Day 1, 08:15 am
She read the mail on her laptop screen for the umpteenth time.
Hey babes...hw r u dear...Wana c u...Am coming down to Chennai 2moro...No cell, so cnt cal u, sry...Lets catch up @ Thiruvanmyur beach around 7 pm...Wat ya say? Me waitng 2 c u...Bye...TC...
She had read it so many times that she now remembered it word by word. She thought for a while if she should really go. She could easily say that some important guests had come. But that would be a downright lie. She tried to convince herself that white lies are not bad. She read the mail again. She wondered why the sender picked up such a remote beach late in the evening. She thought of calling her husband to get his advice. She picked up her cell phone and dialed the speed dial digit of her husband. But before the ring went, she disconnected the call. She knew her husband would give a straight NO to go visit some virtual friend, whom she had never met. She thought for a while about the options she had before her. Then with one final wave of her head, she decided she would go.
Day 1, 08:30 am
The room was pitch black. He was tied to a chair. He did not know what time it was. He was not even sure if it was day or night. The last thing he remembered was getting inside his car. Then there was total darkness. He tried calling out for help. But there was no answer. He did not lose hope. He was sure someone who hears his scream would come for his rescue. He kept shouting until he became tired. Suddenly he saw someone open the door to the room. His pupil had become used to the darkness. He was able to see the figure that opened the door. It was hard to say if the figure was a man or a woman. He wondered if it was someone he knew. The figure came closer to him.
"Who are you?" he asked
"You know me" the figure replied. "I have been waiting for you for a very long time. But you never came. So I decided to come to you, my love"
The figure switched on a light in the room and moved closer to him.
The figure suddenly threw a bucket of cold water on him and started laughing uncontrollably.
Sagar got up from his bed with a start. His mom was standing nearby, with an empty bucket in one hand and another hand on her mouth trying to control her laughter. He looked completely lost for an instant. Then he too joined his mom in the laughter.
"Ma, this is just too much. I was having one of the exotic dreams. You spoiled it"
"Really, what was that?"
"Bollywood queen Bipasha Basu had kidnapped me. She was about to do the unthinkable, when you interrupted" Sagar replied without concealing his irritation.
"Oh sagy, I was just worried if John Abraham would harm you" Vani winked. "Even your dream contemplates with your profession. Anyways, I suppose you should marry some one soon. Your aunt was talking about this girl...."
"Oh ma, please stop. I can’t marry some stranger. I am yet to see the right girl"
"Alright, but just make sure you marry before my death" she used her last but most powerful weapon.
Sagar chose to ignore that remark and pushed his way to the restroom. Vani sighed and went to the kitchen.
Sagar ran the hot shower on him. He checked himself on the mirror. He stood 5'11" tall. He had a well built and maintained body. Regular exercise and dieting had gifted him the six pack abs any guy would dream for. Almost everyone who saw him for the first time would compliment that he resembled Anbuchelvan (actor Surya from Kaaka Kaaka). His eyes were his best feature. When he spoke, only 10% would be conveyed through his mouth. The rest would be taken care of by his eyes. Once his girl friend at college had commented that there were at least a dozen girls flocking behind her to get his intro. His next best attribute was his smile. The same friend had commented that only if he smiled more often than he actually did, the entire college girls would fall head over heels for him.
Not only in physique did he resemble Anbuchelvan. He is the Assistant commissioner of Police (ACP). He thought for a while if there was any problem with him. 'Why don't I feel attracted to any girl?' he thought. He had seen many women in his life. But none turned him on. He did go for a few blind dates. But all the episodes were a major flop. There was one girl who really impressed him on one such date. But the girl refused saying he did not give her the undivided attention. 'What the hell does that mean?' he questioned himself. But he could not come up with an answer.
He finished his shower soon and came out. He wore a T-shirt and shorts. He switched on his laptop and started checking his mails. He read some of the important mails. He deleted the useless forwards his friends usually sent. He cleared the trash folder. He was about to clear the spam folder when one mail caught his attention. There was something peculiar about the subject. He opened the mail and started reading it.
email@example.com (sender address hidden)
YOU WILL READ THIS
YOU DON'T KNOW ME. BUT I KNOW YOU. YOU HAVE TO FIND ME SOON. IF YOU FAIL TO DO SO, YOU WILL FEEL GUILTY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. DO NOT TAKE THIS AS A HUMOR. DO NOT FOOL YOURSELF. DO NOT ASSUME THIS TO BE A SPAM, ONLY YOU WILL WORRY. I WILL WAIT FOR YOU. IF YOU DONT COME TO ME, YOU WILL FIND MY BODY. YES, I WILL DIE.
Sagar had to read the mail few more times until he could come to a conclusion. First he thought if one of his friends was teasing him. Then he thought if it could be some spammer's prank. He read the from address again. The mail server had hidden the sender's identity. This could be possible only by a software geek. So he decided that it must be a spam. He was about to shutdown his laptop when Vani barged in.
"Hey, wait. Don't shut down. I want to check something"
"Does it matter?"
"Of course yes. This is my laptop. What happened to yours?"
"I think there is some Virus. Network is too slow. And the laptop hangs intermittently"
"Did you run the anti-virus software? It would fix the problem"
"Are you having some girl's snap in your laptop? What is the big deal in sharing it with me just for a day?"
Sagar blushed for a moment. He shrugged his shoulders and continued
"Alright ma, you win. Please use it for however long you wish to" saying so he handed over the laptop to her. Vani sat with the laptop with a victorious smile.
"Ma, I am hungry. Can't you check after breakfast?"
"What is so interesting that even your son's hunger seems secondary to you?" he exclaimed in a clearly irritated voice.
"Didn’t I tell you about the daily serial in that blog site? I want to check the next episode"
"What blog site?"
"Aah, I guess I have to buy Vallarai capsules for you. Don't you remember me saying about this site "WonderWomen" for Indian ladies? Anyone could sign in and start blogging. There are also many forums for various discussions.
"Oh yes, I remember"
"Good! In that site, there is a user whose posts daily serials. I just love all her stories"
"Oh please! Don't be silly. I was happy that you don’t watch those stupid TV serials. Now don’t depress me with some online serial"
"No, this is not a normal serial where all women do nothing but cry. It is a thriller. Yesterday the protagonist had sent a suicide note to the police. I am eager to know what happened next"
"Suicide note to police?"
"Yeah, but not the normal suicide note. This one is very different. I wonder how the author comes with such ideas."
"Can I take a look at it ma?"
"See, even you are impressed with it. Wait, I will open that site"
Vani opened firefox web browser and clicked on the link "The Final Adieu - Part 9" from the site. The page opened. Vani scrolled down to the last paragraph and moved the laptop towards Sagar.
Sagar leaned forward to have a closer look at the screen. He read the suicide note the author of the blog had written for her serial. When finished reading, he was shocked to a great extent. The suicide note was exactly same as the mail he had read a few minutes ago.
(*All email ids, sites referred in this story are purely fictional)