The heavy footsteps following me sounded closer. I ran through the empty corridors of the hospital, my heart pounding with terror.
I turned a corner and stopped short. I had reached a dead end.
It felt as if the die was cast. There was no escaping this time. The desolate dark ending corridor was not the way I wanted life to end for me.
My mind was filled with all sorts of imaginations and fear. What an evening it was turning out to be.
But right now what ?
The heavy foot steps were resonating in the corridor
I prayed to God in my fears
Please God help me
And suddenly I remembered the door just before the corner. It was the other side of entry to the morgue. It was closed always.
But could I take a chance
I didn’t waste time thinking
I crawled on the floor back to the corner.
The footsteps were still a bit away and the area was too dark.
I crawled on my hands and knees to the door and gently pushed it
A very faint creaking sound occured as the door started swinging open and almost brought my heart to my mouth
It felt as if the sound of the pounding heart beats would be heard over everything else.
It seemed as if the approaching footsteps too paused a bit…..
As I moved in the room the footsteps seemed to be fastening
But I had slid in.
Then the reality hit me .
The door was to be repaired for its locks and there was no way to lock it either from outside or inside.
Very few people knew about it and it was to be done a few days back , yet because it was at a corner of the building where no body usually came so got delayed.
But hardly had I started to feel a little relaxed when the stale odour of the air inside and the terrific cold of the mortuary hit me.
I had been to the place only once. That too in day light in the company of some of my friends when we were students.
Being a doctor dealing with human lives , death is an unfortunate incident that is to be accepted as part of life too. Yet it is one thing to be beside a dead patient in the ward surrounded by others who are alive and breathing.
It is a another thing to be in the mortuary surrounded by dead bodies where you are the only one living.
My fears of getting killed by the approaching footstep holder was replaced by the acute fear of getting strangled by ghosts.
I have always believed that the ones who breathe their last in the hospitals leave as unsatisfied souls and more so those people who are claimed by none . The bodies lie in the mortuary till they are officially disposed off .
That pounding in the heart had merely changed from being led by fear of death to fear of the devil.
I was truly trapped between the living who possibly wanted me dead and the dead who wanted me to join their company.
I could hear the footsteps walk past the door and stop. I could hear an audible gasp of frustraion and a faint curse .
I knew it was only a matter of time before the intruder might find the door and enter.
I mustered up all my courage and decided on the only thing I could do. There were ten strolleys in the room. Six were occupied .
I as silently as possible crept up on a empty strolley between two of the dead bodies.
My eyes had got adjusted to the faint blue light of the freezing room.
As I lied down on the strolley I could feel the intense coldness of the metal frame almost cutting through my dress.
With the extreme courage , that comes to all of us in moments of our grave crisis I forgot all my inhibitons and pulled over the white sheet from over the dead body next to mine and draped myself with it.
It was stinking and I felt like throwing up. But my mind was working more clear now.
Almost at the same time I remembered the mobile phone I was carrying.
As I took it out to swith it off I could hear the unmistakable sound of someone pushing the door.
In an instinct I tossed the phone onto the body of the dead person I had taken over the sheet from and put my hand inside the sheet. Fortunately for me it made no sound.
There was no getaway now.
There were just two sounds in the room, one of the creaking sound of the door opening.
The other was of my superfast thumping heart beat which I felt could be heard even by the deaf.
Worse was I had no control on either.
This was the end I said to myself.
Goodbye in a mortuary.
My mind went back to the evening.
I was off duty and walking to the bike stand when a man came running and fell on me.
Save me save me, was all he could utter . And before I knew what was happening a loud sound rang out and the man collapsed on me.
I was too shocked to react when a loud voice boomed , from behind the wounded man .
Tried cheating me , you scumbag
And then I saw a tall man holding a gun pointed at me.
Oh no a witness , he screamed and took a shot a me .
I gathered reflex courage to push the person fallen on me towards the gun holding assasin and ran.
I could hear curses as the shooter fell down from the impact of the falling body on him.
The parking was away from the hospital and dimly lit. It was nearly 12 in the night and there was no one around.
I ran to the nearest stairs without thinking only to realise after getting up that it lead to a blind corner of the hospital floor. Had I taken the right turn at the top of the stairs I would have entered the wards but in my fear I took the left turn.
I had decided to stop and change direction but could see the assasin running up two steps at a time on the stairs leaving me no choice.
The creaking stopped and there was total silence. From a distance however I could hear some commotion coming in.
Possibly people had rushed to the parking hearing the gunshots and soon help would come.
Then I froze with fear. How will they even know I am here.
Hardly anyone had been here from this side.
Strangely the creaking noise was not there. I thought for a moment that the person had left. I was just moments into my wishful thinking that a heavy voice rang out.
I know you are hiding here .
Better come out so that I might spare you. If I search for you then I will ensure a death far more painful.
I kept quiet but my thumping heart beat refused to listen.
What room is this., the voice rang out again. Too cold. No light. He let out a string of abuses.
The sounds below were increasing and getting louder.
I prayed they got here fast.
The man too was getting restless. He understood the time factor.
I will get you. You can’t hide for ever. I could hear the door creaking open and was about to heave a sigh of relief when the unthinkable happened.
My mobile rang.
My heart froze and just like in reflex I thought of shutting it down when I remembered I had put it on the body next to mine.
I could hear a faint smirk of a laughter as the creaking stopped and footsteps raced towards me.
I , with the dead , pretended to be dead.
I was sure he would discover my trick and find me in no time.
The man came to stop towards the the strolley just beside me.
In the dark I am sure he could not see anything clearly.
My phone was ringing on like a Mike as the sound resonated all along the hall.
The dim light coming out from the mobile made me see his outline . He bend down to grab the mobile to possibly shut it down .
And then it happened . In his hurry to grab the mobile the strolley got pushed down and he fell in a heap on the body as he jumped to grasp it.
I could hear his blood curling scream as I am sure he realized he was on a dead body.
I could sense that he was trying to get up but was unable to. Possibly the body had rotted a bit to come off at places.
His screams continued unabated.
I could hear many footsteps approaching the door .
With a sudden bang the door was opened and the room was flooded with torch lights.
I could see from under my sheet some one rushing forward to catch the assasin. A few more steps followed.
Caught you finally , Supari master, said one of the voice.
I could hear the voice of my colleagues of emergency department too in the crowd.
In my extreme excitement of relief I had forgotten that I was lying under a white sheet , covered all over in the mortuary.
I pushed aside the foul smelling white sheet and jumped up.
To my horror there were shrieks and screams as most rushed for the door. The policemen holding the criminal stood frozen and one actually was about to shoot me when a colleague of mine shouted , hey it is Dr Deva, our friend.
The stampede stopped and apart from a few curses coming from here and there it was mostly a sigh of relief.
You scared the hell out of us man said the policeman who had pointed his gun towards me and was clearly not very pleased.
My friends came rushing towards me and said they had heard of the shooting from the emergency ward and had immediately come running out. The police in the hospital premises had been joined within minutes by police from the city.
Someone in the parking lot had seen two persons running, one being chased by the other on the stairs. He was the reason why they had found the trail earlier and why I was still alive.
Move man I could hear the policemen telling someone. Hey doctors take a look at him.
They had put the killer on the ground as he was not moving. We rushed to him , but the man was having a vacant look in his eyes.
I could get no pulse .
He was bodily lifted and carried to the emergency ward but was declared dead.
Natural justice , one policeman said. He would have got all the politicians running up to save him had he been alive.
Evidently the falling of him on a dead body followed almost immediately by the rising of body from under white sheets in a mortuary was too much for him.
Someone handed me my incessantly ringing mobile.
I had many missed calls from my family who were worried why I hadn’t reached home yet.
They obviously had no clue on what had happened.
I thought of the long night ahead telling them this incredible adventure of a lifetime for me.