It was almost afternoon when I woke up. All my habits were changing. It was strange. The enthusiastic, restless person in me seemed like a smudged memory. The helplessness that was subtly creeping in was forcing me to reason with myself and hide under the inevitable truth called time. The haze in my eyes had still not cleared when I tried to look out of the only window in the room. As usual, it was calm outside. What else would you expect in a countryside lane in the afternoon hours, that too outside a lone wooden cabin with only a weak, old man living inside?
As I waited for my eyes to wake up from slumber, I browsed through the objects in my room. I couldn’t make anything out yet. But my focus turned to a photograph on the wall, a picture of a rather attractive woman. Finally, when the fog cleared, I could make out Sarah’s smiling face in the portrait. They called the cruel intruder who took away my wife ‘cardiac arrest’. My mind wandered into that night. I didn’t remember every last bit though. Growing old has its disadvantages after all. Everything was perfect; Kelly had come home, we had dinner together. But she was to leave me that night, leave this wretched man alone.
Ever since then, I have been living alone. I thought I could handle everything at first, but it was never easy. Physically, mentally, emotionally. There were times when I found it impossible to speak. I used to go out now and then but after a while I grew tired of everything, or rather my body did. I don’t meet my friends anymore; I don’t see my daughter Kelly nowadays. I was kicked out of my job as a pharmacist for some obscure reason; even I don’t remember what it was now. It’s not like I needed that job anyway. I had earned enough for my family to live even after my death. Lately, I have had difficulties walking and moving around too. I guess old age is getting the better out of me much earlier than expected. I think I should talk to Kelly.
It was another one of those bleak, silent days. I had some bread and butter and left whatever was remaining for dinner, being too lazy to drive till the store just to buy food. Feeling tired again, I slouched on the couch looking at the evening slowly transition into twilight. I don’t really know for how many hours I sat there nibbling the old memories that came into my head randomly. It was all calm and quiet, until…..
Interrupting my pensive mood, at about 7, a young man around 20 years old came into my room. I was taken aback.
“How are you feeling, Dad?” he asked.
“I am fine. But who are you, boy?”
He was a bit surprised. But he smiled and replied.
“Dad, it’s me Adam. How can you forget me?”
There was nothing odd or suspicious about the lad. But he was completely unfamiliar to me. Anyway, I was getting angry. A random guy comes into my house without permission and now he says he is my son. No way am I going to take that.
“I don’t have a son, you moron. I have a daughter. Her name is Kelly. I don’t even know a guy called Adam. Now get the fuck out of my house or else…”
“But Dad, Kelly…five years ago…don’t you remember? She is gone.”
“Gone where? Are you kidding me? Now get out of my house. NOW!!”
“But Dad it’s me. Why won’t you remember? You were fine till morning…”
I was done talking. I got up and pushed him out of the room. He didn’t resist at first. I managed to get him till the main door. But somewhere I lost my balance and I fell down. I lost consciousness after that.
Next morning, I woke up in another room. It was my house but some other room, I couldn’t figure out which one. The stranger from the previous day brought breakfast for me. I was too tired to move. I kept staring at him whenever he was in the room. Honestly, I was confused. What was he trying to do? Impress me? But why? For my daughter? For my money? Whatever the reason was, I knew I had to deal with him. I tried calling Kelly in between but I couldn’t connect.
I was in a condition to move after about an hour. I got up and walked towards the drawing-room. The guy was still there. He told me he would be off to work in a few hours. He was being careful in his approach towards me. I could sense it in his voice. I knew something wasn’t right. I decided to make a move before things got messed up. I had to act before he left.
I hid behind the door with my breakfast plate and waited for him to come to the room. Just as he entered I smashed the plate on his head. Without even making a sound, he crumbled into a heap on the floor, blood oozing slowly out of the back of his head. I wasn’t sure if he was dead, but I didn’t care. Without wasting much time, I dragged his body out into the open after making sure nobody was going to see me. I tied him up and hid him in the garage. I decided to dump him somewhere once the sun went down. I had to clean up the mess inside before that.
Just as I entered the room to pick up the shards of ceramic, I noticed a black diary on the shelf along with the guy’s photo on it. It had to be his personal diary. But I wasn’t in a mood to be reading someone’s diary, so I kept it inside my pocket. I had to act fast. So I cleaned up the whole room first, wiped every floor with any traces of blood clean and waited on the couch for dusk to arrive.
I must have dozed off after all the hard work because when I woke up, it was way past 9. I was exhausted too. As I couldn’t afford to waste more time, I went to the garage and managed to get the body inside the car. I knew a place up in the hills where these kinds of things will normally go unnoticed. I didn’t need to think twice.
It was a half an hour drive from my place. I was almost at the top of the hills when I noticed a dilapidated hut next to the woods. I had no memory of such a place there. I stopped the car and went in to take a look.
What I saw inside was horrifying. The first thing my flashlight illuminated were the walls of that single room shack. I could make out something in red, but initially it wasn’t clear. After a few minutes, I figured something was written on the walls. It was difficult, but somehow I deciphered the letters. It was written in blood.
“You killed Sarah. Don’t make the same mistake again.”
‘Sarah’. The name seemed unusually familiar to me. Wait. Sarah was my wife. So this means my wife was murdered? But I thought….. Kelly was fooling me all these days? Then this shack should belong to the murderer.
As I was engrossed in all these thoughts, I saw another message etched across the adjacent wall, again covered in blood. It read,
“You murdered Kelly. Just forget this place. STOP IT.”
I didn’t understand. Kelly was murdered? It had to be a joke. I knew she was alive.
But yeah, it had been quite some time since we talked. But still…
Then I remembered the guy inside the car. Was he being honest throughout? Did I fuck up?
Without wasting another moment I rushed towards the car. I opened the car and looked at the motionless corpse inside. For some reason, the face seemed really familiar now.
It was then that I remembered about his diary. I quickly got it out of my pocket. Just as I took the book, a lot of papers fell down from underneath it, mostly which looked like hospital receipts. The name on the receipt read JOHN.H ANDERSON. But that was my name. My stomach had already started lurching. Then I proceeded to read the name of the medical condition. It was then that I knew what a mess I had created. The amount of shock was impossible to handle. With trembling hands, I took the diary in my hands and turned to the latest entry.
“Had a bad day at work.
Dad doesn’t remember me anymore. Nor the fact that Kelly is dead.
His Alzheimer’s is getting worse day by day.”