This story contain no graphic scenes of sex
This story contain no graphic scenes of sex


TUM   BIN...
[ Without You... ]

Part Five

Monday had been another hectic day at the hospital, and as Neeladri parked the car and got out, he was surprised not to find Aahan waiting for him on the veranda, as had become his usual habit.

Neeladri wondered for a moment, and then with a slamming heart ran up the steps, fervently praying that nothing had happened... especially after the previous night. Hoping that Aahan was fine, and there had been no more nightmares... or, even worse...

Yes, Ahmed had clear instructions to call him immediately in case of anything serious, but... and as he rang the bell urgently, Ahmed opened the door, "Good evening, sir."

"Ahmed," the doctor asked, not bothering to return the greeting, "where's Aahan?"

"He was in the den all morning," Ahmed replied, his tone absolutely normal, with no suggestion of any calamitous occurrence, "after lunch he was in the library, and just went to his room."

"Okay, thanks," Neeladri nodded walking in, relieved.

"Would you like your coffee after the shower?" Ahmed asked.

"Yes, thanks," Neeladri answered, heading for the stairs.

Refreshed, Neeladri walked into the den and paused in mid-track... right there, on the desk sat his laptop... open, the screensaver blinking brightly!

"Aahan..." he called out.

"Right behind you," the man replied in a low whisper.

"You did this?" Neeladri asked, spinning around.

Aahan nodded, grinning widely, the eyes expectant.

"What did you do?"

"Um..." he hesitated for a moment, the eyes suddenly unsure, "just tried to switch it on after you left for work... like, you said you had important files to read... so..." he shrugged, trailing off.

"Yes, but how did you manage to get it working again?!"

"Thought it had to do with the registry..." he shrugged once more, "but then, it was something much more simple, just went to administrative tools... checked the event viewer and..." he paused mid-sentence, the eyes suddenly vacant.

"And how do you know such things?" Neeladri persisted.

"I don't know..." Aahan shook his head, the eyes glazing over.

"Okay, thanks..."

"It works fine now," Aahan ventured, suddenly smiling once more, "I ran the defrag, and cleared the cache... and... and..." he paused for a moment before giving a sheepish smile, "All the drives are working fine, and nothing was corrupted or deleted!"

"Thank you very much," Neeladri smiled, reaching out and squeezing Aahan's hand, though nothing of what the man said made much sense.

Aahan too smiled back, giving a small shrug.

"Guess, that calls for celebration, huh... how about eating out?"

Aahan grinned, his eyes suddenly sparkling, "Not tonight, Srini is preparing something very special for dinner," and then dropping his voice added, "he told me, but I'm not supposed to tell you!"

"That's unfair; you guys can't gang up against me!"

"It's a surprise, for you," Aahan laughed, "we aren't ganging up!"

"Oh, okay, then what should we be doing till my 'surprise' is ready?"

"TV, you know, cartoons," Aahan grinned, "I love watching cartoons!"

"You do?" Neeladri asked, laughing, "c'mon, let's go and watch cartoons!"

That Wednesday evening, as they turned into the quiet lane after their usual walk, they noticed the cars and service vans parked all over... and the sound of blaring music - loud and throbbing.

What's going on?" Neeladri asked as Ahmed opened the door.

"It's the neighbour's son's engagement party, sir," Ahmed informed.

"We have to put up with all that racket, all evening?" Neeladri groaned.

"I've heard that they have spent a fortune for the fireworks..." Ahmed added with a twinkle in his eyes.

"Pyrotechnics too?!" Neeladri exclaimed with a horrified shudder.

Ahmed nodded, "He's the only child, so the occasion needs to be celebrated fittingly, no?!"

"Couldn't they book a hotel for the occasion, huh?!" Neeladri sighed, both walking into the den.

The 'celebrations' started as soon as they finished their dinner, while Ahmed was busy clearing the table - loud, earthshaking explosions - everything vibrating, the windows rattling!

With that first bang Neeladri saw Aahan stiffen... and as it was rapidly followed by equally deafening bursts, Aahan began to tremble... his whole body shaken by convulsive spasms.

"Ahmed," Neeladri shouted, "quick, close the windows," rushing over to Aahan, "It's okay," he said, holding the man, "Aahan, relax, it's just firecrackers..."

But his words didn't seem to penetrate the terror numbed mind of the young man... he didn't seem to hear anything... his face contorting, the eyes wide with fear. His pulse racing, and the breathing ragged as sweat poured out of every pore.

"Ahmed, help me take him to his room," Neeladri said, "and Srini, get the bottles of... ah, no, get the medicine bag from my room, it's on the table, hurry!"

Neeladri lay him down on the bed and quickly administered the injection as Ahmed shut the windows and pulled the drapes in the hope of dulling the explosive sounds.

"He's okay, no?" he asked, both men looking on, concerned.

"Thanks, yes, he'll be fine," Neeladri nodded, "you may go now..."

The men left, but Neeladri sat - holding Aahan's hand, running his fingers through the man's hair as he whispered softly, noticing the shivers gradually subside... the eyes slowly close as he drifted off to a drug induced slumber.

Neeladri checked the pulse and heartbeat once more, sighing with relief as he noted that they were back to normal... the breathing gentle and regular once more.

Once he was sure that Aahan was in deep sleep, he rose, going over to the closet and getting out the pajamas. Returning to the bed he slowly began to undress the man, gently taking off the tee and the jeans... panting with the effort as he struggled against the dead weight... pausing for a moment before pulling off the briefs, assiduously keeping his eyes turned away. He then pulled on the pajamas and covered him with the sheet.

He stroked the man's head briefly, and then switching off the lights left the room, closing the door behind him...

It was a balmy winter's afternoon, but the little boy on the swing sat sulking... glowering as he watched the girls giggle and scream shrilly, running around the garden, playing their silly girlie games... so prim and propah in their stupid party dresses... YUK!

It was the girl's tenth birthday, and he had been very excited, wanting to invite his friends too, for the party. But she had screamed, "NO, Mummy, I don't want those ugly friends of his to come and spoil my party!"

He had pleaded... but the girl was adamant, their mother taking him aside and telling him that he could have his friends over for a garden party the next week.

"But there's no birthday next week!" the boy had complained, "And she always gets to invite her friends for my birthday party, so why can't I call my friends?"

"Because you and your pestiferous friends are not fit to attend MY birthday party!" the girl had stated grandly, her nose up in air, the word hardly making sense to his childly intellect.

So now he sat... waiting... waiting for his chance...

He loved spending time with the gardener, pottering around as the old man worked... asking innumerable questions in his childish innocence, nodding sagely as the old man explained about plants and their needs... about manures and the friendly insects that visited the garden. He loved digging out the earthworms... and catching tadpoles during the rainy season. Knew all the nooks and crannies, and every stone that sheltered some weird creature.

He saw the lady walk out of the house, carrying the cake, and saw the girls run over, squealing in their silly way as they crowded around her. And as she set the cake down, he reached into his pocket... smiling as he felt it wiggle...

The lady placed ten candles on the cake and added an extra one, suddenly gasping, "Oh, the matches, I've forgotten the matches!" quickly running back to the house.

Now was his chance... he jumped off the swing and ran over, taking the huge toad out of his pocket... and as he reached the gaggle of girls, he flung it on the table... squealing with delight.

He could barely stand, his tiny five year frame convulsed with the laughter as he saw the girls jump back, bumping into each in their rush to get away, screaming at the top of their lungs as they fell in a tangled heap, toppling the table with all its goodies!

Oh, it was so funny!

The lady came running out... wondering... worried... totally clueless as she saw the girls on the grass, screaming and crying... the birthday cake toppled... the food lying scattered...

And as he stood, doubled up, he saw the girl charge... her tear streaked face all screwed up... and even before he could realise it, he was sprawled out on the ground... the girl towering over him, screaming and kicking: "YOU MISERABLE LITTLE WORM, GET OUT, AND DON'T YOU DARE COME BACK!" - her eyes blazing with animosity, the voice venomous...

His little body was aching all over and as he blinked up, he saw the sky darken... the face slowly transforming into a hideous mask... horrific. The blazing eyes baleful as it looked down at him, the slivers of lips parting to bare her fangs as she spat: "GET OUT... GET OUT!" Sharp claws reaching out for him...

With a horrified gasp Aahan sat up... shivering all over.

Neeladri lay curled in bed, headphone clamped over his ears and eyes closed... trying to relax. The incident after dinner had left him very worried, and though it was late, he just couldn't sleep, hoping that the music would help... calm his nerves.

And at that moment the door to his bedroom flew open, Aahan stumbling in... drenched in perspiration, and trembling all over, the dark eyes wild with terror.

"What happened?" the doctor asked, quickly tugging off the headphone and getting up, rushing over.

"Sh... she," Aahan stuttered, still trembling all over, "she's back..."

"Who's back?" asked Neeladri, taking his hand and leading him to the bed, "sit down..."

"She's mad at me," Aahan whimpered looking up at Neeladri, the eyes wide with terror, "she wants to kill me!"

"Who's she?" Neeladri asked, holding him, stroking his head.

"I don't know..." Aahan shook his head, the look confused and scared.

"Don't worry; she can't touch you now," Neeladri said softly, "you're safe here."

"Can I sleep here?" Aahan asked, the eyes suddenly hopeful, pleading, "I don't like that room, she always comes there..."

Neeladri nodded with a smile, "Sure..."

It was freaky, the suddenness of Aahan's nightmares - one moment he seemed totally normal, laughing and happy, and the next instant he was a frightened child, quaking and scared... wild with fear!

And as Neeladri thought about it, he suddenly sensed a pattern...

The first incident had occurred after their visit to the bombed eatery, and though Aahan had not recognised the place, or reacted then, he had his first dream that afternoon. The second was last Sunday, two weeks after the first... and though it didn't make sense then, now, in hind-sight, seemed related to their visit to the area housing the city's IT industry.

Aahan had been perfectly normal after that night, had even got the laptop working the next day... and now this, just two days later, his third nightmare... no doubt triggered by the explosive sounds of crackers coming from their neighbour's garden...

Well, he'd talk to Dr. Reddy and Dr. Mathur, discuss his idea about the emerging pattern... and who that woman might be. Maybe it could be a clue for the police too!

Lost in his thoughts, he heard the soft moan and looked down at the sleeping man, catching his breath as he saw the handsome face, so peaceful in slumber... those luscious lips slightly parted, moist and glistening...

The young man was indeed gorgeous... stunningly beautiful!

And yes, Radhika had been right - he was in love, insanely in love with this nameless stranger he'd brought home...

He had already seen Aahan naked at the hospital, and had even undressed him earlier that evening... but now, seeing him in his own bed, in just pajamas, his stared on, fascinated... his eyes roving over the firm, sculpted torso, silky smooth... his eyes pausing as he admired the ruddy areolas, the nipples turgid in the cool air of the room. His eyes travelling down to the slender waist... noticing the fine dusting of hair leading seductively into the waistband of the pajamas... moving lower... lingering over the gibbosity under the cotton, so conspicuously obvious... the fabric so subtly revealing what it was supposed to cover.

He felt a sudden urge... wanting to reach out and hold him... Touch and adore... Lose himself in the raging ocean of passion... in the boundless expanse of the limitless space. Float away on the rapturous wings of ecstasy!

Oh, it had been such a long while since he'd been with someone... with Abhi. Had held someone close... felt the touch of warm flesh against his own... Almost an eon!

Sensing himself growing hard at the thought, he instantly turned away, getting off the bed... utterly shamed that he could have such thoughts about someone who was so helpless... so trusting of him... so totally dependent on him!

God, was he going insane?!

"Oh," Neeladri exclaimed with disappointed, "and nothing around nine or ten?" listening, before saying, "No, that would be too late... fine, book the ticket."

Medical school was different, and visiting home wasn't a problem then, but now he got to go home just twice - about a month during the stifling summer of the plains, and a short ten day break during Dusshera... and this would be his third vacation after joining the hospital. Though this year his plans went a bit awry and he'd be home late for the festivities.

He usually planned his vacation, and even booked the tickets, well in advance. But this year had been different... this year he had Aahan with him, had brought the man to stay with him, and somehow things got delayed... He had asked the travel agent to book a morning flight to Delhi - anything between six and eight. That was convenient for him, and he would be home by lunch or tea time. But nothing was available around that time, and the only seats still available were on the very early morning flight, at 5:00 AM, or in the afternoon.

Five was unearthly, and anything after twelve would make it impossible for him to reach home the same day... Well, did he have a choice? None! So finally, reluctantly, he asked the man to book the 5 AM flight... and God bless his soul!

As he disconnected and turned around, he saw Aahan standing near the door, watching him.

"Hey," Neeladri greeted, "and how was the market?"

Neeladri had lately been urging Aahan to go out more often, without him... but not alone; and therefore encouraged him to accompany Ahmed, or Srini when they went for the groceries... Hoping that it would help Aahan to be a bit less dependent on him, and also maybe something - a sight, sound or smell - would trigger something. The men had been strictly told to keep a sharp eye, and bring him back home if anything happened...

"Crowded and slushy!" Aahan grimaced, walking in and sitting down across Neeladri.

Neeladri laughed, "Well, I never go, so I won't really understand!"

Aahan went on looking, the eyes searching his face...

"Something wrong?" Neeladri asked, suddenly concerned.

Aahan shook his head, "Um, nothing..." and then after a short pause asked, "Are you going away?"

"Going away?" Neeladri asked, uncomprehending.

"Yes, you asked someone to book the ticket?"

"Oh, that," Neeladri smiled, relieved, "I'm not going 'away'; I'm simply going home, just ten days!"

"And what will happen to me?" Aahan asked, the look uncertain.

"Oh my God," Neeladri exclaimed, "I'm so sorry I didn't tell you, but you're coming with me. We leave tomorrow, the nineteenth, and return on the twenty-eighth."

Aahan visibly relaxed; giving Neeladri a happy smile, "Lansdowne?"

"Yes!" amazed that Aahan had remembered.

to be continued...            

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