Monday, December 31, 2012

It happened last night


Casper took a swig of rum from the bottle. Old Monk, it was always Old Monk and nothing else. His head swirled as he got up and walked towards the balcony to start his scooter, his grandfather’s actually. He was surprised at how the rickety old thing still worked perfectly, except that he had to kick-start it 5 times at least.

“Damnit, damnit, damnit!” yelled Casper. “Why can’t I see anything in front of me, maybe I had too much rum.” It took a full minute to realize that he hadn’t had his spectacles on.

“Of course, I have to forget them as well. Why can’t everything go right today?” he said.

Casper ran into the house to fetch them. As he picked them up and wore them, he looked around the house and started to get grasp of things. Everything seemed different. Everything was cold and distant. He turned his head to the table right next to him. Lying on the table was a bloodstained knife. Casper’s eyes grew wide.

Sensing another presence, he turned himself around. A pair of yellow, unnerving eyes was fixed upon him. Slowly they traced his form and the figure stepped in front.

“Meow,” she called.

Casper took hold of the rum bottle and flung it at the sallow-eyed beast. She jumped sideways and raced forward to claw him with a piercing call. He ran for his life and started his scooter and as if by fate, it didn’t start. He ran past the creature and into the hall once again, trying to look for the knife—but it was nowhere to be found.

“Clang, clang.” Casper turned towards the entrance. It was the gate. Someone was coming in—but who was it?

And there he spotted the knife, lying on the same table. He grabbed it, ready to meet his attacker. The cat suddenly came near him and was circling him and moving in between his legs, Casper tried to move away, but she followed him—it was as if she knew his every movement.

“Who’s there,” Casper called out.

He got his response in the form of a wheezy and rasping cough. Suddenly the room became silent.

“Who’s there,” he called out again. “I have a knife and I’m not afraid to use it.”

Silence.

Casper stepped backwards and banged on an old chest of drawers. The cat screamed and hid herself under the sofa, her bright eyes radiating eeriness.

“A knife that has already been used before, one which has YOUR fingerprints on it? Go ahead use it on me,” the voice growled. A throaty voice that hid nothing, a voice that gave people the shivers, a voice that seemed familiar and oddly comforting to Casper.

At once Casper dropped the knife and got ready to run, but powerful, unyielding hands gripped him from both sides and pushed him back. “Let…ugh…me…ughhh…go,” Casper struggled.

“HAHAHAHAHA,” the voice boomed and seized him roughly. Writhing in his grasp, Casper cried aloud. “LEAVE ME ALONE, I DIDN’T KILL ANYONE. I DON’T KNOW HOW MY FINGERPRINTS ARE ON THE KNIFE. PLEASE LET ME GO, I’LL PAY YOU…” However, he wasn’t allowed to finish. One hand moved from Casper’s shoulder to his mouth. Casper tried biting but in vain.

Hot tears streamed from Casper’s eyes, there was nothing he could do but to silently hope that this was all a bad dream. His mother flashed before his eyes; she was crying. Father had died in a car accident, drunk and reckless. Grandfather left his old scooter to Casper and bid goodbye. Jenna locked hands with their professor and walked away. He killed someone. He wailed loudly and hung his head down.

“Cut!” yelled a voice. The hand moved away from his mouth and people were straightening him. Water. He could taste water.

“Casper! Are you drunk again?” someone exclaimed. Casper opened his eyes. It was Mihir, shaking him wildly. “Are you OK?”

“Whaa… where am I? Mihir, you have to believe me, I didn’t kill anyone I swear. I don’t know how the knife has my fingerprints; everything’s a hoax. Mihir, Mihir… help me…,” Casper spoke in one breath.
Whack. Mihir slapped Casper across his right cheek. The whole place went silent.

“Mihir what are you doing? Let’s get out of here,” Casper exclaimed. Mihir pointed out to Casper and asked him to look around the place. Casper woke up and saw at least 20 pairs of eyes stare right back at him.

“You come drunk to the rehearsal, forget your lines and if that’s not enough you scream like a child whose rattle has been plucked. I asked you to live the scene but I didn’t expect you to be this serious Casper,” Joshi sir quietly said. Casper blinked back and hit his forehead with his left hand. He grinned sheepishly at the whole cast and crew who were pointing and laughing at him.

“I hope I’m not out of the play,” Casper nervously said.

“No, no of course not. Next time, just tone it down a little bit. We don’t want the audience thinking that you’re being tortured, do we?” Joshi sir winked.

The cat purred in agreement.

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This story was submitted to a competition condcuted by Helter Skelter



2 comments:

mahesh said...

Hi Apoorva,

Landed up on your blog from Gitanjali's tag-post links. This is an incredible short story that you have written :)

Look forward to reading more of your posts.

Wishing you a beautiful and healthy 2013 :)

Cheers,
Mahesh

Apoorva Sripathi said...

Hey Mahesh,

Thanks for the comment, that's really nice of you. Do feel free to go through my other posts; would love your feedback on them.

Here's a happy 2013 to you as well :)

Apoorva