Well, this chapter came out a bit long. So the Part 1 and 2. Bear with me.
Previously – 29. The boy hears when he looks into the eyes of a cat. Subconsciously, he starts a countdown. When he reaches 1, the cat dies becoming roadkill. The boy confirms the wild theory he had the day before. But before he could think on it, he looks into his eyes in the mirror. 583207, the voice says.
I wake up early inspite of it being a holiday. I try to ignore how tired I was feeling. Inspite of laying down for a solid 10 hours, I could not get much sleep.
My mother was in the kitchen, probably making breakfast and lunch. She looked at me when I came out into the hall.
“Sidhdhu! Good, you woke up early! Come help me grind chutney for the dosas.”
I would have usually refused straight away. But today, I felt like doing work. Any kind of work. All kinds of work.
My mother was a little surprised at how obedient I was today, but she didn’t speak about it.
“Your dad and I are going to be away till the evening. Make you sure you study well for the exams,” she said, taking out the dosa batter from the fridge.
“Okay,” I say. “Didn’t dad say he’s going to take a break?”
“He is on a break. But he still has some other work to do.”
“Okay,” I say again.
“And don’t watch too much TV. And don’t go to Arun’s. He has the BITS exam in a week, I hear. Let him study too.” She handed me a bowl filled with groundnut, dried chilly and some other condiments.
I took them without a word and poured the contents into the grinder. Then pouring some water into the mix, I started it.
WHIRRRRRRRR! I welcomed the loud sound. I lost myself in it.
My mother and father left soon. I switched on the TV. The game of San Antonio Spurs vs Memphis Grizzlies was in its ending stages. I took my brush, put some paste on it and started brushing my teeth. The match was a close one. The SAS won in the end. I spit out the paste and gargled my mouth thoroughly.
All through this chore, I did not once look at myself in the mirror.
It was around 10.30 a.m. I switched off the TV. I picked up my books and started studying for my tests. I started with math.
5832… I quickly shut down that thought. Don’t think. Don’t think. Don’t think.
I tried once again.
I closed my math book with a slam. I opened my Data Communications text book. Good. Theory. Words. Good.
I ate lunch alone. 1.30 p.m. on the clock. Arun would be home, studying for the prestigious BITS entrance examination, the exam I failed. I wanted to go and play FIFA 17 with him. But my mother’s warning sounded in my ears. I sighed and switched on the TV.
2.15 p.m. Damn, how slow the time runs! I took out my books.
3.00 p.m. Bored, bored, bored, booooored! I tried to sleep. But I could not. My face felt itchy all over. I wanted to go wash myself. But the thought of the mirror hanging there on the wall, the thought of it giving me a look of myself accidentally terrified me.
3.30 p.m. To hell with studies! I got up, snatched the house keys, went out, locked the door with a bang and went to Arun’s flat. His mother opened the door.
“Oh Sidharth! Arun went to his friend’s house to get some doubts clarified,” she said.
“Oh,” I said. “When will he be back?”
“He said around 5.”
“Okay. Thanks aunty.” I smiled and left.
The door opens and my dad walks in.
“TV again, Sidharth? Get up, Arun’s here,” he says and goes into the restroom.
But I do not get up. I stay there on the couch, petrified. Because there was that sensation again.
That heavy, disgusting sensation.