The One That Flew Away

The first time Randhir had heard about Michael Painter, it was from Shaina’s mouth. The same mouth she had kissed him with, so many times. Shaina was dead now, before Randhir had the chance of meeting Michael Painter.

The first time they met, it was in the disused basement of Randhir’s little house. Michael was tied to a chair, unconscious, while Randhir waited for him to wake up. Randhir had quit smoking a year back, when he met Shaina, but some old habits just don’t die.

Quite like some memories. And some people.

Michael stirred a bit, and Randhir slapped him on the face. “Wake up, Michael. You’re late already. There’s much to talk about.”

Michael wasn’t scared actually. He hardly ever was. He opened his eyes, and looked around. The crumbling shelves, the old guitars, and in the corner stood the untouched canvas.

“You know, my name says I should be a painter. I’m not though. I’m an engineer by profession. Can you lend me a cigarette?” Michael’s raspy voice broke the silence that had crept in.

Randhir slapped him again. Michael smiled.

“You’re a fucking murderer. You killed my girlfriend. Why?” spat Randhir.

Michael was still laughing. He gazed longingly at the cigarette that was hanging from Randhir’s hand. After a long time, he said, “You should have seen her with me. She wasn’t as happy with you as she was with me. So what if it lasted just one night. Most people don’t experience all that in a lifetime, what she experienced with me in that one night.”

Randhir didn’t want to believe that. He didn’t want to hear the words that Michael was saying, because he knew that it could be true. Shania had said those things herself.


The party had started late, and by the time they came out of the pub, the streets were quite empty. That’s the way Randhir liked the roads to be, for what better way to impress a girl than to take her for a quick spin in a fancy car?

Shaina Naazneen was no ordinary girl though. She had the glitter in her eyes, the one that comes when you dream about making it big. She wanted to be a movie star, and she had run away from her home to the city to realize that dream. She had escaped her village, the boundaries of her old life, and even her old name. Now, in the city where no one knew her, she was known as Shaina Naazneen.

She was a dancer at a popular bar in the heart of the city. That’s when she met Randhir Jaiswal, a straightforward Chartered Accountant, decently handsome, and a perfect blend of all those things that made Shaina’s heart skip a few beats when she saw him. Right then, she decided that she had to take Randhir to bed with her.

When Randhir saw her, he couldn’t take his eyes off her. He felt like he was in love, with the way she moved, the rhythmic taps of her feet. He wanted to hold her in his arms, and keep looking at her forever. But that doesn’t happen ever. The music stopped, and she disappeared behind the curtains.

Randhir had had quite a few drinks for that night; he was, after all, out to celebrate. That’s why, in his half-drunken state, he didn’t quite realize who it was walking towards him, till she was right in front of him.

Hi, I’m Shaina,” she had said, with a beautiful smile.

Randhir Jaiswal, Chartered Accountant,” was all that he could manage to mumble in the wake of that dazzling smile.


“I was born with the name of Michael Painter. I loved painting since I was a child, but I always wanted to make something much more tangible. That’s why I became an engineer,” said Michael into the silence.

“What makes you think that I’m even remotely interested in what you want or do not want?” asked Randhir.

“I just thought you’d want to know a little bit about your girlfriend’s murderer. I think I assumed too much.”

Randhir just stared at the face that had gone silent again. ‘I’m looking at a murderer, a cold blooded murderer, right now,’ he thought.

“Why’d you do it? Why did you kill her? Why the fuck, were you acting like the devil?” he fired at him, before he could stop himself.

He allowed himself a small smile, and then he spoke. “Why do I do it? Because it’s essential, to keep the men – and women – in line. Why did I kill her? Because, you know just as well as I do, that she deserved it. Why was I acting like the devil? Oh, I’m not. I’m just a regular guy who thinks that sins should not go unpunished. And what greater sin is there, other than infidelity?”

“You coerced her into being unfaithful. You seduced her, you got her into bed! Now you’re saying that you killed her for those very things? You have the audacity to term it as your own brand of justice – what sort of justice is this?”

“I never asked her to come to bed with me. I was just testing her. She failed the test, and so she paid the price.”

Randhir couldn’t believe the power with which Michael held his stare. He couldn’t believe that the man who had killed the woman he loved, could look him in the eye and talk about it so confidently. Yet, that was exactly what Michael was doing.

“I loved her,” whispered Randhir.


“Go to hell, Randhir. I can’t believe you can be this insensitive. All these days, I’ve just been nothing more than a small town girl for you?”

That’s not what I meant. Would you please, stop misconstruing everything I’m saying?”

Well then, what exactly did you mean when you said that I’d understand, since I come from a small town? You think I’m just as narrow minded as the fools that I’ve left behind in the village?”

Shaina, that’s not at all what I meant. Why are you screaming, we just made love, for god’s sake!”

Oh, so now I can’t even speak my mind when I want? Really, Randhir, go to hell!”

Shaina! Please, relax, would you? We love each other, don’t we?”

I don’t! What the hell made you think that? I thought you knew that, I thought you knew I’m just in it for this!”

Shaina, what? You mean, you’re just in it for the sex?”

Yes, Randhir. I told you, I’m not like the other narrow minded village girls. I’ve got this one life, and I intend to live it just the way I want to! I won’t let you, or anyone else, run it for me, you hear?”

Randhir couldn’t stand any of it anymore. He jumped out of bed, flung her clothes at her, and bellowed, “Get out! Get out of my house right now, you bloody whore! Get out, and don’t ever dare to set foot in here again!”

Fine! I don’t even want to stay with you anymore. You’re no better than the shallow folks I left back home when I came here. Michael Painter is so much better than you.”

Michael who?”

Michael Painter. He’s the guy I’m sleeping with on the side. Satisfied?”

She stormed out of the door, and at the moment, he was happy that she had left his life.


“She came to me that day, telling me that she had dumped you. It was at that moment that I knew she had failed the test. I decided that the time for her punishment had come close. She had always wanted to fly. That night, I pushed her off the roof. Ironic, isn’t it – she had to die, living the very wish that she wanted since she was a little child.”

“It was just a fight. We could have solved this one. I know we could have, if only we had talked it over, things would have been alright.”

“No Randhir, things wouldn’t have fallen into place. She really didn’t love you anymore, she just wanted to sleep with you. That was the extent of it. I’m sorry you had to find out like this. Now you see, why I think she really deserved what she got? She lied to you, she played with you.”

A little bit of sense came back to Randhir, and he looked back at the man who murdered Shaina. “That still didn’t give you the right to kill her! You had no right to kill her! Who do you think you are?”

“I know I didn’t have the right to kill her. You remember the gun you found in my jacket? There are two bullets in there. Those bullets are meant for me. Now you understand, Randhir, why I called you to meet up? If anyone has the right to take a life here, it’s you Randhir – you alone.”

Randhir got up, and walked to the jacket that had fallen to the floor. He bent down and picked it up, and found that the left side was unnaturally heavy. He removed the black pistol from the pocket, and felt the cold gun in his hand.

Slowly, Randhir walked back to the place where Michael was sitting. He turned around to face the man he had brought to the room and tied to the chair. He loathed this man sitting there, and he loathed the girl because of whom this man was sitting here. The hatred seemed to shine on his face, for Michael recognized it and smiled at it.

“Look into my eyes Randhir. You will hate me, I know that, but when you look into my eyes, you will know that this is exactly how I wanted things to turn out between us. This is exactly why, there was no need for you to tie me to this chair.”

With the heavy gun in his hand, Randhir found that he couldn’t talk. All he wanted to do was to rid all the people who were involved in the incidents that had happened in the last few months. This man was the last link to that episode.

Randhir looked into Michael’s eyes, and knew that he wasn’t lying about anything that he had said. But behind the honesty, he saw something else in Michael’s eyes. Something that was brought out by the last words that Michael said. “I hope it doesn’t hurt too much.”

Randhir aimed the gun on Michael’s forehead, and Michael braced himself for the two shots that were coming his way. A shadow of that scared smile still remained on his face.


This post is my attempt at a series that Annie started – Grey Shades. This one was actually brought about because of two reasons. Firstly, Annie wanted me to write something related to Infidelity, and that’s something that I’ve never really been comfortable to approach. Secondly, someone commented that they wanted a murder story from me again. I tried to combine the two, and this was the result. I hope it was acceptable.

Apologies for the length of the post, as well as the strong language used. I really couldn’t make the story what it is without either.

Image Courtesy Auraelius

64 comments :: The One That Flew Away

  1. The self-righteous murderer , Michael Painter who became an engineer :).
    Fantastic characterizations Arnab.
    Grey shades have a unique charm.

    You might find some in my latest post too :).

    Keep them coming and be quick :).

  2. Oh for a bit of white..and a bit of black..:)

    Gr8 one m8!

  3. that had the mark of a movie script written all over :)

    take care mate..


  4. Absolutely good Arnab :) How sweet of you that you don't wanna write about infidelity and murder! But shall I tell you something?? A writer must write about everything.. and why don't you compile all your short stories and publish a book?? I'll be the first person to buy it and i'll do viral marketing for your book :D

    Loved it:)

  5. That was stunning!!! :)
    I loved the strong language used in this post...GOod one!
    Without thins kind of a language, I agree, it would have been impossible to convey!

  6. That was stunning!!! :)
    I loved the strong language used in this post...GOod one!
    Without thins kind of a language, I agree, it would have been impossible to convey!

  7. This was Fantabulous..Just superb. Really. And hello?? You don't need to bother about the length or the language also for that matter.. To do justice to both things as sensitive as these, one needs all liberties. Who do I thank, you or the person who made a request or Annie or all three of you??
    And BTW, you take requests, han.. hmm..point Duly noted(in capitals, bold, italics, and Times Roman..So that I don't miss it :))

    Excellent :)

  8. So does he kill michael ?

  9. @ BrownPhantom... Thanks a lot! I'll tell you an excerpt from the Funny Story of Michael Painter's Being.

    I had trouble with the names of the characters, as usual, so I called up one of my friends to suggest a name. She suggested Michael, and I thought of Pinto... but we didn't really like the surname. Then, she suggested Engineer, while I said Painter. I didn't want her contribution to go to waste, which is why he became an Engineer by profession.

    Ok, that story wasn't so funny :P

    Thanks a lot for the comment, nice to know you liked the characterizations. I'll surely check out your blog too, although the weekend's a bit tied up with stuff that's been due for the rest of the week.

    Cheers man, keep blogging...

  10. woohoo another masterpiece... btw what exactly do you eat for breakfast huh? no1 writes fiction as well as you do...promise!!

  11. @ DPhatsez... You defined that perfect shade of grey there man :P

    Thanks a lot... cheers...

  12. @ Arv... Hmm, thanks a lot man. I hope that movie was enjoyable too :D


  13. @ Sowmi... It's not really that I didn't want to write about it. It's just that I didn't want to show that particular thing out to the world.

    I hope I don't think along those lines anymore :)

    Thanks a lot... cheers...

  14. @ akanksha... I know what you mean. I felt the exact same thing while I was writing it. Glad to know it didn't offend anyone - yet! :D

    Thanks a lot for the comments, keep blogging... cheers...

  15. @ Netika... Thanks a lot for that comment. I agree, I don't think I could have done this post without either of those things... the length and the language.

    I think you've already thanked me :) and those people deserve thanks too... I don't think I'd have written this story, had something completely different from this one in my mind for this weekend.

    I do consider requests, so you can note it down :P Cheers...

  16. @ Winnie the poohi... I'll give you 2 choices, and you can choose whichever line you want to be there at the end of the story:

    1. Randhir pulled the trigger once, and the red silence that followed made him realise that it was all over.

    2. Randhir wasn't a killer, and he knew it. Michael's eyes were closed, when he removed the gun from his forehead, opened the door and left.

    They're not the most crisp of endings, but I think you get the gist. The big question is... which ending would you choose?

  17. @ Phoenix... Thanks a lot :) and I really don't even remember what I have for breakfast, all I can remember from the morning food is the wonderful home brewed tea... maybe that does the trick?? :P

    Yes, I am a bigtime Caffeine fan :)


  18. very well written..!
    Loved your post..!!
    You really should write a book...
    take care mate!

  19. I think I would choose the second ending. But...the first one's good too. Please do tell which ending you like better.

    I couldn't tear my eyes away from this post. Well done!

  20. Arnab..
    the world has to know different kinda things going on yaar :) I know that many many people are reading your blog. Give them a message through your posts that would have an impact on them :)

  21. Hi Arnab

    First time to ur blog and u have a follower too !

    What immediately strikes me the common thing between us are - both delhites, both love writing long posts, both believes in quality and not quantity,both like to surprise people, both like to give messages through their fictional work and both trying to pen down a novel i guess :)

    Wow...thats like a kumb ka mela wala bhai mil gaya :D

    extremely well written, do visit me, and verify all things urself.


  22. Absolutely outrageous!!

    applause applause!!

    this grey shades is a fantastic concept!! You have earned yourslef a fan with this one:D

  23. YaY!!! another murder!
    very spooky arnab, very delicious!

  24. Hmmmm....Michael painter..? Seems like those funny names inn RGV's movies have....

    I dint knew that you take reader's suggestions so seriously that you end up in stories too....

    I must say you had the same intensity in making an attempt at this topic...

    I wish to see a love story from you....Would that be too much to ask..?

    Hope to see one from you..:)


  25. out of league .........

  26. i guess i found the script writer for my movie

  27. for a change, you were right. :(

    Would have liked it, if you'd have explored infidelity in a slightly in-depth manner.

    Anyway, hatred nahi aaya. Out of all the characters, Shaina made the most sense to me.

    And I'm late for commenting because of you. Your sompensation is list is growing bigger and bigger!! hee hee haa haa *the famous Ravan laughter* :D


  28. The strong language made the essence of the story stronger.
    What does this "Grey shade" genre actually define? will you please mind explaining...
    The plot was very nice, infact i expected The Arnab Twist, but well here that was not so profound. Nevertheless, as usual it was good. :)
    Cheers. :)

  29. 2nd one dear :) if he can condemn michael for killing his gf.. he has no right to kill michael.. :)

  30. Come on... itni achchi post ke liye apology??

    Kamaal ki story hain yaar... I am bowled over yet again and if the language that u call strong was nt there, story ka essence khatam ho jaata...

    I love the way u desribe the strong and weak emotions in characters... they seems all blood n flesh to me..

  31. stunning!!
    no matter d length...the story was worth reading...!!
    u need MORE n more murder mytries from ur side..!!

  32. @ Pavitra... Thanks a lot :) I've actually started thinking idly about writing something someday, thanks to everything you guys have been saying for I dunno how many months now.

    Let's see when that happens though... cheers :)

  33. @ Shweta... I don't want either of the endings to be honest. That's why they didn't make it to the end of the story :) The rest of the story is for the reader to decide... and I know which ending you would prefer now :)


  34. @ Sowmi... I'll try to do that in the next story. I dunno if it'll be any good or not, but I'll try it out for sure :D


  35. @ Hopeless Romantic... Hmm, those are quite a lot of similarities. I'll have to check out your blog sometime now.

    Although, about the novel, I'm not very sure yet. Dunno if I have the necessary discipline to pen down a whole novel yet...

    Maybe in future, I might think about it... let's see...

    Thanks a lot for visiting... Cheers...

  36. @ Richa... Thanks so much :) and yes, the grey shades is a great concept. Also happens to be one of my favourite colours too :D


  37. @ Little Girl Lost... Nice to know you liked it :) More to come soon, hopefully :D


  38. @ Mahesh... I know :D There was a lot of discussion about the name too, and finally this was what we decided on :)

    Sometimes I do take the reader's suggestions seriously, if I think I can actually write something about it...

    The love story, I think I've touched that topic once or twice very briefly. The thing is, there's not really that much of new PoV's left in that particular area...

    Let's see, someday, if I feel like it, I might write one. Point duly noted though, don't worry :)


  39. @ Don't ask my reason... Out of league for who...?

  40. @ Chriz... You're making a movie?? Wow man, I'd be honoured! When do we start??? :P

    Thanks a lot man... cheers...

  41. @ bondgal... Yeah, see I was right about that!

    I didn't want to explore the infidelity bit, not here at least. Dunno why though... maybe sometime later, I might do that...

    I think maybe Shaina made the most sense to you, 'coz she's the one who's closest to reality...?

    And yes, that compensation list has really gone quite long... gotta do something about it... now just let me think....... :P

    Cheers... and thanks :)

  42. @ Diya... Good to know that you didn't mind the strong language there.

    The Grey Shades genre is something that's not clearly defined actually... it talks about things like violence, and infidelity... things like that. The ambiguity comes free with Grey Shades :)

    This was another story where I didn't want to put the Arnab twist... dunno why that is though.

    Thanks a lot.. cheers...

  43. @ catawampusme... Hmm. For me, the ending would be the last line of the story :)

    Nice to see that people are sharing how they wanted the story to end... I like that.

    Cheers... keep blogging...

  44. @ Harshita... I thought it was required, tabhi daal diya ek chhota sa apology. :)

    Thanks a lot... good to know that you enjoyed the story, and nice to see that you spotted the essence of it too.

    Keep blogging, and hopefully there'd be more out here for you to read. Cheers...

  45. @ blue eyed soul... Thanks a lot. I never was that much into murder mysteries actually, but I think I'd write a few more, just for the heck of it :)


  46. A definitely new way to look an deal with infidelity..though I'd have loved to see the Shaina-randhir emotional tussle a lil bit more.
    But one thing I really liked about this piece was you didn't make an attempt to rush it towards an end just cz you're putting it up in a blog post...which most writers try to the fear of loosing the readers grip or whatever...

    Good one here !

  47. hey, good work! it was def a thrilling and captivating read..well done!

  48. @ Cinderella... Thanks a lot. I really didn't want to rush this towards the ending, the story had it's own pace.

    Glad you enjoyed it. Maybe in another story, I'll get a better insight into the infidelity factor. :)


  49. @ aastha... Thank you :)

  50. Goodness... Your writing is brilliant!!! Kudos!!! :)

  51. Arnab...u r amazing...really I felt like reading a novel..d narration is awesome:)

  52. @ Kido... Thanks a lot :) Hope I can keep up with it. Do visit as and when I do... Cheers :)

  53. @ Satyu... Thanks a lot. Welcome to Technicolor Collage :)

    Cya around... cheers...

  54. Seriously bollywood masala film material! johnny gaddar ki yaad aa gayi!

  55. Very Nice Arnab. Gripping. And not at all long regarding the everlasting curiosity building inside the head. The ending did justice to resolve the ironies. Loved it. And excuse my long absence from blogsphere. :) Take care buddy.

  56. This picture is awesome!!! I love it!! :)
    Loved this story of yours. One of your best. One day, someday, I wanna write like you :)
    Hehe! Take care!

  57. Great story. I enjoyed reading it!

  58. @ Ki... Hmm, so you're saying that that's a career option that might be available for me? Nice!! :D

    Cheers... and thanks :)

  59. @ Ki... Hmm, so you're saying that that's a career option that might be available for me? Nice!! :D

    Cheers... and thanks :)

  60. @ Jagjit... Thank you. Good to find that the length of the post didn't stop people from reading it... I was a bit worried that people might not want to read something that long :D

    Cheers... and welcome back to Blogosphere.

  61. @ Cursed... Thanks a lot... although, you might want to go say that about the picture to the guy who shot it. I just used it from :)

    You are a great writer already... you write poems, likes of which I know I'll never be able to write. Keep writing :)


  62. @ Wendy... Thanks a lot. Do go through the other stories out here too, you might enjoy them as well.

    Cheers... :)

  63. I guess I'm very late, sorry! :) PC troubles!

    Somehow, the wait for your next post is not something I mind, because you ensure quality and that is what matters in the end. Another masterpiece from you, mind numbing, and well edited too. :)

    One of the best fiction writers in blogville definitely and really I pray you go on forever. :) Keep it going buddy, you are on the right track. :)

  64. @ Tara... Sorry for the late reply from my end too... so no worries there :)

    Good to see that you keep returning. The blog's updated every saturday, 'coz that's like the only time that I seem to have these days. Maybe once the internship gets over, I'll have a little more time at hand, and I'll be able to write a little more...

    Thanks so much for sticking by, and for all the wonderful comments :) really made my day...