Genre: Dark fiction
a short story
by Sarthak Parajulee
My head throbbed as I staggered out of my bedroom.
The hall had an unnerving silence. The sort that follows or precedes a storm.
But my furniture were where they were supposed to be and none of the expensive artifacts in my collection were missing.
So no robbery.
Then why had someone drugged me?
Randev was my last visitor, as far as I remembered. And he did need money, according to the conversation we had a few days back. But I’d checked the safe in my room and the cash was still there.
So what the fuck was going on?
I trudged toward the main door across the marbled gallery, cold biting into my bare feet. My head screamed on every step and a deep burn had started in my gut.
But I didn’t have time for that just yet.
I pushed the door open and observed the perimeter.
The entire facility lay in a comforting tranquility. My luxurious sedan sat proudly on the front porch. And the two guards stood at their post in the main gate with all the enthusiasm of a koala bear.
I called out to one of them and waved a hand.
He came rushing. For all his military training, he panted like an old fool.
“Anyone left the premise recently?”
He looked perplexed. “Recently?”
“An hour or two back?”
He shook his head. “No, sir.”
“You sure you’re doing your fucking job right?”
The color of his face turned white. “Sir… no sir. I mean, yes, sir.” He bit his tongue. “Mr. Randev is the only one to leave. But it was very early in the morning.”
“What are you talking about? He arrived early in the morning.”
The guard frowned, his fear turning into irritation. “Um, sorry, sir… but he arrived yesterday morning. He left this morning.”
My throat went dry and I struggled to find my voice. I could hear my heartbeat like drums playing in my headphones.
I pressed against the side of my head and nearly lost my equilibrium. Gods, the pain!
The guard tried to come to my aid but I send him away and, somehow, managed to bring myself back inside the house safely.
I slogged to the center of the hall, with a hand under my belly, and slumped myself down on the couch.
My ex-wife was right. I was too fast on trusting people.
First, I hit Randev with my car, to which he reacts very politely and is generous enough to not file complain. Then he shows up at my office door for a fucking job and looks surprised to find me there. And for the first time in twenty years, my car breaks in the middle of nowhere and he shows up to drop me home.
Ha, ha, ex-wife. I looked skyward. You happy now?
With all the shouting and moving about, the pain had doubled up. It bit at the side of my body and I struggled to maintain my sanity.
What that sly bastard took away was beyond me.
In a delirium of pain and frustration, I saw the images of the other day when the two of us had a nice little chat over a cup of tea. Like friends long lost.
He had spoken of his problems and I had revealed my vulnerabilities. Usually the stuff you would share over two bottles of a whiskey. He had won my trust, after all.
He had lamented about his wife’s failed kidney so it was logical to think he took off with a load of cash. But I still couldn’t find anything missing so…
A sudden horror crept up my body, all the way from my feet to the head like a slow volcano.
Slowly, I lifted the thin fabric of my cotton shirt above my waist.
There, at the side of my belly, I saw a long gash — well stitched, and already healing.