says after turning his face away from the disturbed scene. ‘Let’s wait till morning. If anyone else finds out, then fine. Else I will call the cops once you leave.’

Ruhi remains silent. Her heart is playing drums inside. Why on earth she had to discover this thing of all people?She simply went to the washroom to pee. What was her need to look for her phone she forgot in the living room? Had she not laid her eyes on the only lit room outside, she would have been sleeping peacefully beside Aditya by now. Bad luck. What more can she say? Lie more at home about weekend pyjama parties. She thinks. God has His own way to teach lessons. How long does she need to endure this sight?

‘Come to bedroom and don’t look at this,’ Aditya must have read her mind. They come back to the bedroom.

‘Do you know anyone who lives in that building?’ Ruhi asks as Aditya puts a blanket around her.

‘No. Forget about that building, I even don’t know people living in my own floor. Who has time for these things?’

She looks at her watch. 4:00 am. Two more hours before the day breaks. Who is this man? Why did he commit suicide? Is it a suicide? Or murder? Are the criminals hanging around in the locality? Oh God ! She holds the blanket around her to let go off the goosebumps.

 

‘Hey. Wake up, honey,’ Aditya’s soft voice awakens Ruhi. When did she fell asleep? Broad daylight is peeping from the bedroom’s window curtains. At once, Ruhi recollects everything that happened.

‘What’s the time?’ she hurriedly sits up in the bed. ‘The man….what happened to him? Is he still there?’

‘Yes,’ Aditya replies.

‘That means nobody has found him out yet. I am leaving now and you call the cops, Aditya.’

‘Shh…calm down, Ruhi. There is nothing to panic.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Come with me,’ Aditya takes her hand and brings her near the window in the living room. ‘Take a look at him now.’

Ruhi doesn’t take much time to figure out that ill-fated room. A woman is standing near those hanging legs and giving water to the plants. She puts the watering can on the floor and with a stick pulls something from above. And there comes down the two legs that had almost sucked life out of Ruhi and Aditya few hours back. The woman takes out the hanger, folds the black coloured pant and goes inside.

 

 

 

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