Yesterday Night – part 1

The smell of asphalt made his headache even worse than before. His walk home felt like an eternity when Mahinder paced the freshly tarred road cursing, barely able to keep his eyes steady. The street was darker than he knew. When he slowly neared the interjunction, his two-storey apartment building came in to view, on top standing like a black hole, sucking all the moonlight into its core. Below stood the house owners grocery store which was half-lit. He almost thought of cutting into the interjunction, taking the east road to avoid confronting him, but a man walking from that way to the main junction made him think twice, the weather was getting cold and time had gone off course, might just sneak through without the owner noticing.

All his plans were doomed when he heard the owner call out.

“Mahi” a hefty man in his sixties came out of the half-closed shutters. Mahinder had no option but to face the owner.

“You are late today, working overtime?” the man asked cleaning his greasy hands on a cloth. Mahi worked late at the school where he taught especially when the exams were up. But today that wasn’t the case. Just a bloody headache.

“Yes,” he had to lie, rather than giving a long account of what happened. He desperately wanted to get into his room, lie down and never wake up.

“I know you are working hard to meet the ends, but if you need any help let me know. Okay.” the man put his hands on Mahi’s shoulder. Mahi smiled and nodded, slowly making his way to the steps nearby. He turned back to see a man standing near the steps staring at him. Maybe the owner, Mahi thought and continued up the stairs. He turned back to check and saw the man following him.

“Excuse me? Can I help you?” Mahi stopped and asked the man, was he the person who was coming from the east road, because he didn’t see anyone else on the streets.

“What do you want?” he asked again. He was alarmed, who was this guy, a thief, some maniac. But his thoughts were interrupted when the man turned back and ran down the stairs at a fly. Mahi followed him, by the time he reached the ground, there was no one. The owner was closing the shutters. Seeing Mahi staring abruptly at the darkness around, the owner got off the van.

“What happened, Mahi?” he inquired. His head was throbbing, almost as if his veins would burst open. Where did he go? Who was it? 

“Did you see anyone run away?” Mahi asked the owner, gasping for breath.

“Now, no. What is the matter?”

“I saw someone follow me upstairs and then ran off,” Mahi told.

“I didn’t see anyone. It might have been a stray dog.” the owner said, scratching his head with a doubtful look at Mahi.

“No,” Mahi said, he knew what he saw, that was a man. Is he lying? why didn’t he see him? If I saw him, he surely had. He was tired, thinking more did only make his head burst open. Better get back, he thought.

By the time he was awake Mahi was far exhausted than when he slept. The vague memories of his dream flashed through one more time before vanishing into the void. It was dawn. The faint light of the new day could hardly touch the bedroom window. The time was hitting six. I need to sleep more, he thought. lying back to the bed, searching deep into the abyss. He was sweating, why? His muscles were straining. All he did was lie down. There was no hope in finding it. He woke up and switched on the lights. They blinked twice before it steadied. He noticed a dark spot on the right wall, bigger than his fist. That wasn’t there before. He leaned to touch it but it slowly closed on its own, blending into the rest. This wasn’t the first time Mahi has seen that. Buses, classes, restaurants everywhere. A dark spot that closed on its own, a spot no bigger than a coin at first. It was only getting bigger and bigger. He understood that he had some serious brain damage. The continuous headaches, dark spots that weren’t there. He was sure he was losing his eyesight.

Did he see the stranger follow him last night or was it just another hallucination his brain damage brought? He could not think any longer. Thinking made everything worse. As it always has in his life. I must seek medication.

On his way to school, Mahi stopped at the owner’s shop noticing the crowd that gathered around. He saw the owner standing near the entrance talking to three policemen who towered over the short man. Mahi cut his way through the crowd and met the owner.

“Mahi, You were right. Someone broke into the shop yesterday night.” The owner holding Mahi’s hand, the policemen closely examining both. Mahi was petrified, so that wasn’t a hallucination. Someone did follow me. Maybe he was trying to rob me but took the chance to rob the shop.

“Did you see his face?” asked one of the policeman.

“No, I wasn’t able to. It was dark.” Mahi responded, still in his thoughts. “Was he a theif?” Mahi turned to the owner.

“Yes, but he didn’t take a thing.” the owner said, not able to believe for himself.

“What?” Mahi was puzzled.

“Well, he didn’t take anything and we don’t even know how he got in at the first place.” the policemen said.

“What about the surveillance camera, that does work, right?” Mahi asked the owner. The policemen shared a look at each other, the owner was trying to catch his breath.

“Come on, Mahi. I’ll show you.” the owner pulled him into the shop followed by the policemen. A computer was placed at the cash counter, where the owner went on clicking something and called Mahi to look. The video clip showed nothing except a well-lighted shopping floor. It remained as it is for the rest of the time.

“I don’t see anything out of order or anyone. Where is the robber?” Mahi asked. The owner stared at Mahi, his eyes were slowly swelling with tears.

“There isn’t any.” the owner said. But his face said there was more than something normal about the scene.

“Then how do you know there was someone inside,” Mahi asked. These people were just wasting his time.

“Look” the owner skipped to 5:47 am. The steel door at the backend of the shop that was used to unload the packages opened on its own. Tears were rolling from the owner’s eyes. Mahi couldn’t believe or didn’t want to. The policemen felt the same way. Either the camera wasn’t properly working or the door wasn’t locked, that was the only logical explanation Mahi could come up with. But the policemen and the owner convinced him better. They were properly locked and had found the key in the lock. Someone used the key, the owner kept in his table to open the door. But who? there was no one inside. No trace of anything living that could have opened a door with a key. The backdoor stayed open as it was when Mahi left for school.

The day wasn’t entertaining, like almost the rest of his past. On his way back, the thoughts came back to him. Why did the man follow me? Why didn’t the owner see him? why did he break into the shop if not for stealing? And why was he not captured by the camera? All the Why’s were running one after another through his mind. He decided to take the east road. Although it was a longer route, he had time to spare.

The east road was quiet and peaceful than the main one. Shadier if not anything else. He had never even thought of taking the road before and it hit him hard on the back as he had to find the way on his own. The road extended to the interjunction where it met the main road. He almost reached the back entrance to his apartment building only a few feet away from the backdoor of the owner’s shop which the thief used to escape. He caught a glimpse of someone pass through the main road down in the direction to his home. The person was walking fast, almost into a run. Mahi felt something amiss and thought to follow him. Nothing was visible of him except a shadowy outline. He went down further the road to meet the interjunction saw the man continuing his walk towards the stairs. Then he stopped. Mahi leaned on the wall on his side to stay hidden from him. He had to find out who that man is. Mahi almost dialled the police when the owner came out and spoke to the stranger. He sighed, moved towards them both to listen to what they were saying. The lights were dim and the shutter was half closed like the last day. Mahi stretched himself to listen and heard a bit or two of the owner’s voice.

“……working overtime?” the owner’s voice fading. He couldn’t make the other persons reply but the owner was patting the man’s shoulder.

“……..meet the ends. if you need anything let me know. Okay,” The owner said, this time a lot clear. Mahi was confounded, this felt very familiar, he remembered having the same conversation with the owner, very recently. Like the last day. Several questions passed by his mind but he ignored them when he saw the stranger walk up the stairs to his home. What? Why is he going that way? Why didn’t the owner stop him? 

Mahi followed the man to the stairs. The owner was busy loading something to his car that he must not have seen Mahi. The old man will hear from me for this, let me find who that is first. The stranger went up to the gate on the stairs and locked it from behind then he noticed Mahi. He stood there looking at Mahi but continued walking up. Mahi was terrified he didn’t understand why the owner let a stranger to Mahi’s apartment and what did this man want? He followed the man up to the gate when the stranger looked back again at Mahi and spoke.

“Excuse me? Can I help you?” Mahi froze, that wasn’t right, he said the same thing yesterday when he saw the stranger, his very familiar voice. Diming light from the moon showed the man’s annoyed face.

That can’t be… No…

It was him, Mahi itself. Or an impersonator. But no, it was himself. The face, the same one he had been staring at in the mirror now standing upfront. Was he having a hallucination, he tried to wake up from his sleep, the nightmare. No. It wasn’t one.

“What do you want?” the man moved towards Mahi. Everything he felt till that moment started fading, they were turning black, the dark spot appeared, growing over the stairs and his home like vine roots. He ran down the stairs, more like jumping the steps. He wanted to run to the nearest hospital but he saw the owner standing near his minivan. Mahi saw the half-open shutter and ran into the shop. The inside was growing black as the dark spot grew further and further. He hid behind a farthest aisle and stayed there. What has become of him? Why was there a man like him? Why did things happen yesterday repeat? I was standing exactly where the stranger was standing yesterday? What is going on? Am I becoming blind or is the world growing dark? He was now sitting in the middle of nowhere, vast blackness. His body illuminating bare grid lines. What has become of me?

He heard the shutter close and voices of two men from outside, he knew who they were and what they were talking. Exactly what he asked the owner yesterday. He sat in the blackness as if there was no return.

As time passed by, the gridlines started to appear around slowly bringing the light back. At the first sight of light Mahi stood up and ran up to the front door, but they were locked from outside, but he knew there was a back exit. He searched for the key to the door and rushed to the back as soon as he found it. The door flung open welcoming  the faint light of the new sun that made the blackness retreat. He looked at his watch, 5:47 am.

I was the robber and the stranger who followed me yesterday. But I was the one sleeping in my bedroom.

He ran.


Thank you for reading the first part of Yesterday night. I will be uploading the Second part very soon. Comment your thoughts and reviews.

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Endless Stories – Chapter 1

Introduction

“Is this an interrogation?
“Is it?
“Well, seated in the middle of an isolated room with a table in front and a light bulb hanging over my head and you watching through the double-sided mirror straight to my face. I see it is an interrogation. Very well. Now that I am here you can ask your questions which I willingly would answer. But on one condition. My answers would be long and cruel, it would take more time than you think it would. But I assure you that all of your questions will be answered. All I ask is your full cooperation and patience. It may be boring but I will make it short as much as I can. If you no longer can bear it I am so sorry I may have to ask you to leave, because I only want people who have time to listen to a poor fellow’s story.

“For your first question, No!

“I did not commit murder or was involved in one. I have never seen anyone die and do not plan to. Neither did I steal anything nor was involved in one. I don’t have an interest in other people’s property except for a thing that I shall explain to you later if you could survive that long. But do not be excited because it is not what you would ever think it could be. I assure you I have not been involved in any of the crimes that most people would be accused of.

“For your second question, I do not know exactly!

“I am here for the same reason as you are here. To know what wrong I did to be sitting here alone and answering all your questions. Ten years back I would have cursed the God, who everyone says created men and them eventually creating me. Having to face such horrible phases of life that I never wanted to. But sitting in this chair looking at my own reflection on the mirror in front of me behind where you are hiding. I no longer complain about anything. Everything happens as it should be. I don’t control everyone’s life, I could control the steering wheel of my life but, eh, last time I checked humans were a social animal and many people have come across my life and I am very sorry to say that I cannot control them even if I could, I would never try. You don’t know how miserable life could be, you may think you know, but you don’t. Think about it honestly. You will know. I don’t intend to bring boredom into our interrogation by including life philosophy I take the time you gifted to me very carefully, so back to your question.

“As I told you before I used to be the same person as you are now, greedy, careless, rude, angry, full of hatred, a money leaded life. I am so sorry to say, that is what most of you are. But don’t worry it will change once you find out why you were created for. I found out, or so I believe. And eventually, it brought me right before you. Therefore I believe it was indeed the purpose of my life. For the answer to your second question I do not have a specific answer. Sorry.

“You may be thinking of leaving. It is starting to get bored. I know. To listen to one man speaking about himself, not even having a clue about what he is saying. It is the best way to get bored. But that is what I do for a living. What? If that is your reaction, you are right at where I want you to be. We are on the same path here. Listening to other people’s lives is the best way you could help others. I do that for my living, right now sitting here before you I have listened to almost one seventy people’s story. Real-life story. Not a bunch of lies served by people who call themselves writers. I literally listen to them, that is all, simple. You just have to place yourselves before them so they could talk to someone you don’t have to say a word. Just listen, that’s it. I don’t say it is the most divine of jobs a person could have, but I say it is the best one I could do. And I am pretty good at it. Still, there were some people who called me a psychopath. There was this one newspaper report that came to my attention. It referred to me as a psychopath who feeds on human emotions. It was a good title, but not a good one who finds a living the way I do. I find that you have several more questions now. I understand, do not worry I have all the time of my life to answer you. If you are willing I could narrate the whole story of my life to you, briefly, I promise. I value your time too. I need a commitment from you that you would listen patiently. If you are ready for that I say we can begin our interrogation. And you could tell me what was the crime I committed.
“So, shall we begin.”


Thank you for reading. Keep on enjoying life. Good day.

The letter of life – A short story

brown paper envelope on table
Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

The new house was far better than the old rabbit hole down the street. this one was well furnished and I didn’t need to buy anything new to make it home. although it was for rent the house already felt like home. one or two friends from work came across to help me with unpacking and arranging everything. it was almost evening when the things were arranged and cleaned. the house was big enough for me, two bedrooms(as I only need one), one kitchen and a living room. there was a small backyard, where I could do my yoga and exercises.

Oh! I have forgotten to introduce me. My name is Shirley and I work at a newspaper company. Not an editor or a journalist. I am more like an assistant type. So back to the story.

My friends left after tea, they had night shifts at work. I was resting in my couch picking up the newspaper going through it and suddenly my doorbell rang. I stood up thinking.

“guests already”

I didn’t have much friends in this new city nor any neighbors nearby. so I felt curious. As I walked to the door the bell rang again. I opened it and saw nobody. then suddenly I saw the letterbox was almost open, I guessed it must be the postman. but there were no posts after 4pm. I know these stuff I work at a newspaper company. then I went to the letterbox and there was a letter. I picked it up and it was not the type of letter you get every day.

The envelope looked old and rugged like the one we see in epic fantasy movies. I walked inside as soon as I ensured there was no one else around. I opened it and the letter was thesame as the envelope, old and suspicious. it said in black and bold letters:

Welcome, my dear”.

the letter was really weird, it was the year 2018 not many wrote letters, nobody has ever written letters to me and not especially calling “my dear”. I thought the letter must be delivered as a mistake. I kept it where I found it but for my surprise, there was another letter, the same envelope, and everything. I opened it to find if there was something else. it said.

” don’t worry, my dear”.

I became really frustrated somebody was seriously pulling a prank on me but who? there was not many who I was close with. In fact,I have been in this city for just 5 weeks. I stood there for some time to find if someone was going to do it again.

nothing happened for an hour or two. I went back to the house, made my dinner and got freshened up. It was past 7 o’clock and the day had been rough and tough along with those anonymous letters I was really tired. so I went to the kitchen to have my dinner. It was good and my body was really impressed with the food and sleep wrapped all over me. For one last time, needed to see if there was another letter. So I went to the door and slowly looked over to the letterbox. I was startled by the view. there was someone at the gates. A black figure, there were no lights so I wasn’t sure if it was a man/a woman. I looked at it, that thing was like staring right at me, even though I could not see its face or literally nothing.

I thought it was my mind playing with me I closed the door and locked it. that night I slept on the couch with my mobile phone in my hand ready to call the police if needed. but nothing happened. And I slept fairly.

It was 7am,  I woke up late. I had to hurry to the office. I didn’t get my breakfast or my tea but I was able to get there on time. the day was fine and comfortable as I had adjusted to its nature. It was almost 6pm when I got out of the office and took a cab to my house. I was really tensed what if I see the man again? but there was nothing, not even a bird. I got out but I really had to check the letterbox. I couldn’t control my urge and pulled open the box and there the letterbox was completely stacked with letters. not leaving a tiny little space for another letter. I was frightened. I didn’t want to open any of the letters but as you can guess I took out one, just one. the envelop and letter was the same as the older ones, but it had a different message:

“I knew the girl who lived here before, she was very dear to me. I want you to be dear to me as well!”

the last sentence felt like a threat. I needed to call the police, but I thought I would wait this evening. If the guy comes and I will be surely calling the police. I went in and tried not to look out.

the night came and I didn’t open the door or looked outside. I watched tv and ate my dinner but before I went to bed I needed to make sure no one was around.  I slowly went to the door, but even before I could open the door, there outside the door I could hear a loud breath like a bear or something. I looked through the window near the door. there a tall man all in black stood he was looking straight to the door. I kept staring at him. then suddenly he knocked on the door.

I, out of fear made a cry and he heard it. he saw me looking through the window. Now he was staring at me through the window. I went searching for the mobile phone and luckily found it before any mess. I called the police and told about the man. Within minutes the police came. but they were not able to find the person. they asked me everything and I told them everything I knew, they showed me a photo of a person old and stout. it was the man I saw outside. they told me who he was.

His name was Hoarn. he once lived in this house along with his wife. he was a drunkard and one day killed his wife. For that, he was sent to prison and after 10 years got out. And came back to this house only to find out the house was sold to another person. A woman who lived here gave permission for him to live in the backyard as he had nowhere else to go, after some time for some reason he killed her too. he was never caught. And now I live here so I could guess what he was up to.

The story was well enough for me to get out of there, and I did after two days. No one came on those days and I moved to an apartment near to my office.

A year later I saw the man again, in the newspaper. He was caught red-handed trying to kill a man who lived there after I moved away. I could only think of the luck I had. After a few months I married a guy near to my apartment and from then I had never lived alone. But I got a letter one day after a long time. But there was a date and an address in it. It was dated on the date when the guy was caught by the police and it was addressed from the state prison. It said:

“Live, my dear”.