Hook, Line, and Sinker
He knew the very second their eyes locked that she desired him. And that she was his type, the adventurous one. No, they had never met before, never knew of each other’s existence until now. He crossed the whole length of the sprawling lobby, looking at her, smiling his mischievous smile. She took it all in shamelessly imagining what lies beneath his well-tailored shirt.
‘Shall we?’, he said
‘Sure’, she replied swinging her laptop into its bag and got up to lead the way.
Her room, then. By leading, she had decided. Words were redundant when intention spoke louder.
She slid the card to light the room, dropped the bag on the floor but refused to let go of his lips that had stayed on hers from the time they alighted from the lift. His hands were where she wanted them to be feeling her up. She held him against the wall with her body while her hands searched for his zipper.
His moans egged her on.
He pulled her up, cleverly, not wanting to end too soon. His wet tongue played with her earlobes while his fingers efficiently unclasped her brassiere. She gasped in anticipation as his hands searched for more. Each clothing was discarded hurriedly.
They collapsed on the bed, she on top, when he let out a cry.
She unrolled away to find him clutching his chest, face contorted in pain. She ran to the bathroom and returned with a glass of water.
There he was! A stranger, in her bed, naked, dead.
She stood glass in hand, dumbstruck.
Sounds cliché but after a very brief moment that seemed like eternity to her, she set aside the glass on the gleamingly polished wooden bed side table of the hotel, and tried to bring him back to him to life. She pumped his chest, mildly slapped his face and even sprinkled some water on it.
But he remained dead, finally she had to give up and accept the reality.
Suddenly she felt that she couldn’t move. She didn’t know what to think, and the first incoherent thought that came to her mind was, ‘Am I so fat that my weight just killed off a seemingly very fit man at the prime of his age?’ Tears started rolling down her eyes, and then she realized that it was extremely silly of her to think of her weight problem at this point of time.
And anyways, she was not that fat. She giggled at her own silliness, and then she stopped abruptly in the middle of a giggle. She realized that she was getting hysterical. She gulped down the glass of water resting on the side table. The glass of water that she had brought from the bathroom to revive this dead stranger. Now, it’s reviving her. The thought made her want to giggle again, but she controlled the urge, she mustn’t give away to hysteria, she told herself. She wondered why the man died. Too much excitement, and a weak heart? He looked too fit to have a weak heart, but then there he was, lying naked and dead on her hotel bed.
The hurriedly discarded clothes were lying on the floor. They seemed like a shapeless mass of dead body to her, but bracing herself, she walked up to them and picked up her clothes.
She dressed herself very hurriedly, as if each added moment of nakedness would add to the horror of this night. And then she looked at him again.
His nakedness seemed to be mocking her. Who was he, she now wondered for the first time. Was he too a business tourist to this city, like her, or did his family live here? Was he married, she wondered and looked at his ring finger. No ring there, but that didn’t mean much, she told herself. She thought of her parents and her boyfriend. If this got out, it would ruin her father’s political career for ever. And since all the family money was tied up to the coming election, this would ruin the family entirely as well. And everyone would be very, very disappointed at her fall of moral character, but she knew that disappointing family should be the least of her worries now.
This looked like a murder. There would be criminal charges against her, the newspapers would go crazy; her father would lose his election seat and she would lose her job. And neither she nor her family would be able to show face to the society for another 100 years. She almost giggled at the thought that she need not worry about not showing face to the society as she would anyways be rotting away in a faraway prison cell. The darkness of the thought stole her giggle and her hysteria away. She suddenly wanted to escape, to be free of this night. Again a cliché, but she wished that she could turn back time.
She thought of the newspaper headlines in the coming days, with her face splashed besides the photo of the naked man. Of course, they would make the headline very sensational. And it would be all across Facebook and Twitter. Everyone she knew would be reading them, some would be commenting on such posts too!
Or would the media be decent enough to not splay images of his naked dead body; may be the newspapers would ask his family for a decent photo, or dig into his Facebook or Instagram for one? But they sure would not show any mercy towards her; a fallen daughter of a political leader did not merit such courtesy in journalism, she knew. Each thought hit her like lash of whip. She needed an escape plan, she decided.
It was 12.30 a.m. now, and the hotel corridor seemed quite.
But she knew that there was no point in slipping away, the hotel had all her records. And the dead body was in her room.
She went to the bathroom and took out two shower caps from the dainty jute basket on the washbasin shelf. She wore them around her hands as gloves. And thus, she searched his clothes for his room card, the shower caps around her hands ensuring that her fingerprints did not remain on the card. Now she had no shred of nervousness or hesitancy about her. She found the card, it was for a room on her floor itself. Her room was almost at the end of the corridor, his should be just after one room from her, she calculated.
She kept the card carefully on the table and sat down on the nearby chair. She thought back.
Inside her room, she had torn open his shirt, accompanied by seductive moans in response to what his hands were doing to her. She had held him against the wall with her body while her hands searched for his zipper.
He was in a hurry himself. He had pushed her down. She had knelt down too willingly while he bared himself, every inch of his skin shining with lust.
Soon they had collapsed on the bed, she on top of him. Next, he had died.
So her fingerprints would be on most part of his body, and on his shirt and trousers, she summarised mentally. She stood up from her chair.
She fetched the bath sponge and a mugful of water from the bathroom, and started sponging off the stranger’s body, careful not to spill any water on the bed. She touched him everywhere, without any vestige of the lust she had been showering on this body just an hour ago. She kept on till she was satisfied that all her fingerprints were wiped off. Then she clothed him.
It was 2.30 by then. She checked the corridor, trying to make her movement of opening the door and peeping out a very natural action, in case someone was looking. No one was looking.
She wrapped a scarf around her face, hoping that would be enough to save her from the security cameras, if any, on the corridor. She was quite athletic, but his body had grown heavy. Armed with his room card, she dragged his body down the corridor, to his room.
She knew she was taking a lot of risk – despite it being late, she still might get caught dragging a corpse in the hotel corridor by someone, and there sure were security cameras around. But she knew that this was still a chance. The only other option for her was to confess the truth to the police. First of all, no one would believe her to be innocent of murder, and then, even if it could be proven that he died of medical reasons, thus freeing her of any incrimination; her life would still be marred forever with all the horrible gossips and rumours, and the truth. Her father’s political career would come to a tragic end, and the family would come to the road. ‘God, save me this time and I will never cross the line again’, she swore.
Once she put him up on his bed, she removed his shirt and trousers, and folded them into a neat pile; they had her fingerprints on them and she cannot afford to leave them behind. She was still wearing her makeshift gloves. She rummaged through his suitcase and fished out a t-shirt. She put it on him and got out of his room. Again, there was no one in the corridor. While returning, she noticed a security camera at the elevator entrance, but she felt pretty sure that it was too far away to be able to capture her adventures in the corridor. She sighed a breath of relief.
Once in her room, she started wiping off all the spots where his fingerprints could be found. By the time she had taken care of everything, it was almost 4.30 a.m. She checked out and left for the airport in a cab the hotel had booked.
She was poised enough, she decided, as she settled herself on the flight. She checked herself on the selfie-camera in her phone- she looked very exhausted, she realized. But forced to wake up so early, most of her co-passengers looked equally tired. She felt a stir of hope in her heart. The sun was just rising among the clouds and it looked beautiful. She shot a small video of the sunrise, and posted it as an Instagram story, hash tagged #morningblliss. She felt pleasantly surprised with herself.
She felt capable, confident and happy as she drifted off to sleep. She hadn’t noticed that she had spelled ‘bliss’ wrong.
Once on her cab home, She googled for news of the other city. No death news came up on her feed. She was surprised. Even without a sex scandal, this death should be sensational enough to make it to the news reports, if not the headlines. Maybe no one had discovered the death till now, she thought. She typed in the hotel’s name along with the city’s name, but mostly it drew up only the room booking links. One link caught her eye – “Spooked by ‘haunted’ hotel, television actress Pratiksha Balan demands to change accommodation at the middle of the night”. She clicked on it. The actress had claimed that she was accompanied by an admirer to her room, who later disappeared into thin air. The report mentioned that a staff of the hotel, who wanted to remain anonymous, had confirmed rumours of a resident ghost in the hotel.
She searched some more and came across a few more links that spoke of a ghost in that hotel. Apparently this ghost was a super handsome casanova who seduced attractive girls and disappeared just as things started getting hot.
Once home, she ran to her room with her luggage, and frantically unzipped her suitcase. She had stuffed his shirt and trouser at its bottom, meaning to discard them at the first opportunity. But the suitcase only had her clothes. She calmed herself down and searched again, but the shirt and trousers were gone. ‘He must have been the casanova ghost!’ she exclaimed to herself.
She giggled, but no sound came out of her mouth. It was the ghost of a giggle.
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