“You know, you should just quit it.” Her words stiffened his limbs every evening, as he lumbered his way back home. They had arrived in the neighborhood just last month, and while everything else seemed okay, the dark stretch vexed her as much as it paralyzed him.
If only he had the luxury of not pursuing the part-time MBA classes after work every evening.
Difficult to admit though it was, he hated the fact that it was the only route back home from college. It was a weird road; he didn’t doubt that. No matter how many times the municipality fixed the street light, it would stop functioning.
It’s always midnight here.
“Silly girl, always thinking the worst. I am not the only one who walks on that road,” he would tell her.
Faking reassurance. Easy. Plodding through that dark track every evening. Creepy. In the back of his mind, snapshots lurked—of pickpockets ruffling his trousers’ back pocket…
A .410 handgun did it in the end. It was Diwali eve, and he bought her favorite sweets. As he wound his way through the dark road, humming a song, three gun shots twisted his gait into a red rivulet. Unarmed civilians were the best targets to drive home the demand for a separate state.
His cell phone, lying unclaimed with his corpse, beeped twice. There was just one eyewitness—a live, mute electric pole.
It was midnight when the police contacted her to identify the body.
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