The mysterious nightBy the time Ramesh got home from work, something horrific had happened near his home.
While returning home from the office, Ramesh stepped onto a garbage pile and almost fell to the ground. He cursed and let out a mouthful of spit.
“How mannerless these people have become!” he mumbled to himself and advanced towards his destination.
It had already become dark when he left his workplace. The 35-minute walk home from the office felt like a long marathon for him today. As he recalled his day at the office, he felt more irritated. A young girl, who had just joined the office a few weeks ago, had insulted him in front of all the employees. It had almost been a decade since he started working in that company, and no one had ever spoken a word against him.
“Can’t you even type Nepali fonts on a computer?” she had asked and laughed.
Ramesh had felt ashamed, but he kept his mouth shut. Everyone around had looked at him sympathetically.
On his way home, he passed a liquor shop, which he’d never noticed before. He turned back and made his way to the liquor shop. He was not much of a drinker. He would only drink a glass or two on special occasions.
As Ramesh scanned the liquor bottles on display, he couldn’t decide what to buy. The shop owner got up from the chair and asked Ramesh how often he drinks.
“Not much,” said Ramesh.
The shop owner suggested a bottle of wine. Ramesh didn’t like the idea; he wanted strong liquor for the night. After careful consideration, Ramesh finally picked a bottle of whisky.
“Not a bad choice,” the shop owner said and wrapped the bottle.
Now, Ramesh was on the street. He saw a metallic bench on the opposite side of the road, and he decided to sit there for some time. Sitting on the bench, he began to inspect the surroundings. He watched people enter the liquor shop and exit it with their choice of drinks. Ramesh enjoyed sitting there and watching the world go by, but he knew that if he stayed longer, he would be late for dinner. So he decided to make his way home.
When he neared his house, he saw a black cat licking something on the floor of his house’s front yard. He’d never seen the cat before, and it didn’t even move when Ramesh approached him. Instead, the cat kept staring at Ramesh. Slightly disturbed by the cat’s stare, Ramesh shooed it away, and it disappeared into the bushes.
It was only after the fourth knock that his wife opened the door. He glanced at the watch, which showed 8 pm. This was the first time he had returned home so late from work. As soon as Ramesh stepped into the house, his wife ushered him inside. She slammed shut the door and embraced Ramesh. He thought she was in a good mood today, but he was wrong. He noticed that his wife was sobbing. He pushed himself away from the embrace and examined his wife’s face. She looked scared.
“What happened to you, dear?” Ramesh asked, taking a close look at the surrounding. Everything seemed to be in place.
She tried to form a word but struggled to do so. Ramesh moved forward and hugged her. Resting his palms on her face, he asked, “What’s wrong?”
She pointed her finger towards the window.
“What happened there?” Ramesh asked.
As her wife didn’t speak, he moved towards the window. He looked outside the window. There was nothing unusual, so he returned to where his wife was standing.
“Why aren’t you speaking?” a worried Ramesh asked.
No reply. An awkward silence persisted for a while. Ramesh took her to the bedroom and asked her to lie on the bed.
“What’s wrong, dear?” Ramesh was adamant about finding the reason behind his wife’s dismal condition.
Only after she lay on the bed did she seem relaxed. Then she spoke one word at a time.
“I saw a man getting murdered on the porch of our house.”
Ramesh’s face twitched.
“What are you saying?” he asked in a shaky voice.
“Yes, it’s true. A man was killed and put into a large sack. Then he was taken into a van,” she said.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. Believe me. A woman killed the man.”
“You mean to say that a woman was involved in the murder?”
“Yes,” Ramesh’s wife replied.
Ramesh couldn’t think properly. He went to the kitchen and poured himself a glass of water. He noticed she had not prepared the dinner. His wife came to the kitchen from the bedroom, and the couple sat on the chair facing each other.
“Didn’t the man scream while she tried to kill him? And with what weapon did she kill him?”
“With a knife. He screamed but not for a long time. I doubt if anyone in the neighbourhood heard his screams.”
“Thankfully, you are safe,” Ramesh said, trying to calm his wife.
“Yes, I was worried about you,” his wife said. “I even hesitated to open the door when I heard continuous knocks. Thank god, it was you.”
“We should call the police tomorrow. Get some rest. I’ll make some noodles,” said Ramesh.
As Ramesh started cooking noodles, he remembered the black cat licking something on the house’s porch. Maybe the cat was licking the blood of that dead man. The thought of a man getting murdered in front of his house shook him to the core, and he felt his knees go weak.
Despite the restlessness growing inside him, he managed to stay calm in front of his wife. His wife fell asleep in a while, but he couldn’t. His mind went wild, with one disturbing thought after another. After struggling to sleep, he decided to have a glass of drink. He headed towards the kitchen, poured himself a glass of whisky, and sat on the floor. With every sip of the drink, he felt more relaxed. He drank the entire bottle. The liquor evoked a sense of fearlessness in him, so he went outside to see if there was any evidence. But he couldn’t find anything, not even a single drop of blood. He came back to the kitchen and sat on the floor. The whisky was slowly taking control of him. At one point, he couldn’t even stand on his feet, so he lay down on the floor and dozed off.
It was 5 in the morning when he woke up. He found his head so heavy that he struggled to lift it. His mouth was stinking, and he hated himself at that moment. He walked towards the bedroom. He knew his wife would get mad at him for drinking so much. But once he reached the bedroom, he couldn’t find her wife. He called out her name loudly, but there was no reply. He checked every single room in the house, yet he couldn’t locate her. He became anxious. She must have gone to the market, he thought. He opened the front door. On the porch, the black cat he’d seen the previous night was licking something. The only difference between the last night and now was that the cat’s mouth was covered in blood. The grass was stained with fresh blood. Following the trail of blood, he reached the edge of the street, where he found the gold necklace that his wife used to wear. He picked up the necklace, clutched it tightly, and ran towards the police station. As he made his way toward the police station, he couldn’t help but wonder if his wife had also been murdered.