This is my first ever attempt at writing a short story. Happy that it got published in one of the major national newspapers, the Kathmandu Post on Jan 13. Not so happy, that some of my lines were ‘changed’.
It was still dark and chilly outside when he woke up. His head was like a ten ton hammer and struggled to lift it. He had too much of whiskey last night. More than what he usually would have. His eyes were red and bleary. His right hand was lacerated from fingers to the elbow; the blood seemed to have dried off. Cursing and mumbling, he dragged himself out of the bed and staggered into the bathroom. When he got out, he realized that his stomach was rumbling terribly because he hadn’t eaten anything while gulping down two full bottles of whiskey last night.
“This stomach must remain silent,” he thought. With each second, the roar inside the intestines was getting louder. “Focus. Focus. I need to focus here,” he tried to talk himself through the torment. His head was throbbing with shattering pain. He knew that he had no food in the kitchen. And no water to drink.
Ram was a doctor working in a very reputed hospital. He was already building his own reputation as a surgeon. He had worked hard through the medical school and after completing MBBS with exceptional grades, he had started working in Kathmandu’s private hospital. At 35, he had already managed to create a name for himself. Everyone saw him as a diligent and reliable doctor who passionately worked with the patients. Everyone loved him.
He was charming and he was wealthy. As one would expect, Dr Ram was the most sought after bachelor in the city. Dr Ram was also a little bit strange.
Few nurses had noticed Dr Ram would hang around the operation theater long after any surgery was over. After operations, Dr Ram would insist on being left alone with his patients. With dead patients too. When an operation went haywire and the patient died, he then would shut the doors of the operation theater and remain inside for hours. Everyone assumed that he needed few solitary moments to reflect on the incident. Dr Ram would then come out, fresh and ready for another operation. No one bothered to ask what he did inside the theater with the dead patients.
He had to eat something somehow. He had heard news of remarkable feats, people surviving without eating food for months. He didn’t have that amazing stamina. He had to eat something. Someone.
Last night was a very weird night for Dr Ram. The hospital was dead still, just like an old cemetery. “Are there no patients tonight?” he thought, “Or are they all dead?” He got out of his cabin and started strolling around the emergency ward. A nurse was sleeping on her desk. The other nurses were not around. The reception was empty as well. The silence seemed strange and somehow menacing, as if something evil was about to happen.
Then, he saw her. As he was about to turn on a corner towards his cabin, she appeared right in front of him. He staggered a few steps back in pure horror. Her eyes were beautiful. Her lower jaw was missing. She had long shiny black hair. Blood was gushing out from her right ear. He took few more steps back. He soon realized that she was not a ghost like in the movies. Nor any kichkandi. She was real. She stretched her hands as if asking for help and moved closer to him.
He grabbed her. Lifted her up and placed her on a stretcher. All by himself. There was no one around. He had to act quickly. He pushed the stretcher along the corridor, into the operation room. He had no time to think. Once in the operation room, he started to cut loose her clothes. Except for her disfigured face, her body was like an angel’s. Dr Ram had never seen such a body. Perfect, without any blemish. She was still breathing, but now she was almost unconscious. She was perfect.
Dr Ram took out a blade and swiftly made a deep diagonal incision on her upper abdomen. She flinched and jerked her body violently. In the few grueling minutes, Dr Ram cut through her abdomen, reached inside and took out her liver. His eyes were beaming like a thousand suns. He had always wanted to eat a liver. He had tasted heart and kidney before, but never a liver. Her body was still shuddering with involuntary spasms; her hand somehow grabbed Dr Ram’s hand. Then, she was calm like an ocean. He gloated over the body. It was perfect.
Dr Ram dashed out of the operation room, and into his cabin. The nurse on duty was still sleeping like a lumber on the desk. He wanted to get out, get to his home fast and relish his treasure. The thought of roasted liver on his plate gave him a mild orgasm. He grabbed his stuff, slung his imported leather bag around his shoulder and the made it toward the exit. There was still no one at the reception office, which he thought was very odd.
The parking area was dead and dark. He fumbled for his car keys. He always forgot which pocket he kept the keys in. It could have been in the front pocket. It could have been in the coat’s pocket. “What is it with my memory and the car key!” he chided himself. He never misplaced his cell phone. Nor he ever misplaced his wallet. But the car key seemed to be his weakness.
Then, he felt it.
Behind his head, at the back of his neck. It was as if a mad elephant had swatted him with its heavy trunk. And, another whack. This time he dropped on the floor like a sack of potatoes. Completely dazed and with both hands and knees on the ground, he gazed up slowly and saw there were two junkies, one with a lead pipe and the other with a pistol. “NO this is not happening.” He couldn’t believe he was getting mugged. Not tonight. It was his moment. He felt a kick in his abdomen. He curled and writhed in agony and begged them to leave him alone. They wanted his wallet, his watch, his car. And his bag. He had to fight for the bag but all he got flattened with thuds of the pistol’s butt on his head and kicks of leather boots on his guts. They picked him up and then threw him like a rag doll over the trash can. Then, they were gone. On his car, with every thing he had.
“This stomach must remain silent,” he thought. With each second, the roar inside the intestines was getting louder. “Focus. Focus. I need to focus here,” he tried to talk himself through the torment. His head was throbbing with shattering pain. He knew that he had no food in the kitchen. And no blood to drink. He had to eat something somehow. He had to eat something. Someone.