Forgotten

Written by Krishna Shreeram



Forgotten illustration
Illustrated by Freya Parekh © Renesa - SVNIT

Friday, 13th March 2020 at 9 pm.

*Thssshhhhhhhk* The glass shattered as I slammed the door on my way out. The sharp pieces fell onto the white expanse of snow, but I was too afflicted to care. As I walked further and further away, the dreadful sounds of my dad shouting and mom crying faded away. The day was cold, but I was boiling with anger. I wandered into a nearby park, passing dead white trees as chilly winds blew past me. The sudden rustle of leaves behind me sent a shiver down my spine. I felt something strange, like I was being observed, almost as if someone was watching me. In a panic, I turned around and searched the distant depths of the snow, but there was no one there. “Huh, weird” I gasped out, shivering as I brought my palms together to warm them up. The cold finally got to me. To avoid freezing to death and having nowhere else to go, I headed toward the supermarket I used to work at.


As I walked towards the entrance, warmth greeted my body and the cold silence

was gradually replaced by the noise of a bustling crowd. I put on my mask and swiftly moved in, like a ghost with my hoodie on and head down. All covered faces around me, trying to grab every last piece of toilet paper. I was scurrying to the end of the frozen foods aisle when I realized I was about to bump into a lady. I barely managed to dodge her and fell onto a nearby aisle, knocking down some cans. All this commotion gathered the attention of one of my colleagues. I hurriedly re-stacked everything and fled before he could recognize and approach me. Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling particularly sociable at the moment.


I was heading towards the back of the store, my thoughts preoccupied with all the strong arguments I could have made back home. The frustration and regret were eating me alive. My gaze fell upon a 9-foot-tall cooler, which had plenty of space on top and was covered from the front. Without giving it a second thought, I scanned my surroundings and briskly climbed up onto it, using the raised metallic grooves on the side. My body, completely ignoring the darkness, began searching for a wall to lean on while my mind kept replaying conversations. My hand felt a rough concrete wall behind me as I leaned towards it. A weightless sensation overtook me. Before I could realize the presence of a gap, I was too deep in a position to pull myself back up and helplessly fell into it.


Friday, 13th March 2020 at 10:50 pm.

The manager announces on the PA, “Lights out in 10.”


*Employees chatting nearby*

Employee1: Man, this Covid-19 thing is a real hassle. The pay and hours were pretty good here.

Employee2: Yeah, I know right. I just hope the lock-down ends soon.

Employee1: Yeah. Anyway, I will catch you later at Shaw’s right?

Employee2: That’s right.


*They start walking away*

Employee2: Oh wait, did you happen to see Diego today by any chance?

Employee1: *Looks back* Oh, nope. As far as I know, he did not have a shift today and he isn’t exactly someone who would just come in to meet people, you know.

Employee2: Weird. I think I saw him today.

Employee1: Save some rum for the party later.

Employee2: Ha-ha, very funny. Anyway, never mind. See you later.


Friday, 13th March 2020 at 11:30 pm.

I groaned in pain as I rubbed my head. My eyes widened and blinked rapidly in a futile attempt to adjust to the pitch-black darkness. For a second, I was lost as to where I was and what was happening. But then it all slowly came back to me. I was wedged in an unusual upside-down position between the cooler and the wall. I tried to contract my body and push against the wall, but the gap was too small for me to move. This frantic struggle only made my breathing more shallow and my chest ache. So I paused and scratched my head. My hand instinctively sought for my pocket to feel my phone. A wave of terror washed over me as I couldn’t feel it. I got a flashback of it lying on my bed and I breathed a sigh of regret.


At this point, I had started mouth breathing but was still short of air. A reeling sensation overtook me. I felt light like I was floating. The whole day flashed before my eyes. It just regressed from one low to another. “How did I manage to mess up so badly?” I asked myself. I felt like I was sinking, deeper and deeper. Although my vision had become hazy, I could see what this meant. Although the lights were already out, this is when I felt like everything was blacking out. I wanted to hold on to dear life, but death was staring right at me. I suppose my time had come.


And when it all seemed to be lost, out of the blue, I heard a familiar voice calling my name. I felt a sudden rush of adrenaline. I exclaimed in excitement, “Dad! I am here, over here.” I had never rejoiced to this extent to the sound of his voice before. The entire store lit up. I teared up as my dad’s smiling face came into sight. I felt a sense of assurance. But that smile slowly faded away and darkness shone in my eyes once again as he disappeared. “No! No! Please!”, I cried out. The store dimmed down yet again. It all poofed out of existence as quickly as it first appeared. I guess I deserved it. After all, I have only ever been a disappointment.


Just when I was about to give up, I heard yet another voice, a song, echoing in from far away. My hopes were shattered as my pleas turned into a cry when I recognized the voice. A chill ran down my spine as I heard that dissonant song. It became clearer as she got closer and closer. In a low and quavery tone, she sang -

“The hunger in his eyes was lit up by the moonlight,

when I was murdered that very night.

But now I am back, back from the grave,

and there is no one who shall save.”


“I ... I ...” I was dumbstruck. That dreadful night flashed before my eyes. It was so clear as if it were yesterday. A huge wave of guilt overtook me as I relived it. I retched in disgust at the reflection of my past self. “I… I don’t know what took over me that night,” I said remorsefully. She just stared at me dead cold with her starry eyes, expressionless, and continued singing -

“The hunger in his eyes was lit up by the moonlight,

when I was murdered that very night.

But now I am back, back from the grave,

and there is no one who shall save.

His cold merciless hands dragged me through the mud,

While his clothes were tainted with my blood

But now I am back, back from the grave,

and there is no one who shall save.”

I felt this uncontrollable pain from within, my heart ached. I kept drowning further in that wave of regret. “At that moment, I felt like I had no other choice,” I said as tears rolled down my eyes. She kept moving closer and closer, maintaining her gaze. She raised her arm forward and clenched her fist tight in the air. I felt a throbbing pain in my chest. Everything became blurry, and the surroundings began to fade out. Although this is not how I imagined it to be, I knew it was bound to happen. I had lost this act in the dusty recesses of my mind but it had not forgotten me.


MAN WHO WENT MISSING A FEW MONTHS BACK, FOUND DEAD BEHIND COOLER AT A LOCAL SUPERMARKET


Saturday, 23 June 2020, at 6:13 am

Authorities on Saturday said they had identified the man as Diego Miguel Rodriguez of Jacksonville, who was reported missing 3 months ago by his parents, who stated: “We got into a fight and he stormed out of the house.” That was the last time they saw him. The Florida Bureau of Investigation identified him using DNA collected from his biological parents. The autopsy revealed no indications of trauma and ruled that the death was accidental. However, there was tremendous stress on the heart, suggesting that cardiac arrest might be the cause.


The decomposing body was initially discovered on May 13th, after the lockdown was lifted. The rotting smell was hard to miss. One of Diego’s colleagues stated that he thought he had seen him on the day of his disappearance but couldn’t make him out due to the mask and the hoodie. On top of that, Diego wasn’t supposed to work on that particular day. Therefore, nobody really thought of searching the supermarket.


No one could have anticipated this shocking discovery. I mean, how does one even end up in such a situation? I guess we will never know. But as horrifying as this is, the eeriest part might be the thought that something like this can indeed happen, and if it happened to Diego, it could happen to you.


Krishna Shreeram

Junior Editor

Renesa



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