It was pitch dark across the town of Diu. The street winding down was deserted as usual. It had recently been washed off its weariness by the unseasonal rain. In a way, it was a perfect setting for one pleasant, romantic walk.
A couple silhouetted against the discontinuous bouts of illumination from the lighthouse nearby. But their walk was no way romantic, may be a tad tipsy rather.
Roy and Joel had been walking down the street for almost an hour. Yet their individual opinions were divided. Joel thought it must have been four hours. Roy, however, opined that he was off by at least 3 hours and 30 minutes.
“No way” bawled Joel, “We must be just debating this for last 2 hours.”
“Again, you are off by an hour and 30 minutes at the least” Roy countered.
“How are you so sure? It’s as if you want to stay here longer.”
“Of course, I do. Don’t you?”
“Well, not in the shape I am now” Joel hit back with his fiery eyes. “Anyway, shouldn’t we be searching for what we are supposed to search?”
“That is exactly what I am doing” replied Roy, peeking at the byroad they were passing by.
“I don’t think we are searching for the same thing, though. If that were the case, you would be peeping minutely down the manholes. Not glancing at the lanes as we pass by.”
Roy just smiled.
Ganu saw the two bodies tottering along. He wasn’t sure if it was their walk or his drunk vision that was unsteady.
One was looking minutely at the footpaths, and in the garbage bins, and over the plant pots. He thought he also saw him once peeping inside a manhole. He was for sure searching for something.
The other, the skinny one, was not searching for any thing, though. “He might well be searching for someone.” thought Ganu.
There was something about these two people that appeared odd to Ganu. They looked unconventionally fresh for the time of the day, the season of the year, and the condition of the city. All were in shambles.
Ganu did not like such clean people. He felt no one should be this clean when he was drowning in his sorrows.
Ganu started following them.
“I think that guy there is following us. Is it ok if he sees us?” asked Joel, in a worried tone.
“How would I know? I too am going through this for the first time. I, anyway, do not think anyone ever has faced this. I think even he would not know.”
“Of course, he would know. He is the one who sets the rules.”
Roy shushed Joel as he heard the muffled voices, the wailings. He walked towards the next alley — there was a gathering of saddened souls.
Roy just smiled, again.
Ganu walked behind them to the crowd and steered himself towards the middle. He saw the back of the skinny one now, looking down at a weeping woman. And just as he saw what lay unmoving on the ground in front of her, he collapsed with his eyes wide open.
“Oh, crap!” exclaimed Death. “Now this hasn’t happened ever.”
He looked at Roy, Joel, and the other souls. “Well people, the only way in now is down. Let’s go search for that key to the heavens.”