The fall seemed eternal. As he stood up, he gawked at the stairs.
Is this real or is this a nightmare that always pulls him into the darkness. These doubts once used to call into question his mind, but no more they summon. The people, the place, the air seemed so real that it was incomprehensible that all this could be an illusion. He was not just seeing it happen, but living it. They talk, listen, live with him. Why people say that his mind is playing with him ? He never had answers, nor do he have any now.
The same abandoned path..the same stairs...the same Woman in Red....The woman'd been taking him to the same desolate building in the cold night. But he just been keeping the distance from it. The place was what he was running away from. He hated to be in the vicinity. He'd been loosing peace he'd managed after such a long time. The place was making him crazy.
She had the diary in her hand. The old woman looked with hope as she handed it to the doctor. It was a shabby dairy, perhaps picked up from some dusty untouched rack. He walked towards the window, opened the diary. Very few pages were filled.
'my house' 'woman in red'
'same building' 'deserted'
'can't take it again'
The doctor flipped few pages. The diary was just some scribbling, spoke nothing concrete. Few of the first pages were about some house, a beach side house, then some lady, Nikhil had put enough words to described her, but last few pages were repetition of the lady and the building.
He closed the book and looked outside the window. It was cold day. Only the cattle were seen grazing outside.
After a long time he was holding a case, a life, an onus. He turned to the old woman. Her eyes following his every move, eager to listen what he would say. What it might be ? Can we do something ? She leaned forward as he was about to say something.
'This diary doesn't say much, it looks like just words without any context. Probably Nikhil doesn't like to write. A few questions, Does Nikhil own any beachside house ?'
'A beach side house ? I don't think so. He's just a student. If he has bought any', a pause. 'But the chances are really less'
Hallucinations, another symptom, Schizophrenia ?
'There have been repetitions in his writing. There's a phrase Can't take it again What do you think could hurt Nikhil that he fear to face again ?'
'I don't think it could be anything other than the accident, the loss of his parents'
'Where'd it happen ? Was there any building nearby ?'
'Building. No. It happened on the highway'. The woman might even not know about the lady, he evaluated.
He was at the window, pondering over the unanswered questions that the diary added.
So all that he wrote is just his imagination ?
'Somehow I feel that they are related to some events in his life' He said to the old lady. Poor kid. He felt sorry for the kid. He wanted to help him. But somehow things were not adding up.
He closed the diary and handed it to the old woman. She took it with a puzzled look. She had expected more.
'We have two option now. First, Its time to meet Nikhil. I'll visit your home in the evening. Do not tell him anything about me or my visit'