Megha. 19 going on 20. 5'4". Skinny. Dusky. She looked at her reflection in her bedroom window. It didn't please her. Why couldn't she be 5'7"? Or fair? And if she was wishing for things anyway, why couldn't she have some meat on her bones?
Perhaps Ma was right. "You can take a girl to the mirror, but you can't make her like it", she always used to say. Maybe she didn't look so bad after all. A lot of girls would kill for her eyes. And being skinny wasn't such a bad thing.
Yeah, things weren't so bad. It was raining. She'd always loved the rain. It reminded her of her father, and the long drives through the city, the steady sound of raindrops crashing against the windscreen music to her ears. She wished her father were here too. She wished he hadn't left with such ease and apathy. She wished her father missed his family half as much as his family missed him.
She wished for a lot of things.
She wiped a tear from the corner of her eye and took a sip from the coffee mug in her hand. Rain, coffee and pretty eyes. Nope, life was pretty much okay. She was okay. And everything was just fine.
The silence was a part of the cold, empty house on nights her mother was away. So much so, in fact, that the sound of the doorbell sent a shiver down her spine. It made the hair stand up on the back of her neck. She had a bad feeling about this. Answering the door on cold, lonely nights was never the smarter move.
She walked to the door of her three bedroom apartment, her legs shaking violently, nearly giving way a couple of times. She hated being alone. She put her hand on the door knob and opened the wooden door. Behind the metal grill door she saw a face smiling at her with kind eyes. A face that calmed her nerves and pumped her legs up with energy.
It was the face of Raghav Dass.
Raghav was your Joe Boynextdoor of the Indian College Scene. Megha had always thought that Raghav looked like an Indian Adrian Grenier. He was also dating her best friend, so that put a lot of things in the crapper.
"What the fuck are you doing here at this ungodly hour?", she said.
"Ungodly hour? You sound like your mother", he answered back. "Now open the door before I break it in, I'm freezing out here"
The bad feeling seemed to have died, because Megha immediately unbolted the door and let him in. Raghav was here. She wasn't lonely anymore. She had company. But would Disha approve of her boyfriend meeting her best friend at ten 'o clock?
"It's bloody murder out there. I just saw a tree smash into a car's windscreen. A parked car, but yeah, it's pretty bad". Raghav kept talking, and she kept listening. There was no more silence, no more cold. It had been replaced by the warmth of company.
"You really do have to tell me what you're doing here", she asked again.
"I was on my way home, but my building was about a Kilometer away, and there was no way i was going to make it there on foot. I thought I'd stop by at your place and, you know, relax till the storm dies down"
Megha smiled. She loved her mother for buying an apartment so close to his house.
"You want something to drink? Coffee?", she asked.
"Yeah, coffee would be nice", he replied.
She frowned a little. She didn't think he'd say yes. She didn't wanna go into the cold kitchen alone. She wanted to stay here with him.
She got up and walked to the kitchen. Three-fourths of a cup of water, she reminded herself. Only three-fourths. She pulled the Jar of coffee from the kitchen cabinet. If he wanted coffee, she was going to make him the best damn cup of coffee he'd ever had.
That was when she felt his hand on her neck, brushing her hair aside, the dampness of his hands wetting her skin. It didn't feel warm anymore. It felt cold, it felt scary. She turned around to look at his face. It was Raghav, but it wasn't the Raghav she knew. The kindness in his eyes was replaced with something else, something she'd never seen before, something she didn't understand.
"What are you doing here? I'll get you the coffee. Go sit in the living room. relax", she said, but she knew she wasn't very convincing.
"Don't be scared. It's only me. The guy who stood five hours out in the heat on your birthday to give you your present right when you woke up, remember?"
She remembered it only too well. He'd bought her a dress. A very pretty one too, which, being a guy, was quite a feat.
"I'm not scared. Just go sit in the living room, I'll be there in a minute."
"Megha, we've been friends for as long as I can remember. We're not going to let our stupid inhibitions come on the way of something we both want right? I mean, we both know we want it"
He put his arm around her waist and kissed her. She didn't resist. It felt so right. It felt like it should have been this way the whole time. Her and Raghav. Not Raghav and Disha.
That's when she heard the lamp fall to the floor and break into a million tiny pieces.
Disha stood there with the kind of anger in her eyes that Megha had never seen before. How she knew where Raghav was and why she was here, neither of them knew. Megha saw fear in Raghav's eyes, but that fear was slowly fading away and the madness was returning to the whites of his eyes.
"Fuck you, Fuck both of you. I should have known better than to trust him with you, you back-stabbing little fuck."
What happened next was not something Megha was prepared for.
Raghav moved across the room with the agility of a five-year old. He grabbed Disha's wrists and pushed her up against the wall. Megha knew what was coming next, but she didn't know what to do to stop it.
He slapped Disha across the face. He was going to get what he wanted, the girl didn't matter. Megha was secondary now. He was going in for Disha. Disha screamed, Megha screamed louder.
"Megha, go into your room, now! Or I'll kill her, and then I'll kill you", Raghav screamed at the top of his lungs.
Megha stood there, frozen, watching her best friend being violated by the boy they both grew up with. She felt helpless and weak. She couldn't bring herself to do anything. Her legs started shaking again.
"Shut up, I swear I'll kill you if you don't shut up and do what I say!" Raghav slapped her again, sending her tumbling off the wall. Disha lost her balance, stumbled, fell.
And then there was silence.
For a minute or two nothing moved. Raghav because he was frozen solid, Megha because she was about to pass out. And Disha because she was dead.
The pool of blood slowly forming around her body made it's way around Raghav's feet. The edge of the Glass table where she hit her head lay shattered all across the floor. Megha wanted to run, but her legs wouldn't move. She wanted to scream for help, but her voice wouldn't leave her throat. She was witness to her best friend being sexually violated and murdered by the man she admired all her life. The man had let her down. It was her father all over again.
She knew what she had to do. She pulled out a drawer and put her hand in.
"What are you doing?" Raghav spoke at last.
"I'm ending this. You'll never do this to anyone again"
The knife wasn't big, but it was big enough. She walked towards him, the little shit who'd killed her best friend.
"Look, it was an accident. You saw it, she fell. We can talk about this. No one needs to know"
What a pathetic little excuse for a human being, Megha thought to herself. This was the turd she'd been awed by all this while.
She didn't want to talk anymore. She didn't want to answer his pleas. She wanted to end the fucker who did this to her and to Disha.
The next five minutes were just a blur. The knife slid through his neck like butter. The blood splattered across her face. It was warm. It smelled like him, but it tasted sweet, it was vengeance. She stabbed him again, and again. In his shoulder, through his arm, a new wave of fresh warm blood hitting her face every time she attacked.
The fucker was still alive.
She knew why he was alive. Death was too easy. She slid her hand down his chest and unbuttoned his jeans. She pulled them off.
Raghav knew what was coming next. She could see it in his eyes. If he could still talk, he'd scream. But the blood choked his throat up, and it bubbled out every time he tried to make a sound.
The Silence was back. Megha wouldn't have it any other way.
She held the knife up, smiled, and struck down upon his privates as hard as she could. Muffled screams filled the room. If he was going to be noisy, she was going to have to shut him up.
She struck at his genitals again. There was no noise this time. He wasn't even moving. He wasn't dead, he'd just accepted his fate. She got up and stood over his face. He was crying, even through all the blood she could see it. It broke her heart. She decided to put him out of his misery.
She bent down and put the knife to his throat. This was for Disha. She was crying too, and she knew it. But she wasn't sad. She wasn't happy. She was just overwhelmed. She screamed, and pushed the knife through his throat.
No muffled screams, no sobbing. The silence was absolute.
Ashish and Sunny passed the building where the Murder took place, three days ago. It still gave them chills just thinking about it.
"Do you think it's true what Ma said? About the girl being a whore who killed the boy because he wanted to rat her out?", Ashish asked with as much innocence as a 18 year old could have.
"I'll tell you what I heard some of them say the other day" Sunny retorted. She was a raving lunatic, that's what she was. She went up to this dude's apartment and tried to fuck him, or maybe he tried getting with her, nobody really knows yet. Apparently, she lost it and started attacking him with a kitchen knife. She cut his penis off, from what I heard, THEN she went to work on his face. When they took her in, she was going on and on about how he tried to kill her best friend, after HE tried to rape her in front of this Megha chick. From what I know, she was convinced he'd been inside HER house."
"Well did he do it?"
"Did he kill her best friend?" Ashish was getting impatient now.
"That's the messed up part", said Sunny, smiling an evil smile that Ashish knew only too well. "That chick, her best friend? She's been dead for six months now. Died in a car accident. This woman never really got over that. That with some daddy abandonment issues, I'm not surprised she did what she did. I'd have snapped a long time ago."
Sunny walked ahead, he didn't want to stay near this awful place anymore. Ashish stood in front of the building. He saw the windows of the much talked about apartment. Duct taped and sealed.
This girl was a year older than he was. To lose your father and your best friend, he agreed with Sunny, he'd have snapped too.
What a pity, he thought to himself, what a damn shame. He ran ahead, catching up with his best friend. He didn't plan on losing anyone today.
The windows stayed shut, forgotten.