Thursday, March 08, 2012

Looped

Sandeep was watching the late night edition on a news channel, completely engrossed in it to notice the quick movement behind him, across the hallway, towards the bedroom.

He was changing channels occasionally to catch something interesting.

It was then he heard it. A distinct giggle. He muted the TV. The neighbor’s kids sometimes created a din late in the night. But this sound was definitely coming from inside the house. Impossible, since he was alone at home. His wife and daughter had decided to sleep over at his in-laws’ place tonight.

“What the hell…”, he muttered and turned. “Hello. Who’s there?”

Ha..Sandeep, this isn’t a movie. Come on. He felt dumb.

He turned to the TV and increased the volume.

The voice, again. This time it was a full-throated laugh. He jumped from the couch and rushed to the bedroom, checking all the doors along the way. There were two, one beside the kitchen near the sink in the dining area, and one toward the rear, across the lobby.

There was a slum nearby – you never know, some kid might’ve gotten curious and tiptoed in. But this was ridiculous. He reached for the switch in the first bedroom.

“Come out,” he said, in a commanding voice hoping to scare the kid.

Silence. It was obvious that there wasn’t anyone here. He walked across the room and pulled open wardrobe doors and knelt down to check under the bed. Nothing. Nobody.

He stepped out. Then he made out the silhouette against the hazy moonlight in the kitchen. It was a kid. Sandeep slowly walked to the kitchen, his eyes steadfast on the child, and switched on the light.

Nobody.

****

He woke up with a start, sweating. He was breathing heavily. His wife, Malini, turned to him in her sleep, and absently threw her hand across his chest. He held her hand and looked up at the ceiling.

It was a dream? Hell, he could’ve sworn it seemed real. He swallowed, and then got up, gently lifting his wife’s hand and placing it by her side. His throat was parched. He staggered out of the bedroom and headed to the kitchen.

Huh? The TV was on. He rubbed his eyes.

And there was someone on the couch, watching that same channel. His heart racing like a sprinter now, he slowly walked to the couch and saw. It was him watching the channel, just like in the dream. What the...? But he was too sleepy. He just stood there, absently watching himself for a few seconds, his eyes drooping again, slowly. Dream, dream, he kept on repeating in his head, waiting for the other guy to disappear, and the TV to be off. Then - Oh, yes. Water. He was about to turn when the guy sitting on the couch turned to him.

“For me too.”

Sandeep almost fell back.

****

He awoke with a start, in that slouched position, his neck resting on the couch cushion. A political debate was playing on the TV. He lay there and opened his eyes wide, wetting his lips with his tongue and looked around. Shit..This was crazy.

It was a dream? Hell, he could’ve sworn it seemed real.

Then he heard it. A distinct giggle.

****

17 comments:

Sri said...

Really scary...but kuch samaj mein nahi aaya :-D.. have read it thrice already...no luck yet.

Varsha Naik said...

'Inception'esque

Sometimes we don't know whats real and what isn't!

the little princess said...

I was actually contemplating whether I should read ur story this late in the night..(.kyunki baad mei sapne mei bhoot he nazar aate hai!!) Anyways I've read it now (`twas scary!!) I hope I sleep well...!!!

sumitra said...

Haha, dream in a dream in a dream in a... Nice one!

Blue Lotus said...

Inspired by Inception? Nice one...

PURN!MA said...

What? what? WHAT? Man, you are crazy! *Applause*

kismitoffeebar said...

What a loop Sirji :)

Menachery said...

this one i like .. naice .... i was like ab kya hoga of sorts ... :P ...

Rohini said...

Dare to dream.. :D Imagine this actually happening to someone...gosh! Amazing.

Shreya said...

Wow. This would be around the point when he would go crazy. I saw this post last night, and seeing the time, chose to put off the reading till afternoon, I'm glad I did. Was different and awesome!

Nirvana said...

A dream, in a dream in a (wait for it....) A DREAM ? Awesome!!

Bikramjit said...

ohhh ... Now whats he gonna do .. he has woken from the dream .. escaped first time ..
now where will he go :)

Bikram's

Tongue-fu Lady said...

holy crap! it was like waking life with supernaturals... :)

phatichar said...

Sri: Mere ko bhi samajh mein nahi aaya, so that makes two of us :P

Varsha: Hehehe..yeah, I knew the comparison would be inevitable, but it wasn't exactly inception i had in mind..kuch aur tha - yeh ho gaya :P

Princess: I hope you did.. :) (psst: an advice - read one of your own after u read mine, u'll have a pleasant sleep)

sumitra: :) thx, senorita

Blue Lotus:Umm..not really, though I know it has far too many similarities, only difference being - inception was about entering someone else's mind; here, he seems to be loitering in his own :P See?

Purnima: Thanks!

Toffee: :p

Rohini: Yeah, imagine no? :)

Shreya: Hehehe..my thoughts precisely (about the goin' crazy bit). Thanks..

Nirvana: Thank you :D

Bikram: He will go into another. Simple. Ha. :P

phatichar said...

TFL: :D

phatichar said...

Menachery: Oops, sorry! Missed your comment, T... :) hehehe. Thx..

Neha said...

Inception inspired, is it?