Her breath grew thinner and ragged as her trembling hand uncovered a dead body. Zoya stood rigid with shock. A shiver rushed down her spine when she watched his face.
“Shardul?” Zoya murmured to herself. Tears rolled down from her blurry eyes and numbness draped over her body like a dense fog.
An hour back, Zoya finished her favorite cappuccino. She received a call from an unknown number.
“Am I talking to Zoya?” said Raghav with a hoarse tone. “Yes, who’s this?” inquired Zoya, seeking to recognize the voice.
“My name is Inspector Raghav, and I’m calling from St. Theresa hospital. Please visit the hospital to identify a dead body. We suspect it’s of Shardul Kakkar,” said Raghav.
A tingling numbness spread across her forehead, mouth, and cheeks. Every part of her body paused before she could catch a breath and talk. She couldn’t speak for a few seconds as every muscle in her mouth paralyzed.
Before Zoya could, Raghav disconnected the call. She tried calling Shardul, but his phone was unreachable. At that moment, her brain stuttered.
“How is that possible?” Zoya went into deep shock and anxiety. The same morning, she had an intense discussion with Shardul before he left for a vlog shoot.
In a fraction of a second, zillion thoughts crossed Zoya’s mind. Shardul’s successful YouTube career, his smoking habits, his hesitation every time she asked him for marriage, and the unconditional love he gave her, despite her anxiety issues.
With her heart racing, Zoya regained consciousness and ran towards her car. Her mind was blank. All she remembered was Raghav’s husky voice and St. Theresa hospital–20mins away from her home.
With her hands still shivering while driving, Zoya immersed herself into deep thoughts that gave her a sense of optimism. Deep down in her heart, she was certain that it wasn’t Shardul’s body, but the sheer suddenness of the news terrified her. “This news cannot be real” she started talking to herself.
“What if the police officer got it wrong? How can a YouTube star die in an accident, and there is no news anywhere? When I go there, the dead body will be of someone else.”, thoughts kept on pouring in her mind as she reached St. Theresa Hospital.
Zoya left her car at the side park and ran towards the reception “Hi, Shardu.. Dead body..” the reception looked at Zoya’s tearful face as she was trying to utter unclear words.
“Zoya?”, a familiar voice echoed in her ears. She turned to her face towards the left. It was Raghav, who called her to identify the dead body. Pointing towards a room in a corner he said, “Hi, please follow me. The dead body is in that room.”
The room was few steps away from the reception. Zoya stood there motionless.
“Mam, please follow me,” said Raghav once again, pointing towards the room. She couldn’t lift her leg. Her body trembled like a leaf as her heart missed every beat. With every step, she felt like a force pulling her back.
As they approached the room, Raghav advanced his hand to open the wooden brown door. He requested her to enter the room and identify the dead body.
As Zoya entered, she saw a body laid at the center of the room on the embalming table. She has never seen a dead in her life except for her grandmother when she was 6 years. The sight was horrifying. She had a tingling sensation back of her neck and chilled room temperature made her body numb.
Zoya stood next to the table as a dead body laid on the table covered with a white sheet.
The hospital covered the dead body with a white sheet. While approaching the table, Zoya murmured to herself once again, “I could have stopped him today. I should have fought with him a little more and made him delay the shoot. What if someone killed him?”, her mind couldn’t stop making assumptions.
Zoya’s hands reached for the white sheet, while the terror of revealing his face gave her goosebump. When she uncovered the sheet, her heart skipped the beat. The body was of Shardul.
Shardul’s body was resting on the table, and her heartbeat started pounding at a rapid pace. She looked at his face for the last time. The perfect jawline, thick eyebrows, the beaming smile, and his hypnotizing eyes she can never see again. She lowered her face towards him to kiss him last goodbye and a stream of shock ran down Zoya’s body. Shardul opened his eyes.
Shardul unwrapped the white sheet with his muscular hand and pulled out a ring from his denim jeans. Zoya watched it in shock.
Before she could understand or react, a hand tapped her twice on the shoulder. She turned back, and it was Raghav with six individuals wearing a black t-shirt, holding a video shoot kit.
Shardul went down on his knees while the crew member didn’t waste any second to record this magical moment. The entire team was excited. Finally, their hard work paid off. It took them one month to plan the proposal video. Getting the hospital spare room for the shoot was not a problem especially for Raghav, the newly appointed Shardul’s manager.
“Will you marry me?” said Shardul.
Zoya was still in a state of numbness couldn’t speak as she looked at Shardul’s eyes.
“Zoya will you marry me?”, asked Shardul once again. There was no answer.
Zoya remained stunned. All these years she wished was to marry Shardul and start a family.
Shardul grabbed her hand and pulled Zoya towards him.
Zoya fell on Shardul’s shoulder while he gripped her with his arms.
She was motionless, and Shardul’s sensed what happened.
Zoya stopped breathing while her lifeless body hung on Shardul.
Shardul’s video live-streamed on his YouTube channel and received 10million views within 4hours.