Chapter 7: The Landing

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Chapter 7: The Landing

“Oh what a bunch of crap. This feels as if it is been copied from a melodramatic movie. It just doesn’t stop” Vivek was feeling disgusted with the book. Still angry that he was not able to place his hands on any memorabilia and muttering abuses to the friend who had suggested the book he threw the book on the bed.

Vivek had read 90% of the book and still no luck with the memorabilia; the only pile of shit over shit. His stomach started growling and then when he looked up at the clock her realized that he had read for 5 continuous hours. It was 11 pm. “Gosh… how could someone read this shit for 5 hours” he muttered.

He was hungry and needed sleep. He decided to call it a day. He had one more day to finish the rest of the 10% of the book and then worry about how he’s going to get the memorabilia. Ordering room service he fixed himself a drink and gulped it down in one go and then fixed another. “God what a shitty weekend this is” he cursed. “Hope at least the climax of the story is good and hope I live another week by finding the memorabilia” he prayed.

By midnight Vivek had a nice dinner and prayed that his sleep was dreamless. But the Gods won’t listen to his prayers.

Vivek was expecting a sleep filled with nightmares like the previous day. Though it was not a dreamless night but the dreams were pleasant.

He dreamt about how Jishnu had worked out a brilliant plan to meet up with Divya, get her on a date, and convince her that he was wrong and from then on everything he does will be for the future of their relationship. They meet up and patch –up their relationship and
Jishnu rejoins the company.

Vivek was happily reading the book not bothered about the memorabilia for the first time. He was actually enjoying the romantic storyline though the romance was not his cup of tea. He had somehow turned this bullshit story into an interesting one.

Just then his phone buzzed; the alarm went off. He looked at the screen with the sleepy eyes. It was 8 am and this was the last day of the weekend. He had to finish the remaining 10% of the book; which he could finish in half an hour and then worry if he still could not lay his hands on any kind of memorabilia.

Quickly getting off the bed Vivek got into the hot shower. He had ordered a heavy breakfast and had some time for a warm bath. If this was his last day he planned to make the most of it. The hot water almost burnt the skin on his back. He cursed as he recoiled and adjusted the water. The hot water had made him wide awake now and he was staring blankly at the flowing water thinking of how to end his life. Of course, he knew the answer to this question but somehow he had lost the courage to executive it. He made a small prayer though he was not a believer. A prayer for not an escape from this madness but rather to find the memorabilia or rather to find the courage to end his life he could not get any.

Testing the temperature and being satisfied he got into the shower. The warm water trickling down his naked body bringing back memories of the happy times he had in his life; the happy times with his family and friends, the happy times with his children but more importantly the happy feeling he felt when he pouched a memorabilia and labeled it. The doorbell brought him back from his reverie. It was the room service. He quickly wrapped himself with a towel and ushered in the waiter, tipped him, and sat down for his breakfast.

The brisk breeze from the sea was soothing his bare chest. The sea was calling at him. “Not today” he wished to replay, but he was not confident about the same.

With the warm water bath and heavy breakfast, Vivek was in a fresh mind to resume the book. The time was 9.30 am and he decided to read the book nonstop. He wanted to finish the book memorabilia or not. That way he would get sometime later to worry about it and make his final decision.

Jishnu was happily pasting pictures of suicide on the wall on the only bare portion left out on the left side of the room. There was the noose, vial of poison, a jump from the building, fire, and many other options available. He was busy breaking his head to find out the best and easiest way. He could not fail at this last task.

If it was the noose the rope should be strong enough to carry his weight and not too strong least his head gets ripped off. If it was poison; he wanted to go the quickest way possible. He didn’t want to be a spit gargling purple lump at the end. Sleeping pills will do; he thought. You will be in sleep and you never know when the death came to you. No no that’s a myth. Death by sleeping pills is not peaceful. Your heart pounds like hell, you can’t breathe, you are in and out of consciousness and you die of suffocation. Ultimately you choke to death and no one wanted to be choked to death. And if you somehow survive you will have to live the rest of your life with brain damage. “No way”.

Suddenly he felt the noose was the better choice. But he had to consider a jump and the fire. The fire seemed even worse than sleeping pills. Imagine your entire body burning bit by bit slowly your hair burns to a crisp and your skin fried like the KFC chicken. The tearing skin and curdling fat mixed up with the clotting blood forming a meat pie. And while all this is happening mercilessly slow you scream at the top of your lungs; at least till they have oxygen in them. ” bruuh not a good way to go” she shuddered at the thought.

A jump; well what do we need to consider for a good jump which will guarantee death. A right jump at the right place and at the right time will ensure a quick death. Though, it should be a jump from a building or off a cliff. Not off a bridge into a lake; water is as bad a fire. And the jump should be from a considerable height which ensured no survival.

“Remember it’s not the fall that kills you. It’s the landing” he quoted dialogue from the series “Sherlock”.

“Right I have made my decision. A jump it’s going to be.” he decides.

Now all he had to do was execute the plan. Make a schedule, make time for the jump; oh he had plenty of it, decide from where to jump, and to ensure that there won’t be any survival.

Jishnu took 2 days to plan every move. Obsessed with planning that he was he had all intentions of making this plan a success. It was decided that he will end his life the next day at 9 pm in the evening from a jump from the same office building that made him successful. The jump from the terrace of the building will certainly prove fatal and there won’t be any chance of survival.

With his plan in mind, Jishnu went to sleep happily after many days. The plan was foolproof.

The next evening at sharp 9 pm Jishnu was requesting the security guard to let him in. The guard was surprised to see him as he had not turned up after he had left the company and that had been for a long time. Jishnu made an excuse that he had forgotten something and has to go to the office block urgently to get it. The guard believed him and let him go; after all, he was the previous owner of this company.

Just as Jishnu was off the sight he quickly moved towards the staircase leading to the roof. It was a 9 storied building and from here he could see a portion of the city. The bright lights of the city had dimmed the glitter of the stars. He didn’t need to worry that he would soon join the stars.

Walking towards the edge of the roof he looked down. His legs were trembling with fear. But he had to finish this last task of his life. He removed a piece of paper from his pocket. It was his “To-do List”. Suicide at 9 pm was the only thing pending in it. He looked down at the miniature people moving about in their cars and then retrieved a picture of Divya, kissed it and held it close to his heart, and then ticked the checkbox against suicide on the “To-Do List”. Smiling that he had done everything as planned he jumped to his death; all the while repeating to himself. “It’s not the fall that kills you. It’s the landing”…..

The book was read and there were no memorabilia. When Vivek closed the books he was under shock fanatically repeating to himself. “It’s not the fall that kills you. It’s the landing”. He kept repeating it like a mantra. He was trembling with shock. He didn’t expect the story will end in such a gruesome manner and he knew his life was soon going to end the same way.

A splash of water on his face did not help he needed alcohol to get him in position to take control of the situation. Time to fix a drink and then decide what to be done.

The wall clock said its 1 pm. Thanks to the heavy breakfast he was not hungry. “Let me nurse a drink and then think of lunch” he decided.

The sun was throwing hot flames at the balcony but the sea equally blowing cool winds. Vivek badly wanted to get the book out of his system. He sat on the chair relaxing his mind, feeling the breeze on his face. Forgetting everything about the book and sipping the drink.

Eyes closed the only sound he could hear was of the waves splashing against the shore. It took time for him to get back to his senses and it also took 3 more drinks.

It was 3 pm and he was famished. He was back to normal now. The rum had helped him soothe his mind and gave him the appetite.

After lunch, Vivek mustered the courage to pick the book. He had to find the memorabilia by the next morning. “No need to worry, plenty of time for that,” he said to himself.

He decided to check the book thoroughly. He went through the book page by page. A thread, a feather, a needle, a leaf, a drop of blood, a drop of ink; nothing could escape his sight today. He had to find it at any cost.

It was a paperback book, no hardcover jacket. Nothing could be hidden in the bindings or in the cover. If there is something it should be in between the pages. He went through the pages twice, thrice; nothing to be found. At least nothing physical for sure. So he started looking for a mark, a pencil mark, a highlighted line of phrase; no luck there either. Then he suddenly remembered an article he had read. He had read that a piece of the chocolate chip was wedged against the cloth on the spine of a 150-year-old book. He checked there too; no luck there either. With frustration he threw the book on the floor half expecting something to fall off through those pages; no luck there either. His obsession was going to take his life today. His kingdom was going to come to an end.

He needed a fresh mind to start over again. A drink will not help, he needed sleep. But dreamless sleep was a luxury let alone deep sleep without any nightmares. But he had to sleep.

As expected he had a very bad nightmare. The sea had convinced him to jump off the balcony, the ground was eager to meet him, to embrace him in its arms. Vivek was falling towards the ground all the while repeating the lines; “it’s not the fall that kills you. It’s the landing”. “Yes, it’s the landing” the ground beneath was repeating his mantra now. He met the ground with a thud and woke up all sweaty.

It was 9 pm and he had slept all through the afternoon, though he did not feel rested. His brain was still singing the song of death “it’s the landing”… “It’s the landing”.

Opening the balcony door he stared blankly at the sea. It was dark and he could see the bright city lights around. Just like in the book he noticed that the glitter of stars was dimmed by the bright lights of the city. So much similarity between his life and the book. “An incredible coincidence,” he said. And likely a similar ending to both the stories.

After spending moments of staring at the sea he finally got back and picked the book for a final attempt to find the one memorabilia to fulfill his obsession.

It was 10.30 pm still no luck. He had lost his appetite. Whatever he eats will be the last thing he eats; the thought killed his hunger. He had gone through the book 10 times already and he was certain that there was nothing in it. He had to make a decision soon. Time was running out and he was too scared of the nightmares to go back to sleep.

The decision was already made to jump off the balcony and meet the ground beneath. “Should I write a note?” a question started disturbing him. “No, Jishnu didn’t leave any note. If their stories were similar they should end the same” he decided.

“Should I call someone before going? Should I call my wife, my kids? No that would weaken my resolve. I have made up my mind. That landing is going to end my life.” he reconfirmed his resolve.

His resolution was strong at the moment and he could not afford to wait any longer. Waiting might make him weak and he could not live with himself if that was the case. So he opens the balcony and clutches the book close to his heart he decides to jump. “The jump will not kill you. It’s the landing that kills”

As he was standing on the edge of the balcony ready to take the leap the ground beneath was calling him. He wanted to flutter through the pages; a last useless attempt to find something. And then suddenly as he was fluttering through the pages he actually found something. His eyes brightened with surprise. How did he miss this? He had already gone through the book at least 10 times but it was hidden right in the front in plain sight. On the insides of the paperback cover, there was a business card neatly pasted upside down, with the blank side facing up.

Vivek quickly got back inside and switched on the bedside lamp. His body was still shaking. The near-death experience and the excitement of finally finding a memorabilia were throwing a mixture of emotions at him. Drawing a pocket knife from his bag he carefully released the business card from the cover and turned over and was surprised to see what was on it.

It was the suicide helpline number and the address of the Psychiatric councilor. Wow-what a coincidence. Just what he needed at this moment. But that was no all. Just below the doctor’s address, the following lines were written.

“I knew you would need this. Don’t quit”.

There was nothing else. He was confused. Was this for him or is it for someone else who had read the book earlier? Was this from someone who knew about his obsession? Few people knew about his obsession, but that doesn’t mean he was suicidal. No one knew he was suicidal. Maybe it was for someone else and that someone else had not seen it. But it had helped him. It had helped him save his life and now he knew what to do when he could not find any memorabilia; call the suicide helpline and hope that someone will help him.

His obsession with books and memorabilia will still go on. Nothing can stop that. He was feeling like the Lord of the Kingdom of His Obsession now.

Closing the book he pouched the business card and labeled it neatly. Then place the same in the file he dives down on the bed for a peaceful dreamless night.

The End.

Sydney Billford Monteiro

Sydney Billford Monteiro was born and brought up in Mangalore, Karnataka. An HR by profession, he has a Masters in Social Work and is working for the Hospitality Industry in Bangalore. He is an avid reader of Crime Thrillers, Mystery novels, and Science books. Creative writing and poetry is his passion.

He loves exploring the world of stories. His favourite pastime is experimenting with real-life events, creating characters, and turning them into engaging storylines. 

Apart from reading and writing the author loves football; his favourite game and watching movies that depict unusual concepts and real-life events. 

He also loves to have a healthy debate over a scientific idea.

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