“I can’t get the image out of my head, HELP, I can’t get the images out of my head…Stop, STOP.”
Ashish kept screaming in the dark, deserted station, while the sound of the shutter kept on and on, and did his eyes.
His head was reeling with pain and he could not bear it any longer. He felt like banging his head against the wall or if something similar to burst it open. He was not able to shut his eyes.
What happened to Ashish? Why is he in so much pain?
Well, we have to rewind the reels, to just a year back.
There were two things that Ashish Sinha loved the most- his camera and his charisma. His camera to shoot anything, anywhere, anyone and anyhow. And, his charisma of smooth-talking and making people agree to his terms.
His pictures spoke a thousand words- they were true, current and REAL. His pictures fetched the highest prices, got the highest bids and he would quote his price. Many wondered how he managed to get those rarest of shots, but he MANAGED.
He would do anything to get the images RIGHT.
Last time, he brought back pictures of a young girl being murdered. Everybody asked, “How did you manage, did you see the murderer? Why don’t you turn him/her over to the police?”
Ashish convinced others, “No, no, I did not see the killer. I just took the pictures and seeing the flash, he/she fled. I could not catch him/her.”
But, the actual truth was that, Ashish witnessed the murder in front of him. He saw the boyfriend’s bloodshot eyes (he did not see Ashish though), which was steaming with anger as he brutally plunged the dagger in and out. The girl kept screeching in pain and kept screaming for help, but Ashish kept on clicking. Her tearful eyes with a thousand questions looked back at Ashish for the last time, before the eyelids breathed their last. Ashish did not do anything.
Next morning, it was the most sensational murder mystery news in the papers and Ashish earned a bomb.
A few months back, Ashish was on his way home, quite late at night on the deserted highway. He saw a mother and a child on a Scooty and wondered why they were on the streets so late. Suddenly, he saw a biker gang arrive and as they zoomed past, in a feat of exciting, their bikes got our of control and hit the Scooty. The boy fell on the road, hit his head on a brick and blood flooded the spot. The mother kept screaming for help, but no one came. Ashish hid himself behind a tree and kept clicking. The mother held the boy in her arms and begged for help, but Ashish did not do anything. If he would have helped the boy to the nearest hospital, he might have lived.
The boy died. His innocent eyes with a thousand questions looked at Ashish behind the trees for the last time before they became lifeless.
Ashish convinced that he arrived the spot after the incident had happened and he even called the police. But, he never uttered a single word about the biker gang.
Last month, something happened in his residential complex. The lift was being repaired and no one bothered to put up a sign. The workers were irresponsible to leave it half done and go for lunch. Elderly Mr. And Mrs. Roy had no idea what was about to come. Mrs. Roy asked Mr. Roy to stop the lift, while she locked their main door. Mr. Roy, unknowingly boarded the faulty lift and with one wrong press of buttons, it zoomed down in great speed. Mr. Roy was a heart patient and he immediately suffered a stroke. The lift hit the bottom and he collapsed. Mrs. Roy panicked and screamed, but no one was around. She frantically, started to climb down the stairs, but her pace was slow. Ashish was about to take the lift up, when he saw it zoom down with Mr. Roy in it.
Mr. Roy wanted help, he stretched his arm. Ashish ran to the basement. Mr. Roy was still breathing, but gasping in pain. He wanted to run and get the ambulance, he did, but not before everything was over. He turned to go and get help, when he saw a grieving Mrs. Roy enter the basement and hold her husband’s hand. She had no idea that Ashish was there. He hid and kept clicking- those last rare shots of a couple depicting years of love. It will soon a Elder’s Week and he did not want to miss this opportunity. Mr. Roy’s ages eyes, full of tears of separation, looked back at Ashish for the last time, before they were shut forever.
He saw as Mr. Roy gradually breathed his last, but Ashish did not do anything. He convinced others that he arrived along with the others when the guard informed them about it.
He kept the pictures safe, he would modify and release and no one will know their real identity.
Few days back, Ashish was returning from his work in the tube. The train was almost deserted, only a few passengers far away. Ashish took out his camera and started looking at the pictures. Suddenly, the un-thinkable happed. Mr. Roy was missing from the last images he had clicked. He went back a few more. Oh God, even that boy was missing. He could not believe his eyes.
He looked up. Mr. Roy and Bunty (the boy, who got killed), were sitting just opposite to him, in the same state when they saw Ashish last. He was numbstruck, he wanted to escape. The door opened and suddenly, he saw the young girl, who got murdered enter the coach, full of blood and teary eyes. They all sat in front of Ashish and gazed at him.
Ashish felt a haunting fear inside and wanted to scream, but his voice choked. He thought it might be a dream, but it was not. His stop arrived, the train halted and suddenly, everything vanished.
Ashish wanted to convince people about it, but no one believed him. Then, these haunting experiences kept repeating. There were others too, whom he had clicked at the wrong time in the wrong places.
Last night, he had a similar encounter and something weird started happening. Every time he blinked his eyes, pictures started getting clicked and getting stored in his mind, in his brain, in his head.
It began to turn worse. He tried hard not to blink, but this eyelids were faster than the shutter speed of his camera. His head started paining as if it was full of painful, irrititating images, which he could not remove. He tried to call his editor, Mr. Singh and tell him about it, but he just dismissed jokingly.
This ‘thing’ started getting worse. He could not stop his eyes and the storage in his brain. It seemed his head will burst open.
He un-knowingly came to the deserted station as the phenomena grew more vigorous. He started screaming, “I can’t get the images out of my head…HELP, HELP.”
He saw Mr. Roy, Bunty and the girl standing in front of him. His blinking, red eyes saw them for the last time, before his eye shutters closed forever. They did not do anything.
Ashish could have helped those people, but he chose to click pictures to capture those moments. He could have reported the crimes, but then people would blame him of not helping. So, he chose to keep quiet. He was obsessed with his camera, pictures and to make a fortune out of all this. If he would have only thought about those people for once, rather than their pictures. He loved clicking pictures and that became his doom.
Pictures are good, they are memories, but would you want a painful memory, such that you can’t forget it or something which pains. People are more important than memories, I guess. So, help people before judging a moment or collecting memories because if hey are not there, there will be no memories. Don’t click anything, that you can’t get the image out of your head.