“What happened there?” Sonny asked.
“Where?” I asked in return.
Sonny is a big man with one face and two eyes.
“What neighbor. I don’t have a neighbor. I live alone on my floor,” I told Sonny.
“The guy on the floor below yours.”
“I don’t know. What happened to him? I never met him”
“Somebody has pasted a notice on his front door. It says ‘HOME QUARANTINED. KINDLY REFRAIN FROM STEPPING OUTSIDE.'”
“Oh that. Two folks visited this apartment in the morning. They said they were surveying for the virus. The guy has come here from outside two weeks back. That’s all I know about him,” I told Sonny.
The sun had set. Almost. The roof , on which we stood, and everything else shone in red.
“I see. It’s becoming a big thing slowly.”
“The virus. Yes.”
“What did they say to you?” Sonny asked me.
“Nothing much. They asked me if anybody visited me from outside. I said no. Then they left my place.”
Sonny nodded to my reply, then looked away and walked few steps. He looked down at the little playground that these village boys had created from dry mud. They were playing cricket foolishly.
I looked away from Sonny. I looked at the red clay brick lying near my feet. I lifted it with my both arms. It was fairly heavy. I lifted it over my head. I stood like that for a while. The guy on the floor below, he never steps outside. Even if he fries himself in his home out of agony, nobody would know until the sour smell of death enters a clean nose.
I caught a mild cold two days back.
— TOMIC RITER