The next day, Sean mustered the courage and went to his office. He reached his workplace and saw no sight of that strange man, he eased up. Sean got involved in his tasks of the day and without any second thoughts, beavered away.
The building level on which he was working was under process of construction which was ceased in halfway. The floor was clear and Sean was working his fingers to the bone. He mulled that after work at home, he’d prepare some Lentil Bolognese sided with some Rosé while he was wrapping off the last slot of files. The floor had a huge room occupying the corner of the building. The entire office was painted in Gray-Green, the aroma of newly painted walls smelled as a combination of melted plastic and aerosol. There was a doorway, a low bookrack, an odd portrait and a glass partition between desk and the staircase. After stapling the papers and properly compiling it in a translucent folder, Sean felt heavy eyed and with a lot of movements and stretching, he ceased to move and his eyes focused at the fragmented surface of the glass divider and behind it he saw the presence of something odd from a shouting distance. Sean got wide awake and looked closely, he saw a sinister face with bloodshot eyes already staring at Sean without twitching. Sean lost his footing but peered at the eerie man, verifying that it’s the same man he saw everywhere. Sean got unnerved, trembled but didn’t take his eyes off from the man for he feared that he might come close to him. That’s when he saw the strange man was carrying a machete – a large heavy knife with a broad blade. The unreal, unknown man commenced to take unrushed footsteps towards Sean.
Sean couldn’t grasp, he baffled and was in muck sweat that’s when he called for help at the top of his voice but no one could have heard him for he was all alone at the 15th floor wasn’t even that near to be heard by the security. Sean lamented at that strange looking man and warned to not come near to him. But that strange man did not appear to hear Sean. Before that man could enter the glassed office Sean locked the door. But Sean got only seconds of relief. In next to no time, the peculiar man got irked and started smashing the glass to get in. Seeing the glass getting shattered Sean felt numb in fear of getting butchered. He caterwauled till he saw his phone and shrieked for help while the wicked man was violently breaking the door. He dialed 911, the call got connected and a lady spoke on the call, before Sean could reply to her, he realized there was a sudden silence in the background and no sound of breaking. Sean gained the courage to look behind to see as to why there was a sudden silence. That’s when he got struck down by the machete and fell on the floor.
Sean woke up at the hospital, located by the security. Till Sean returned to health and recuperated from injuries and trauma, he didn’t utter. It took Sean nothing but time to speak, no holds barred, concerning the ill-fated incident and the mugger. After quite a while, Sean unfolded and gave details about the attack by a machete and being stalked by a man at many instances earlier. But official authorities had something contrary to say after the investigation. They revealed that there was no proof or clue of a man or of any weapon but only of a shattered glass panel. The investigation detected and rounded off that the injuries were of such nature which can be incurred by a smashed glass that was present on the seized construction floor. Officer Jack Merrow who was the exemplary of power with his gun swinging slackly at his hip, said that Sean recklessly or for unknown reason, had fallen against a glass door panel, incurring such injuries which caused him to faint. Sean was struck dumb and took a pause before disagreeing, he protested and demanded the investigation of the attacker. The authorities continued with the investigation. Sean’s family and friends believed and consoled Sean. Later, the matter became serious as the cases of such mishappenings increased and police were blamed for not gravely taking the hold of the matter, though the culprit’s traces were being searched. After months of investigation, it came to be known by the official authorities that the culprit they are rummaging about, has committed suicide. However, police didn’t find the face or evidence linked with Sean’s version.
While the investigation was being conducted, Sean was consumed by lack of certainty. Sean felt torn between what he identified and the outcome of the inquiry. Subsequently with time, people also got convinced with the facts but Sean tried to surmise others that he was stalked. But others were open to doubt. Sean felt sorrow in making others understand. In due course of time, he started to take another look at what he perceived to see and encountered lack of faith for his own line of thought. Sean got baffled by all the quizzing. There came a time when Sean swallowed the doubt and later accepted the facts stipulated through the investigation for his own placidity to gain ground in his life.
After a while, Sean didn’t want to be in the same city all he wished was to travel far. It took Sean more than two years and therapy sessions to decide his future course. He had many people around him to take him out of this but the incident changed him in many ways his friends and family could reckon.
Walking through the beach, the sand getting washed away by the waves, so did Sean’s flashback when he blinked his eyes to the gentle song of the ocean, inhaling in its affecting salty breath. As it started to get dark, Sean focused on the even pounding of the waves which got interrupted when he got a call from his mother. Impatient to pick her call, “Ya mom?” asked Sean. His mother interrupted and asked something in a panicky voice “You were right. How Sean, how?”. Sean got muddled. She further added – “We got a call from officer Jack Merrow, they have found the attacker who looked like how you described. He is in custody, She again asked Sean how it was possible. Horror stricken, Sean ceased to walk after what his mother told. It lead him to hark back to his past horrors. He got half hearted and pale. His mind only reprised that gloomy feeling he had at the 15th floor, two years back. After taking a few steps and a few seconds later, his mother’s voice started to fade and his eyes wandered throughout the deserted beach but was forced to stop at a familiar, sinister, shabby, dark entity standing still from distant with the same machete gazing straight at Sean. The peculiar man seemed restless, full of fury and had drawn soulless eyes. It was only Sean and that strange man at the cloudy, cold and comfortless beach. Sean was looking at that man and didn’t move or tremble. Sean slowly started to look closely at that strange man. There was no immobility and the sight of the man slowly became ineffective for him. Sean observed him from head to toe and saw no change in his demeanour. The only question Sean had was that can this peculiar man exist in his mind. He doubted it to be illusory for that strange man is so unreal to see in the mind’s eye. The Man started to approach Sean at a fast pace.
While the man started to take heavy steps towards Sean, Sean started to smile like a lunatic; an insane man. As that unknown man was approaching him, he dropped his phone and took off his spectacles and continued to have a broad grin on his face for he doesn’t know any longer whether it was true to life or all in his head.
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Nitisha Bhardwaj is a writer, speaker, and researcher. She has an affinity for International Aviation and Corporate Law. She is a creative thinker and seeks for balance