Chapter Four

The moment froze into eternity. Luckily, Sita regained her composure and looked closer at the chest. Actually that didn't help, as she had to move her head higher and higher up to have a look at the voice. Gosh, is this a human being or a tree, she thought? Whoever it is… must be at least 10 feet tall.

"Actually, I'm just 6 feet two," said the voice with a distinct smirk, reading her thoughts easily. Opening her eyes wide, Sita took a good look at him.

The man was a Greek God. With short black hair, sharp aquiline features and a profile to die for, this man was indeed a knockout. Eerily, the glistening sun overhead had formed a circular tint around him, which almost looked like a halo. Even she, who thought nothing could beat the beauty of 'influenza' cells, could appreciate this man's animal magnetism.

He was dressed completely in black and was definitely the most handsome man she had ever seen in her entire life. He can't be human, she thought hysterically.

Trying to regain her composure, Sita asked him rudely "Who are you?"

"I am the ghost who walks these grounds, what about you?" said he, with the same smirk.

Shocked at his rudeness, Sita glared, "I heard someone screaming so I came here. I am lost and I just need directions. But you look unhelpful and I don't want to talk to you. In fact, I am going to leave immediately."

"Ah okay, do that by all means but before that why don't we shake hands – just to be civil you know?" said he with a glint, grabbing her hand.

Infuriated, Sita pushed his hand off and stormed away into the beaten path. Her hands tingled at his touch. In fact, it also felt a little soggy. Puzzled, she looked down at her hand. Her hand was soaking with dripping blood!

She shrieked and ran downhill faster than a hare. "Man, this was a huge mistake. I should have never got out of my home. I was so comfortable doing what I loved to do most. Why didn't I stick to it?" Sita kept chanting nervously, as she dodged the sharp rocks and the prickly bushes.

As she reached her car, she realized she had made another mistake. Running back to her already broken down car was really no solution and to top it, Mr Bloody Hands was lounging on the bonnet of the car casually, waiting for her. "Great, I get lost, am soaking wet, have a broken down car and now, I am face to face with a bloody killer," she thought hysterically. Finding no escape route, she waded panic-stricken through the muddy water and grabbed a stick lying close by.

"Don't you dare move or else I am going to break your neck," threatened Sita, waving the thin twig like a sword. That was a BIG mistake. The twig broke into two with a noisy thwack, which seemed to echo forever to Sita's 'red with embarrassment' ears.

"Stop acting stupid. I am not going to do anything, for God's sake. You're acting crazy," said the man, calmly.

"So how do I act? Especially when a strange man covers me with blood…?" asked Sita sarcastically.

"I had blood on my hands because I had just freed my pet cat from a trap set by poachers. And I think you heard him scream," said Mr Bloody Hands.

"How did you manage to reach my car so fast?" asked Sita still suspicious.

"That's because I am a ghost," said he laconically.

"Okay, okay," he added hastily as Sita looked as if she'd explode. "There is a short cut from the temple which leads to this path much faster. I saw you had had car problems. In fact, I was coming down to help you. So when I saw you run, I knew you'd come here," said the man. It all sounded so plausible and logical that Sita cursed herself for being so over imaginative.

"Okay, I am sorry," said she, swallowing her pride adding, "I have been so overwrought from yesterday and I guess, I over reacted. I am sorry."

"No problem," said he.

"Let me check your car," he said as he peered into the bonnet of the car. "I think water has entered your engine. Try putting on the ignition," he ordered.

Sita sat down in the driver's seat and twisted the key in the ignition. But after a reluctant 'phut', the engine died.

'Try again," ordered he.

"Could you stop sounding as if you are the master and I am your slave," complained Sita.

"Slave! What a lovely thought! But of course, you'd be the last person I'd want as my slave. You talk too much," drawled the man lazily.

"You know, you're absolutely infuriating…," Sita spluttered angrily.

Luckily, before things could reach an explosive end, the car after several hesitant phuts, started purring magically.

"I guess, that's the end of our meeting. Now we can both go on our own ways and lead our own lives without ever meeting again," said the man.

"Thankfully!" added Sita sweetly.

"So what's your name?" asked he, as an after-thought.

"Why? We are never going to meet again so why do you want to know my name?" asked Sita.

"So that whenever I am bored I can think of this silly soaking wet girl I met…" he said with a grin.

His grin was so charming that she couldn't resist its charm.

"I am Sita. What's your name?" she asked.

"Why?" jibbed he.

"You asked me my name?" said Sita, a little petulantly.

"So?" the man added, sounding almost bored.

"Okay, forget it! I don't want to know. Thank God! We'll never meet again," said Rhea angrily.

"My name is Karan. Karan Saxena," said he somberly.

"Karan Saxena? The name sounds kind of familiar…, said Rhea. Where did she hear this name? she mused.

"It should! I'm notorious! I've made it to the headlines of every national tabloid," he said, sarcastically.

"I'm sorry! But I don't have a clue who you are?" Sita averred.

"Hell, I'm famous… I am a murderer! The media has already judged and sentenced me. Haven't you watched all those 'breaking news' segments on TV? I have supposedly killed my wife and infant in cold blood... in the most dastardly manner," Karan said in a grim voice.