1.”FUCK” I couldn’t believe what was happening. I had been one of the richest blokes in the market and now I was going to be trash. Nothing.
“So where is he now?” I asked
“They took him after the raid” she answered
“Who brought them?”
“It was an anonymous tip. They were tracking the irregularities. They had hard evidence.” Even in these circumstances she was calm. No hint of anxiousness in her voice.
” Damn that bastard. I treated him as my brother and that piece of shit stabs me in the back” I could barely contain my anger. My hands trembling, from anger or fear I couldn’t tell.
“You should go home, Peter” she said ever as calm.
” Yeah I will, you go ahead Beth. I will probably linger around for a bit” I felt like crying. I could barely contain.
Beth placed the papers on the desk and came towards me. She gently kissed me on the cheeks.” Take care. Everything will work out” I wanted to believe her, however hollow that promise might be.
I gave her a weary smile and then she left.
Silence fell in the office. It was very quiet except for the humming of the heaters and the occasional honking of cars from the street below. The office looked bigger when empty. It was a rare sight. A sight I didn’t want to see. I started walking towards my chair. It was a huge chair, regal in appearance. My chair which had commanded respect and authority for over 10 years now. I sat and felt that cushions which had been shapened according to my bodily dimensions from my many years of use. I had bought it from my companies first profits and those profits had come to haunt me now. I thought about everything that had happened and everything that would happen. Is it a nightmare, I thought, I so much wanted it to be.
2.I have always been weary of people. I always had a tendency of avoiding them. But then I fucked up and fell in love and that was the hardest fall I ever had.
I didn’t pay attention to people. I was antisocial as long as I could remember. But something about Harry made me pay attention. His blue eyes, blonde hair, muscular build or my stupidity I could never know. But more I thought about it, the more it had become evident that it was my stupidity.
I sat shivering in the car with anger. I just saw the man I had made my future plans with thrusting those plans inside another woman, repeatedly. I had cursed him then and stormed out. It had been one hour of crying and cursing but he didn’t reach me. He didn’t apologize.
Offcourse he didn’t love me. I should have known that. That is was all just pretence, that I was another one of those hard girls to get that he got and would tell his friends in a pub afterwards. I didn’t think of all that when I fell for him. I was drowned in a pool of my own stupidity.
3.I had started my company 10 years ago, fresh out of college and young blood in my veins to push me. I had 3 people with me then, I had more than 1000 now. The pressure of their hopes on me was weighing me down. I was breaking with every passing second, I could feel it.
I always knew I was good at what I did. I enjoyed it and it had gotten me big. I had lived lavishly ever since, had more money than I knew what to do with. But it was all going to be a dream, a sweet one. I company partner and one of my closest friend was hoarding money and evading tax. The worst part was they had my sign on everything they did. Not that I was involved but that I didn’t care enough to check, and now it had come to fuck me up.
I had sunken deep into my chair as well as my thoughts, the soft cushion made me feel sleepy but I got up and rubbed my eyes. I walked up to the counter and took my car keys. I had brought it one year ago. The car of my dreams. I didn’t expect it to be with me for many days now. I wanted to ride it. My last ride in it before going to jail or someplace worse. I got out of the building into the parking lot and felt the chill of cold December air instantly. You really don’t care about seasons when you are in the comfort of your home or money. I rubbed my hands hoping for some warmth and opened the car. I plugged the key in and the car roared to life. It’s low hum sounded like music to the ears but I was to anxious to appreciate it. I pushed the accelerator and rode into the night air.
- It had been two hours since I last saw him. I was sad, miserable and desperate for a gun to shoot him, but life works in mysterious ways and gives you piece of shits like Harry rather than a gun.
I had nowhere to go and it was cold outside. So I decided to do the most logical thing. I jammed my keys into the car and sped forward. The asphalt was wet from the dew and there was hardly anyone on the streets. I sped a little and opened the windows. The night air sent a cold shrill down my spine and for a second I thought I would lose control, but I didn’t. I drove faster and faster, the cold air rustling my hair and making my ears numb. And then I thought of ways to die. Of all the ways currently present which one would be the fast and swift. I thought and thought till I had the answer.
-Officer Burke was on duty that night as he had been for the past 15 years of his service. He stood in the cold night leaning on his car with coffee in his hand, patrolling. He could feel the crispness of early winter wind. He regarded it a while and gave it two weeks before it would snow. One hour of patrolling and only two cars passed by, well under the speed limit. One of those nights, he thought. He finished his coffee and got back inside the sedan. The seat cold due to the cold wind. He shut the windows and turned on the heaters. He felt bored after some time and turned the radio on. A slow jazz music played, he had heard that song everywhere now. It was popular and it had been difficult avoiding the rhythm. He started singing along.
The song was halfway through when he saw it. He saw the faint headlights in the distance. The light scattered because of the dew. He had all his equipment but many years had given him a good enough judgement of speeds. And that car was well above the speed limit. A drunkard maybe. He turned the radio off and reached for his key. He would approach it. The car was getting nearer and nearer. Not slowing down. Just then a flash of bright light flashed from behind him on the other lane. He turned to see it, another car. He turned just enough to see the whole crash. The two cars had crashed headfirst, bashing the fronts in. The car coming from front had rolled and the other one split into two. Officer burke had fifteen years of experience, he had seen crashes, he had seen the dead, but none of this intensity.
He unfastened his seatbelt and hurried outside. Beads of sweat tricking down on his face. He reached for the upside down car. A hand lay on the ground. Dead. He hurried towards it and looked in. He was dead as he thought he would be. A gash on the head confirmed it. The man inside was young. No more than 30. The man was badly wounded but Burke recognized him. He appeared on the T.V many times, he had seen. One of those business tycoons. His company was in for some Tax evasion cases, the station had been abuzz about it. His name Burke tried to remember, Peter Dunst, yes it is him, oh my god.
He got up and went on to the other car split in half. The car had been torn from the centre and the girl was as dead as the other one. Most of her lower body had been cut off. It was a girl. Young, Gods have mercy. Burke could feel the vomit inside of him as he helped himself upwards and towards his sedan, he had an accident to report.
- I was there, just suddenly. I didn’t remember leaving that road. The last thing I remembered was the headlight that came towards me and how I didn’t want to stop and how I just kept going towards it as if it was the solution to all my problems. I was in the middle of a street in a place unknown. There were houses on either sides, their lawn covered with early snow. No one and no thing was on the street except for a bus stop at a distance. I started walking towards, maybe the buses led somewhere, maybe I could ask them and go home, to all that mess, my mess. A faint sound of laughter came through somewhere, a choir singing somewhere. It was Christmas. But Christmas was few months due as far as I remembered. This is creepy, I thought. I thought of going to one of the houses but decided against. Something told me to go for that bus stop. There has to be something.
It was longer walk to the bus stop than I had expected from the distance. But when I finally reached there I saw a woman, young and beautiful were the first thoughts that came to mind. I was excited at the prospect of seeing a person, but also scared all the same. I sat besides her. The metal beneath cold and hard. We sat there for a while.
“Do you remember how it happened, that moment, did you see it?” she asked suddenly.
I didn’t know what she meant, but something told me that she knew this place.
“no” I replied
“Good, I’m Grace Shelton”
“I’m Peter Dunst” I said doubtful of her, I didn’t know where this was going.
“Do you know this place?” I asked
“No, but this is the place that many people want to come to I think”
I didn’t have a clue about the place many people want to go.
“And that place would be?” I asked. The bench was small, good enough for two people
“I think you will know soon enough” she smiled. Not a normal smile though, a smile depicting pity.
And then she turned the other way, but I could make out her face. She had striking features, sharp nose and perfectly shaped lips. She was sad, I could tell.
“You look sad?”
“Yeah, all of us have reasons to be here, in this place.” I listened. “ My partner cheated on me. I loved him Peter, I thought I would marry him” a tear rolled down her cheeks, glistening in the night light.
“My partner cheated me too, though he wasn’t my marriage partner” she chuckled. “He was my business partner, turned all of my work to dust” I was sad now.
“All of us have our reasons to be here” she repeated.
“Or the world is full of cheating partners” This time we both shared a giggle.
Just then a choir walked in front of us. Young girls and boys giggling at some jest someone made. They looked happy. It was a peaceful place. The street was narrow and long with no end in sight on both ends. I just stared into the darkness and then epiphany hit me. I remembered the loud sound, that officer, that road, all of it.
I knew this place. “The place where all people wanted to be” I repeated and laughed. I laughed and felt relieved as if some burden had been lifted, I didn’t have to worry about my troubles, I was certain I wouldn’t face them again. I laughed louder.
“This place is beautiful” I said finally.
“So the people say, don’t they?” we both grinned at each other.
By now I didn’t expect the bench to be a bus stop but there in the distance I saw it, two faint headlights beeming. It neared and halted in front of us. The doors opened. The bus didn’t carry any signs of destination or source, it was just a plain bus. The driver looked straight ahead never giving the both of us a glance.
“Where do you reckon it goes?” she asked giving a hint of a smile.
“I think we will find out” I said and smiled. We hopped on the bus and it started and we started the journey until the next destination.