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Friday, October 24, 2008


Silence screamed at the trees peopling the highway as she walked into the fading light of the setting sun with measured steps. Late again. No buses or anything that would take her home at the this time of the night. "Take a step, one at a time, and we would find some way to go home", she promised her feet as they ambled along, unknown of the distances that they would walk among alien foliage, at a time when you could cut through the darkness with a knife. The streetlights, sparse as neglected diamonds, winked at her knowingly, seemingly aware of the fate that seized travellers at this hour.

The rat had woken up and was starting to crawl around now. It went sniffing around at first, trying to find whatever defences it could chew through. There was still time. The night was young, yet, and it would have a whale of a time in the coming moments. It knew she could not run away even if she wanted. At least once it was awake. It now was. Soon it would be scurrying across, causing some massive mayhem and total upheaval. It knew she had a name for it.

She called it Fear.

The car was old for sure and you could make it out from the peeling paint at places. It was not a very lavish car either, but one look and you could label it as someones bygone royalty. The entire structure now creaked occasionally, like a rusted almirah, when it got rolling on wheels which had seen younger days. Tonight, it rolled along, a silent nightmare. It now crossed the trees which had stood as silent spectators when the girl had crossed them, covering distances in a fast gallop. Another five minutes and it would be with the girl.

She walked along, now counting stars, now humming a song. The trees still refused to speak to her, unlike crickets who seemed to be exchanging treasure troves of knowledge among themselves. It was totally dark now, and there were goosebumps popping on her flesh. She occasionally turned to praying, hoping that she would find some mode of travel. She could now hear the faint noise of an engine drawing closer.

The rat was totally awake now.

He lit a cigarette and puffed like a wheezing vacuum cleaner. The leather on the seats were dull and the speedometer, weighed down with journeys beyond memory, had finally breathed its last. The fuel gauge looked unsure as well. A little skeleton head, perched on crossbones, dangled merrily from his rear view mirror.

She heard the car approach and saw it halt at a few steps from her. She walked on, head bowed, hoping to pass by like a spirit, unseen. The car idled, a figure moving towards the passenger's seat. The door unlatched and opened exactly at the same time as she reached the car. She had the first view of the guy who would be giving her a lift tonight.

The rat was scurrying frantically now.All hell seemed to have broken loose. It went around scratching, gnawing at whatever it could. Not long now. The rat would soon reign supreme.

Fear would rule...

She stepped into the car with her nerves giving her a mighty hard time. It was okay after all.


Strangers were not supposed to take you off the road and then...

(dont think dont think)

They were the last people who would ...you know...

(stopstopstopstop STOP!!!)

Her gaze shifted to the guy driving the car. Unknown to her, his left hand had slid into the left pocket and clutched something.

(not a gun oh lord please not a knife oh god shitshitshit)

He came out with a cigarette and lighted it. The skull dangled on, uncaring about the situation of the new passenger. He drove on not as much giving her a second glance since the time she had got into the car. They raced along into the night, turning roads into forgotten memories. The rat seemed to have settled down for now.He finally turned to her and said,

" Say...Would you want to hear a ghost story?"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


The evening gave her a despicable look as she stared back with equal distaste. The office lay empty, save for staring monitors and toothy keyboards. She shut off her workstation and headed towards the lift.

Jessica Whitebridge always hated lifts because she always saw things in them. Rotten things. Evil things. Things that people would not believe if she told them about it. So she did not. She would never board a lift and talk about lifts to anyone till a lift ride with a sight so scary would totally freeze her existence seven years later...

She forcefully shut off the novel in her mind. She would have to stop reading the creepy novels alone at night, before their peek-a-boo activities become a part of her daily existence. Her nerves had totally become shot off late for a handful of reasons. She lived alone and she read novels which would not form a part of a regular read of the usual bookworm. She, at this moment, could not pinpoint a third reason which would offer a testimonial to her jangled senses.

She reached the lift and waited as it came up from the bowels of insanity itself. "Stop!", she screamed inside her head and felt as if her head would pop like a corn. The lift came and stopped with a lurch in front of her. The door slid open like a deathwish, almost inaudible. The lift stood silent almost waiting, asking her to step in.

Jessica would not step in ever because she knew the things always waited in hiding and never appeared till the door of the list closed. It seemed empty and there was nothing to be scared of. She would not step in, oh, how could she? She would not. She would...

"Stop!", this time aloud. A few pigeons fluttered, slightly disturbed in their quest for the 53rd root of a really long number. She got into the lift and swore to herself that she would give up reading the novels from the next morning. Tonight, she had to know what happened to the girl who was afraid of lifts. Would she die? Would she turn into something that would not communicate ever again? Would she...

She had stepped into the lift and the door had closed behind her. The single light on the roof flickered, dimmed almost into nothingness and stayed as it always did. She could feel the insides of the lift turning cold. They were coming. It was almost frigid now. She breathed hard, rasps coming out like smoke from a brick kiln. She touched the sides of the lift. They felt cold; Dead cold. There was something wriggling inside the transparent button which said "G". She could see a mist in front of her face as she breathed. Any moment now...

"Damn! No wonder this piece of rut seems to be taking forever!", she said and pressed "G" on the lift. The lift gave a slight lurch and started humming in satisfaction as it headed for the ground floor. She would read the book tonight, she thought, as she mopped a drop of sweat off her brow. She smiled to herself as the button marked "G" glowed softly, pulsing as if with a life of its own. The lift moved slyly downwards, a taskmaster who never failed to deliver people to their destination. Mostly...

Monday, October 13, 2008

From the Lost Seafarer...

Ahoy, me landlubbers!!I be back from plunderin' and pillagin' the high seas and I be bringin back tales fo all ye whippersnappers to be tellin' ye folks! So draw close while I be openin me Rum and be pourin me a heartful, for the night be young!

As the moon riseth high
And the shores be nearin'
Such be the night
When the Pirates be steerin'!

Yes, I thought of trying out a bit of pirate speak. I hit Delhi yesterday and life has moved back to the same ol'. The trip back home has given me a few pointers, which I shall now state. You are in India when:

  • your train is 13 hours late when going to your hometown(Jamshedpur in this case).
  • it is 7 hours late when you are on your way back(Good ol' Delhi).
  • the auto guy asks you to pay 250 bucks from the Railway Station to your residence(Kalkaji).
  • Last, but definitely not the least, the pantry doesnt bring in food because the cooks did not get on the train from Kanpur!!(WTF!!?!)
Besides these minor setbacks, the trip in itself was okayish. I, for once, did not have anything to read on the train and kept itching to throw out "3 mistakes of my life" which was being read by a teeny school hopper in the seat in front. I noticed that I havent written in a while and I shall get back to it as soon as I can. Your dose of strange fiction shall be delivered shortly. Just be a while.

I be visiting a great many strange lands in the days gone by. There be monster caves and strange serpents. You be thinking them to be old wives' tales, but believe you me, I not be lyin' here. Lookit for your own selves!


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