Skip to main content

The fifth floor

 The Fifth floor.

I was appointed as the new night watchman of the building a week back. I was slowly getting adjusted to my new surroundings. This apartment provided me a small room to sleep, a fan where is sit and also a good salary. I could manage with this for at least a couple of years. The past few years was a struggle for me, I did both day and night duties at various places ranging from the small local motels to the five star hotels. And I couldn’t stay there for more than three months, it was mostly the salary but sometimes it was the working conditions. It was too much work load for an old man in his early seventies, I couldn’t carry heavy bags for my celebrity owners and residents, I couldn’t wash their cars daily. My diabetes and hypertension was also getting worse. So I needed to settle in this job in a quiet apartment like this, less work and good pay.
So my daily night routine went like this. After 1200 I switched on the generator for the whole night so that owners wouldn’t experience any power cuts in the middle of the night. Then I had to switch on the floor lights situated between the floors and for that I had to walk through the stair and turn them on manually at each floor. The apartment was old and the technology was still not up to the mark.
So I finished turning on the generator. Now it was time to do the floor lights.
I was happy about this task, it helped me with the diabetes. My doctor had advised me to walk at least for half hour daily and this task came up to around twenty-five minutes. I was more than happy about it.
For the first floor, the switch was situated along the stairs leading to the second floor. It was like that for every floor.
I was walking the stairs leading to the fifth floor when suddenly I heard a loud bang on the door.
It was from the fifth floor. I slowly peaked as I reached the fifth. There was no one there. The door of the two flats were closed. The door lights of one of the flats was on. According to the records there was no one supposed to be living in this floor. The owners of the two flats were living abroad and visited this place only twice a year. 
Then again, a loud bang on the door. It was sudden and I didn’t expect it again. I jumped back almost tripping down.
It was quiet for a few seconds, when the light slowly started to dim. The banging started continuously and louder. The lights began to flicker.
I ran for my life. I reached the ground floor within a few seconds. I never knew I could run so fast.

After last night, I came up with a plan. I would switch on the generator and then, till the fourth floor I would go by stairs. Then I would take the elevator to the sixth floor and come down to the stair to switch the lights on for the fifth floor. I could have left it off, since the floor was empty but then the owners of the sixth floor would have problems. I didn’t want to cause any trouble. I needed this job.
I was feeling lazy, so I decided to take the elevator from the second floor itself.
But to my surprise, there was someone in it.
“Hello ma’am” I greeted her as I got in. It was Miss Rathi. She stayed at the sixth floor on rent. She works as a senior marketing manager for an online shopping site as she recently lost her husband to cancer.
“Heavy work now as we are heading to launch some new categories.” She said.
“Oh…….” I didn’t understand the ecommerce/online world. How can people shop without felling it? I can never imagine it. People have started trusting the computers so much that they pay for it even before they get it.
But something caught my eye. She wasn’t going to the sixth floor. She had pressed for the fifth. I blinked and saw again. Number 5 button was lit in red.
Rathi wasn’t there in the lift.
Damn……the lift was moving up to the fourth floor.
I was trapped in it. The lights inside went off.
I switched my torchlight immediately.
My hands were shaking, legs were trembling. I kept looking all around the elevator. Being alone in a dark elevator was terrifying enough, and this was enough to cause a heart attack. I had lost a lot of salt through my sweat and was starting to feel a bit dizzy. I hadn’t eaten much today.
But I held on.
Fifth floor.
I held the torch with both hands firmly. I was ready to swing it. The door slowly opened. I swung my torch lights blindly with my eyes closed. It was just a swing at the air.
There was no one there. And the lights of the elevator came on.
That was very relieving. I wiped the sweat off my forehead.
I was done for the day. I pressed G.
The doors closed and I leaned against the door trying to calm myself.
I looked at the mirror when I noticed something hanging on the ceiling of the elevator.

It was Rathi, hanging upside down from the ceiling with a wide smile across her face. The lights went off. The elevator stopped.

Popular posts from this blog

The illness

The illness.

They would come any moment now. I was locked away in a room. The silence in the room made me restless, a soft ring echoed in my ears. I felt as if my brain was going to explode. I sat with my legs folded to my chest on the bed, alone waiting for them to come and torture me, pierce me with the needles, experiment on my body. I kept looking at the door anticipating the keys and then I heard the keys unlocking the door. They were here. I had nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. He came in with his assistant. I jumped out of the bed and ran to the corner of the room. I tried pushing myself against the wall, but that was the end. There was no escape. I crouched myself against the wall.  The duo approached me. He wore a long white full coat reaching down to his knees, his face was pale white and the wrinkled severely, especially around the corner of his eyes and his mouth. The few strands of white hair were tightly tied back to a small bun; his scalp was shining through it. A wide…

Under attack

Under Attack

“We have a situation at the government district hospital. There seems to be an unidentified individual who has taken over wards on the right wing of the building. The doctors say he headed towards the paediatrics ward, and that he had a handgun with him, You need to report there immediately. We will send backup as soon as possible. We have to sort it out before the situation escalates to national news.” The chief commissioner gave the order. This was my first year as an inspector of this small town and this was a very delicate case to handle, in fact it required planning and a trained squad. I wasn’t ready for this but there was no other way. All the other officers were posted for security for the Minter of Energy who was visiting a Dam site for hydroelectricity opportunities. This Dam was the only thing which made this small town famous. There was nothing much here. Population was below ten thousand, all low socio economic status and only huts everywhere. The only buil…

The abandoned

The Abandoned
Mr. Kuthappa leaned against the wall adjacent to his bed and sipped the brownish, gold liquid from a tetra pack. Abstaining from what my eyes were showing “Mr. Kuthappa, what is that” I paced myself towards him, to show my authority, to demand the respect I deserved, to remind him he was the patient and I was the doctor. But my angry catwalk didn’t seem to intimidate him. Nothing was going to bother him now and we both knew I couldn’t save him with my knowledge or medications. It was too late. His body was completely submerged in the sea of alcohol. He continued sucking through the small hole of the tetra pack waiting to hit the sea bed. This was also a record new low in my life. An alcoholic drinking right in front of his doctor. “Oh, this” he let the pack swing between his index and thumb fingers. “This is what has guided me for the past 25 years. Always there for me in my bad times and good times.” Kuthappa gulped the remaining, squeezed the packet like a toothpas…