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Previous Winners

The Résumé

Sudhanshu Chopra

It would not be long, I reminded myself. I must do it. I must have it. The man sitting in the corner had been staring at me for long. I could not make out his face. It was engulfed by the hood of the black robe he was wearing—a black I had never seen before. Finally he got up and advanced towards me. It was not a walk, just a skim; his robe a billowing wave as he moved. In a blink he was standing by me. I flinched involuntarily and the bed made a squeaking sound. He leant in to me. A faceless man! He hissed at my neck, found his way down my shoulder, and before I could cry for help, took out a dagger and stabbed it right into my wrist. I screamed out of excruciating pain as blood spurted out in crimson fountain. The door banged open.

'What happened?' a voice asked.

'That man!'

'What man?'

I lifted my head. He was not there. I looked at my wrist. No stain.

'He's gone!'

'Is he?' I turned towards the voice now and found a bald, bespectacled fellow smirking at me. Though beige trousers and light check shirt made him look dapper neither could hide the malice that hung from his words. Like the bright red tie around his neck.

'Did you get it?' he asked.

I lay frozen.

'You could not. That's a zero for you. It had extra weightage. You won't make it through the interview now.' He paused and then started laughing like a maniac.

'Sir!' A slap at my wrist woke me up. The nurse's words fell on my ears. 'Everything okay? You were mumbling something about a faceless man....and that interview, I think, while you had passed out. Considering it was your first time, going unconscious is not a big deal. And you got over your fear. That’s good news!'

My shirt was drenched in sweat. She pulled a needle out of my wrist and dismounted a transparent bag labeled as O+ from a stand that stood near my head.

'Four hundred ml of blood', she smiled, and handed me a dab of cotton. 'You're fit to go now. Just press this on the spot and keep your arm folded for a while. And don’t do any strenuous activity for six to eight hours.'

I could only nod in exhaustion. As I began to leave, she called me from behind, 'Sir, here's your blood donation certificate. You said you'd be needing this for your job interview as an extra-curricular.'

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