Previously – Sidharth and Arun go out to confirm Sidharth’s ability to hear the exact time of death of people. They couldn’t confirm it on the roads so they go to the hospital. There, Sidharth poses as a grandson of a hospitalized old man. But seeing the old man’s over excited and happy look upon hearing his grandson came to visit, they understand that they intruded on something private. They both exit the hospital hurriedly.
Neither of us spoke while exiting the hospital.
Neither of us spoke for quite a while.
Arun was hanging his head. He looked sad. I understood that.
What we did… what I did was wrong. No. It was more than that. But I couldn’t bring myself to say a thing.
‘That was so wrong!’ Arun said after a while.
We were passing through an empty street, walking back to our apartments.
‘I know,’ I said quietly.
‘What you tried to do in there… that was so messed up!’
‘I know.’ I couldn’t say anything other than that.
‘I mean looking up old people’s deaths! That’s one thing but that old man’s face…! That face when he heard his grandson came to visit!’ He choked a little.
We continued to walk in silence.
‘I don’t think I believe in your story,’ Arun said after sometime. ‘I mean it’s like something straight out of Death Note.’
‘No!’ I panicked. ‘No, I swear I’m not making this up! You need to believe me!’
Arun still looked doubtful.
So I said it out loud.
‘I need you to believe in me. I don’t think I can handle this alone. Especially if I’m still convinced it’s true.’
Hearing this, his expression softened a little.
‘All right,’ he said. ‘I won’t say I believe you. But I’ll hold my judgement.’
‘That’s enough. I just need to confirm this one hundred percent or deny it all together. Bear with me till that time.’
We had almost reached our apartment lane. It was almost 10.15 in the night. The hospital was north of our residence, so we were coming home by the lanes instead of the main road.
One left and we would have entered our lane.
And that was when the sensation hit.
I gagged a little.
‘Wait!’ I called out to Arun. ‘It’s here!’
‘The sensation! That heavy sensation is here!’
I looked around.
We were at t a T-junction. We were standing in the longer arm of the T. To the left was my apartments and to the right was a road which continued to some independent houses.
The area was quiet. Only the noise of the traffic passing by at the distant main road, to the left of my apartments was heard.
It was not quite late but people around here sleep early. Or at least go to their homes early.
From behind me, I heard someone singing. Arun and I turned around.
It was a drunk person. He was not too shabbily dressed. He looked like a street vendor.
He was staggering. With unsteady feet, he was coming closer to us.
He didn’t look at us. He was seeing something in the distance, something only he could see.
‘Sidharth,’ Arun called out to me.
I waited until that person neared us. I waited until he came close enough so that I can look into his eyes.
There was that voice. I was excited.
’44. 43. 42…’ I looked at my watch and started counting out loud.
‘Sidharth?’ Arun called out again.
He looked at the man and back at me, looking at my watch. He understood the situation.
‘Sidharth, you don’t say this man’s going to die?’
’36. 35. 34…’
I continued counting. Arun shut up and looked at the man. Waiting.
The man passed by us. He was still singing something. He staggered too much. There was no one else on the road.
When I reached 11, there was a sudden increase in honking of vehicles.
It looked like the traffic light for the lane became green. There was a sudden rev of the engine.
This is just like the case with the cat, I thought.
‘6. 5. 4…’
I continued counting.
Arun heard the noise of the vehicles too. Like me, he saw that the drunken man, unmindful of his surroundings was walking straight into the path of a vehicle.
‘Sidharth?’ He looked at me in shock.
I didn’t understand it at that point. I was solely concentrated on counting.
The man stepped onto the road. At the same time, came a loud honk. By the sound, the vehicle was going too fast to stop.
Arun ran onto the road. He grabbed the drunken man’s arm and with one mightly pull, they both fell onto the road.
‘1.’ The vehicle rushed by.
But I did not see whether it was a car or a bike. I did not look at the cursing driver nor hear him, because I now understood the meaning of that look on Arun’s face.
I could have prevented that death! I knew he was going to die at that time and I could have done something to prevent it!
I didn’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier. I just assumed that the numbers were something written in concrete.
Arun was on the ground beside the man. He was heaving and sweating profusely.
The drunken man got up before Arun. He looked angry.
He started shouting something.
I ignored him and helped Arun up. Arun wouldn’t look at me in the eye.
He must think that I purposely didn’t help prevent the death of the man.
‘Look, I didn’t know it was preventable. I just thought it was permanent. Concrete,’ I tried to explain.
Arun just turned around and walked up to the drunk.
‘Where’s your hou…’
Before he could finish the sentence, the drunk aimed a punch at Arun’s gut.
Fortunately, it didn’t have a great impact. The drunk was out of balance and his strength was all gone.
Arun fell back a little.
The drunk fell down on his own momentum. He tried to get up. He looked at Arun and then looked at me.
The voice was back.
I was shocked. I concentrated and saw that the heavy feeling was still there.
To be dramatic, death was still in the air. The drunk man’s death.
I pulled Arun back. He pushed my hand away.
‘He’s still going to die,’ I said.
‘What?’ Arun turned disbelievingly.
‘I heard it again. The voice. It said 47.’
I looked at my watch.
The drunk man finally stood up. He aimed another punch at Arun.
I did not understand why he was hitting him. Maybe he thought Arun pulled him down. He did not notice the vehicle and hence did not understand that he was saved by Arun. Maybe even seeing the vehicle would not change anything. He was just so out of it.
Arun easily dodged it.
The man turned twice around and fell down again. Arun was looking at the surroundings, to see where the threat to this man came from. But there was nothing and nobody around us.
The man tried to get up but this time, he could not. He gave up and rolled onto his back.
He looked up at the sky. To the stars. And started smiling. And then laughing.
It did not make sense to me. Maybe it only made sense to him. That’s just how drunk people are.
The man was laughing too loudly now. His whole body rocked. And then came a gap.
He spewed up something yellow. I realised he was vomiting.
But the vomit wouldn’t come out. He was laying on his back and the vomit was lodging in his throat.
Arun rushed to the man. I did not move. I could not.
The man was shaking now. Trying to breathe in air. And failing.
And as I mentally counted down to zero, the man stopped moving.
‘Zero,’ I said out loud.
I looked at Arun. Arun looked at me.
By my count, I had approximately 5 days 14 hours to live.