When it started, or at least the beginning that I remember, I was standing on a railway platform, which was deserted except for four men.
The first of the four was, of course, me. A few yards in front of me stood another, the Second. He stood there with his back to me, his head was turned a little towards his right. I knew that this man was waiting for something but wasn’t sure what it was. I didn’t even know whether he was waiting for me. He just stood there, for a cue, which I didn’t know from where it will come.
Up until then, I had no clue of what I was doing on the platform. As I was trying to find my bearings, I noticed another man, the Third. He walked past me from behind, from my left, and into my line of sight. As the Third walked towards the Second, a vague sense of semblance came to me. It dawned on me, slowly, that I was part of movie crew. I surmised that Second was the lead actor and Third was the director. That explained the camera I had in my hand; strangely it was only then that I noticed the camera.
Everything felt surreal. I had never before seen a camera let alone operated one. I was hoping that I was holding it for someone else, an actual cameraman perhaps, who, when the time came, will take it over from me. But, my hope was short-lived.
All of a sudden, Second started rendering his lines. He was rambling, in a way that sounded obvious that these were rehearsed lines. He was uttering about how the society had been unfair to him, how he had to go through the ugliest of lives, how he was denied his fair share, and how, as a result of all these, he turned to a life of crime.
More clarity came to me. I figured out that I was on the set of a movie that was based on the life of a well-known criminal, one that was infamous for kidnapping, ransom and torture. Second was portraying this criminal. That, however, didn’t explain why Third, the director, was in the scene. He was still walking towards Second, who had a vague idea that Third was coming towards him even though his back was towards the both of us, Third and me.
Just when Third was about to reach out and touch Second, Second started moving away; he walked straight ahead, slowly. Third followed suit in the same leisurely stride as Second’s. I had no idea what to do, to follow or not. A few yards in front of them, Second and Third, and in the middle of the platform, there were stairs that led up to train station’s ticket counter. Second walked past the stairs and went to the other side. Third followed Second and soon, both of them were on the other side. I could no longer see them.
I waited a few moments and when neither of them showed up, I started to walk in their direction. So far, I had believed that it was only the three of us there. That was when another man, the Fourth, walked past my right side, hurrying towards the other two as I treaded slowly in the same direction. It was perhaps the camera that was slowing me down, allowing Fourth to almost race past me.
As soon as Fourth came into my view, I felt a shudder go through me.
“This is him”, I thought. By “him”, I meant that Fourth was the real-life bad guy, whom Second was portraying. I knew, then and there, that this would turn ugly very quickly for the Second and Third. I increased my pace and tried to catch up with Fourth, who, continued towards Second and Third. I was half-afraid that the two would end up as his next victims. As soon as Fourth went past the stairs, I started running in order to catch up with the rest.
After that, everything became vague. I could hear a train coming in my direction. I never saw Second and Third again. I knew Fourth was somewhere here but I couldn’t see him. There were some other noises, as if there were other people around me. They were either getting off the train or boarding it. However, I could see none of them; all I could was hear them. After a few more hazy minutes, I saw myself standing on top of the train.
This didn’t make any sense at all. So, I checked myself to see whether I was, in fact, standing on top of a train. Then, I remembered nothing.
By the time my sense of sanity, how much ever of it there was, came back, I was in a long and dark alley, not on the top of the train as I earlier had feared. There were a few streaks of light along the alley, as if they were due to a windows not completely closed. The alley itself was moving, shaking from side to side, consistent with it being inside a moving train. It dawned on me then that I made an error in my assumption.
It was I, not Second or Third, was the next victim.