Tunnel to Darkness.....The End?

AniM By AniM, 12th Feb 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>General Fiction

Travails of two friends working in a tunnel under the city

Search for Reena

Then they came across only one person who said that he had seen Reena cross the road from their neighborhood and walk swiftly towards the tunnel work area. According to him, Reena seemed very preoccupied, as if she had a lot on her mind and wasn't too happy about it. Strangely, no one seemed to have seen her arrive at the work site or leave from there. As if the earth had swallowed her, where the tunnel started.It was already quite late in the night, and people were settling down for the night. A few of those who had accompanied Anand and the boys, suggested that they all retire for the night, if only to resume their search in the morning, in case Reena did not come back by then. Some assumed that she had gone someplace in a hurry to attend an emergency and simply forgot to inform anyone on her way out. Anand and the boys were not at all convinced by this train of thought, where would she go and why the blistering hurry?
An uneasy dawn broke over them in due time, bringing no news only further uncertainty. Neither Anand nor the boys went to work, and their sympathetic neighbors assured information to their gang bosses at the work site. The work at the Tunnel was slowly reaching its completion and casting work near the platform was going on along with finishing touches at the above ground entry point. Soon, tracks will be laid and tested, and sleek trains will run on them, carrying millions of people to and fro. Forgotten will be the likes of Anand, Vikram and Aaron, their stories buried under tons and tons of concrete. Their insignificant lives will not bother the reputations of the corporations building the subway system, their misfortunes will not register even a blip on the radar of lives around them. But, that is another story of human indifference, better left for another day.
The day wore on, with no sign or news of Reena. Anand was growing restless with every passing hour and probably more despondent. None of them had eaten anything since the night before and they didn't feel hungry either. How long could they just wait? Finally,around 4 in the evening, they decided to go to the nearest Police Station and lodge a missing person complaint. Together, they walked about a kilometer to the station. Aaron and Vikram had never been inside one and were filled with trepidation. In India, Police were not seen as a friend by anyone, only with a sense of deep mistrust and fear, even by the righteous multitude. Decades of interference from their political masters, have slowly but surely turned the force into lackeys, stooges for their political bosses in the ruling regime. So all three approached the building with caution, fear and apprehension.
Inside, they were greeted with a sight typical to Indian Police Stations, chaos, disorganization and indifference. After about 30 minutes of waiting, a constable called them and listened to Anand with growing disinterest. Straight up, he asked for 'Fees' to write a FIR and implied that more such 'Fees' would need to change hands if Anand wanted his wife to be found. Anand expressed his helplessness at raising money for the search, which was met with some crude and vulgar remarks form the policeman. They pleaded and begged, but he didn't pay any heed. After another couple of hours of fruitless waiting, Anand approached the policeman with Rs.100 and begged for his complaint to be written down. The constable finally relented and wrote down a few details in a register, Anand had no photo of Reena, no address and no known relative. The constable looked up at Anand with irritation written large on his countenance. 'How do you expect us to look for her? Dream up how she looks, huh? You stupid ass, is she even your wife?' Anand shook his head and looked down, 'Poverty doesn't allow you the privilege of ceremonies, sir, but we were married in our hearts...' The constable sniggered, 'Then go find her with your heart, you oaf!' Then after a few seconds, he seemed to soften a bit, 'I'll ask around the other police stations of the city and this locality too, but can't promise you anything.' Anand replied with tears in his eyes,
'Please find her sir, she's all I've got...'
They hurried away from the station, all three had unspoken hope in their hearts, that Reena would have returned by now and there would be some rational explanation for her sudden disappearance. But, that was not to be. There was no Reena, and no news either. Another sleepless night beckoned, and but for their neighbor's insistence, a foodless one also. She gave them chapatis and some curry, of which they ate little, complaining of a lack of appetite. Another day dawned and then passed with no developments. They trekked to the police station to inquire but came away with no news. The next day, both boys went back to work, Anand didn't. It made little sense to sit at home and wait and lose wage. When they returned in the evening, with a flicker of hope, the same sight met them. Anand sitting on the floor near the doorpost, a distant look in his eyes, all hope drained from his heart. Another trek to the police station yielded the same result, no news. Slowly, the boys also start feeling hopeless and helpless.
A few days later, Anand also joined back work, a stoic look replacing his frustration. People sympathized with him but quickly moved away when he didn't respond. All conversation between the three had dried up except the basic necessities, what could they say? What did they have to say? They established a routine, of going to the police station on their way back from work. But they always came back with the same result, nothing. A month passed, they were still at the same place that they were on that fateful night, with depleting expectations of ever getting Reena back in their lives. A mystery without any probable motive and only an unexplained disappearance to live the rest of their lives with.

Seven Years Later.....

Seven years later, entire scenario around the area had changed. Trains were buzzing around every ten minutes and the labor hutments where Anand and the boys stayed, had made way for other buildings. They had moved on themselves to the other side of the city, where the subway system was being constructed. Reena had not come back and Anand had settled into the monotony of life lived alone.
Far away, in their old neighborhood, the subway company had decided to extend the platform to accommodate increased traffic and extend the line. A new gang of laborers were working on one side of the existing platform, breaking pillars and digging some more into the earth. One of them, suddenly, felt his Drill hit something and almost bounce out of his hands! A few others gathered around him and tried to peer over his shoulder into the dark niche he had created with his drill. They could hardly make out anything in the darkness, so they called out to the others to get more light. If it was a big piece of rock, they would need something bigger than their hand drills to continue boring. The light, when it arrived, illuminated a ghastly and horrific scene! It was no rock, it was a decomposing skeleton, that too of a woman! Pieces of cloth and skin still clung to the bones in some places, metal bangles on the wrists indicating the gender. The gang boss was called, who started sweating on seeing this macabre sight. Not wanting to stir up any trouble, he ordered that the remains be buried in another place and no one present were allowed to talk about it.
Next day, the new burial spot for the skeleton was selected, the body unceremoniously dumped and overlaid with fresh concrete. Nobody knew who she was, and what fate had befallen her, and now nobody would ever know what story she would have to tell if alive. She remained the mystery buried under a few tons of concrete, while trains thundered around her mortal remains.....

Tags

City, Fiction Writing, Fictional Stories, Labor, Laborers, Railroad Tracks, Railroads, Short Story, Story, Tunnel

Meet the author

author avatar AniM
I have been an avid reader since my childhood and that is my biggest passion! I will write on Telecom, Cricket, Book reviews and some politics

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password