The evening was in its trance. Shina was on the terrace of her apartment with her coffee mug thinking about her new life, new job and of course new journey.
Shina Mehrotra, a 24 years old ambitious girl got a job in an MNC in Pune. She was from a small town named Riva in Madhya Pradesh. She was the elder daughter of her family with lot of responsibilities. Her younger sister was in college doing her bachelor’s degree and her youngest brother was in school. Her father was a retired banker and her mother was a home maker. Shina was a very bright student, polite and gentle by nature. She got a very good job on a high payroll in Pune. She agreed to take the job and moved to Pune.
Shina was lost in her thoughts suddenly she heard some footsteps behind her.
“Hello, who is there??
“Hi, this is Rahul. But may I know who’s this charming lady? I often come here but I never saw you before.”
“O yes. I am new here, shifted last week. I am Shina, Shina Mahrotra. I came up on the terrace today only just to check whether the sky still exists or lost in the concrete life.” Both laughed.
“Yes, can understand the pressure of working in a MNC. May I know for which company you are working Shina?”
“I work for J.B.Associates, as programmer. “
“Sounds great. Hey! Just a second!! That means I am your neighbor in professional field also. I work for Cyrus Engineering Private Limited. “
“Hmm… so you are an engineer. Sounds cool.”
“Engineer by profession and cook by choice.”
“Wow!! You are a cook. Hold on, last night I got a nice aroma of kheer. That means flat no. 306 is yours, right.”
“Bingo Ms Programmer, you must be a soothsayer.” Both laughed.
They started meeting every day on the terrace and shared their daily experiences.
Shina was very happy that she found a very good friend in a new city with whom she can share everything. Rahul also felt soft emotions for Shina. Both were unaware what was waiting for them in future.
Their days were passing smoothly. One day Rahul received a mail that he was promoted as a Project Manager and was posted in another city. He was happy for the promotion as it was his dream project. But on the other hand, he was upset as he had to go far away from his love. In the evening Rahul went up the terrace and was waiting for Shina. Shina came up and found Rahul upset.
“What happened Mr. Engineer, the castle you made in the air has fallen down or your dream casserole has burnt??” Shina said teasingly.
“I am promoted as the Project Manager for a new project in Mining and Metallurgy Department.” Said Rahul very slowly.
“What!! Congratulations Mr. Engineer. It was your dream project, right? But feeling you are not happy? Anything serious?”
“I have to go to Raipur for the project. It may take more than a year there to complete the project.”
“So, what is the problem?”
“problem!! Are you kidding or what? You have become my habit. I cannot live without you. I love you ..” Rahul said in a single breathe which made Shina surprised.
Shina was happy in heart. She said, “It’s the era of smart phones and gadgets dear. we couldn’t be separated anyhow. And when will I get a treat from you?”
“Well coming Sunday at my place.”
“Great... waiting for the day. Its already very late. Time to say good night.”
It was Sunday, the day Shina and Rahul was waiting for. Shina wore her favorite pink gown. She was looking very gorgeous.
Ding Dong….Ding dong
“Coming... wait a minute.”
Rahul opened the door and was mesmerized.
“WOW!! Shina you look absolute gorgeous.” He could not take his eyes off her.
“Stop gazing like that Rahul.” Smiled Shina.
The room was decorated with red roses and heart balloons. Rahul took care of every small details to impress Shina as it was their first date. Rahul came close to Shina bow on his knees and proposed to her with a gold ring.
“I love you Shina. Will you marry me.”
Shina was over the moon. She said “Yes”. They hugged each other. They decided to get married once Rahul come back from Raipur.
Next week Rahul moved to Raipur. He got busy in his work as everything was new to him. Shina also got busy with her work in office. They hardly get time to talk to each other.
It was almost 2 months, one day Rahul was too late to leave from his office. And the location of his office was very deserted. It was sort of impossible to get any transportation after 9 PM. Rahul checked the time. It was 11.30 at night. He came out of office and found it was dark and lonely everywhere.
“OMG. How will I reach home today? I should have finished earlier.” Rahul muttered. He called his junior and asked him to send the office car.
“Sir, the office driver is on leave. Don’t worry I am coming to pick you up. Give me some time.”
“Ok Rajiv, sorry for disturbing you so late. I am waiting at the lobby.”
“ok sir, I am coming.”
Rahul hung up the phone and was about to turn back towards the office, suddenly he saw a lady standing at the bus stop, seems she was also waiting for any cab or transportation. At first, he got scared as the place was new and he hardly knew about the area. Then he thought may be the lady was also new in this area. That’s why she was standing here so late waiting for any transportation.
“I must help her.” Thought Rahul. He went towards the lady. It was very dark, and her face was not visible.
“Excuse me miss?”
“Rahul is that you??”
Rahul knew the voice. He was shocked.
“Shina!!! What are you doing here? When did you come to Raipur? And what are you doing here at night so late?” Shouted Rahul.
“Relax Rahul... Don’t shout. I was missing you sooooo much. That’s way I came all the way running to see you.” Said Shina humorously.
“Just shut up, ok? You made me scared you know?”
“so, what did you think? There is a witch standing here and she would suck your blood and kill you.” Laughed Shina.
“when did you arrive at Raipur? And where do you stay here? Have you come here for any office work?” Rahul asked all the questions in a single breath.
“Relax, will you ask all the questions today only? Asked Shina
Suddenly Rahul heard a honking sound, It was Rajiv.
“Hello Sir, let’s go. You are already very late today.”
“Sure. Rajiv meet my friend Shin…. Shina…. Shina, where are you? “
“What happened Sir?? Are you ok? Nobody is here. Whom you are looking for sir?” asked Rajiv, surprisingly.
“My friend from Pune was standing here. We were talking. But suddenly she disappeared. I can’t understand what is happening.” Said Rahul by scratching his hair.
“Sir, nobody was there when I arrived. It may be your illusion. You are very tired sir. You need rest and a sound sleep. Maybe you are missing your friend very much that’s why you got such delusion.”
Rahul stayed dumb. But all the way he was thinking the incident. How could it be a delusion? Her voice was vibrating into his ears. Rahul was lost in his thoughts.
“Sir, Sir, you are home. Are you ok?” Rajiv waked up Rahul
“Thank you, Rajiv, I am fine. Sorry to call you so late. Good night.” Rahul got down from the car and went inside his quarter.
As soon as he got into the room, he called Shina. But her phone was switched off. He repeatedly called her to no avail. Rahul lied on the bed and was continuously thinking about the conversation between him and Shina. Each word echoed into his ears.
Next morning Rahul woke up as soon as the phone rang. It was Rajiv calling from the office. He saw the watch. It was 9O’ clock. “O My God!! I am very late. He picked the call.
“Hello Sir, this is Rajiv calling from the office. Are you ok sir? Are you coming today?”
“Yes, Rajiv I am fine. I am coming. Please send the office car.”
“Sure sir. Bye”
Rahul hung up the call got read and went to the office. All day he was busy with his project. In the evening, when everyone was leaving, he said to Rajiv, “Hey Rajiv, can you do a favor for me? Can I hire your car for today? Tomorrow morning, I will pick you up from your home.”
“Sure sir. Not an issue.”
Rahul dropped Rajiv to his home and came back to the office. He started waiting for Shina. It was around 11 O’clock. it was lonely and dark everywhere. Suddenly he saw someone was standing in the bus stop. He ran towards the shadow.
“Shina, is that you?”
“yes Rahul, its me.”
But today her voice was very low. As it was dark, her face was not clearly visible.
“Are you ok Shina? And where did you vanish yesterday without telling me? You know how much I was worried? Your phone as also switched off. And why are you late again? Where is your office?”
“It’s very near to your office, around 500 meters from here. I am very tired, feels like my soul is going to depart my body.” Shina smiled.
“Shut up Shina. Never say like that. Come with me. I’ll drop you to your quarter.” Said Rahul and tried to hold her hand. But Shina moved forward and got into the car which made Rahul surprised.
All through Rahul kept on talking but Shina hardly spoke. She was lost in another world. After going a little far Shina said Rahul to stop the car. It was a dark, lonely, and narrow lane.
“Thank you, Rahul. Thanks for what you did for me. You take care. Goodbye”
“Darling, please tell me what happened? And why are you bidding me goodbye? Let’s go, I’ll drop you to your quarter. I can’t leave you here alone. Its already 12 O’clock.”
“No Rahul, from here I am to go alone. Before leaving I want to say you one thing. I love you so much- as before and will always.” Shina smiled
Shina got down from the car and was lost into the darkness in no time. Rahul was dumbfounded. He didn’t understand why Shina said that. He just kept watching.
He came back to his quarter. While taking his bag from the car he found a diary. He knew this diary. It was Shina’s. he took the diary and went in. After having his dinner, he opened the first page of the diary.
“ 6th March 2019
Today I shifted to Pune. New place, new office, new challenge. All the best Shina. You can do it. :)”
Rahul turned the next page.
“ 13th March 2019
Dear Diary, Today I met a boy in the terrace. His name is Rahul. He lives in flat no. 306, just below my flat. He is a very sweet guy and a cook. Oops. an engineer as well. Thank god I found a friend.
Good Night 😊”
There was a smile on his face while reading the pages. His smile turned into fear when he read the next fewer pages which were written when he came to Raipur.
“ 14th September,2019
I want to go home. I don’t want to work here anymore. I miss you, Rahul. I need you. Please come back.
Miss you Mom and Dad.”
Rahul turned the next page. It was the last page written by Shina. The rest pages were empty. Rahul started reading the last page. As he studied his face kept changing out of fear.
“ 27th September 2019
A big conspiracy is going on in my office. The office is only for showing off, the main business is to export and import drugs. Today I was working late in the office. Everybody had left, as I was about to leave, I saw some unknown faces in my office. Our boss was with them. I hide myself behind the cupboard and watched their suspicious activities. They were drug dealers. They had guns as well. Somehow, I ran out from the office but unfortunately one of the people saw me running. I am afraid they will kill me. I don’t understand what to do. I should inform police.”
“Oh my God …., “uttered Rahul
Next morning, Rahul called his one of the friends, who was his neighbor and enquired about Shina.
“Shina went missing for last two weeks. Her parents have filed a report, but the police haven’t been able to find her out yet. According to their report, her phone was found in a deserted place near the highway outside the city.”
“WHAT!!!” Rahul started feeling dizzy. Everything was moving around him how he met Shina, their dating, and of course the last two days when he met Shina at Raipur. Puzzled he fell on the floor and got senseless.
“How are you feeling now, sir? What happened to you suddenly? I called you many times but when you didn’t receive my call I came to your quarter and found you lying on the floor senseless. I brought you in this hospital. Doctor has suggested that you take rest Sir.” Said Rajiv
Rahul was quiet. He was thinking about Shina. Suddenly he remembered Shina told her office was within 500 meters from his office. He asked Rajiv, “Rajiv is there any office near our office, within 500 meters approx.?”
“Within 500 meters?? No sir there isn’t any office. But there used to be. That building is closed for last 8 years. The local people say that the place is haunted. But as far as I know some anti-social elements are doing their business there. They are very notorious and can do any type of heinous crime. But why are you asking sir? Who told you about that office?”
Without giving any answer Rahul said, “I have to go there. I must drag the truth out. There must be a connection with that place and Shina.”
“What are you up to? That place is not safe. I can’t let you go there. Please sir, don’t be a fool. It could be dangerous.”
“Try to understand Rajiv. Shina needs me. She is in danger. She is calling me.” Rahul was screaming madly.
“No one is there sir. That place is abandoned.” Rajiv tried to make Rahul understand but he lost in front of his stubbornness. They reached the place. It was an old building which was broken into a part. There were so long bushes all around that one can easily hid himself. The place was very creepy, and it gave goosebumps in the daylight as well.
Suddenly Rahul felt an invisible power dragging him inside the building. Rajiv tried to stop Rahul, but Rahul was not in himself. Rajiv decided to follow Rahul. It was dark inside the building and a very strange rotten odor was in the air which made Rajiv vomit. They found a room which was locked from outside. The odor was coming from that room. Rahul broke open the door of the room, it was a storeroom. As soon as he entered the room, he found a skeleton. They got very scared, but Rahul saw something which made him still. There was a gold ring in the finger of the skeleton. It was that gold ring which he gave to Shina while proposing her.
Rahul broke down and sat on the floor. He cried out loud, “SHINA…..”
Rajiv called the police who arrived in a short span and sealed the place. They sent the skeleton for postmortem and investigated the whole place. They found packs of illegal drugs and some documents through which they identified the main culprit, the MD of J.B.Associates along with his partners. Soon the Police arrested them.
After one week of the incident, Rahul got a call from an unknown number.
“Hello, who’s there?”
“Hello, Rahul.. Thanks for everything. Now I can rest in peace. I love you Rahul. Goodbye.”
“Shina… Shina please talk to me... Shinaaa.!!”
The phone got disconnected.
Rahul called back the same number.
“The number you have dialed does not exist. Please check the number …”
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