Into The Open

“Help”, Samar shouted with all his might thinking that the sounds he heard were footsteps approaching. Apparently, it was his imagination and possibly no one could hear him from down there. Guess he would have to wait a bit more till help arrives.

***

An unexpected call in the middle of the night. Someone calling for help. Inspector Samar did not lose time in reaching the spot. It was a female voice and yet there was no one to be seen. Quite obviously, you can’t expect a lot of people to hang out in that wasteland during midnight unless you have ‘other’ intentions. An otherwise calm Samar was feeling a bit antsy but he shook it off resuming his search for any signs of life. He rummaged his way through the dense thickets and dry blocks of mud. The ragged terrain was indeed a pain in the ass for him. He found the place disturbingly eerie and even though he could hear muffled sounds of the far away city, he sensed something off. And right when he was about to dismiss the call as a hoax, something or someone hit him from behind.

When Samar woke up, he was engulfed by darkness. He felt some kind of constraint even though his hands and legs were not tied up. He tried to move his hands but he couldn’t. He tried to feel what was around him and to his horror he realized he was surrounded by earth; he was underneath the surface. He tried to figure out what happened to him. The only thing he remembered was falling. He lost consciousness after that.

The thought of being buried alive had never crossed his mind, at least till that night. He shuddered at the very thought of suffocating to death. He tried to shuffle from his position, but more mud fell on him from above, nearly blinding him. “I have to stop panicking”, he thought to himself. Panicking will only consume the available oxygen there. He looked up in the hope of getting some help. To his relief, he saw a spot of faint blue in the middle of darkness. He wasn’t buried at least. He tried to shout but more mud got in his mouth and gagged him.

He tried to feel what was beneath him. His feet were touching solid and yet it was budging a bit under his weight. Immediately he stopped putting his weight on the thing; has to be some piece of wood or something. He realized that in order to at least stay where he was, he had to be wary with the thing under him. Unfortunately, he had to think fast and get out of there before the tree trunk broke or the mud silenced him permanently.

He closed his eyes and attempted to meditate. He had to clear his mind and think. He was trapped in a trench of some kind in the middle of a barren land where the chances of a human being wandering were very less. He cried out again and again but he was unsure whether the voice was getting out of the pit at least. He had to get someone to help him.

Suddenly Samar remembered. He carefully reached his pockets and searched for his cellphone. He got it out and checked for the dial tone. Lady Luck favored, there was enough charge and connectivity too. He inferred that he wasn’t that deep inside. He dialed his father’s number. It was unreachable. Crap!!

He dialed his superior’s number next. After a lot of unsuccessful attempts, he finally managed to get him on-line. He bellowed into the phone  his situation and location and requested him to send help as soon as possible. His boss promised to send help and asked him to stay calm and keep the phone near him.

Samar felt a wave of relief sweep over him. It might take a few minutes finding out the pit but he will be safe for sure. He tried to stay calm and focused. As he breathed slowly random memories came into his head. His first day at his job, the various incidents which included saving lives as well as taking them. He went back to the day he was promoted, a few months back. But he flinched at the thought of the events that led to his promotion. He was reckless till the day he was promoted, but he had changed from that day onwards. He had lost his best friend  in the force, Ayan. Honestly, he deserved better. He always wanted to forget that particular day. He shook it off and tried to fill his mind with positive thoughts.

Minutes passed by. Suddenly he heard sounds above him. Something like a shuffle or drag or something, He couldn’t make out what it was. Right at that moment, his cellphone rang.

“We have reached the location”, he heard a faint voice from the other side. But due to bad network, he couldn’t reply in spite of shouting into the phone numerous times. He heard a tiny explosion overhead. “Must be the rescue team blowing off the mud”, he thought. He was caught in a shower of sand and gravel. He tried his best to keep his eyes, ears and mouth covered. He waited for a couple of minutes before looking up.

Instead of the small spot, there was a small circle of dim light now, big enough for two or three footballs to fit in. He could make out the sky clearly. He expected to see helmets and uniforms through the gaping hole. But what he saw was something he never wanted to see.

He saw a very familiar face peeping through the hole at him. And yet it wasn’t a complete face. Decay had started to conquer the face, reminiscent of gangrene. Half of the face was already gone and the body was devoid of any clothing. One of the eye sockets was empty. Even from a distance there was no mistaking the person.

Samar was sweating like a pig, and still he had frozen to his spot. The memories he so desperately wanted to forget flooded him again. He went back to the days when he was motivated only by pure lust for position and money, the days when service was only second to ambition, the days when he was ready to betray anyone for his own selfish desires. The horrible thing he had done to his best friend Ayan flashed before him. The day he chose position over friendship and left him to die, buried under the ground.

Above him, Ayan’s grotesque form let out a sneer. The very next moment, he heard something under him snap. And then he was falling…he was falling into the darkness… into oblivion.

 

***

A few kilometers away, the rescue team started unearthing a shallow pit they found out as per Samar’s instructions. After digging for sometime, they started getting pieces of clothes from  the sand. And they didn’t take much time to dig out an almost decayed body with half of its face gone and almost no clothing on it. The corpse had one of its eye sockets empty.

Samar’s body was never recovered.

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