Come with me! – [Short Story]

As I was taking an indolent stroll in that lonely road, in the wee hours of freezing December, I found this glittering placard pointing towards the west with the bold letters shining red – Contemporary Arts Museum. Since the winter was more piercing, even with the fur coat dominating my feminine enclothing, I decided to give in to the warmth of the museum.

I stepped into the museum whose facade was well lit and showed signs of being operational even at this freaking hour of 2.00 am. The benignity of the lady at the counter was well expressed – graciousness personified. She smiled and gestured me to sign the entry register.

Sarah Parker. I entered my name with my cold white fingers precariously trying to hold the ball point tip pen.

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Short Story: High on Coffee

He pulled her towards his bare chest and said, “We have almost found the exact thing”

“But how did you find it,” exclaimed Vaishnavi as she unclipped herself from Surendar’s arms, with her eyes full of excitement, and sat upright in the bed.

Vaishnavi was restless in her black spaghetti tops and crimson crushed cotton shorts, as it was a breakthrough in their research project for their final year course on journalism.

“Please tell me, now. puhleeeessss” she begged.

“Okay, I’ll just tell you how I found out. Remaining details, I’ll show you tomorrow”

“Okay, what’s it?” enquired Vaishnavi.

“I visited my native yesterday. There I met this person who takes care of Crematory,” sighed Surendar and said, “He helped me in collecting few samples from buried corpse”

“What’s that? Did you get them here?”

“Yes”

“Come on let me see…” said Vaishnavi excitingly with her eyes wide open.

“No, not now. I said tomorrow, in the library.”

“Okay…” she said frowning.

It was already half past eleven pm on a Sunday night. She has placed her head in his chest and he was caressing the strands of hair falling on her forehead, thinking about tomorrow’s course of actions. Just two months remaining for thesis submission. His heart was thumping fast. She could clearly hear the vibrations. He was slowly dozing off, holding her in his arms. In a few minutes, she too drifted to the land of dreams as she closed her eyes resting on her beloved’s chest.

●●●

Sitting alone in my room in the fifth floor of my apartment, it was very difficult for me to resist the urge. The urge to do it. I always tried to control my senses, but this time again, and every time, I fail before my own senses. I stand before my sub conscious, my head hanging down, and my own mind impregnated with the guilt.

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Short Story: It happens again

“Dad, Tushar uncle has come” the voice from the hall disturbed my morning newspaper reading routine. It was my daughter Kalpana.  I was surprised to see Tushar at the door after a long time. We have been childhood friends and we discuss everything under the sky right from the school days.

“So tell me Tushar, what brought you today in this morning to me?

“Nothing special, just wanted to pay you a visit and enquire about your well being.”

“Oh, thank you very much for your kindness. By the way, I smell something curious in your face. You never pay sudden visits, that too in this morning. Tell me what is that I can do for you?” I wanted to know his purpose of visit. May be he is planning for his son’s marriage.

Tushar spoke after a small pause, “I happen to hear things from your daughter yesterday. Sounds ridiculous, Roy! You seem to have grown old and you need to take rest from this headmaster job, you do in the local school.”

“Rest!! I need one, but I’m perfectly fine. But what did you hear from her?” I enquired. I knew about what he is going to ask.

“Kalpana told me that you talk to her about your past…” He stopped abruptly.

I guessed right. She has told this to Tushar. Now I cannot hide things from him. He would not rest in peace without knowing things from me. I’ve been discussing this only with my daughter. Now time has come to tell this to my friend as well.

“Yes Tushar,” I spoke, “I started remembering my previous birth.”

“What?” He stared at me in bewilderment.

“I saw my death. I wanted to discuss this with someone. Someone, who can understand me better, so I’m telling this to you,” I said.

“Roy, trust me as how you trusted me before. Tell me what happened to you. I’ll try to help you any time.”

“I see my past. My memory registers feeble scenes from my previous birth. I was a human being. I remember myself sitting in an old hall with people sitting in their chairs and tables. The walls are not white washed recently. The dried stains of dirty rain water mixed with dust remained unwashed.”

“Oh that sounds like an office, then…”

“An old clock was ticking and the pendulum oscillating left and right. I sit in a small counter and dispensing small sheets of colorful paper bits. I see crowd. They always come to me asking for this. I give them for money.”

“I see. This sounds strange!” He replied.

“I remember the building. It is kind of very old. Not properly maintained. Something like that of very old government building.”

“So you must have been working in some government office, I guess” He said.

“May be, I guess”

“So what happened then?”

“Actually it’s not a sequence of events. They are randomly scattered events. I remember them here and there.”

“Hmmm…so tell me, what else do you remember from your previous birth?” Tushar became interested.

“I went to meet my friend; he was working in some local school”

“Uncle Coffee…” Kalpana interrupted.

“Thanks…” Tushar picked the tumbler from the plate and both of us again became serious in the discussion.

“You went to meet your friend?” Tushar linked my previous statement.

“Yes, I went to meet him. Just then I was about to leave, I remember giving him something.” I said sipping the coffee from the ‘ever silver’ tumbler.

“Sounds interesting!!”

“I gave him something and when I came out of the house, he came running towards me and said something. I have no clue on what he said.”

“That’s so sad Roy. You should recollect things better.”

“But you know what happened after that? It is important.” I said.

“Tell me quick. I got to go.”

“I died. I died of heart attack. May be due to the information he said about me.”

“About you?” Tushar looked puzzled, and he took something out of his bag and said, “Roy, this thing I want to give you. I just came for this as well”

“What is that?” I asked looking at the small parcel.

“Money Order” He answered, “I saw this money order and your address in the envelope. I thought I can take this opportunity to come and meet you.”

“Oh, thanks a lot. My brother has sent this.  He owes me this amount sometime back. Now he is returning this to me.” I was happy.

“Well then, I have to go. I have work in the office. I’ll come in the evening and will discuss the rest of your story.” Tushar was in hurry to leave.

“Okay, thanks for dropping by. I’ll recollect more and let you know much more details.” I said and he left my room.

“Bye uncle. Do come when you are free in the evening. My father would be happy to spend time with you.” I could hear Kalpana’s voice from the hall.

I wanted to sink again in the newspaper, but something struck me suddenly. I dashed towards the door and called “Tushaaaar……..”

He looked back.

“I remember something now.” I said in a hurry.

“What?” Tushar looked confused standing outside the house.

“I went to meet my friend who was working in the school” I said.

“Roy, you said this already, I have to leave now.”

“Yes, I do remember that. But I didn’t tell you what he was.”

Tushar looked irritated, “Okay tell me what he was”

“He was the headmaster of the school” I said.

“But what significance it has with you now. Good that you remembered now. Shall I leave? I have to be in my seat in another fifteen minutes. I’ve to dispense….”

Before Tushar could complete, I couldn’t control my curiosity to tell him this thing, “I remember one more thing now” I said in hurry without letting him speak.

“Roy, you are confused. Go and take some rest. I’ll be back in the evening and let us discuss this in leisure, I have to….”

I interrupted him, “In my last birth, I was working in the post office in the stamp dispensing counter” I blasted.

On hearing these words from my mouth, Tushar stood still as if hit by a high voltage surge and dropped in the floor, holding his chest and writhing and squiggling on the sandy road outside. A crowd gathered in the street lifting him and leading him to the nearby hospital. I couldn’t see the sight of my friend in that state and I ran towards the crowd.

Before anything could be done, he was no more. Doctor informed us that he passed away due to heart attack.

●●●

The next day morning, I was reading the newspaper. My heart stopped for a second, reading the headlines in the local column of the page. The small rectangular piece of column bore these words in black and bold

“Family & Friends offers condolences to Tushar, a resident of Ramnagar, who was working in the local post office in the stamp dispensing counter attained almighty’s abode.

May God give him eternal rest and may his soul rest in peace.”

●●●

P.S:- It happens again!

THE END

Short Story: The Antique Watch

“What is this?” the voice from behind echoed in our living room, as we were looking into the metallic thing shining in my palm.

“It is an old watch” I said.

“Old clock I guess,” Akshay corrected me, “looks like an antique piece.”

“Yea seems to be one”

“But, from where did you get this?” the question was very simple, “tell me Kishore, why did you buy this?”

“I didn’t buy”

“Then”

“The small watch company one below the flyover, owned by Kishandas Jain, he gave me this in replacement for my old wrist watch which he misplaced it somewhere”

“You are nuts!”

“But why?” I asked.

“You should have asked a new watch from him. You are really a nuts dude. He just made a fool out of you. An old metallic watch, sorry it has only the dial, so it is a clock in replacement for your five thousand rupees Titan watch? May be Gandhiji would have used this piece I guess”

“But this is working. I never use a watch now-a-days and that too I bought that watch three years back. The price of my watch would have come down less than its quarter I guess.”

He came around and sat in the bed beside me in my room. Both of us were examining the watch in my hand. It looked so old, but well polished, gleaming silver with a diameter equal to the width of my palm. It had a thin metal lid for its face and a screw to adjust the minute and hour hands. Around the screw was the small hook like thing which you can use it to connect a chain and let it dangle wherever you want. The shop keeper gave the watch in a small wooden box. We were looking at the dial of the watch. It looked so royal, still looking awesome.

“Hey what’s this?,” Akshay jumped and took the wooden box and pulled out a small velvet cloth peeping out of it. I leaned towards him and stared at what he is looking at.

“That must be the cloth which normally they give to clean the watch” I said.

“Hmmm…looks like that,” he said, “but, did you see this? Something is written here” he pulled my shorts. He now brought the opened cloth to my visibility. I could read the thick golden words embroidered in the cloth.

It read,

It strikes! one, two,
Three, four, five, six. Enough, enough, dear watch,
Thy pulse hath beat enough. Now sleep and rest;
Would thou could’st make the time hasten its pace;
I’ll wind thee up no more.

“And now what is this?” Akshay became curious, “Looks like it is giving us some message”

“Akshay, please do not think and imagine weird things. It is just a watch, just an old watch. Just leave this in my place and let’s go out.

“No there is some message in this. Listen, it says, it strikes always one, two, three and four and in constant motion all time. The levers, the metal pins and all the mechanism seems working all time. So if we stop the watch or make its pace faster, it will wind up, no…no..err it will wind us up. This means, it will kill us!!”

He winked at me. I know about him. He takes things which are not so serious into serious stuff and ponders about them. After sometime, he comes back to his normality and views the same thing as crap. Now this thing about the clock has made him hypersensitive which I know that he’ll be back to normal in few minutes.

I ignored his research on the words written in the piece of cloth. Searched for the knob to adjust time and made it ten minutes faster. It was half past twelve and I was feeling sleepy. I kept the watch in the table and dozed off for a while.

Something was disturbing my sleep and found to be my mobile. I picked it up to find Preethi calling.

“Hi Preethi”

“Hi Kishore, know what? I’m leaving for Hyderabad and I’ll be in the station in an hour” She said.

“Oh, why suddenly?” I asked

“I’m on a vacation and going to stay at my aunt’s house there. If possible can we meet in the station?”

“Sure Preethi, I’ll join you for the send off. I’ll get ready in fifteen minutes and try to reach the station”

“Okay, see ya.”

The call disconnected.  My mobile clock displayed 3.00 PM. I had slept for two and half hours. The antique watch was not seen on the table. I could hear the music player sending beats out of Akshay’s room.

He will be having it, I thought

I took a shower and kick started my bike to reach the station. I informed Akshay that I’ll be back in sometime.

After meeting Preethi in the station and an exciting send off, I reached the parking lot in the station and extracted my bike from the crowd of vehicles parked haphazardly. After, crossing the sandy roads beside the railway station, my bike touched the tar road and picked up speed. It was a straight long stretch of road and it was less crowded with the vehicles. I shifted the gear and picked up speed and was tearing the air that came along. Before I could realize what was going to happen, a cow crossed the road and stood straight right infront of my way. I had no time to react but to apply the brakes. But to my disappointment, the bike screeched and ran over a sand spread over the road and so my bike skidded, toppled, tumbled and fell on the ground and thrown into one corner of bushes along the sides of the road.

My hands were paining. Luckily nothing bad happened. I survived the accident with few scratches. I stood up slowly and was trembling a bit.

Thanks a lot God, no fracture too, I prayed.

I slowly walked to the bike and the cow was happily chewing the leaves on the side of the road without knowing the fact that it had caused an accident. I was bleeding a bit too in the hands and in my knees. I picked up the bike, checked if things are fine with it then rode it back home.

“What happened?” Akshay enquired.

“An accident, I skidded and fell on the ground” I answered, “I went to the hospital, and got some first aid. Don’t worry”

I went to my room and was changing into my pyjamas. I slid my hands into my pant pocket to take the bike key out but it wasn’t there. I searched in all places. But the key was not found.

“Akshay, I think I forgot my keys in the bike. I’ll go down and check if I had left it in the parking area itself” I told Akshay and opened the door and walked towards the lift.

“Okay, come soon, by the way, I smell something wrong. I smell gas in here. Did you switch off the stove?” He asked

“No yaar, I just entered my room and found the keys missing. See, I didn’t change my dress too” I replied.

“Okay you carry on, I’ll check in the kitchen” He said. I entered the lift and pressed “G” to instruct the lift to take me to the ground floor. As the lift descended from the seventh floor, my mobile ringed and it was Akshay. I was puzzled on what made him give me a call.

“Hello, what the matter?” I asked him.

“The antique watch, did you do anything to it?” He asked.

“Hey, stop that thing now. Did you check from where the gas is leaking?”

“Yea I checked the Cylinder in the kitchen. It is switched off properly. So no problem with ours and I guess it may be from the nearby kitchen in the flat adjacent to ours”

“I see”

“Now answer me, did you do anything with the watch?” He asked me again.

“No I didn’t do anything.” I answered. Only after answering I remembered that I changed the time ten minutes faster. But what is his concern now? I wondered.

“Hey Akshay, Yes, I changed the time, ten minutes faster, before the afternoon nap. Now I remember. But what is the matter? Is it working fine? Do we have to visit the shop again?” I asked.

“Kishore, do you realize that the accident is because of that? Since you changed the time ten minutes faster, it caused an injury in the form of an accident. I told you before not to take any chances with it”. Then I could hear his laugh and giggle.

“Dude, don’t act funny. This accident has nothing to do with the watch. By the way, why do you want to ask such a question to me now? Is that watch working properly?” I asked him.

“NO” came the reply.

“No? What happened? And by the way we have another spare cylinder in the room, behind the refrigerator. Check that too if the smell is because of that” I told him.

“Yes dude, the watch is not working because I dismantled it. I ripped it open” his answer was followed by a loud blast; an explosion that agitated my mobile. When the lift opened in the ground floor, I could see people shouting and running in the stairs.

Someone came running towards me, “Mr Kishore, a gas cylinder blasted in the seventh floor house. The inmate is seriously injured.”

My heart stopped for a second

As I entered my room amidst the crowd, I saw Akshay burnt and severely injured by the blast. His breath was slowly getting subsided as people around them were fanning his charred body. Someone was calling ambulance. I stood motionless. The dismantled antique clock was lying on the floor, with the cloth underneath it, bearing the golden embroidered words.

●●●

Short Story: Weird Dreams

“So tell me Ms. Grace, what’s your problem”

Dr.Purushothaman, Psychiatrist interrogated her with his bald head shimmering in the Tube light’s reflection

“I had a bad dream today. I’m going to die. But do not know how. The dream is actually incomplete” said Grace with worried face.

He has seen many patients with mental disorder and many other cases dealing with dreams. He could understand her. She was yet another patient who has been affected mentally by dreams and this makes her uncomfortable.

“OK, tell me what happened and what did you see in your dream. I’ll try to sort it out” said the doctor.

She started narrating,

***

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