Short story completed.

I can’t believe that I completed 4, 872 words in 10 days. With full day work of a house maker and a family of 8 members. Attending to their needs now and then, dealing with the trying in-laws.

Above all the trying conditions of COVID -19 taking toll on me and peace of my mind. But still I managed to complete one short story. A murder mystery. Its about a daughter in law and mother in law. Where daughter in law warns her mother in law to stop her affair with the math teacher of her daughter. On the day of her first wedding anniversary she is found dead.

From here the quest of her mysterious death starts. Everyone is under suspicion. The math teacher and Mother in law are prime suspects. Her husband, his business partner, a long lost childhood friend who was business rival, were also suspected. Each of them had a motive to kill her but its a challenge to find out who did it and how? In the end the case has to be closed as suicide.

Hope to complete another short story soon. Outlined it already now have to start working upon it. This is about a young girl interviewing a killer as her own assassin. The girl is depressed about loosing a friend who died saving her, from a car accident. Feeling her pain for a person who actually never was, one of the best assassin falls for her. And offers to kill her in a bid to save her from doing something stupid. This has to be developed a little more.

I am trying to accomplish a collection of short stories which I can publish. Hope I am able to do it with all your best wishes and support.

Dead or in delusion.

I lived in a big ancestral house I used to call home and have splendid memories of my childhood , if not detailed. Of playing with cousins and friends, children of tenants. I lived with my grand parents, uncles and aunts along with my parents and brother. Though have not been to the place since long, may be from the year 1995. The thread or the rope tying me to it might have weaken but still a weak strand still tugs deep at the heart.

It’s a fine evening. Me and my husband are sitting in our 5th floor terrace garden having coffee. Rain is falling and cool gentle breeze is flowing.’ I don’t know why but every time I see my home in dreams since leaving it back then, it seems quiet and lonely. It’s calling me infact pulling me. When we are next in my home town, we are going to visit.’ ‘Who do you think will welcome you there. Why don’t you understand this point my love, there’s no one now’ he is putting his point but what he doesn’t know is I am going through a strong pull since years and this is high time that I should visit. Well, the good news is now after half an hour he has given in.

I am packing up my bags. Hurrah! We are going to my home town tomorrow with children. Actually the domestic flights are open now so it will be quick annual summer vacation trip. ‘ Hello. Bhaiya, we are coming. Just for few days like a change of atmosphere’

We are in my home town. ‘ mmmm…haaa.’ There, my brother is standing in the parking lot. We are driven to a camp. Here we are staying for 5 days. It’s actually a nice guest house where we are putting up but it’s not costly. Only concern is about children. How will they cope.

Today is the second day and children are already exhausted. They are draining my energy too. May be to some of you it might seem a wrong decision but believe me, they are completely safe here as the place we are in, is not used as camp, before us and we got this because of my brother’s connection with the health team and the police staff present at the airport.

This is fourth day. Yesterday it was very boring. I scolded kids because they were shouting and running in the gallery. This all is because we are the only ones in this guest house till now. No new upturns. My husband has kept himself busy in his script writing work. He puts on his headphones and dives into his thoughts. So yesterday was no different from past two days, on his front. Today, after lunch I have asked the manager of the guest house to let me peep out of the window if possible as I am cluster phobic and the situation is taking on my nerves. Out of pity, he allows a brief moment to look out side. Me and the children are clinging to the window. They are pressing so hard as if they will go out through the mash of the windowpane.

Well today is the last day. Finally tomorrow we are going home. I mean to my brother’s place. At last we will be out in the open air. Today I am late in making the entry as children had the phone to make video calls to their grand parents back home and to their cousin, my brother’s son.

We are having dinner. The current is out but they have a generator here, so no problem. I am done with the dinner and want rest of the three to finish off soon so we can call for the night early. Naturally, next day will come early. Don’t they say,” early to bed early to rise, makes a good person.” In my case it will be free from isolation.

Here is my brother with his MUV, to pick us up. ‘We will be home in not more then five to ten minutes’ he is telling my husband. ‘Well, bhaiya we are here for a very short stay. Hope we don’t bother you much. It’s all your sister’s stubborn idea.’ My hubby is looking at me while saying so. ‘ I can understand that very well. She is like this since beginning.’ Now my brother is winking at me. Both the children are laughing. They are enjoying my leg pulling. Naughty children.

Here we are at my home. Yes still I call it as my home too, because it’s my papa maa’ s home. Brother says till he is alive I can call it and feel it as my home. Because we are one.

Today is the day when I am going to enter this ancestral home after twenty five years appropriately. The bushes and shrubs have grown here so wild. I am shocked. ‘ care taker, our distant relative has passed away ages ago. His mother and family stayed here but now the mother is also not alive. Only the wife and her sons are here.’ My brother is telling my husband. ‘ she seems too busy in her life. But what about her sons? Why dont they take care?’ My hubby is asking.

We entered the house. My heart throbbing as fast Express mail. Crushing and pressing the wild bushes and shrubs we are making our way. This is the first yard with all the garage and houses and a small factory built for the tenants, I am telling my children and hubby. ‘Look that is the entrance to the farm, where we had cows, buffaloes and farming land.’ My brother is showing kids.

From here we are entering this big gate. The first one to the main building but it leads to the small yard, where on one side old rooms built for the estate staff are there which were later converted to parking and other side had a small area surrounded by brick wall and a small entrance to the berry garden. This all is dried. Nothing is here. From here we cross another small entrance which has a wall in front of it with a small window. Now this is also crumbling. Twisting and turning I am entering the third yard where on the front of it we had our rooms, the second section. I am moving towards the area where caretaker’s family is living. But I think they are either sleeping or out of the house as cannot see them.

Leaving the place I turn back to the main stair cases. One takes to my elder uncle’s portion and the other one takes to the main building. I take this one and taking one step at a time climb to the final entrance. From here I turned back to look at others. They are coming right behind me and are at the bottom of the steps.

I am now standing in the big courtyard. To my left is a veranda and rooms of my grand parents. And small granary opposite to which, means slightly opposite to me is the old kitchen. Adjacent to it and opposite me is a small room, for my great grand mother and in front of me is her veranda. I was looking at fallen gazebo between granary and kitchen.

A light streak of smoke is coming out of the kitchen and I am moving towards it. I am standing at the kitchen door and opening the mash door. The scene inside took my breath away. Sitting there is the maid who was nanny to my elder uncle and used to cook for the family with a group of house helps and maids. I am not able to believe because she is dead ages ago. She cannot be here, not at any cost. She is giving me a look, as if saying you have come at the right time. Have lunch. ‘Screech’ and I am startled. Then hoping to see my kids, hubby and brother, who might have opened the door to grand parents room, I am half dead to see my cousin who died young. I am having goosebumps and it is a hair raising experience. He is smiling and signalling me to come over. I am in a trance I think. My legs are moving towards him. At the door I stop and I can see my grand parents sitting there with the lunch served and they are about to eat and I interrupted. They are now looking at me. My grand ma is scolding,’late as usual’ but grand pa is smiling the loveliest smile ever. He has softness in his old eyes. ‘But how could you be here. All of you. You’re gone long back and you- you cannot come back!’ ‘ Then go back to your room’ grand ma said,’ across small veranda.’

I am taking swift strides. It’s like gliding. Or floating in the air a few inches above the floor. I am crossing the small veranda or my great grand mother’s room and veranda. I am bending down to exit when I hear some whispering from behind. I am trying to hear but all I can make out is whispering of two or at most three old ladies, from great grand ma’s room. As if rest of the house maids were trying to give her a bath as she is paralysed.I am not able to take all this. I am trying to run away but all I can do is go forward.

This is my room. The wooden door is open but the old mesh door outside is ajar. This is the room I have been dreaming of since left visiting the house. I didn’t mention till now, that whenever I had it in my dreams I fell ill. It always used to pull me in and never let me out. It used to shake and tumble but today here I am, standing in front of it. Inert. Again my hair while mentioning the past dreams, raising.

I am opening the mash door by the handle. Still I am freezed. I don’t have the guts to peep inside. I am still standing at the door, half open. I don’t know what’s in there. Why I am so afraid of this room where I have lived from birth to teen age and have returned to it many times in young days till last of the family members lived here and vaccated in 1995. What if it locks me inside in real. With all these thoughts going on in my mind and heart thumping in my mouth I am entering the room. And here I get the shock of my life. I cannot breathe now. It is so gloomy here. As if the opening door has let out the years of loneliness, it has suffered. And in front of one of the two windows facing private court yard of my room till now where I was standing sitting here for lunch are long gone Maa Papa. On the centre table there are three plates. Two served one empty. Papa is looking happy to see me and maa is serving food in the third plate.’ Come. Why so late?’ And she is looking at me with maternal love. I am blank. Maa Papa… really? Am I dead or my life till now is a delusion.

Three lines tale- changed times

They were diehard friends as far as I remember but today when I passed from that old area, I found it to be dead quiet. No one was there to tell me what had happened between them that the laughter that was synonymous to this area, turned to pin drop silence but a new signboard ‘danger do not enter‘ was placed in front of his yard. The other yard had heaps of dried leaves and outgrown bushes taken over the beauty it once had, I know something drastic has happened but what only they could tell and they are not here to tell.

A house on the next Block

` Now it’s my turn to tell a story.` She said. ` Raveena, my friend, it is about her.` She continued. They all were sitting in her cubical, a team of four. It was their night shift and the long hours have exhausted them, so, they took a small break to freshen up their minds and were telling stories.

She took a sip of water and said,` Raveena had a colleague who tried to woo her. He was so desperate that he started to stalk her … on her way home, in the market anywhere she went he followed.` `So why didn’t  she complained?` Naveen asked. `may be she enjoyed the attention.` Mariya cut in between. `In the beginning she did but later it became scary.` She agreed. and then said,` One day he appeared at her home with his throat bleeding and said he loves her. She shrieked and ran inside. Her parents had to drive him out.` She paused for a moment and looked at her colleagues` face. They were all hooked to her story, she then continued, `Next day when she entered the office, Raju, their peon was bleeding from the forehead. She went instantly to him with a first aid box which she kept in her desk. But Raju jerked her hand and looked at her with painful eyes.`

 At this moment their peon entered with a tray of coffee mugs. He too stayed back to listen her story. She carried on,` Madam this cut is more than enough, as your gift, Raju said and left. But no one told her the reason behind all this. In the lunch hour he came to her and whispered, I will carve my name on your hand so that everyone knows that you’re mine.` She sipped her coffee and looked into the void as if trying to remember something. ` He was a monster. Take my words.` this time the peon said. Everyone looked at him in surprise. There was certain pain an d horror on his face, he continued, ` The man was Rakesh and he did similar things to anyone who even tried to come near Raveena Ma`am. Once he stopped her in the gallery and said that she has not seen what actual jealousy is and this all was a trailer. But Raveena Ma`am was not the first girl to face this but yes the last one.` Everyone looked at her, `Yes his name was Rakesh and Raveena got him behind the bars and from there he was sent to the asylum. But rest of what he is saying I don’t have idea.` She said and looked at peon with a questioning look. ` My name is Raju.` he said lifting his long hair off from his forehead. All were shocked. `If you know anything else please continue  with the story` five of them said at once. ` There were number of instances like once he sent her a friend request, of course she didn’t know who it was as he didn`t mention his real name. Slowly he made friends with her on the Facebook then took ids of her all the social media accounts. One day when she noticed there was no one else in her friends list in any of the accounts, she was suspicious and blocked `him`; to which he reacted violently.` Raju said. He picked up the empty coffee mugs and was about to leave when Naveen asked him to tell them what else he knew. ` Sir, I don`t know much as I left after some days.` Raju said in a low voice. `I can tell you one thing for sure that he could go to any length for Raveena Ma`am. One day I saw him in the gallery connecting coffee lounge to their work station. He was holding Raveena Ma`am by her throat and saying that she should not test his patience and that he could kill her that very moment.` He said and left from there.

` There was a marriage proposal for her and the guy with his family was sitting in her home when she got a call from an unknown number. The man on the other side said if she won`t say no, he will kill her father on the way to his work. She put the phone on speaker and looked at he suitor with pleading eyes.` She said.

 `Of course the guy would have understood her position and helped her.` Mariya again jumped in between. `No. I mean before he could do any such thing, this man killed him in an obvious looking accident.` She continued and further said,` He came to her home that day, as her parents were at guys funeral. He said that she should not cry but be happy to get rid of bad match.`  ` One day mom told me a man living in the house on the next block  had killed his wife. The family was always under suspicion because no one had ever seen any family, friend or relatives coming to their home.` She said and stopped to watch everyone`s face then continued, ` You know what? The twist in the story is that Rakesh was allegedly married to some girl he eloped with and this was his house.`

` You mean he killed his wife whom he may have tortured in the same way and finally married, for Raveena? ` It was time for Manjeet to get shocked who was listening the story quietly, whole time. ` Yes. I was there with Raveena that day when he came running to her home, blood stained.` She inhaled deep and then continued,` his condition was telling that he might have hid somewhere waiting for the right time to come and meet Raveena. Who was all confused to see him. I was too terrified to see a psycho murderer in front of me.` She said and took another deep breath and continued,` He appeared when  I was telling Raveena about him. He looked from her to me and back to her, and said that he killed her for Raveena, can`t she see. Whole thing what he did was for Raveena.` Uncle and one of his friend who was there at the time inside their study, came out and got hold of him and Aunt made the call to police who took him away. At last she got freedom from him.` She said and smiled.

Anant who was sitting quiet for the whole time was now uneasy, `may be people get poisoned but not their mindset` he said at length. Everyone looked at him, he bowed his head and murmured, `Always girls are not at the receiving end.` and walked away.

A small scene

She sat there looking at him with tearful eyes. He moved closer and encircled his arm around her shoulders.
A sob escaped. She suddenly suppressed her mouth to stop further sobs. With the back of her palm she rubbed her tears off, which came over the rim of her eyes.
He slightly kissed her forehead and tightened his grip. She was inconsolable now. It was like a barrier was broken and tears flowed like a river uncontrollable. Her whole body shakes with each sob escaped.
It was hard for her to believe what she heard just now. She was fixed in her mind that nothing can change the situation she was in as not atleast him. His words were just to fool her because he himself said that nothing could happen to change the situation he was in.
But if this is to be believed than the situation is more bad and if he is to be believed, she was to be blamed for his heart ache. She felt guilty for putting him in the situation of deep pain and loss.
She looked up and gazed in his eyes, then told him that she won’t forgive herself till she is alive for separating him from his heart.
She loosened his embrace and shifted bit far and said that if it was not for their children, she would have moved out of his life. She said sorry repeatedly and closed her eyes and tears rolled down her cheeks.
He sighed deeply and embrace her once again and managed to say that he could understand her pain and felt it deep in his heart. Her last sobs were smothered in his loving kiss. Or so it appears.

In Love

It was a beautiful day, bright sunny, cool breeze. I was sitting in my portico, having coffee. Besides me, on the side table, my little friend was sleeping in his cage. I have a white as snow baby rabbit who has red eyes. I thought it was a casual nap for him but started to worry as his normal time was over long ago but he did not wake-up. I opened his cage to see what was wrong. My heart thudding loud. As I touched, he wriggled. I took a breath, took him in arms and went inside. I laid him on a small carpet, particularly kept for him. Rabbit took a round of the room very slowly. It came back to the carpet and sniffed the green grass and carrot pieces I kept for him. I thought he was fine now.
I left to get ready for office. I dressed up in blue denim and a white tee, wore my sneakers as it was Friday and most MNCs allow casuals. Took my bag and car keys. I skipped my breakfast as I was late. I rode on high speed to reach office. Though I was still worried about my rabbit, yet hoped everything would be fine back home. I swiped ID card at the entry. ” Hey, you look tensed,” Reena asked from the reception. ” Who me? No, everything’s fine” I replied. I went through the day’s schedule and was done with most of it by lunch. I had no breakfast so was hungry. I hogged upon my lunch as if was starved for days. Stuffed my mouth with dessert and in last drank a cup of coffee. One hour later I was back at my seat. Staring at the screen I sat there but my mind was still at home, captured at the moment when I hold my little friend in my hands. I could not carry on like this any longer. So, asked for a half day off on the basis of not feeling well.
As I neared home my heart sank. It was kind of gut feeling but I hoped against all the odds for everything to be all right. The moment I entered home, I first looked for my `pal.’ He was lying in the exact place where I left him in the morning. My heart sank. I had no strength in my legs to move forward neither had a will to do so. I was about to drop dead in my place when I saw a little movement in his tiny body. I ran towards him. The moment I touched him, his eyes opened wide. He looked at me with pleading eyes to save him. The pain and suffering in his eyes broke me. I felt so helpless and worthless in that one moment.

“Thud!” Sound from the kitchen. I gave a startled look. Got up holding my pal in arms and moved towards the kitchen. What I found there was heart stopping. There was someone in black hooded gown facing electric kettle, placed on the kitchenette platform. I was stunned to see scythe placed against the fridge. In horror, I released a sigh. On the sound person turned and what I saw was breathtaking. A beautiful, innocent and charming girl. ” Hi!” she said in a calm and easy way. “Hello. Who are you? and what are you doing in my kitchen?” I asked in one breath. “Oh that,” she paused and then continued “I came here for your little `Pal’ and pointed towards my rabbit sleeping in my arms. She offered me a cup of coffee which she made. “Don’t you think it’s a bit horrifying that you The Grim Reaper, made coffee in my kitchen and offered me a cup?” I asked in horror. “Don’t freak out, please.” Her sweet and calm voice echoed.” What will it cost to get him free, from your claws?” I offered her. The green eyes became darker than any black eye I had ever seen. She said, “Stop pleading.” I gathered strength, went near her, hold her free hand and looked deep into her eyes and said ” Will you be mine…Oh! Oh, I mean apart from rabbit I have no one and I need someone to lend me moral support.” She stared me with wide open eyes. Her beautiful eyes became more beautiful. She looked confused, then said “Ok. I will leave your friend but stop looking at me like this.” “Still I want you to be my friend.” Shocked at my own words, I released her hand and inched away from her. She kept the coffee mug on the table, picked her scythe and thumped it hard on the floor. “BOOM!” And she was gone.
I checked up on my little pal, he looked fine. I gave him some carrot pieces to eat. Came back to the portico and sat on the chair looking on the road. But my thoughts were occupied by The Grim Reaper. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. My heart beat like it was in a marathon. I remembered that she came here for my rabbit but returned empty handed. ” What if she returned the moment I came out?” I thought. I went back in, to find him jumping around like usual. I kept some ready to eat a meal in the microwave, for dinner. Ate it alone as usual. Sat in front of the T.V. to watch finals of T-20. There was a sudden thud in the backyard., I took the kitchen back door to let me out. I was amazed at first but then sad to find her back. I was determined not to give in. She went to the rabbit and I followed her. “No! You can’t take him.” I told her. It is known that if The Reaper is seen by someone, it’s not whose turn, The Reaper has to fulfil the wish of the person.” Ask for something else. This can’t be done.” She said. I was lost in her tinkling voice. She started to move to my little friend. “Oh-Oh! wait. I said you can’t take him or take me first.” I told her. ” No. Not even in your dreams.” She replied. ” Fine, then say you are breaking your own law.” With a broad grin on my face, I said. She moved away from the rabbit, put her scythe aside, sat on the ground, buried her face in her knees and for five minutes she sat like that. Then stood up and paced in the room, came near me, went back to the kitchen made coffee for the second time in the day but this time two mugs. Came out offered me one and sipped from another. “It cannot happen.” Finally, she said. Then continued to enjoy her coffee. “Well, then be mine.” I finally broke the silence. She looked at me in horror. The first time The Grim Reaper felt what fear was. I moved closer and took her hand. She was as cold as ice, for the first time she trembled and took a step back. I felt an urge to hug her forgetting who she was. ” Shall we…” she swallowed hard and continued ” make the last attempt?” ” No this is the final one.” I made it plain and added, ” It’s okay, you don’t have to love me.” She stared me in confusion. ” Be mine forever. As for love, I will love you till eternity and have faith in miracles.” I moved closer and lifted her hand to my lips and placed a peck on the back of her palm. That was the first time I saw her lifeless eyes shine for the first time for a few seconds. I moved even closer and placed my other hand at the back of her head and pulled her head gently towards me and rested it on my chest. My heart was beating like crazy. She tried to adjust her head in a more comfortable way. I slowly pulled her hood down. And her black silky curls fall down around her neck. She looked more beautiful. I gasped at her beauty. She sighed and moved back turning her face away.
” I never thought in my wildest dream that The Reaper will be a girl and I will lose my heart to her,”I said and again reached out for her hand and pulled her back to me. This time I hugged her gently then released her and waited for her answer. She took a little longer than expected. ” Won’t you have a problem with who I am and what I do? Because this is my Reality.” Now it was my turn to evaluate my feelings and digging my mind for about a few minutes,” NO, actually I love the fact who you are and what you do. She sighed in relief and traced her steps back to me. Encircled her arms around me, looked into my eyes and said, ” I can’t guarantee love now or ever but a good loyal friend, yes.” ” We have a lifetime, at least mine if not yours, to wait for your love. And I will wait with the whole heart and open arms.” I assured her. She smiled and left.
I went to bed with thoughts of her and the eternal love I’ll have. Next day I had to meet a friend from college days. Gave some carrot pieces and grass to rabbit and wrote a note for her saying to be gentle with my little friend, if in case she decides to break in my home in my absence. I poured some milk and cereals in a bowl, a glass of juice and some cookies for myself. I was going through newspaper when something caught my attention. I had a cookie in my hand and there was something written on it, which I didn’t see before. I looked at the box of cookie in case it was any other brand. But no it was same, so I checked for other cookies on my plate and they all had something written on them. When I placed them together, it formed a message” See you in the evening.” from her.

Work in progress

These days I am at my brother’s place. Came for summer vaccations. I am enjoying my days here. Nothing much to do, infact nothing. Everything is taken care of by my sister in law and brother.

This gives me a lot of time to read and work upon my new idea. Even collection of new things for my writer’s book. I take time to write something everyday, even if its a single para or charcter development or back story. Sometimes it is for the next scene in the story. It makes writing little faster.

Developing the story from those notes and back stories and hints is interesting. I am loving it. I miss my books here as couldn’t get them due to luggage weight issue but still the online library facility provided by my library, is filling the gap.

I thought of writing a short story in the series of romancing the reaper or the devil. But I am not able to do so, it has developed into good seven chapters and still on, I am getting freaked out.

My story is about The devil falling for a girl and not realising it. Even the girl doesn’t know who he really is. The catch is, The Devil sells his soul to her and loses a bet to her. Rest is in continuation.

I hope it finishes soon so I can share it with you all.

Three Line Tales, Week 169… The Devil

three line tales, week 169: San Jose

photo by Peter Gonzalez via Unsplash

Car speeding up on almost empty road said a lot about the person sitting behind the driving wheel and the company she was having. The rain blurred the visibility but inside the presence of the person on the passenger’s seat was more than enough to put her in control of every situation and at the same time she was praying for her life because till few moments ago whom she believed to be her soul mate was actually The Devil himself, on a mission and the truth had to be disclosed upon her now, when she was taking him to meet her parents. Her whole world swung in front of her eyes and she could not do anything about it apart from staring at the sky and thinking that it also felt her pain that it too, cried with her.