The monster beneath
The monster beneath7 mins 172 7 mins 172
The child is sitting on the floor, drawing something in his notebook with his little cute hands. He seems to be concentrating very hard, a myriad of expressions crossing his face as he tries to draw his version of a happy family. Toys are strewn across the floor, beckoning him to leave his painting and play with them instead. The mother and father figure that are present in his drawing are actually absent right now. Both have gone out, leaving their little child at home. But the child was drawing someone else standing next to his mother. As if on cue, the child looked up and saw the boy of his picture and smiled at him. The boy smiled back and walked away.
The gas is on with milk on it, probably for the child. The milk is already boiling and starting to spill all over. Unbeknownst to the parents and the little child engrossed in his work, something terrible was around the corner.
Suddenly, there was a terrible gas explosion, covering the whole house in flames. Things lay burning and charred and the drawing that could have been so wonderful once now lay in shreds, the faces of the parents and the boy unrecognisable. What had seemed to be a beautiful little boy now looked like a lifeless doll.
I woke up, sweating profusely, my forehead feeling feverish. It was not the first time that this had happened to me, and each incident seemed to get more traumatic than the last. It's been ten days now- which means that ten times I have had to see people dying People dying slowly, tragically. It began with general deaths like the heart attack of an elderly man, the accident of a car instantly killing the driver, a woman being stalked and killed at gunpoint. With each passing death, the intensity kept on increasing, making it increasingly difficult for me to live with the burden of all this. Were those deaths really happening in some part of the world? Or was this just my imagination playing games with me?
Seeking these answers had brought me to the door of Dr. Malhotra, a renowned therapist. Whoever I had tried to tell about my condition, called me a creep because they believed that our imagination shows us a mirror of our soul. They all believed that deep into my subconscious all these desires lay unexplored and were now permeating into my life through these incredibly vivid dreams, making their presence felt. Unable and unwilling to accept their theory, I decided to see Dr. Malhotra, hoping he could provide some clarity with my condition.
Fortunately for me, Dr. Malhotra dispensed all those theories, considering them rubbish. Hearing that I had heaved a sigh of relief, the pain in my chest subsiding. But that relief didn't last long because if it wasn't my subconscious playing tricks on me, then what was? Or who? And why me? All these questions hit me like a rock. The pain in my chest started returning, stronger than before. That feeling is indescribable.
I found myself at the door of Dr. Malhotra again wanting to share my horrible nightmare with him. It had become a routine for me - wake up every morning after an intense nightmare, go to Dr. Malhotra and discuss it with him, and come back home. This cycle repeated everyday, with no other changes whatsoever.
"What was it this time Rohan? You seem more disturbed than before," asked the doctor.
"I am getting tired Dr. Malhotra. It was a child this time, barely 3 years old. Where is the limit doctor? Does the limit even exist?", I said. I could feel the tears pricking at the back of my eyes, ready to fall off any minute now.
"Have patience Rohan. We'll figure it out, promise you," the doctor consoled me.
"No doctor, I am done waiting. You tell me the same thing everyday, and like a fool believe you also. I come to you everyday, go on and on like a broken record, and you send me away with the false promise that it will all be fine. Not anymore doctor. Tell me what is happening to me. Do you enjoy the misery I face? Or maybe you secretly enjoy our little story sessions," said accusingly.
I regretted my harsh words the minute they sprang out of my mouth. A look of pure horror crossed his face, instantly being replaced by something else. Hurt. He couldn't believe what I just said. And frankly, neither could I. The past few days have changed me, and I could feel my old self being painfully ripped away from me.
"I will choose to ignore what you just said Rohan. I know you are feeling guilty. Since I can see how much pain this is causing you, I would like to share something with you. I have had this theory for a few days now, but I was not so sure about it. But today, some part of me has accepted this theory and confirmed it. Whether you would like to believe it or not, it is your choice.
Do you remember that you said that in all these dreams, you were just a bystander? It was like you were present while the event was happening, but you could do nothing to stop it, right? Well, while the others believed that these were just figments of your imagination, I decided to believe that these incidents actually occurred. And you wouldn't believe what I found."
Where was the doctor going with this? All this actually happened? But then why could I see this? And how did I know this actually happened? But while the doctor was waiting to continue, things started coming back to me. Images. Horrible images. Images that anybody would like to forget. My thought process was broken when the doctor continued narrating his theory.
" Well, I did some research on you. It wasn't easy, but I found out that you moved here a few months back. You came from Pune. The next part was easy. I matched all the stories that you told me to incidents that occurred there few months back. And sure, all those incidents did happen. But why did you see accidents also? And how could you see the murders? Then all the pieces started coming together. It was like a big jigsaw puzzle, and I just had to fit all the pieces together. And today, you brought the final piece to me."
It wasn't just the doctor for whom the pieces were falling into place, but for me as well. I could see where the doctor was getting at I was finally remembering. And this meant trouble. Trouble for either one of us, because there was no way that we would both we walking out of here unscathed with the information we just realised. While the doctor was continuing, started looking around for something. And my eyes found just the perfect thing I grabbed it quickly and inconspicuously, not wanting to alert the doctor.
"How did you know that no one was home that day with the child, and what was he drawing? Why did he smile when he looked up? Though I already know the answer, I want you to tell me. I can see it from your face that you have remembered everything. Do us a favour and just admit it," the doctor said.
" Alright, it was me! I killed all those people. None of them were accidents except the child's What do you want me to say that I regret killing them? No. I enjoyed it. And now that I remember how it felt, I can't even imagine how I lived without that feeling all these months. I have learned quite a few things of psychiatry myself, so let me give my own diagnosis. The little child that died was my brother. I had left the milk to boil and gone out to smoke. When I returned, the house was in flames. Not being able to bear the trauma and the guilt, my subconscious blocked all these memories. But recently, through these dreams, it was trying to remind me of who I was and what all I am capable of. And now, I will never forget it," I said.
The look on the doctor's face brought me great satisfaction. This is why I enjoyed killing. The expression of utmost fear on the faces of the victims when they realise what terror is about to befall them- I live for that expression. Smiling wickedly, I bashed the doctor's brains with the paperweight in my hands. Seeing the blood dripping from my hands and pooling on my feet, I walked away.
The monster was back.