blog post of Akshata Shanbhag

IS THAT HER!?

IS THAT HER!?

Part-1

It was past midnight and there was a heavy downpour. Rick was fast asleep and Alex had been turning and tossing finding herself hard to sleep. Suddenly she had heard the sound of glass smashing.
She sprang upon her bed –
” Rick, Rick wake up. Did you hear that ?? Rick, Rick?”
” What is it, Alex ?? No not again please. ”
“Did you hear that Rick?”
” Hear what Alex ?”
” I think the flower vase broke. Yes right. I am sure it’s the vase.  I heard it. But how did it fall ?? It cannot fall by itself. I have placed it right in the centre of the table. Is it her?”
” Did you take your tablets, Alex? “- Rick asked in anger.

Alex was murmuring to herself.
” Alex, Alex..”
” Huh … What Rick ?”
” I asked you have you taken your tablets? I had kept the dose on your side table. Well, let me see. See … It’s right there. You haven’t taken all of them. C’mon take it and go to sleep.”
“But Rick, what about the vase?”
” We shall check it out in the morning Alex.
Pop the pills and go to sleep. It’s 2 am already. You have an important meeting lined up in the morning right? Sleep well love. ”
Rick kisses Alex on her forehead and tucks her to sleep.

Alex gets ready to work. She was immaculately attired with her hair tied into a neat bun. There was an important board meeting. Alex looked at the vase when she came downstairs. It was intact with her favourite red and yellow barbera flowers. She went closer and examined it.
” I told you it was nothing Alex. See the vase is in one piece.”  Rick looked at Alex and smiled.

” Why aren’t you ready Rick for the meeting? ”
” You go ahead, Alex. I shall join you. I need to refill your medicines.”
” We could do that later Rick. On our way back. You know how important it is for me today .”
” Yes Alex, I know. I am telling you – you go ahead I shall be there on time. I have a couple of things to finish. ”
Alex had her breakfast and left.

Rick was just in time for the meeting. Alex had addressed the board members and began talking. Alex said that she had called for the meeting because she had made some important decisions. Alex was the Chairman of the telecommunication firm- Nova Infotech. After her father had died, she had inherited the company. Alex was the daughter of an opulent businessman.  She had lost her parents a year ago in a car accident. She was the sole heiress to all the property.

Young and dynamic Alex was melancholy after she had lost her parents.  Alex had gone into depression and was under treatment. Alex had met Rick through a common friend. No sooner than Rick was her husband from her friend. One night when Alex was on her way home from work, she was reminiscing her parents as it was their wedding anniversary and how she had celebrated it last year with them. Accidentally she had knocked down a lady while driving home She had checked if there were any onlookers. Since she hadn’t seen anyone,  Alex had got off the car and had checked on the lady. Fearing that someone might see her, she had eluded the scene.

When Alex had got home, she had informed Rick about the incident. She had badgered Rick to go and have a look. When Rick had returned home, he had told Alex that the lady had died but she didn’t have to worry as no one had seen Alex and that it would remain a secret. Since then, Alex had been hallucinating about that lady. In addition to the loss of her parents, the death of the lady had marred her mental health.

Alex had decided on her work front and had called for the board meeting so that it could ease her tension. Being the chairman she had decided that her husband Rick be made the CEO so that she knew the company would be in trusted hands.

That evening there was a party at the office in celebration of the new CEO. There was dance, music, good food, alcohol. All seemed to have a good time. Alex had got a glimpse of that lady at the party.

” Rick, Rick …she is here .”
“Alex please darling. Not here. I don’t see her anywhere. If you keep doing this, it will not remain a secret anymore. You have to stop this. Your new set of medicines are ready and I hope that would make you feel much better .”

Alex had seen her again at the party. This time she did not tell Rick about it but had followed the lady. She had reached the terrace of the building. The security had seen Alex running to the terrace and fearing that something is not right, the security guard had informed Rick about it. When Rick had heard this, he had rushed to see Alex. When he saw Alex, he was shocked as she had stood at the edge of the compound wall. Rick had extended his hand and pulled Alex. Few of the staff had witnessed the episode.

” I saw her again Rick. I followed her to the terrace. She was here. She was standing right here on the edge. Trust me I saw her .”
The staff were looking at Alex as they weren’t able to follow what the situation was about. Rick had grabbed Alex and had left the party.

” Are you out of your mind Alex? You saw how the staff was looking at you. I have told you several times to keep control. That lady is dead. She cannot come. If she was alive, why do you think she would keep wandering like this huh… She would have confronted you about the accident and harm you did to her and asked you for compensation knowing how wealthy you are. Please Alex you need to stop all this .”

Alex was in tears. She murmured to herself – ” I am not crazy. I am not crazy. I saw her. Trust me.” Rick handed over the medicines to Alex and they went to sleep. As time went by, Alex’s mental health was deteriorating. She wasn’t able to work adequately. Rick had slowly taken over the complete in charge of the office.

The doctors had suggested that it would be best if Alex would be admitted to a psychiatric asylum to treat her illness. When Alex had learned about this, she had become more restless.
” I am not crazy Rick. I am fine. I see her in real. Please don’t do this to me, Rick.  I am fine. I am fine. I am not crazy.” Alex was sobbing.
” Get ready Alex. The hospital staff will be here in an hour. I have packed your bag.  Have a look if I have missed out anything.”
“Rick, Rick …come here.  I see her again. She is right here. ”
” Where Alex ??”
Alex pointed at the lady who was standing a foot away from her.  Rick looked in that direction and walked towards the lady and smiled.

Part-2

“Rick, why are you smiling? You see her right? She is right next to you .”
Rick started laughing.
” Okay let’s stop this. I am tired. Anyway in some time of the hospital staff will be here to take you. Alex Alex Alex…this lady out here you say that you are seeing. Yes, she is here.  I am standing right next to her.  ”
” See I told you I am not crazy. I am not imagining. I have been seeing her since the accident.”

” Alex, this lady out here is Emma. My girlfriend.”
” Girlfriend ?? What what are you saying ?” Surprised Alex questioned Rick.
” Yes Alex, you heard it right. Emma is my girlfriend and you heard it right. She was never dead. This whole thing – you knocking her off, me telling you that she is dead, you seeing her – all of this is a set-up. She did appear to you because she was there. “

“But why would you do something like that to me, Rick? You are my husband. This girlfriend thing I don’t get it .”
Emma smiled and replied- ” Sweetheart, Rick and I are madly in love. When we learnt that Nova Infotech heiress was into depression as she had lost her parents and is the owner of this extravagant property we knitted this entire plot. Rick meeting you, getting married to you, making you look crazy in front of everyone. I am sorry honey. We are. We had to. We wanted the money and to be together. So here we are now. Looks like it’s all paid off in the end. Right, Rick baby?”
Emma looked at Rick and smiled. Rick kissed Emma and said, ” yes babe.”

Alex was furious and had pounced on Rick. Just then the hospital staff had arrived.
Rick screamed ” please help me! Help! See what she is doing. We are here upstairs.”
The staff ( four members ) had rushed upstairs and grabbed Alex.
” I am not crazy. This is his plan. Emma is alive. We all just had a conversation. You want the money take it, Rick. I shall give it to you. Please don’t do this to me. Please.”
They took Alex to the hospital in the ambulance and Rick had followed them to complete the formalities.

Rick and Emma had started living together. Emma was worried about Alex that she might get better with medications and be home soon. Rick had assured Emma that Alex would spend the rest of her life at the asylum as his friend was a doctor there and would do the needful.

Rick had become the chairman of Nova Infotech. He had the authority over all of Alex’s possessions. Emma wanted to marry Rick as this was their plan. Rick had become avaricious. His behaviour had changed.   All he had thought was how to expand the business and wealth. Emma felt that she was being ignored. Rick had put aside the wedding plans too. He had turned into a ladies’ man and this behaviour of Rick had hurt Emma’s sentiments.

One day Emma had decided to meet Alex. She wanted to check on her.
” What do you want from me now Emma? Rick has sent you to check on me? What does he want now ?”
” No, no, no Alex. Rick hasn’t sent me. I am here on my own.  “

When Emma had returned home, she told Rick that she had visited Alex.
” I had gone to see Alex today Rick. She was like a raging Bull when she saw me. After a while she started again  … I can see her, I can see her…that story. I am not crazy and stuff.”
Rick burst out laughing. Then settled down and said-
” Whhhaaat? But why? Why did you go meet her Emma? She is useless to us now. We have everything that we need. Why did you risk yourself by going there? We would have been in trouble. “

” Useless?  What do mean by useless Rick? Don’t forget all this that you have today is because of her. How ungrateful can you be? “

” No Emma. It’s not because of her. It’s because of my intelligence that I have all this today. She was a fool to trust me. That’s the reason she has landed there today and perhaps forever. “

” Looks like I am a fool too to trust you, Rick .”
” Suit yourself, Emma. You can stay with me here if you wish to or you could leave. But I am sure you are going to make the right decision. ” Rick sarcastically had smiled at Emma.
Enraged Emma had walked away to her room.

A month later-
” Rick, I got a call from the hospital.”
Emma paused and took a deep breath and continued ” Alex is no more. She was out of control and the doctors could not save her. You should go see her Rick. ”
” Are you out of your mind Emma? She is not my wife anymore. We are divorced. I am not going to see her. Nor am I attending her funeral. Yeah, probably I shall pretend to grieve. You go ahead and tell them that I am deeply moved by her loss and not in a position to see Alex this way .”

” How ruthless can you be Rick ?” Rick laughed heartily and had walked away.

One night when Rick and Emma were fast asleep, Rick felt that someone had whispered in his ears. ” Alex ” he screamed and sprang on his bed.  Hearing Rick scream, Emma had woken up.
” What’s the matter, Rick? Why did you scream? Did you just say, Alex ?? ”
” Yes, yes. She was here. She whispered in my ears .”
” What are you talking Rick. I can’t see anyone here? ”
” She was here. She whispered to me – now it’s your turn Rick .”
Rick looked at the side table. There were red and yellow barbera flowers placed.
Rick looked at Emma and said ” see these are Alex’s favourite flowers. She was here. She placed them here.”
Emma looked at the table -” where Rick? I can’t see any flowers.”
Rick turned to the table again and there were no flowers.

” Oh baby, you must be tired. Go to sleep, Rick. Alex is dead. C’mon sleep. You are all worked up. Good night.”

Emma had controlled her laughter. She thought to herself that now the game begins. Emma then looked at Alex who was hiding behind the curtain. She had the flowers in her hand. Alex smiled at Emma and gave her the thumbs-up sign. Emma winked at Alex and gave her a thumbs up too.

**********

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