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Monday, October 4, 2010

The Residents at 4, Ice Cream Cone



Its not that hard to imagine. All you have to do is put your mind and a freezing soul into it.

When the residents moved into house number four, no one really paid attention. People by now were pretty used to people moving in and out of houses on the ice cream cone all the time. While most claimed that living on an ice cream cone was easy, they soon realized that it wasn’t as easy as it looked.

The first thing about living on an ice cream cone was that it was always cold. There was no scope for any other weather. You always walked around in soft, slushy ice cream and couldn’t complain. While the kids enjoyed the experience, the older folk got a little irritated with all the slush around. They could not do much about it, for an ice cream really wouldn’t look different for them now, would it? So they walked about in the slush without complaining much. It seemed that the people living on candies, taffies and chocolate bars were not having that great a time either.

The family which had moved into house number four had three people; a kid with parents. They had come in with their skin, a light golden, and smart wavy brown hair.  A month on the ice cream cone, and they would start looking white like the rest of the inhabitants. In the beginning, whoever came to stay here mostly stuck out as sore thumbs. Over time, they soon became a part of the system; but if you decided to leave the ice cream cone and move elsewhere, the entire process of acclimatizing would start again. There was a very loud couple living in the house before the new family moved in. People hated them, every time they crossed their house. While the snow and the slush never let sounds travel far, the ice cream cone was not big after all. What you did in your house was not much of a secret anyways. Sooner or later, the whole neighborhood knew.

The first problem came to notice when Mr Smith, from seven, Ice Cream Cone was headed to the house of Mr Jones, who lived at two, Ice Cream Cone. He had to cross the house where the new people had moved in. It was late in the night and the street was empty. As he neared the house numbered four, Ice Cream Cone, he felt a strange sensation. It was one which he had not felt in years, since he had moved into the Ice Cream Cone.

He felt warm.

He had almost forgotten how it felt to be warm. The thing with certain feelings is you don’t know how it feels, if you haven’t felt it for a long time. And then, when the feeling takes you over, you, for a better part of it, are surprised. Sometimes, it fills you with dread, or it washes you over with a spirit of happiness and gaiety. For Mr Smith, it was the latter, and he welcomed the feeling.
He stood in the darkness, soaking up the feeling of warmth. His skin prickled and he looked at it in the soft moonlight, a big grin on his face. His footsteps had slowed down and become more sluggish than before. They sank in the slush softly and came back out in a hushed rhythm. When they decided to start sinking in deep and not come out, he almost did not notice. He was still caught in his moment of warm rapture. He finally noticed when half his body sank in and he was waist deep.

Panic seized him. He tried to thrash around initially but gave it up soon enough. They hadn’t been taught lessons in personal disaster management. He just stood still as he sank deeper. The place felt warm, so he really did not feel like complaining. It was a sensation that made him feel like he was somewhere else. Infact, it was so overwhelming, that he did not fear death, incase it decided to rear its ugly head, and shake him out of his warming fantasies.

And then it froze.

He stood chest high in the slush outside 4, Ice Cream Cone, not knowing what to do. The feeling of warmth was gone. It was cold all over, and he could hardly stand it anymore. He slowly moved his shoulders and brought out his hands. They were almost blue due to the cold. He hated how his hands looked. He managed to extricate himself from the slush, and realized he was soaking completely. He did not like it anymore. His Ice Cream Cone days seemed to have come to an end.

The next morning was special. Mr Jones from 7, Ice Cream Cone was leaving the neighborhood. Everyone was surprised; after all, Mr Jones had been living on the Cone for years now. When people asked him about why he had decided to leave the place, he just clamped his jaws and nodded his head. He decided to keep his reasons a secret, because the last thing that he wanted on the Ice Cream Cone was unrest.

But alas, that was not to be. The next incident happened two nights later. When Harry, the kid from 9, Ice Cream Cone was getting home from his friend Angela’s house, he happened to cross 4, Ice Cream Cone. He spotted a faint orange glow surrounding the house. It made him feel warm and happy, just like Mr Jones. He settled next to the wooden fence of 4, Ice Cream Cone and closed his eyes. Soon, he was fast asleep.

The next morning turned out to be chaotic. Harry’s parents came out, searching for him. There was no police, so all they could do was knock on doors and ask as to where their kid had gone. No one ever went missing, for if they were not at home, they were generally at someone else’s house. They knocked all houses till they found him blissfully blue on the side of the fence of 4, Ice Cream Cone. The cold, it seemed had done him in.

Harry remained sick for a week, during which more incidents occurred outside that house. Two more people left, who were soon replaced by new inhabitants.  Houses in Ice Cream Cone were pretty sought after, but the present spate of people leaving caught them on the wrong foot. Soon enough, people decided to avoid the house altogether. Interestingly, no one ever remembered talking to the inhabitants of the house ever. They couldn’t even agree upon how they looked. There was one thing that they had a unanimous vote about though; they were one family that no one wanted to be friends with.

The mood inside 4, ice cream cone was definitely not of merriment. At this very moment, the elders in the house were busy trying to find all the commotion. With the first report that came in from the neighborhood, they had figured it was a coincidence that occurred outside their house. As the incidents turned more frequent, they knew that there was someone or something inside the house, which was definitely responsible. They did their math and zeroed in on their son, who had lately been keeping to himself.

The son now sat on a chair facing his parents. Like every early teenager, he was a picture of discomfort and fear. His parents had repeated the question innumerable times, but he did not have an answer. He felt responsible for whatever was happening but could never figure out as to what was happening. So he decided against taxing his little mind.

His parents finally gave up on him, and soon it was time for bed. He lay on the bed thinking. What was it that was driving people to behave the way they were? What was it that was leading people to vacate the place? His head was spinning. He felt sleepy. Outside, Mrs Jones struggled to get out of the ice cream slush, but soon gave up, for she felt warm. She had never felt so good before. Next morning, no one would find Mrs Jones, and they would be bothered for a while. Then, forgetting about her, life would go on as normal, even in front of 4, Ice Cream Cone.
His droopy eyelids soon won the war with him and he felt blissfully asleep. There was a smile playing on his lips. Unseen to any, the frost around him seemed to disappear and an orange glow filled the room now. Mrs Jones was gone by now. He was dreaming of roasting marshmallows over a bonfire.

Again…

[A cousin of mine told me that she flunked drawing in her upper KG when she drew a house over an ice cream cone. I wish I had been correcting the paper! :) ]

5 comments:

Runjoo said...

very very interesting...you seem to really enjoy writing evil :)

chloe said...

super :)
salutations to a new world...i prefer warmth though ;)

rantravereflect/ jane said...

jones and his icecream factory : likey!

Senorita said...

nice, I got goosebumps reading this:)

Nomad said...

L.O.V.E IT.

Continue and you will soon be the next Murakami, or actually, the next Mukherjee.

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