Good Night

A story of a man staying as a paying guest with one family and the series of unfortunate events that turn out to be direful.

A

bus came rushing towards the withered bus stand and stopped with a jerk. After years, someone was climbing down at the station Bholgadh, a place one can not even find on any map. Mehaar climbed down the bus with his two big trunks. There were no seats at the bus stand, just a wall with cracks spread all over it like a wallpaper, and a shade over it, which no longer gave any shade due to its broken shape.

Mehaar was broke and had finally accepted his friend’s offer of staying at his place for some time till he gets back on track. So, he waited at that desolated place, away from the city, for his friend to come pick him up.

A rusty car came rushing out of the woods, and came to a halt, making a thud by slightly hitting the road sign-board. Mehaar greeted his friend, Kiaan, and got in to the car. The car moved along the narrow dirt track while wobbling along the bumps and potholes on the road, which kept Mehaar holding on to the dashboard. Mehaar looked sideways with dubiety on his face, to which Kiaan replied with a laughter. The bumpy ride gave them enough time to recall their past memories and laugh at them.

Kiaan’s house was a century old mansion, two-storeyed, damaged, but with a grand appearance. The front yard was filled with mud and dirt due to last night’s rain. There was no other building nearby the house. It was surrounded by tall trees, which had grown in a slipshod fashion. One could not extend the gaze past a few meters as the trees blocked the sight.

The car slipped a few meters in the mud before coming to a halt. Kiaan got down energetically, while Mehaar was cautious about his shoes and the mud. Kiaan got Mehaar’s luggage out of the car and welcomed him to see his family.

Kiaan’s mother greeted them as they entered the house. She was an old lady, who loved to read all day while sitting in her rocking chair. Kiaan’s wife, Sana, came out of her room and was disturbed to see Mehaar in her house. But she didn’t show her agitation and welcomed Mehaar to their house nonetheless. But she must talk about this with Kiaan afterwards, she thought.

Mehaar entered the house, looking in every direction, as if searching for someone. The house was as grand on the inside as was from the ourside. The entrance hall was huge and led way to the staircase going to the top floor, lined with several bedrooms and guest rooms. From the hall, separate corners led to the kitchen, the dining area and the backyard. Only dining area was within one’s visibility from the stairs.

Kiaan showed Mehaar to his room and left Mehaar to take some rest. All the while, Mehaar was thinking about whether it was a right decision to come to his friend’s house; after what had happened the last time he was here…

Sana was worried about Mehaar staying with them as she always found Mehaar eerie. She placed her clothes in the wrong direction while arranging her drawer, and should have gotten very upset about it. She had places and directions for all of her things and wanted them to be exactly the same. But this time, there were more pressing issues in her mind.

Kiaan lifted her from the behind and gave her his kind of romantic spin. She screamed in shock, which gave him a self-assuring pleasure. Kiaan threw her on bed and started unbuttoning her shirt, while slowly kissing her. Sana tried to take control of the situation, but Kiaan’s love was deluging her. Kiaan had just reached under her bra, when she got up with a serious face.

Sana shared her fears to Kiaan, who was listening to her quite keenly after being dropped from the action. Kiaan explained to her that he wished to help his friend in his difficult times. And he assured Sana that nothing could possibly go wrong.

Kiaan’s assurance was not assuring enough for Sana, as he didn’t know about the last time… They lapsed back to loving each other, but she anyway was not going to catch a wink that night.

The night was shiny; the stars twinkled more compared to the city nights. It reminded Mehaar of something from the past. He jerked his head to let go of those thoughts and started unpacking his trunks.

While Mehaar was busy, the door to his room opened slowly. Mehaar was unaware of this and was lost in his thoughts. Someone came in, closing the door behind. Those arms started making way towards Mehaar, ready to take the better of him. Mehaar, suspicious, turned in instinct, and grabbed those arms. But soon was balled over to find out who it was.

The past that he had moved on from, the memories that he had buried; it all came up again right in front of him.

To be continued…

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You’re Unwelcome.

A man, who stays alone in his house, finds himself with a guest, who’s rather unwelcome.

… …

Word Art

The fan was whistling out a song in the gloomy night. Outside, in the dark, the moon was half covered by the dark, almost black clouds. The wind was humid. And the overall feeling about the weather was spooky.

He had lost his (yet another) best friend from his life and he was thinking about all the best times they had spent together. It all came to him, one after the other, making a series of episodes, a movie without a happy ending.

He closed his eyes and waited for sleep to cover his mind, while he watched the slide-show of his treasured moments with his best friend. He never knew when the sleep came over and got him mellow in its heady guise.

The cool breeze and his boredom-filled day gave him a sound sleep and he was too deep in it, but he still couldn’t ignore that sinister giggle, which accompanied a mild echo with it.. His eyes opened instantly, and he wanted to get up, check who it was. A possible burglary in his presence? Anyone outside his house? Someone not welcomed?

He got up to check who it was, but he couldn’t get down from his bed. He was stupefied, unable to move. But it wasn’t the fear of unknown. It was something else that wasn’t allowing him to move. He made a big shout and his eyes opened again. He was sleeping, and dreaming about all that. But still, he wanted to get up, he wanted to check on that laugh anyway. But he couldn’t get up this time. He was again torpefied. He was maddened due to this numbness he felt in his body. None of his body organs were listening to his commands! What was wrong with him?! He made another grunting sound and made a big push to move sideways on the bed. And he opened his eyes again. Yet another dream, inside a dream. He was sweating like a pig now on his bed. He was worn-out, panting frantically. He heard that sinister giggle again. His heart froze… This time it was clearer. It was a girl’s giggle. Was this another dream or was this real? He got up from his bed and moved to the sidelines of the bed. He turned back to saw himself still sleeping on the bed, while he was up! Bewildered at the unsettling images, these beyond weird dreams, he made a big, heart-reaping cry which finally woke him up, in real.

His heart beats were racing with each other, one beat overtaking another one. His bed was wet with the perspiration and he was clenching the bedsheets so tightly that they were untucked from all sides. His cry was still echoing in his ears and he understood that even the cry was in his dream and he had not uttered a word in real world. His throat was dry. His mouth was filled with saliva. He felt as if he had been in a drought filled area for years. He wiped the sweat off his face using the sleeves of his shirt and got up from his bed. He walked towards the kitchen. He washed his face at the sink, and drank some water from the tap. He gulped the whole glass without opening his eyes. He took a deep breath, told himself that it was okay… Just a nightmare. Everything was fine now.

The wind outside was fast. The swift bash of the wind against the sliding doors to the balcony made a creaking sound. One of the door was unlatched, which caused the freaking creaking sound every few seconds. He opened the door and went outside to check the surroundings from his balcony. It was dark, the moon was fully covered with clouds and the streetlights were the only alive thing on the street.

He moved back in and slowly closed the door. The darkness and the blue film on the door window covered the vision of outside and started mirroring the insides of the house. As the door slid past his face, he saw another figure standing right behind him of his height, shadowed in the dark room mixing with the blackness of the room, but then more blacker than the rest of it. And then there was that creepy giggle again…

Well, Come In!

On a weekend night, Ana was dozing in front of her computer screen while watching another long, high-rated television series. When a guest visit turned her boring lonely night into a everlasting memory, probably more appropriate to call it a nightmare.

… …

The computer was turned on and she had her ears covered with the headphones with volume up to the notch. Although it was a high-rated television series, but she couldn’t take it anymore and probably felt a small nap to be a better place than her boring and lonely real world.

The episode had completed since more than half an hour now and the silence in her house was only affected by the constant rumbling of her old computer’s cooling fan.

*Buzzzzzz*

The doorbell rang and Ana got up with a jolt and hit her leg with the table. She hopped on one leg to the door and watched through the peephole to see who was it. She saw the opposite door and the empty hallway otherwise.

The doorbell rang again. She startled and immediately withdrew from the peephole. Little hesitant at first, she then opened the door to check on the prankster.

“Hello beta! It seems that my son has gone out and isn’t picking up my call right now. Can I wait at your place till he returns home again? He lives in that apartment… That one, with a laundry bag outside the door.” the old lady said pointing at the door at the end of the hallway.

Ana had never seen anyone go towards that flat and thought may be the guy must be having a different work shift was the reason for them never meeting.

She smiled and invited the old lady saying “Well, Come in…!”

The lady came in and looked around Ana’s house in amusement. “You’re pretty neat for your generation.”

Ana smiled and went on to bring some water for the lady.

“What does your son do? I haven’t actually seen him or anyone go towards that flat since I’ve been here. Does he work unusual shifts?” Ana enquired.

“I don’t know actually. We haven’t talked since a while. I live at our family house in suburbs and couldn’t visit him due to family commitments. This is my first time here in the city. He used to call everyday earlier, but then since a few months, he doesn’t call us that regularly. So I thought to surprise him with a visit.” Lady went on. “Work environment these days! Eats out your time like a leech and doesn’t allow you to spend time with the people you love. Isn’t it?”

Ana nodded in agreement, although she had ample time to spend with someone, just she didn’t have anyone to spend her time with.

The lady and Ana talked about varied topics and time flied soon. Ana talked with someone this long after a long time. She last talked for these many hours last time when she had visited her parents. But that was a long time ago.

After a while, the dearth of topics was understandable in their conversation. And the portion of silence went increasing between two conversations.

“So, you’re here to stay a while? As I had a really nice time with you Aunty, and would want to meet you again.” Ana said up brightly.

She saw the otherwise grim look on the lady’s face turn pleasant and happy to hear that. Probably she was lonely in her life too. Void of love and attention from her son, care from her other family members. Her wrinkled face seemed sore and tired of years of dedicated care-taking of her family, where her own wishes and needs had dried up like the moisture in her skin.

“So sweet of you beta. We will surely meet again if you want. Just come over to our house next time you feel like talking to anyone. You’re like my daughter, beta. I’d love to chit-chat with you.” Lady said smiling, the only time her folded face still looked beautiful.

Ana smiled and stood up “Excuse me for a second.” and went towards the washroom. She was happy to find someone with whom she could spend some time now that she wasn’t around her own family and friends. And an elder company is better once you grow up enough to get bored of the usual partying and wasting time at all crazy activities with your friends.

She came back, beaming “Aunty… I am terrible cook and you’ll have to teach me some dishes, so that I…”

The room was empty and the front door was open.

She went to the door and looked outside in the hallway. It was empty. Probably the lady’s son had come and took her home. But that was weird that she left without saying goodbye.

She went back to her couch, closing the door behind her. She looked at her computer and the boredom was returning, little faster than she had expected.

*Buzzzzzz*

The doorbell rang again. Ana went to answer the door and opened it without looking through the peephole. Probably it was the lady, come to explain her sudden exit.

It was the uncle next door. “Do you have today’s newspaper. There’s an ad that I have to check out.” the uncle continued in his usual withered tone.

“Yes uncle. One second…” and Ana went to bring the newspaper.

She handed him the newspaper and hesitantly asked him “Uncle do you know who lives in that last house, right at the end of the hallways.” Ana asked pointing towards the end house.

The uncle looked at the end of the hallway and looked back at her, his face paler than usual.

“That house is empty. No one lives there. The last tenant died in a car crash and the house has been empty since then.” the uncle answered her question, and asked with confusion on his face “Why?”

Ana was setback. “When did that happen? The accident?” She asked in a worried tone.

“Just a few months back. I don’t remember, but recently though.” the uncle said while scratching his bald head. “Okay thanks for the newspaper. Goodnight.” And he went on towards his house.

Ana nodded in reply of that farewell, but her head was filled with questions and worry. That lady must be unaware of the unfortunate accident with her son and was waiting for her son to call her since last few months. It wasn’t a surprise visit, it was  to calm down her anxiously worried heart. But it wasn’t going to calm down, not now.

Ana was staring at the opposite wall and her face was filled with worry. The uncle next door looked at her while opening his house door, and saw that expression.

“What’s up with you child? Any problem?” He asked as a friendly neighbor.

Ana let go of the staring-at-the-wall position and looked at him. “Does his family know about his death? Had anyone informed his family about the mishap?” she asked the obvious questions.

“Well of course. The story gets more sad here. The police had tracked down his family and had informed them about the incident. The body was delivered to them too for final rituals. I heard from others that everyone in their family was setback with the bad news. After all, the only son, only child to the parents died an unfortunate death. God bless!” he said while looking up, praying. “The boy was a good person. Never did we hear any complain about that section of our hallway. None from residents or visitors. Poor mother of his. They said that her mother was the most affected with the news. She wouldn’t believe that her son was no more in this world and would urge on to come visit her son here.”

Ana’s face was now all white with all these information. It was hard to digest all these facts at once.

“Her mother… She knows! Still… Where… How’s she now?” Ana asked in a uneasy voice.

The uncle replied with an even sad face “Oh she died, I hear. Couldn’t bear the pain I guess. Better that way. Than living in a pretense of his alive son. Anyway, why you ask about that family? You knew them?” the uncle asked, rather suspiciously.

But Ana was not in a position to answer that. She wasn’t in a position to answer any question for that matter. Last few hours were flashing before her eyes. That doorbell, that touch of her hand on her head when she had bent to touch her feet to ask her blessings. That whithered skin on her face. That beautiful smile, while the ever longing worry for her son. That desire to see her son in her eyes, that merriness and love in her voice when she talked about her son… What was that?

Ana closed the door without answering the uncle’s question. She didn’t bother to lock the door or to turn off the lights or to do anything for that sake, but went to her bed and lay there, her eyes closed. Her heart beating fast and with each beat, she felt that excruciating pain for that lady that couldn’t meet her son for the last time.

Her smiling face came to her thoughts and she remembered telling her that she wants to meet her again, that she liked to spend time with that lady…