The Runaway

The Runaway by Aritri Gupta Read Free Book Online

Book: The Runaway by Aritri Gupta Read Free Book Online
Authors: Aritri Gupta
probing further, he would never come to know how the card came to be. It had been three years since his trip down under, and he had almost stopped having disturbing dreams at night. He was finally getting over it -those haunting grey eyes, and those dank walls and the woods and piling dead bodies. He dreamt of the same for months. Each night it would get a little more vivid, or it would be dim humming at the back of his mind. But it never truly left him. He knew he was close to becoming paranoid, that he was wont to looking over his shoulders all the time. But three years down the line, the paranoia was fading and he was breathing with ease. And then the card arrived.
    After much effort and bribery was put in, it was revealed that three years of good behaviour earned him certain privileges.
    “Are they out of his mind?”
    He seethed with anger, more so over the fact that Wattson was simply quiet. His raspy voice sounded condescending despite his best efforts – and it wasn’t comforting. The fact that Paul had taken the trouble to post a letter all the way to London just to rattle Richard.
    “What the warden does isn’t in my hands Halden. Get a grip over yourself and chuck the card in the garbage. You have enough on your hands with the award coming up!”
    Oh! Right. The award. Some award. Would he live through to receive it? Would it be posthumous? Okay now he seriously needed to get out and live a little.
    He hung up. The fact that he was still behind bars served a little amount of satisfaction to Richard. But the cycle had started again, and this time with more vigour. He could never be too careful, never take a turn without looking over his shoulders and his paranoia had touched newer levels altogether. However, unlike the last time, he decided to confine his madness within the limits of his mind. All the hallucinations, the dreams had returned to haunt his night’s sleep – until it subsided into a routine that he stopped running from.
    He would always make sure that Paul is still in jail, he decided. Even after Wattson passed away, and he couldn’t attend the funeral, but he made sure to check in Paul’s status. He had enough contacts in Australia to keep him updated. It had been a couple of years since his first card, and Paul had never missed a birthday since. No matter who wished, he’d always be greeted by Paul’s card in the letterbox. It was an eerie gift that he was starting to look forward to. Like an arch nemesis. He scoffed at his wild imagination. People didn’t have arch enemies. Something like this should have freaked him out, yet he never went to the police. Thinking back, he probably should have reported Paul’s “friendly” correspondence- but he couldn’t fathom the reason why he never went forward with the information.
    The idea, the escapade was already brewing in his mind – with the cards, and the unexpected interest that Paul took in him. He wanted to return the favour maybe. Or he had reached a point in his life, where routine and the monotony was strangling his life. And so, the idea was given a corporal form of a book. Again! He had, after all, pursued the dollmaker with the ruse of getting an inspiration for his next novel. He wanted to take it up again. He was sceptical about how much he could reproduce – the incidents were fresh then. He never doubted his memory – it was almost photographic and he was blessed with tremendous retention capacity. It was retrieving that would be troublesome – along with the incomplete information that he had wouldn’t suffice to give justice to Paul. Ronan was the only person who had known about his increasing obsession. And he wasn’t too enthused by it. It was only after Ronan’s intervention that he could see a glimmer of hope again.
    Brooke. It was as simple as that. She could light up the memory lanes like the sun. She would be like the talking diary. He hated himself for having thought of Brooke as nothing but a means to achieve

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