The Fatal Reflection ( A short story – thriller )

The cold mountain breeze caressed her cheeks and tossed her golden locks playfully. She tried to shove the rebelling strands behind her ears, but failed. Then having finally reconciled, Cynthia gazed at the narrow serpentine road, as it coiled its way through the hills, stretching far beyond. Not a soul in sight. Not that she was surprised. It wasn’t the first time Cynthia was visiting this place. In fact, this little point surrounded by the snow covered hills and overlooking the emerald green river had been her favourite spot since she was 13.

She was 22 now, but the place hadn’t changed a bit. It was still as calm, serene and isolated as it was back then. The occasional cawing of the ravens and the rustle of the elephant grass that covered some areas of the hill were the only sounds that resounded.  Cynthia felt an inexplicable sense of tranquillity whenever she dropped by here. And she did so quite often.

But, today seemed a little different. There was an eeriness to the whole place that aroused a sense of unknown dread in Cynthia.  She shuddered all of a sudden, breaking out in a cold sweat, as a new and growing fear now began to overwhelm her.  Cynthia felt she was being watched.

But in the very moment her thoughts shifted to him. And spontaneously, her fears subsided, her body now submerged in a wave of warmth that made her cheeks blush and her heart flutter.

Stephen – how she missed having him around, with her. She still remembered the day when she first laid her hazel brown eyes on him. It was her fourth day in her new work place, The Gilbert English Grammar School, as an English teacher and Stephen’s first.  Cynthia recalled how Mr Brian Redfield, the senior school Mathematics teacher, introduced him to everyone in the staff room.

 ‘A very good morning to all of you. Looks like we have another new addition to our Gilbert School fraternity and believe me, this one is exciting! ’ announced Mr Redfield, with a deliberate pause.  Disappointed that nobody in the staff room shared his excitement or bothered to bombard him with inquisitive questions, he continued, ‘Well for some time we have been looking for a music teacher and it looks like our search has finally come to an end.’

Cynthia was observing the new entrant with an almost childlike curiosity. She had been unable to turn her gaze away from the young man since the time he had set foot into the room. No, he was not anything close to being a Greek God. No rippling muscles, thrusting out to be noticed from under the sleeves of his plain white shirt. No sideburns… no tan. The height was above average but he wasn’t exceptionally tall.

But one look into those gorgeous light brown eyes would make any sane girl go weak in her knees. They were like two dark pools, mystifying, deep – yet inviting.

When Mr Redfield called out her name, Cynthia turned away her gaze abruptly. Her heart was pounding and she could feel her cheeks flush in embarrassment. ‘Cynthia, since you are a new appointment too, it is only likely that you two will be able to share your anxieties as well as your excitement with each other. And if you both ever need any help, we the staff of Gilberts are always there to help you both. ’ declared Mr Redfield reassuringly.

Cynthia struggled to bring her lips to smile. She felt like a guilty child caught stealing sugar. She could only pray that Mr Redfield had not noticed her ogling Stephen so unabashedly. The latter was listening attentively to the senior Mathematics teacher, and responded occasionally with a shy smile.

It was only when Mr Redfield had finished speaking, that Cynthia relaxed her muscles. It was then she felt it.  From a corner of her eye, she could sense Stephen’s penetrating stare.  Cynthia felt her heart flutter like a trapped bird.

 As she inched forward to her desk, averting his warm gaze, she felt a hand on her shoulders and shuddered. ‘Oh, my…I am sorry if I scared you dear!’ said Mrs Brown , her already wrinkled face now creasing further, apologetically. Then without waiting for Cynthia’s response she continued, ‘I just wanted to ask you if would be kind enough to let me borrow your pen for a day. That is, of course, if you have two. You know I seemed to have lost mine somewhere.’ ‘Yes, of course, you can have it if you please’, replied Cynthia, smiling at her. Then she bent down to open the drawer of her desk and took out a pen, handing it over to Mrs Brown, who seemed very grateful.

As she watched Mrs Brown scurry past the door, into the corridor, Cynthia felt her discomfort returning. Stephen who was the only other person left in the staff room, sat on his newly acquired desk flipping through the pages of the school rule book.

Just as Cynthia was about to dig herself into her English textbook, she heard a voice, above her.  When she looked up, Stephen was standing next to her desk. ‘Hi…’, he spoke louder than before. For a second, she felt lost. Then having regained her composure, she spoke in a do-not-disturb-me-I-am-busy tone, ‘Ehh.mm…Hi…’. This didn’t seem to dissuade him as he went on to enquire, ‘Would you be free for a coffee sometime soon?’ Cynthia wanted to ask, ‘Do I look free to you?’, but when she opened her mouth to speak, the words that came out were, ‘Yes, I am for the next two hours.’

A rustle of leaves, behind her brought Cynthia back to the present. She froze.

*********************************

He crouched behind the bushes, eyeing her. She was sitting on a rock, lost in thoughts, blissfully unaware of the danger that lurked around. ‘She is beautiful’, he thought, letting out a sigh. But in the very next moment his expression hardened.

His mind wandered off to the day he first saw that pretty face. It was a photograph of her, actually. ‘Wow! She is gorgeous …’, he  exclaimed, unable to tear his eyes away.

Unfortunately, all things beautiful have to come to an end some day!’ his boss had said, mocking a frown. As he stared back at the picture, he could not help feel a little sympathetic – an emotion hitherto unknown to him.

 She seemed to have sensed it, for she snatched the picture away from his hand and glared at him. After a long pregnant pause, she started speaking, in a carefully measured tone, ‘So you know what to do now. You have five month’s time but not a day more. Is that a deal?

Well…uhh…. I …. I  need some time to..’, his voice trailed off when he saw his employer signing a cheque in his name. He was blinded by the number of zeros in the amount filled against his own name.

He no longer wished to linger on the subject. The decision was made.

**********************************

Cynthia’s grandfather stared at the clock, worried. His granddaughter had been away for quite some time now. She had promised to be back by five in the evening, but it was almost past six now and there was still no sign of her.

As he paced up and down the hallway, his anxious eyes were drawn to the row of family portraits that adorned its medieval walls. Just as he was inspecting them, with unusual interest, his eyes came to rest on one particular family portrait.

This one looked relatively new, while its neighbouring frames were now beginning to show some signs of wear and tear. There was a man in his early thirties, with a round face, puffy eyes and flowing moustache, sitting beside a petite yet graceful looking young woman in her early twenties. And in between this odd looking couple, was sitting an adorable little girl, about three years old, with a smile that seemed to light up the whole picture. Mr Sullivan placed a palm of his hand gently on the picture of the little girl, his eyes moist with tender affection.

 Roger Sullivan, Cynthia’s grandfather had been born with a silver spoon. By the time he was 18, he was the sole heir to a vast business empire set up by his father and grandfather. And in the manner that was expected, he planned to pass on his legacy to his only son, Ralph.

But Ralph was nothing like his father would have wished him to be. He was a compulsive alcoholic, who shirked all his responsibilities, including that of being a single parent to his daughter Cynthia. Ralph’s wife had passed away in child birth. As a toddler, Cynthia spent most of her time with her grandpa, walking the streets, eating ice creams and playing scrabble.

But all this changed when Ralph remarried. His new wife, Alicia, who happened to be his former secretary, sent her away to a boarding school.

And Cynthia would have continued to stay there had it not been for the untimely death of her own father-Ralph. It was an apparent suicide, but Mr Sullivan had his doubts. The death of his only son, albeit an alcoholic, shattered him, but the fears that came to haunt him after that made life miserable. So frightening were the thoughts that begin to torment him, that he decided retire to his lonely mansion in the countryside. Only this time, Cynthia clung to his side.

***************************

It was time, he decided. Without wasting another moment he stood up and stretched his muscles. Having inspected the surroundings one last time, he crept out of the bushes, walking stealthily in her direction. She had her back turned to him. It couldn’t get more convenient. There wouldn’t be any witnesses in this God forsaken place. It would all be just an accident. A slight imbalance of the feet, a loss of grip…..  He was only an inch away… He closed his eyes and just as his hands touched her body, she wounded around. He opened his eyes, and saw her staring down at him, her mouth agape.

*****************************

Mr Sullivan felt exhausted. He walked up to his medicine cabinet and quickly gulped down a pill that the doctor had prescribed him  along with a glass of water. Then he walked back slowly and reclined on his armchair, rocking to and fro. He must have been half asleep when he was woken up by an excruciating pain in his chest.  He groaned in agony as he could barely breathe. Within seconds he was drenched in his own sweat. Panting, he tried to call for help, but no voice escaped his throat. Clenching his chest, he struggled to get up, but realizing the effort it required, slumped back on his chair.

As his eyes began to shut, and his vision blurred, he could vaguely make out a female form watching him from the shadows. By the time he recognised her, it was too late…..

 ****************************

‘Aww…Stephen I missed you so much!’, cried Cynthia as she wrapped her arms around him. Stephen did not move. ‘But how did you find out I am here?’ she questioned. ‘Any way, I am so glad you are here!’ she said, her face beaming as she hugged him even more tightly. But Stephen just stared blankly at her, contemplating his next course of action. He knew this moment of weakness might prove to be disastrous for him. Nothing made sense to him when she was around. Her soft brown eyes were so bewitching. He felt ensnared by her innocent charm.

He had been smitten by her ever since his first day at Gilbert’s. He had seen her watching him from the corner of her eye while Mr Redfield was giving his speech. And then, when everyone else had gone to their respective classes leaving the two of them together, he decided it was time to act.

Mustering courage, he had asked her out to the school canteen for coffee. And although she didn’t look too pleased with the offer, she had – albeit reluctantly – agreed. Stephen had crossed the first barrier.

But his feelings for Cynthia were anything but professional. And they only seemed to grow deeper (much to his own frustration) especially after Mrs Brown’s unfortunate accident.

The poor old lady had apparently lost her footing and rolled down the steep flight of stairs at Gilbert’s. Such was the force of the fall, that by the time she reached the landing on the ground floor she had been long dead. Cynthia was utterly shocked by the event, which was not surprising in the least. It had been only a week since she had joined the school, but in this short span the two women had developed a wonderful equation, and to Stephen it seemed that Cynthia had started looking upon Mrs Brown as her own mother. Hence, the unfortunate news of her sudden death had left Cynthia heartbroken and morose.

Following that day, Stephen and Cynthia had become inseparable. Stephen, of course, had to remind himself from time to time that all this was just an act and not be taken seriously. But the heart often does its own bidding and the more time he spent with Cynthia, the more he craved for her company.

The constant phone calls from his ‘boss’ served as a reminder for him to stay focused. And very soon he got her to sign the documents as well. He had cleverly concealed them among the papers that Mr Patrick, the office clerk had given him, to be filled in and signed by each member of the teaching faculty. When it was Cynthia’s turn to sign, Stephen quickly snatched the papers from her and pretended to read each one of them out aloud, only returning them to her for her signature, which she did without a speck of suspicion on her beloved Stephen.

Once he was back in his room that day, he rang up his boss to give her the good news. Later in the evening ,as he slouched on his couch, he read  to himself the contents of the document according to which Cynthia was aware of health problems that plagued her and made her unfit to fulfil her obligations as a Director of ‘The Sullivan Enterprises’, the company run by her forefathers. Hence, she deemed it proper to donate her shares in the company to her widowed step mother Alicia Sullivan, and appoint her as one of the directors of the company.

It was Cynthia’s voice that shook Stephen out of his reverie. One look into those deep soulful eyes and all his doubts vanished into thin air. Hesitatingly, he confessed everything to Cynthia, who stood staring back at him as if hit by a lightning bolt.

*******************************

Alicia Sullivan looked down at the cold lifeless body of her father-in-law as she held up his wrist and examined it. It did not require a degree in medicine to know that nothing in the world could revive Roger Sullivan from the dead. She picked up the phone and dialled a number.

 

*****************************

Stephen spoke into his phone, as Cynthia watched, wide eyed. ‘No, it did not…I mean …I could not..There is errr…. a problem. Could we meet right now? Yes…the same place. No, she is gone. I shall be waiting for you….’ The engaged tone told him she was already on her way. So he hung up.

As Stephen observed the perplexed expression on Cynthia’s face, he smiled reassuringly.

Then cupping her warm face in his hands, he kissed her gently on her lips, and before he knew it, she was kissing him back, first softly, then vigorously. Flames of wild passion swept through both of them as they were entangled in a sensual embrace.  As she leaned against him, her heaving bosom against his own pounding chest, Stephen realized how much he had longed for her touch, how much he had desired her. He let himself loose in this magical moment. As he pressed his lips gently on the nape of her neck, he felt tingled by the lingering scent of her golden locks. He could sense her body quiver with excitement at his touch. Her soft moans intoxicated his senses, consuming him.  Every ounce of flesh in his mortal body wanted to possess her, to love her, to belong to her.

His heart had won this battle. And now he was waiting for the moment when it would all be over and done with.

Just then, he heard the horn of a car. Moving away, he saw a black Mercedes screech to a halt on the narrow road behind them. Cynthia hid behind the bushes, just as he had asked her to. He would sort this out, now and forever, he had promised her.

Alicia Sullivan rushed to the spot, looking dishevelled and very unlike her usual prim and proper self. ‘What went wrong now? Weren’t you supposed to kill her?’ she interrogated, without a sign of remorse. Just as Stephen was about to explain, Alicia climbed up the nearest rock overlooking the deep dark valley. Then letting out a sigh, she continued ‘It has been a horrible day today. Nothing seems to be working in my favour. Cynthia is still alive. And….Roger Sullivan is dead! Cardiac arrest my foot! I know…’, her voice trailed off when she saw a figure moving out of the bushes and sprinting in her direction. And before she could make sense of what was happening, she was in the air, falling headlong towards an inevitable death.

********************************************

As the Doctor examined the medicines from the bottle that Sergeant Lewis had discovered in Mr Sullivan’s medicine cabinet, his face turned pale. ‘Is everything alright?’ enquired Inspector Giles, inquisitively. ‘Well, it is not actually. The bottle that Sergeant Lewis found has the label of the medicine Roger Sullivan was supposed to be having in order to lower his blood pressure.’ replied the Doctor.  ‘Supposed!’ exclaimed Inspector Giles, clearly not amused by the Doctor’s choice of word. ‘Dr Joseph, may I know what you mean by the word ‘supposed’ ..? ’   asked the Inspector, thereby making it clear that he was not interested in any guessing game.

Dr Joseph drew out a long breath as he stood up from his chair.  Then walking up to the Inspector, he whispered ‘I meant exactly what you understood Inspector. The bottle is the same, but the medicines inside are not. Somebody intentionally switched Mr Sullivan’s original medicines with these pills, thereby causing the cardiac arrest and his resultant death. Inspector Giles, Mr Roger Sullivan did not die naturally, he was murdered!’

 

*******************************

Stephen froze in his tracks horrified. Everything had happened so suddenly and in such quick succession, that he had no time to act. Only twenty minutes ago, he had called Alicia Sullivan, his employer, to meet him, so he could apologise to her for failing in his final mission and tell her that he wanted to withdraw from the contract as he found himself in love with the very person he was entrusted to kill. He knew she may not have agreed easily in which case he resolved to return her the advance he had received for his job.

And now here he was witnessing her murder at the hands of the girl he loved. Stephen had never found himself more helpless in his life. Then as though he gained back his senses all of a sudden, he shouted ‘Cynthia’. But even as he did so, he knew it was too late. Alicia Sullivan must have hit her grave by now.

He watched Cynthia’s dark form as she stood at the edge of the cliff, her whole body quivering like a leaf. ‘Oh my God, what just happened!, cried Cynthia, looking like a ghost, under the pale gleam of the moonlight.  Her eyes were open wide as she stared down into the deep dark valley, aghast. The colour had escaped her otherwise beautiful face, which was now ridden with fear and anxiety.

Stephen leaned forward, taking Cynthia is his arms. He was just about to kiss her on her forehead, when all of sudden he sensed something wrong. Cynthia’s body felt oddly frigid and distant. And then, in the very next moment she had pulled away from him.  Baffled, Stephen strained to discern the expressions on her face. What he saw left him dumbfounded.

Cynthia’s soft earthly features had hardened. There was something queer about her face, something unusual – something cold. Her eyes had the glint of a lunatic and were rather unsettling. ‘Cynthia…’ Stephen whispered as he inched closer. But the face staring down at him now was nothing close to the one he had been kissing just a while ago .

‘Cynthia is not here’ she spoke in a voice Stephen  hardly recognized. ‘I am Rebecca’, she announced, her face contorted in a smirk.

*************************************

Inspector Giles was drinking his morning tea, as he examined the medical reports sent to him by Alicia Sullivan the previous evening after their phone conversation, just after she discovered Roger Sullivan’s dead body.  He was lost in the medical details therein when his phone rang.

It was Sergeant Lewis. Alicia Sullivan had fallen to her death from a cliff in the Rockford region, a rather isolated part of the quaint town. Her car, a black Mercedes had been discovered there this morning by a shepherd, who then reported the matter with the local police. After a wild search, led by Sergeant Lewis, her body was discovered (if it could be called one) in the valley below. Initial reports suggested that Mrs Alicia may have accidentally slipped and fallen to her death.

But Giles knew otherwise.

  *****************************

Inspector Giles stared down at the corpse in the mortuary. The eyes were almost out of their sockets in an expression of shock making the body of an otherwise handsome man, look scary and unnerving.

As Giles inspected the body further, he saw three deep ugly gashes, probably caused by some sharp weapon, in the chest region, one of them directly above the heart which may have led the young man to  his untimely death.

Inspector Giles lingered around for a while, trying to reconstruct the crime scene and picture the events preceding the murder. Frustrated at being unable to arrive at a clear conclusion, he was just about to leave, when his eyes were momentarily blinded by the reflection of some shiny object on the wall. As he turned to see the source of the reflection, he was taken aback. From the gap between the fingers of a clenched fist of the dead man, he spotted something glittery.

Giles tried to open the fist to reveal the object but the fingers refused to budge, owing to rigor mortis. ‘No wonder nobody noticed it till now’, he mused. After few minutes of patient struggle, he pulled it out with a victorious grin. It was a diamond encrusted locket, shaped like a heart. It did not take him too long to remember where he had seen the locket before. ‘Aha!’, exclaimed the inspector pocketing the pendant as he dashed out of the door into the  corridor. Stephen’s naked corpse lay in wait for its ultimate execution.

************************

As Inspector Giles stared the picture of the teenager in the medical file, he couldn’t contain his excitement. The picture may not have boasted of great clarity, but it was proof enough. His mind replayed the events of the day Mr Roger Sullivan was murdered.

He was idling away in his office when he received a phone call from Mrs Alicia Sullivan, the widow of Ralph Sullivan and the Director of ‘The Sullivan Enterprises’. She informed him about the death of the Senior Sullivan, while providing him with  valuable inputs on the case. She let him know that she suspected foul play and that her father in law was murdered by his own granddaughter.

However, this the Inspector doubted to be a ploy to misguide the police and malign Cynthia Sullivan’s character so that she, Alicia Sullivan, could be the whole and sole beneficiary to the Sullivan legacy. But Alicia  refused to give up and went on to claim that she had evidence to prove that Cynthia Sullivan had been diagnosed with mental problems ever since she was thirteen, and would send a copy of the same to him for his perusal which she did without delay .

Little did Inspector Giles know then that it was the last he would ever hear from Mrs Alicia Sullivan.

 Ah’, sighed the Inspector. ‘I guess she had been right all the while!’ he continued as he placed the medical reports on his desk.

The picture of a thirteen year old girl peered out from one of the pages of the open file. She was wearing a silver chain around her neck, with a pendant in the shape of a heart.

 

********************************

Psychiatrist Dr Joel Wilson was known to be an affectionate person but she had no sympathy for murderers. But Cynthia was different. She had never come across a more docile subject in her entire medical life. When she was first brought to the clinic, Dr Joel thought that the police and the judiciary had made a mistake. In fact she would have retained that belief till she began Cynthia’s Psycho analysis. It was on her third sitting, during a session of hypnosis that she first met Rebecca. But it took another week’s sitting for her to bring Rebecca to the forefront and make her confess to her crimes.

Before long she concluded that Cynthia was a victim of Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly referred to as the Multiple personality Disorder or Split Personality. Rebecca was Cynthia’s alter ego, a diametrically opposite personality state with a whole and distinct set of individual traits. It was probably Cynthia’s unhappy childhood , the absence of her real mother, her father’s alcoholism and her step mother’s indifferent attitude which may have contributed to her present mental state. But then again this was just  a hypothesis.

Cynthia’s case  was  not uncommon in the field of psychiatry. It was as though another completely different individual was sharing the same body along with Cynthia ; gradually taking control over the latter’s body, behaviour and actions.

Surprisingly,  even after so much had transpired,  Cynthia remained blissfully unaware of Rebecca’s presence or the repercussions. Although she was faintly aware of an illness that haunted her. This was due to the memory lapses she experienced almost every day, sometimes for hours, when  she failed to recollect her activities during a particular time of the day or night.

It was during these  hypnotic sessions that Dr Joel gradually learnt that Roger Sullivan had not been Cynthia’s first victim.

*****************

Cynthia was 13 when her illness was detected and her father was informed. When Ralph Sullivan, her father telephoned her to visit him, she suspected  something  amiss. When Rebecca reached his office the next evening she overheard his plan to begin her treatment at a famous psychiatric hospital. Alarmed and scared that Cynthia’s treatment might pose a threat to Rebecca’s existence and perhaps wipe her out altogether, she decided to eliminate Ralph.

That night Ralph was found dead in his cabin, poisoned. On the basis of circumstantial evidence, it was declared a suicide. And who would suspect a 13 year old for murdering her own father?

But it was not until her next crime that she began to relish it. Mrs Brown was Cynthia’s colleague in school and the two had become quite close in the short time that they were together. That was until one day when Mrs Brown asked Cynthia about her father. Although Cynthia tried to deviate from the topic, Mrs Brown seemed persistent, questioning her consistently and expressing her suspicions about the death. ‘I do not think he killed himself Cynthia. I think it was a cold blooded murder’, she had whispered into Rebecca’s ears.

But those were to be her last words, for in the very next moment she found herself hurled across the winding flight of stairs. As she lay sprawled at the landing , soaked in blood and filled with unbearable pain, she watched Cynthia  standing at the top of the stairs, sneering at her.

Rebecca would have continued to bask in this glory if her stepmother Alicia hadn’t informed her grandpa of her illness or shown her medical reports to him.  Grandpa knew that Alicia would go to any extent to inherit Roger Sullivan’s fortune. But this time she had managed to convince him, leaving Rebecca with no choice. She had to do away with both of them.

And then Stephen. Cynthia loved him. But Rebecca had always disliked him from the start. There was something ‘not-so-right’ about Cynthia’s Mr Right. And when he confessed about her evil intentions to Cynthia that night, Rebecca knew what she needed to do.

*************************

The train rattled laboriously along the tracks  as the girl whispered something into the boy’s ears causing him to blush. He stared at her annoyingly and gestured towards the cop sitting opposite them. The girl followed his gaze and immediately fell silent. She then started twirling the ends of her auburn hair while resting her head against the boy’s shoulder. Neither one of them  looked a day older than twenty, but it seemed they had been love for quite a long time now.

As they train chugged past the green meadows, the girl started humming a song. The cop, who was until then seemingly uninterested in their affairs, now turned to look at the girl. ‘That is a very pretty locket you are wearing!’ said the girl, pointing to a small heart shaped diamond pendant glistening from under the open collar. ‘Oh…Thank you. It was a gift. ’ replied the uniformed personnel pressing the locket rather nervously.

This seemed to give the girl a new found confidence to resume her chat and end the monotony. ‘So you work in the police department? ’ ‘Yes… I am …an Inspector. ’ came the reply.

Then there was a pregnant pause before the girl spoke again, ‘My name is Catherine. But you can call me Katy. And this is Paul, my boyfriend.’ The boy seated next to her smiled and nodded in affirmation. ‘So what is your name Inspector?’ asked Katy. Meanwhile there was a hiss and a screech as the train slowed down to a stop.

I…My name is Rebecca. Rebecca Sullivan. You can call me Becky if you want, replied the woman in uniform, as she stood up to leave. Then bidding farewell to the young couple, she made her way towards the door.

The glistening tip of a blood soaked knife peered out from one of the compartments of her partially unzipped bag, as she manoeuvred her way through the stream of people scurrying home in the dusk .

Indifferent to the commotion, the train’s doors noisily slammed shut and a moments silence was followed by the gentle electrical murmur as the train slid out of the station.

************************************************************************************************************************************************************

 Author’s Note :

The above story is a mere work of fiction so any discrepancies may please be forgiven.For further information on Dissociative Identity Disorder   please click the following link : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociative_identity_disorder

FOR POSTERITY – A peek at my short stories !

Your blog just became a viral sensation. What’s the one post you’d like new readers to see and remember you by?

Daily post prompt

The daily post prompt for yesterday asked us to write that one post , by which we would like  our new readers to remember us by… But I would like to bend this rule a little .

I have always been an avid reader of short stories , but I enjoy writing them even more. When I wrote some of these stories , a few months back , my blog was new and so not many of my fellow bloggers and followers ended up reading some of these .

Though my blog has a lot of poetry and other posts about my experiences in life and the lessons I have learned there in , it is undoubtedly the  short stories that I have worked hardest on and had most fun writing..

Most of these short stories are psychological thrillers while some deal with the existing evils in society . I enjoyed creating the twists and turns and framing the plots of these , while trying to maintain the suspense factor…

So if ever my blog becomes a viral sensation , I would like my readers to have a peek into a few of these short stories and have fun reading them ..

So here are the links to some of my favorite ones :

  • THE SCENT OF SUZY : A man fed up of his life , finally finds true love…or is it something else..something beyond human comprehension..?

  • THE ‘BECKONING BEAUTY’ OF THE BEACH : In a  breathtaking beautiful beach , in Goa , India ,  life is exciting …but is there a dark side to these beaches……? Find out for yourself !

  • THE ENTRANCING STRANGER : In the dark alleys of a sleepy town , a women encounters a mystery man….is she in love ? or is there more to the story than meets the eye..?

  • POSSESSED BY PAIN : It is a stormy night ….Linda is alone in her house when she sees a silhouette….And all is not well…

  • THE CHICKENS COME HOME TO ROOST : A story that unravels in a rustic village of North India , where women enjoy a low status in society …..Your bad deeds follow you everywhere…you reap what you sow !

Some of you may have a read a few of these , while some may not have read any ..Please do find time to read them and leave your valuable feedback on them , if you haven’t done so already . It is the readers who motivate me to write further , so please spare a moment to do so ! Hope enjoy them…….

The shadows on the wall…

The following work of flash fiction is in collaboration with my fellow blogger friend Jithin of PHOTRABLOGGER . The picture above is his creative photography which has inspired this FLASH FICTION CHAIN 4. Do check out his  blog to read his adventures while travelling and some lovely photographs.

I am entrusted with the task of writing PART 1 of Flash Fiction chain 4 . So here goes… :

 

Character list :

1.Margaret or Maggy , a 19 year old  girl , out to search for some truths.

2.Steve – The caretaker of the mansion , a man in his fifty’s

3.Robert– The house cook

4.Grandpa

PART 1

 Shadows loomed large around the old mansion . There was an eerie silence around it.  The tall coconut palms swayed violently in the evening breeze , as if  mourning over their isolation .  Layers of dust encrusted the peeling , once brightly colored walls  and fissured window panes  bordered   the   enormous framework of the house. The shut doors ambiguously creaked in sorrow of its disintegration .

Maggy stood there , eyeing the dilapidated remains of the huge house , a tiny speck of tear peering out from one corner of her eyes . A waft of a cold breeze caressed her cheeks and she felt a cold shudder trickle down her spine .. She took a deep breath and ventured forth , towards the rusty iron gates . It took her some time to open the lichen coated bolt and push open the gates .

‘I hope Steve is home …’ ,  Maggy thought to herself , as she knocked  at the door , a little hesitatingly .

 After knocking a few times  , Maggy turned to leave when  suddenly she heard footsteps behind the closed door . She turned around  , as the door opened  , only to be met by Steve,  a tall , skinny old man ,  in his fifty’s (though Maggy always felt he was much older than that ! ) .

Steve inspected her through the rims of his spectacles and  grinned all of a sudden , revealing a gold tooth , that gleamed from one corner of his mouth . Then , pushing the door aside with his gnarled fingers , he exclaimed , ‘Oh ..it is you Maggy..you are early…Come on in…’.

Then , lifting the luggage that Maggy had got  along  , he walked her into the living room of the sprawling mansion .

 Maggy followed Steve’s bent figure , hobbling across the living room , and into a narrow corridor and then up a flight of rickety old stairs . The stairs creaked  loudly at every single step . But other than that  there was complete silence , the whole house seemed to be on a standstill…

Steve halted without warning  , outside a   room  at the first landing . Having given himself the time to recuperate from the exhausting climb  , he spoke with some strain in his voice ,  ‘This is the room I have prepared for you. Hope it meets your requirements’ .

After gauging Maggy’s reaction ,  he added , as an after thought , ‘I did think of allotting you, your grandpa’s room , because I know you would want that so much , but you see , no body visits that room much anymore. Ever since your grandpa’s mysterious disappearance , an year ago , his bedroom had been locked and secured to preserve all his valuable documents along with other things….Errr…I hope you understand dear…’

Maggy’s face suddenly lost all color and she became pensive . Then suddenly , she  looked up at Steve , faking a smile , and replied , ‘It is alright..I know..I..’ , the lump in her throat refused to let her complete the  sentence . But the tears that followed , conveyed her sentiments well .

Steve put a hand on her shoulder , trying to pacify  her , but he knew how hurt grandpa’s  little girl was .

It had been an year , yet Maggy had not been able to come in terms with the  sudden tragedy that had befallen  their family . Maggy was very close to her grandpa , and this was the first time since his disappearance that , she had managed to convince herself to visit his house .

But the purpose of her visit wasn’t merely to revive old memories… It was much more than that…She wanted some answers ……She was here for that..

It was ten in the night by the time Maggy finished with her sumptuous meal , prepared by Robert , the house cook .

Robert was a young man in his late twenties , who had been employed by Maggy’s grandpa , a few years ago . Once grandpa disappeared and was deemed dead , an year ago , Robert was asked to leave . But now  that Maggy was here to stay , Steve had  approached him to rejoin his post and to his surprise Robert had happily agreed….

At around five past eleven , Maggy finally retired to bed . As she lay there , staring at the ceiling , her mind a kaleidoscope of images and memories from the past , Maggy felt miserable … How much she loved grandpa and what a wonderful person he had been….where was he now…is he actually dead?…

With these thoughts , Maggy soon slipped into a deep slumber . But it was not for long….In the dead of the night a loud bloodcurdling scream reverberated through the rooms of the huge mansion…Maggy bolted upright in her bed  , horrified.

Alarmed , and a little dazed  from her sleep , she crept out of her bed  and walked cautiously  towards the direction of the sound……………

Whose scream was it….?Will Maggy find out the secret behind Grandpa’s disappearance…..? What secrets await her in her grandpa’s house…?Is her own life in danger now… ?

Find out in the next few stories…..

Here are the links to the next few parts… :

Part 2: by Travelling Hat

Part 3: by Saya

Part 4 : by Moses

Part 4 : by Sona

Part 5 :Manvishah

For more updates on this chain  , you can click on flash-fiction-chain-4 .

WHEN IN LOVE, PART 3 ( A FLASH FICTION CHAIN )

when-in-love

The following work of flash fiction is in collaboration with my fellow blogger Jithin of  Pho Trablogger .The picture that you see above ,is his creative photography which inspired this piece of fiction writing . Please click HERE and provide your valuable feedback on this picture.  Also you can check out his blog for more wonderful pictures and travel related posts….I am sure you will enjoy them …

I have written the PART 3 OF this flash fiction , here are the links to the first two parts for you to read before your read my part of the story 😉

Now here is the PART 3 , written by me … READ ON :

James was exhausted , after the events of the day , yet sleep eluded him . He tried to force his eyes shut , but his thoughts once again returned to Tracy ,their baby ,the job……. A drop of tear escaped from one corner of his eye . He could feel Tracy’s warm body huddled against his own .

Then , all of sudden , his pent up emotions gave away  . His  muffled sobs , soon woke Tracy up and she turned to him . ‘Jimmy …what happened..?’ , she asked , turning on the bedroom lamp.

 As they both sat upright on the bed , James hugged Tracy tight and wept like a woman . ‘I am sorry Tracy…I wanted to keep you happy…I know you are not….’ , he mumbled , in his shaky voice . ‘Jimmy look at me…’ she said , pointing towards her baby bump , ‘You think you have seen me any happier than this ?’ , ‘Jimmy you are the best thing that ever happened to me ,and so is this baby. I couldn’t ask  for any more happiness !’ , she said , assertively , a drop of tear , glistening like pearl in one corner of her eye..

James was quiet now… he held out Tracy’s hand  in his , and kissed it..

The next morning , after breakfast , Tracy walked up to James , who was staring outside the window of their humble dwelling , and placed something in his palms . It was the ring . James felt a piercing pain in his heart , as if someone had stabbed him with a knife ,and he shouted in the same vain , ‘Tracy…I told you … Are you trying to humiliate me ..?’

 Tracy was taken aback by James anger , and stared at him , her large brown eyes , welled with tears , shimmered in the sunlight . ‘I..’ she began..’James , I did not …you know how important this job is… And you can always buy it back for me..or maybe something even more beautiful..’ , she said , trying to look cheerful .

Her last sentence seemed to offer some consolation to James and the warmth in her voice melted away his anger. . He smiled and bent down to kiss her . Just then , there was a knock on the door.

By the time James dragged his feet to the door and opened it , the mail man was gone , but there was an envelope lying at his feet . Puzzled , he picked it up . Then closing the door behind him , he walked back into the living room where he had left Tracy standing .

Tracy hurried to his side and enquired about the envelope.  ‘I don’t know…’ James looked as confused as she was herself. As he slit open the envelope , his eyes grew wide in surprise , and Tracy gave out a loud shriek of excitement, at what she saw inside  . It was a check , in his name…

James couldn’t control his happiness , yet he was inquisitive at the same time…’Who was this well wisher ..?’ he wondered . Just then Tracy pointed to the floor and exclaimed , ‘Look..there is a letter !’

James looked in the direction to which her finger was pointing… There lying on the floor was a small piece of paper with some writing on it… ‘I must have dropped it , while removing the check from the envelope.’ , thought James to himself , as he picked up the note and started reading the contents..

Dear James ,

You  cannot gauge my happiness ever since I learnt that Tracy was in the family way .  I am so happy for you and Tracy and so eager to meet the new member of your family .  I remember you telling me yesterday that you have a job offer from that firm in the East . I can not began to imagine the kind of responsibilities you need to take upon yourself , in the coming future . And I know you are capable of doing so yourself. You have proved to be a loving husband to Tracy and I know you will be a doting father to the little one too… But , having been your best man ,it is my right to make you this gift  , as a token of our friendship, and also as a small reciprocation for all the times you have got me out of trouble ! Hope you will accept it in the same spirit…

Love and warm regards

Mark

James felt a little dazed at this sudden development . It was as if a burden had lifted from his heart and he felt light again. He put down the letter on the dining table . Tracy clung to him , tears of happiness flowing down her eyes….

Then abruptly , James released himself from Tracy’s embrace and hurried towards the door…’I will be back soon…I want to thank Mark and also find out how he got this money…..’ , saying this he slammed the door behind him. Tracy  stared at the shut door and smiled …

Having reached his Mark’s home , James was about to park his bike and rush inside , when he sensed something missing and stopped in his tracks. He inspected the whole vicinity of the house , but it as nowhere to be seen . Mark’s bike was gone………………..

( Who will continue the story from here ? )

A seat by the window…..

PHOTO CREDITS : http://trablogger.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/indian-railway-1/

The following work of flash fiction is in collaboration with my fellow blogger Jithin of  Pho Trablogger . The picture of the train seat that you see above ,is his creative photography which inspired this piece of fiction writing . Please click HERE and provide your valuable feedback on this picture.  Also you can check out his blog for more wonderful pictures and travel related posts….I am sure you will enjoy them …

Lolita stared at the empty seat , her eyes moist with tears . The sun rays streamed  in through the chasms of the window, and occupied the emptiness….. It was as if , it were trying to fill in the void , not only in the seat , but in her barren life as well .

He was gone…. replaced by the glistening sunbeam , which now seemed more welcoming , than he had ever been.

They were never meant to be together , right from the start.  In the first few months of their whirlwind love affair , things were far too ‘perfect’ to be true… In fact , somewhere in the deepest recesses of her heart Lolita , knew this wasn’t real , that it was all just a beautiful bubble , that will burst one day ; vanish without a trace…. And now , it had …

Since the last two months , Kabir had been acting a little too weird . He seemed so distant , so unreal , that sometimes she even questioned her own choice !

When they had begun dating , Kabir always seemed so caring and concerned . It was as if he had all the time in the world for her , but things changed ever since she had moved in with him . He had been coaxing her to live-in with him , right from the start , but being from a slightly conservative background , Lolita wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do .

In the end , her love for her Kabir , triumphed , dismissing all her fears and trepidation , and in a few days , she was there , lying next to him  on his bed , as he stroked her hair and hummed a song……..

Lolita would have continued to live her ‘dream-like’ existence  , if it was not for that phone call ….

Kabir had been unusually busy the last few months . He wore a frown all the times and snapped at Lolita if she asked him what the matter was . Once , exasperated by his cold behavior and indifference towards her , she confronted him . After arguing and quarelling with each other like  cantankerous curmudgeons , the two retired to bed , where they further continued their cold war ..

Once Kabir was off to work the following morning , Lolita sat there , pondering over the whole episode and soon hatched a plan to surprise him .

That weekend , Lolita managed to convince him to follow suit . When they reached the station , he asked her what the plan was. As they unloaded their baggage from the car and walked into the station , she held his hand , and smiled at him reassuringly . Kabir did not look too pleased with the thought of travelling in a train , but then he had no choice….

As they settled down inside their train compartment , Lolita observed the nervousness on Kabir’s face . ‘Relax , dear…it is only a two hour journey to that station and from there , we are taking a flight to Goa !’

‘Goa!’ , exclaimed Kabir , looking perturbed , ‘But what is the need for this trip now.?..I have a lot of office work piled up…’

As he sat there looking restless , tapping his feet nervously , on the floor of the compartment , Lolita spoke , ‘Kabir…listen ! There is a surprise for you … I wanted to tell you this at home , but you never had any time for me , so I think I will tell you now.. The other day I received a phone call from my Doctor…’ Lolita glanced up at Kabir who now wore a curious expression . She then gathered some courage , and blurted out in a single breath  , ‘I  am …err…I am going to have a baby !’ . She did not need to complete her sentence to see his expression change …

His calm yet anxious looking face had now contorted into a scowl , and the words that followed , would remain etched in Lolita’s memory for ever and ever……………

‘What..?  Are you crazy? ‘… he shouted at first , in a voice so loud , that  all the passengers in the neighboring seats  were now gauging them , waiting for his next words , ‘Alright …’ , Kabir stated , matter of factly , ‘There is someting I have been meaning to tell you for sometime . But I guess ,there would not be a better occasion to do so…’  He drew a deep breath , before he continued in the same strain , ‘Lolita I don’t love you any more …. In fact , I am seeing someone else now… ‘ , Kabir looked up at her once , and then dropped his gaze , ‘I have been wanting to tell you this for sometime..but ….She is my colleague at office… We love each other . ‘

He got up from the seat , abrupty  . ‘You can come and collect your stuff from my place , whenever you like… Kiara  will be moving in with me soon… and yeah , about the baby , I am sure you know what to do, best !’

Lolita glared at him , her eyes like that of a deer caught in the headlights ,  red with tears  . She could feel the pain caused by the lump in her throat , but it was nothing compared to the piercing pain , she felt in   her chest… It was as if her heart was ripped out from there…. leaving behind a gaping black hole….

As the train shunted to a stop , Kabir gave her one last look and then , walked out of the coach ….and out of her life too……

Lolita stared at the empty seat , her eyes moist with tears…..

Just then she heard a male baritone  ,’Ma’m , is this seat empty…?’ She looked up at the source of the voice , a tall good looking  gentleman was standing there , with a laptop bag in one hand and a suitcase in the other , ‘May I sit here?’ , he asked again , sensing her confusion . ‘Oh …yes..please…its all yours…’ she mumbled , and looked outside the window…

The sun was still shining bright at her……….

‘The Scent of Suzy’………. ( A short story)

 A cold wind howled through the corridor , as Brian stood outside the huge , ornate door of the mansion. He shuffled through the pockets of his trousers ,till he found a large , archaic key and shoved it into the lock , twisting it.  Having done so , he tried to push open the door , but to his utter disappointment , it didn’t budge .

 He could feel the cold air whipping against him… As he looked around, he had an eerie sensation ,about the whole place. After about five long minutes of continuous thrusting and pushing , the dusty hinges creaked loudly and shrilly , and the large door , yielded eventually !

As Brian crept silently through the portal , he was greeted by a musty smell , that left a strange taste of iron in his mouth.  He was amazed by the interiors of the sprawling mansion.

‘Oh my god !’, exclaimed Brian , his voice reverberating across the large vacant spaces . He stared at the wall coated in dirt and  decorated , here and there , with matted cobweb . The  long spiral staircase , looked even more ‘ghostly’ , under the silvery sheen of the moonlight .  And Brian , stood there , half expecting to see a spectre walk down those winding wooden stairs.

Just then , in that very second , he felt  a puff of warm breath on his earlobe. .. A shiver curled through the back of his neck , cascading down to his backbone …

His body  went numb with fear , as the overwhelming  odour of old walls and  the bitter air seeped around him . An ominous darkness seemed to spread around in the room …. and soon it enveloped him….

 ***************

Brian tossed about from side to side … pushing ,shoving ,kicking…. His body drenched in his own sweat , his heart pounding … and  just when the weight on his chest became too much to bear , his eyes shot open  wide and he bolted upright – frozen in fear , his heart still throbbing hard.  He then  stretched himself to his bedside , pulling on the bed lamp .  And looked around frantically , and a  sigh of utter relief escaped his mouth  , when he realized it was only a nightmare !

How relieved was he to be back to the confines of his warm  and cozy apartment . A sudden surge of joy ,washed through his entire body as his strained muscles began to relax . He got down from the bed , and peered outside the window of his first floor apartment . ‘Still dark !’ , Brian thought to himself , feeling a little unnerved at the prospect of returning to bed .

After spending  a few minutes at the window , he quietly crawled back into the warmth of his comfortable bed.

Brian woke up the following morning feeling  enervated , as if the ‘life force’ had been sucked out of him.  For a few minutes , he just lay there , sprawled .. and then ,all of sudden , jumped out of the bed and bolted to the washroom .

Having finished with his morning ablutions , he stood in front of the mirror combing his hair, when  the calling bell rang  . Giving himself one last look in the mirror , Brian hastened towards the door . The bell rang , a second time , this time a little more persistent ,  now making him a little curious.

 As Brian tried to open the door in urgency , he fumbled with the chain lock . Once the door was open , he peered outside .  No one . ‘Strange !’ , Brian mumbled under his breath , as he gave the corridor , another careful  inspection before shutting the door back.

As Brian , stepped back into the house ,  a sudden sense of foreboding engulfed him , but he quickly dismissed it and headed to the kitchen to prepare his breakfast.

Having finished his breakfast of poached eggs and toast  , he began to get himself ready to go for work .  Brian was in no mood to return to work today . But then , he knew that if he didn’t turn up , his new boss would happily replace him , with another ‘more efficient’ guy  … and Brian needed this job !

In half an hour , Brian was out on the streets ,  struggling to reach his office on time . As he  scurried towards his office ,  trying to avoid getting caught in the crowd , he bumped himself against a woman .  Brian , shot up his hands in mid air , apologetically . She smiled , apparently amused .

Her deep , brown eyes were mesmerizing .  Brian , lost his sense of time , as he felt himself hypnotized by the depth of her gaze . The blaring horn of a milk van,  behind him , shook him out of his trance . He looked around …But  she was gone……… vanished like the dew before the morning sun !

By the time Brian made his way out of his office , it was late in the evening .  Trudging  his way ,through the cobbled streets ,  recollecting the events of the day , he felt jaded .

‘THE ADAM COMPANY’ ,  the name of the advertising firm , where he worked , had never been his favorite place … but then , it had never been his least favorite either . Well that was ,until today. Ever since his new boss had taken over , things had gone from bad to worse.   His work was never ‘satisfactory’ enough , and he was not spared even a moment’s rest .

But today was the height of all distastefulness . Mr Ronald ( his boss) , had humiliated him in front of the whole staff . In that moment , he wished he could just disappear into nothingness… just cease to exist…. He was sure no one  would even notice his absence !

Now , as he hobbled along the half-lit alley way , feeling  weighed down by his own miseries , he  was determined never to return to that hell . But soon , better sense prevailed and he realized that , it can not be…. not until he found another job to take care of his finances ! With these thoughts , he was soon outside his apartment building.

When Brian , dragged his way up to the first floor , he saw that the corridor was in darkness.  ‘Oh god ! that John guy hasn’t fixed the lights yet !’  , he grumbled , exasperated .

As he traversed through the narrow , deserted corridor , a queer , inexplicable sense of dread encased his  heart  and he cringed.

Once he reached his apartment and was about to unlock the door , he had the sharp urge to look behind , at  the other end of the corridor . Under the pale moonlight ,  streaming in through a small square window , he saw a dark figure – the silhouette of a woman , standing  there , in the far end of the corridor.  Brian kept staring at it , paralyzed by terror .

Then , having regained his sanity , he  somehow mustered the courage to call out  ‘hello…’ . As he did so , his own voice seemed to him as hollow and weak , in the emptiness . He lunged forward to investigate , but the entity was not there any more….

Relieved , Brian went into his house and finished his dinner . He then , slumped himself on his bed and went to sleep immediately .

The next morning , he woke up invigorated . The sleep had done a whole lot of good to him and he was unusually bright and cheerful . Now , all ready for another back-breaking day at the office , he opened the door and stepped outside .  As , he finished locking the door , he felt a hand on his shoulder …

Alarmed , he turned abruptly . It was John … ‘So I hope no more complaints , now that I have fixed the lights ?’ , his close set eyebrows now curved into a question mark .  ‘Fixed !’ , repeated Brian , with  tone of contempt  in his voice , when his eyes  unexpectedly wandered  off , towards  a  row of lit light globes on the ceiling , in the centre of the corridor . Brian , stared at it , confused… and muttered.. ‘Yeah…but..err…’  .   ‘You forgot to switch them off , once you were in ..!’ , exclaimed John , as if completing Brian’s  sentence .  But , ‘switching off the lights’ , was the least of his concerns right now , much to John’s ignorance .

As John walked way in the direction of the stairs , Brian kept  standing there , looking dazed . It was then that he saw her. Those deep eyes , seemed to offer some solace , to his otherwise miserable life.

As she locked the door of her flat in the far left , he gazed at her disbelievingly .

‘You stay here ! how come I never saw you  here before..?’ , he enquired  inquisitively.  ‘That’s because I am out most of the times !’ , she chuckled . ‘Oh , all right so where do you work ?’ , asked Brian . ‘At a fashion store , just two blocks way – ‘RENNAISANCE’ –you may have heard of it..? ’  ‘Oh , yes ! I have… it is on  the way to my workplace ..’ , he replied , trying to hide the excitement in his voice. ‘So ,we can I walk you..err…’ , he asked , his face flushed , to a color of scarlet . ‘Of course , you can !’ , her face too changing hue to a corresponding crimson.

  From that day on , Brian was a different man . After all , he had found his soul – mate , someone with whom to share his troubles , worries and joys too.  In fact , everyone at ‘ The Adam’s Company’ ,  were a little surprised to see this new , rejuvenated man .  Even Mr Ronald , seemed happy and satisfied with Brian’s performance at work . …Everything  seemed to be going smooth..

Brian would have loved to enjoy  Suzy’s ( that what he liked to call her . For some odd reason , she hadn’t disclosed to him , her real name ) company on his way back home too , but unfortunately her work extended beyond his , so he had to make do, by just waving at her , from outside the ‘ Rennaisance’.  But , almost every time he did this , he had seen the store owner , a tall lady with a ‘botox-gone-wrong’ kind of face , rolling her eyes at him , in disapproval . In fact , some of Suzy’s colleagues also didn’t seem be amused by all the gesticulating , he did with Suzy , and glowered at him .

Even on their way to work in the mornings ,  whenever Brian slipped a hand into Suzy’s in an act of expressing his affections , or shared a heart laughter ,  many a passers by ,  would glare at him , amusingly . Perhaps they thought he was too old for Suzy…

But Brian was beyond all these  trifling things , and they no longer affected him . He was in love… And so enamoured ,was he of Suzy’s beauty that the world itself seemed to him ,as more beautiful than it ever was.

 The sight of her pleasant face , the sweet scent of her  hair , the soft feel of her silken touch… .everything about her was so unpretentious  ,  yet so mysterious , in a strange sort of way…

Days flew by and nights were spent in the pleasant memories of the days…

One fine morning , as Brian ( humming the tune of a love song ) , was busy locking up his door to leave for work , he heard footsteps behind him.  When he turned he was greeted by an Asian couple , who were being led by John to the flat on the far left of the corridor.  Brian soon caught up with John ,  and asked   ‘ John…what is happening..? who are these people..?’ .  John , looked at Brian quizzically and said , ‘ Why…these are the new tenants of this apartment. I got them to show them the house , before they shift here in a few days !’.

Brian felt the earth shift  beneath his feet as he stood  there slack-jawed. Enraged , he pulled at John’s collar and yelled , ‘Where is she..Suzy..she lives here. Don’t you know..?’ .

He kept staring at John wild eyed ,while the latter pushed him aside and straightened his collar . ‘Are you crazy..? This apartment has been lying vacant for almost six months now .’ he stated , matter of factly . ‘And who is this Suzy anyway..?’ he asked , as an after thought.

Brian stood there , more rooted to the ground than a tree.  His moist eyes were now blood shot , as he made fervent efforts to  reconcile with the situation. And then , all of a sudden , his expression changed , his face lit up as he bolted through the corridor and down the stairs.

Brian was on the street now…feeling exhausted , due to the sudden emotional upheaval , but still determined all the same.

He scuttled down the street and soon reached his destination – the ‘Renaissance’. Barging in through the open door , he looked around. Suzy was no where .  The other women at the store ,were now  staring at him and whispering among themselves.  Just then , the tall lady , the owner ,appeared on the scene . Desperate , Brian rushed to her asking for Suzy.

‘Suzy ! we don’t have anyone by that name working here. !’ , she replied curtly , with a heavy French accent. ‘ Oh , yes ..of course..that isn’t her real name…’ , he exclaimed and started giving a physical description of the woman he was searching for. But neither the owner , nor any other staff seemed to recollect anyone by that description.

As he turned to go , he heard the French woman remark ‘ What a lunatic ! Isn’t this the same guy you complained about the other day? The one who kept making a pass at you..?’ . Brian turned to look at the other woman , but she wasn’t Suzy…Although he had seen her standing next to her , whenever he waved .

The sudden emotional turmoil and the resultant fatigue , now took their toll on him ,and he collapsed on the sidewalk,  just outside the store….

***************************

The physician soon referred him to a psychiatrist , named Dr Jason. After studying Brian’s case history and repeated interviews with his subject , along with psychotherapy and hypnosis , Dr Jason , diagnosed Brian’s condition as Delusional disorder , a type of Schizophrenia..

After  providing him with some Antipsychotics , Dr Jason , decided to continue treating him as an out patient .

Brian returned home after a month at the hospital . As  Brian , sat on his couch , having his breakfast , the calling bell rang.  Brian rushed to the door and opened it.

Suzy  stood there , smiling ………..

 *********

AUTHOR’S NOTE : (As copied from wikipedia , for the benefit of the readers )

Delusional disorder is an uncommon psychiatric condition in which the patients present with delusions, but with no accompanying prominent hallucinations, thought disorder, mood disorder, or significant flattening of affect.[1][2] Delusions are a specific symptom of psychosis. Non-bizarre delusions are fixed false beliefs that involve situations that could potentially occur in real life; examples include being followed or poisoned.[3] Apart from their delusions, people with delusional disorder may continue to socialize and function in a normal manner and their behaviour does not generally seem odd or bizarre.[4] However, the preoccupation with delusional ideas can be disruptive to their overall lives.[4] For the diagnosis to be made, auditory and visual hallucinations cannot be prominent, though olfactory or tactile hallucinations related to the content of the delusion may be present.

 The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines six subtypes of the disorder characterized as erotomanic (believes that someone is in love with him or her), grandiose(believes that s/he is the greatest, strongest, fastest, richest, and/or most intelligent person ever), jealous (believes that the love partner is cheating on him/her), persecutory(delusions that the person or someone to whom the person is close is being malevolently treated in some way), somatic (believes that he/she has a disease or medical condition), and mixed, i.e., having features of more than one subtype.[5] Delusions also occur as symptoms of many other mental disorders, especially the other psychotic disorders.

 

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The head turner ! ( weekly writing challenge- The unreliable narrator )

The brilliance of the ‘bride’ almost blinded me…Okay…well at least it made me turn away my gaze from the stage ,where she sat , covered in the yellow metal ,from head to toe…,beads of perspiration forming on her forehead.

The sultry south Indian summer , coupled with the uncomfortable silk attire and the hot flash of the video camera , was beginning to annoy me as I sat there ,draped in my ‘silkish’ best . I was drenched in sweat and my heavy saree clung to my body , making it worse .

For a second , I had the strong , uncontrollable urge to pull out my ‘gold necklace’ , that now seemed to tighten around my neck like a noose , and shove it into the air…But then , it lasted only for a teeny weeny moment….The very next moment I was ready to penalize myself for my impulsive thought ! After all the necklace was a gift from my fiancé…

As my eyes explored the crowds of people that thronged the auditorium , they couldn’t escape noticing the ‘fairer creatures’ among them.. Stunning women , looking resplendent , in their bright Kanchipuram sarees , and jewellery  that dazzled as they turned around. I felt my hand , move to  touch my own necklace , almost instantly…..and with an almost sudden , and quick action of my fingers , set it right , for all to see…

It was a beautiful gold and emerald necklace…As a famous advertisement tagline went..‘Neighbour’s envy….owner’s pride !’…

Just then I saw a lady in a mustard saree , oggle me..or perhaps it was the necklace that gathered her attention ! I could see those hazel brown eyes turns green with envy..Though caught unawares first..I was starting to enjoy her resentment…And then all of a sudden she turned away , to join back a group of ladies , with whom she had been in conversation earlier…thus disappointing me immensely..

As I was about to turn around , giving up all hopes of attracting any further attention , from that section of women , the situation changed. I was presently under the scrutiny of a dozen eyes , and could hear them speak to each other in hushed tones…Although despite my best attempts , I was not able to decipher their mumbled mutterings !

The lady in mustard , was apparently the leader of the pack that was now studying  her , from close quarters. Some of you may argue that , a ‘pack’ is more appropriate to refer to a group of wolves , not civilized ladies ! But then ,these ladies did give me an impression of hungry wolves ,eyeing a prey !

My jubilation was put to an abrupt end as one of them , beckoned the rest of  the group , to her side,using gestures of the hand ..{ reminding me of a Bharata natyam ( a form of south Indian classical dance ) dancer }

The ‘greedy’ pack soon disappeared without a trace…

As I walked across the hall , I could see all eyes settle on me , some even followed. And I rejoiced it all….

I then proceeded towards the dining area , where I relished every morsel of the sumptuous spread , served to me on plantain leaf…Even as I licked my fingers , at the end of my meal , I could see eyes , mostly those of women , stare at me from all corners…some seemed like they would blurt out an exclamation any moment !

So my necklace was a hit…my heart swelled with pride and I beamed with happiness !

By the time I reached home , it was about 3 in the afternoon. As soon as I stepped inside and slumped myself on the couch , my mom appeared from inside the bedroom…

I could see an air of nervousness about her , which was kind of unusual . As she fumbled for words , I asked her what the matter was…

Without uttering a word from her mouth , that seemed have curved itself into a frown , she pointed towards my neck…or so I thought..till I saw it..

My eyes opened wide, in a mixed expression of horror and embarrassment , as they beheld  a gaping hole , on the saree , just below the place where it was pinned , on the left side of my shoulder ! Very close to the necklace……..

It happened in the morning , while I was ironing it and I was about to tell you so …But that is when I got that call informing me that your uncle was in the hospital and I left in a tearing hurry ! The matter had completely skipped my mind , till I got back an hour ago , and realized my faux pas………..………’

As my mother , went on with her explanations and apologies , my mind raced back  in time…..rewinding….

I had woken up late,as I had forgotten to switch my phone alarm on. In my hurry to reach the venue on time , I had  given only a fleeting glance at the mirror . And clambering onto my car, had driven away in haste ..………..’

I closed my eyes……….trying to push the world out……………

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/the-unreliable-narrator/

  • Fiction writers: Draft a short story or flash fiction piece from the point of view of a unreliable narrator. What is the source of their unreliability? In what ways and details can you reveal that this person might not be telling the truth? What kind of setting or situation can you create?

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