The Seventh Intuit
The Seventh Intuit20 mins 16.6K 20 mins 16.6K
Aakash made a final glance at the wall mount TV, sipping the last of his black coffee. He was enjoying some breaking news being further broken into infinite pieces. ‘Same old crap!’ He thought. He sat in his office’s open terrace cafeteria on the 31st floor that offered an amazing view of Western Mumbai along with its Grand Traffic and it's war like panic. Aakash liked to call it ‘The 4 pm Break View’.
‘Back to work.’ He thought as he rose from the pantry chair and returned to his cubical. Time went by as usual.
But something was not usual that day...
Something’d jammed into him that evening. And that seemed to come from nowhere all of a sudden. Like a dish TV set top box weirdly starting to receive signal in a very bad weather. Like a contradiction. As though impulsive. And what a day for that to happen! A long awaited Friday! A Friday which wide opens the doors for that special weekend. Isn’t that what we all work for, week after week? Is that, really?
Aakash’s weekend was on for a ruin. Something had gotten to him that evening; something strange. He was pretty sure of that. He was bizarrely damn sure of that. He’d been feeling like that since that evening. He’d started experiencing strange feelings. He couldn’t be clear what exactly they were like, but was very sure he didn’t feel like usual. He thought he felt something like fear and anxiety. At one point, he had a strange feeling of something or someone watching him, making him feel consciously terrified.
As Aakash stepped out of the office lift in the parking lot in the lower basement, the mild evening darkness in the parking lot mystified him. In an almost empty space, his head frequently turned to check from the corner of his eyes as he walked towards his car. The checks gave him nothing but the security guys doing their routine stuff. One of the security guys seemed like watchfully looking at him, but that he (the security guy) always did. But that felt like a prying nosy stare to Aakash. He knew it was his routine experience, but that moment was chillingly bizarre. He could just wonder. He got in his car as quick as he could and sped out of the parking lot. ‘What the heck is this?’ he thought. ‘Whats happening to me? Why am I getting these feelings?’ His thoughts were unstoppable.
On his way back home, in spite of the usual tedious traffic, Aakash didn’t feel the usual traffic rush. All those signals and all the lane cuttings in the weekend jams didn’t seem to exert and annoy him. He couldn’t tell if the drive from office to his home that evening was shorter or longer. He could however tell that he’d reached his building via the toll and the traffic and the potholes, quite effortlessly. And that was largely unnatural. And he'd strongly sensed it. He could tell. After all, it was a tedious drive from the western suburbs to Kharghar, the near extreme of Navi Mumbai. His drive was, for sure, unnaturally quick and comfortable. Probably because he was not at all with himself or maybe he was only with himself. In both cases, where was he then? That question did occur to him at few instances.
‘The 40 km drive through the pathetic roads and horrible traffic! Didn’t feel the distance! Didn’t feel the exertion! How? Why? And why to me?’ A wave of few such thoughts danced in his head for few moments. But that wave was being dominated by a bigger wave of fear and anxiety that had stuck onto him like a biting big-ant which won’t let itself away unless it’s plucked from its head. What the heck!!
But at that moment, the Ants of anxiety and what not, were biting. Hard and deep!
The fear and anxiety was very well around as Aakash entered his residential parking area. He’d failed to notice that he’d dented an adjacent car while parallel-parking. And the dent was quite big. He’d received a similar one too.
He didn’t remember getting into the lift and getting out on the 20th floor. But he did remember that before entering the lift on the ground floor, he’d decided of not entering his apartment for some time and stay out for few hours. But he didn’t remember how he was off that thought and had already entered his flat along with his fear and anxiety. As though like breathing while hearing. It was as simultaneous and as spontaneous like the actions that several parts of our body perform so perfectly.
He’d felt that way for the first time inside his home. Reluctant and Hesitant. Dreaded and Disquieted. He skipped his daily shower and black coffee, and was straight in the terrace attached to his bedroom. He stood facing the open with his cigarette pack, staring at the sky, staring at the trees surrounded by the concrete jungles. He could feel that his breaths were quick and short. He tried to calm himself down, but in vain.
What was he trying to calm himself from? Why was he getting those feelings- panic like? He had no answers. He was blank. But he did have those strange feelings piercing him all through. And that made his heart, throb more.
Aakash stood smoking and staring from his 20th floor terrace in the open ahead of him- the surrounding buildings which he could see at some distance, were full of life. Some widows and all staircases were lit. That sight soothed him a bit but the affect didn’t last long. All those dense trees surviving in the concrete jungle, was evidence to the paradox that delimited the people in this world. The trees, which generously supplied coolness and oxygen into the concrete jungle in the humid summers, seemed content though. The air usually remained warm till evenings and early nights during the Mumbai summers. But not for Aakash. Not around him. Not for him at that moment. That sudden moment!
‘Shit!’ he almost screamed in disbelief and shock.
The next moment, he found himself shivering. The humid summer weekend was cold for him all of a sudden. After a few seconds, he saw his cigarette slipping off his fingers towards the pool. He couldn’t hold it. Couldn’t hold the cigarette? That thought zipped him off. Like a hard punch.
‘Shit! Shit!’ he murmured as he looked in the open. And he was more than shocked as he looked into the dim darkness ahead of him.
He was seeing something. Or was he been shown?
What he was seeing (or been shown?) was…well…Aakash couldn’t really guess what exactly that was. But he could see all that very clearly.
The other buildings around him stood in disciplined attention between the green leaves densely placed around each of them, as if ‘someone’d’ just ordered them to be in that position; and they were following ‘it’ with utmost obedience and fear. The buildings around looked so lifeless and dead at that moment. And they were so full of life a few moments ago!
The trees- every leaf – small and large, green and dry, were shivering and randomly waving, as they stood on their respective branches and stems. It looked like they all were waving to ‘something’ with a feared respect. As if they were welcoming something against their will.
Aakash sensed all that happen, but didn’t quite understand. He was slightly amazed. The sense was surely like fear. A strange one... The very next moment, he felt a chilled breeze of air piercing straight into his face. His right eye felt an irritation making it drop a few tears at its corner…The irritation was unbearable for few moments…His nostrils felt the ice-cold air getting into them and entering his head. His both eyes were teary and he felt his head and nostrils choking. He had to open his mouth to breath. At the same moment, he had a strange feeling of sensing the chilled air entering the room behind him. His bedroom!
He turned around. ‘Heck!’ he nearly shouted in horror.
The ice-air rushed in the room blowing the curtains rapidly. The curtains opened up a bit more and Aakash could see more of his bedroom from the terrace. It was only the curtains that were moving…as though they were trying to get rid of something stuck on them.
Aakash was nothing but startled to see all that. He was too shocked to think of an explanation for the behavior of the bare-blackish curtains. The curtains attached to the sliding door of his bedroom terrace had gone crazy like a wild wave. And it was just the curtains which were so. All other things in the room were still and stagnant at their respective places and positions, as if they didn’t dare to look at what’s happening around them.
A Shirley Jackson Classic, ‘The Sundial’, which Aakash had recently started reading, was surprisingly still on the side table, with all that air that’d just entered the room and playing all around wildly.
The calendar hanging on the wall was still, as if it was wall- painted.
A T-shirt hanging on a hook of the wall was unmoved as though it was permanently pasted there.
The pendulum hanging out of an old fashioned wall-clock had stopped oscillating at 8:01, as if it didn’t want the time to witness and record what’s happening around.
Even a single page in each of the books on the shelf was not shuffled even to its slightest, as if every book had closed itself and each of its chapter permanently.
A light wall painting hanging on a wall didn’t even move a point. It looked like the different colors wanted to evaporate in the air and the frame wanted to nail itself to the wall forever.
It was only the curtain that was zip-zapping around and within itself. And it frenziedly wanted to get out of what it was into. It looked as if it was trying to flick ‘something’ off itself. The curtain was now moving madly, making horrendous noises- sometimes like a wild tide-wave. At times it was just shivering loudly and looked like it was screaming in a harsh tone. At times it looked and sounded like huge black flames coming out of the floor in that portion. All of that was making Aakash shake madly. All that was definitely not usual. That was definitely spine chilling.
Next moment, Aakash had another eerie feeling. He sensed that all things in the room were looking and staring at him. He couldn’t explain that to himself. ‘They’ wanted him to do something about it. Aakash also felt that they all didn’t want him there. They wanted him to leave the room…right away. Right at that moment!
The curtain looked like it was trying to get out of the situation and was trying to signal something to Aakash which he was unable to understand.
Aakash was horrified to witness all that.
He couldn’t think. He couldn’t even swallow. He doubted if he should even look…or if he should even be breathing.
Then, the very next moment, all went to normal after there was a 'knock' on the main door. Not a door-bell. That was a knock. Aakash took a few moments to get back to himself…and he was shivering in that humid warm evening air.
He was trying to figure out the logic behind that incident that’d shaken him.
Was he dreaming? Was that his imagination?
All that was so very real! The cigarette pack on the terrace floor was real. The cold air he felt was real. Yes he was sure of that. Those thoughts made him shiver more. And something else made him shiver and shudder further more. The second knock on the door!
And it was not just the knock that’d almost shattered him.
‘Heck!’ he thought. ‘That knock is from inside! Shit!!’ He murmured like he was lost, and waited for the next knock, as though to reconfirm.
He was dead sure he was alone in the house, his apartment. He had been so for years.
He was yet to get himself out of the curtain stuff, and the knock on the door was like waking up from a nightmare in a dark room with not a sign of life around it for several millions of kilometers. And he’d feel that someone had knocked from inside. Even just that very thought sent him chills all through his spine. An inside knock that was. It was going to take a huge load of guts to go and alarm check out that knock. And that weird-gone bedroom had to be bridged for that. And he wouldn’t dare, after sensing all that abnormally weird moments. He’d rather spend all night in the terrace. He didn’t want to imagine or guess anything either.
That knock made some memories alive. Like a flash. As though a video clip getting active inside his brains. All that came up and went like in a speck of seconds. That was about his pretty wife- Adeeti.
On such weekends, he’d be lazing around and it’d be Adeeti who’d attend all the knocks and the door-bells. The door bells of the housekeeping guys of the society, the maintenance guys, the watchman, Car washer, Car mechanic and stuff. And there used to be some knocks from the neighboring kids. But such knocks were few and seldom.
After around 5-6 years of their satisfying marriage, one day, at one weird moment, she’d discovered that she had a ‘sense’ that enabled her to connect with unusual energies around. It'd come as a shock for Adeeti initially but she gradually happened to like the power she thought she possessed. It all started with a pigeon passing away. (Or may be not)
Adeeti hated pigeons. She hated them mainly for their unhygienic standards. She disliked the most their messy nests. She’d think, ‘how can someone keep their homes like that with their entire family staying there. The Mother, Father and the Kids!’
The Pigeons used to make Adeeti think of other animals and creatures too, who lived in similar mess, but being a citizen of Mumbai, an honor of staying in the pigeon’s neighborhood was a given. It was like staying with ‘GST’ for being an Indian citizen... The fluctuations in both, GST and the pigeons were common, though. These fluctuations however, never resulted in any kind of relief in their affects on the life of people they were concerned to. Adeeti hated the pigeons so much, that she always held GST in higher regards. Well, that was her way of using her ‘freedom of preference’.
To keep away the pigeons, Adeeti had all that was required. The iron grills fitted to the terrace. The nets tied up all over the grills. She never fed the pigeons in any way. And she tried her best never to even look at them. But for Adeeti, getting rid of the potholes in Mumbai was easier than keeping away from the pigeons. She often had couple-pigeons as her neighbor’s. She could easily see them some place or the other. Their intention was simple and basic- To produce some babies and take good care of them and help them grow.
The last one was right on the hard fiber roof of the terrace of the apartment on the lower floor. Adeeti couldn’t see them but she could always hear them, clearer at nights. Without getting to see anything, she had witnessed every stage of their family planning. Not that she was curious, it was more out of worry or conscious fear caused out of the hatred for the poor birds. That was naturally humane, though.
Soon, the pigeon-couple was a happy family of 4. As always, Adeeti had nothing to do with them. The baby birds were growing well, but not on their own yet. They could just step out of their nest with the help of few accidental hops.
A few days later, Adeeti got to know that the couple died from an electric shock from a live wire in the refugee area in their society. One of them got a shock first and the other jumped in to help, took the shock, and both died. The squabs were orphans now. That was sad, but not for Adeeti. Not that she was happy, but it didn’t matter.
The 10th day was a huge change.
Adeeti found herself feeding the baby pigeons. She’d started dropping grains and clean water around the nest on the fiber roof which was a few feet below from her terrace. Adeeti fed the babies as though they were her own. She even protected the two babies from dangers like the crows and other larger birds like eagles. Just a stare of hers was enough for a bird like eagle to keep distance. She also sensed other pets in her building feeling threatened when she was around. For Adeeti, that was some power.
Quite strangely, Adeeti was completely aware of her acts. She was still aware that she used to hate the pigeons and now she loves them. And she loved that. She was well aware that she was protecting them from the world. She was well aware that the babies were now the most important beings to her, including the fact that she had a husband who’s supposed to be the most important individual in her life. She did love him sincerely and completely. She had that at the back of her mind. And she had to protect the babies from her husband as well. Quite weirdly, she had that at the back of her mind too!
Adeeti was in love with that great power she’d had. That feeling was great and out worldly. But that sense of power was short lived. The power was gone as the pigeons grew up and were on their own. She felt low for some time after that but she had a great feeling of content. And that content came along with some very painful vomits. The vomits lasted for 10 minutes but the pain lasted for almost an hour. That 1 hour passed like a year. Tearful, stomach pinching and head blasting. Every nerve of hers was in pain. Every vein in her body was in a massive stretch. At one point she thought that all her veins were breaking and all her muscles and bones are going to dissolve in her blood. But the phase had somehow gone and she was normal.
Adeeti had lost a lot of weight in a week’s time. And she was thankful that her husband, Aakash was not around during her hauling vomits. She had got away with that. On the weight loss, she had number of believable explanations. Moreover, that had happened over a week. A week after that, she’d started getting normal and she was able to handle it.
Adeeti had lied to Aakash. She had to. Out of her love and concern for Aakash. She wanted to keep Aakash away from all that for obvious reasons. The special power that she was blessed with, was far beyond the sixth sense. She had named it the ‘Seventh Sense’. ‘Seventh Sense’ was her secret and that secret had formed a dangerous triangle. 'Adeeti', 'Aakash' and 'her secret'. Little did she know that the triangle would someday consume them into itself.
The ‘pigeon incident’ had given Adeeti something that she’d never even thought of but was too glad to accept like an unexpected jackpot. Though the feel of power was temporary, she was sure of its returning and had no doubt that it would be chronic. And it did. It was not just limited to the pigeons. Later, it was Humans. And that was a big deal for Adeeti. She was obsessed.
It didn’t occur to her the probable danger involved, though. She was quite noticeably lost into it, which made Aakash worry at times. And she was honestly aware of that. At times, she wanted to tell everything to Aakash.
‘I’m all right, Aakash. Please don’t worry.’ Adeeti had tried to explain when Aakash had asked.
‘Please talk in case u are under any stress or something.’ Aakash was a man of few words and believed in giving space. He’d thought it’d be better not to dig too much at that moment and preferred giving some breathing time to Adeeti.
‘Am fine, Aakash. Nothing like that.’ Adeeti couldn’t find anything to provide a proper explanation on her new liking and obsession. She wanted to share, but feared how Aakash would react.
Adeeti was surprised and amazed. She’d always shared everything with Aakash. But in that case, she couldn’t decide. Surprisingly, she was sort of blank on what to tell Aakash.
Then, one fine day, when Aakash was in office, he received a message on his whats app. That was Adeeti. It said, ‘Hey Aakash, please try to come home early today. I need to tell you something very very important. Won’t be able to tell you on a message or a call. Want you to be with me when I tell.’
Aakash could sense the seriousness in that message. He was glad that Adeeti was to open up to him. Which he was waiting for since quite some time.
‘Sure, luv.’ He had replied.
He did leave early that day and sped back home. When he got inside his apartment, he could find Adeeti nowhere. First he thought Adeeti is playing with him. He waited. Out of habit, he browsed through his whats app. His reply to Adeeti was still unread, which was sort weird. It was quite some hours since he’d replied. And he’d replied right after he received her message. He phoned but couldn’t reach her. He did all that was required to seek her. Making calls. Messaging. Checking out with the neighbors and security staff and society office. He even made a visit to the local Police station. Aakash did all that was needful but nothing helped.
Infinite and weird thoughts crossed his mind on Adeetis' disappearance. He was worried. Feared as well. All his efforts that evening were in vain. He slept in the living room chair while making the efforts for the search. It was 2 after mid night, then.
He went into a mild fright for few moments when he received Adeetis call after 3 am. He was revivingly enlightened. He swiped his phone to answer.
‘Adeeti! Where are you? I have been looking for u. Your phone was not reachable since long.’ Aakash asked in haste.
Adeeti sounded very normal. But her reply made Aakash shiver to hell. She replied, ‘Aakash, there was a knock on the door. And am here to check that out.’ And the call was disconnected. The call could never again connect ever.
Aakash was scared to his spine. ‘What the heck!!’ He’d thought.
That was the last time he’d talked to Adeeti. And he bizarrely wondered and pondered over that call for months. That was a riddle which he could never solve.
Adeeti had disappeared just like that. And that knock stuff, he couldn’t understand.
It had been 5 years since that incident which had started getting on lighter and milder inside of his memory, until the knock. Which was from the inside. Heck!
There was another knock. That knock which was from inside!
‘Heck!!’ He screamed. That memory of his wife was the strangest and he wanted to erase that off somehow. He felt his brain moving inside his head. He struggled to walk. Even move. He somehow got out of the bedroom and started moving towards the leaving room where the knock came from. The knock from inside…He was still in the passage and there was another knock.
Moreover, the knock was on the lower part of the door. He imagined a kid knocking the door. A kid of a height of about 2-3 feet. He'd imagined that.
And that very moment Aakash felt a chill through his entire body. The next moment, another glimpse from his memory brushed him. ‘Adeeti was seven months Pregnant when she disappeared!’ That thought made him collapse on the floor.
‘Oh!! Aahh!!’ he screamed in pain as he sensed a tremendous prick on his left arm. The needle was thick and so was the pain from the injection. But that was short lived.
‘That should give him a few hours rest.’ Said the doctor, in charge of ward number-7, of the Mental Asylum located at a remote place, 3000 km from Mumbai.
‘He has been dreaming like that since 5 years.’ The Nurse said showing the doctor the papers.
‘Ya. That’s what he tells every time.’ The doctor replied looking at the papers. ‘Any call from his wife?’ he asked looking at the Nurse.
‘Yes, doctor.’ The nurse said. ‘As always, there was a call from her at 11 in the morning today.’
‘Adeeti, right?’ The doctor asked.
The doctor said with a mild shudder in his spectacled eyes, ‘Surprisingly, she never visits.’
The Nurse felt a mild quiver and her eyes were watery. She said, ‘yes doctor, Adeeti just calls. And there were reports about some knocks. The ‘knocks’ were quite highlighted in those reports.’ The Nurse completed with the quiver affect still there.
As a part of their usual frequent conversations, the doctor said, ‘yes. And the reports also say that the door must have been knocked by a young kid. 3 to 5 years of age.’ The Nurse knew all that, but every time they discussed that, she was sure to have goose bumps.
The doctor had something more to say. ‘The day Adeeti disappeared; 9 days prior to that, there was a death in their society. The death was marked as ‘mysterious’. It was a kid. 4 years old. And interestingly, the kid was notorious and liked to ‘knock’ on the neighbors doors.’ The doctor said, giving the nurse some more shivers.