Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Too late

Shipra picked up Neelam from college at 6 pm sharp.

“Can we stop at Neetu aunty’s for a while, babe?” Shipra asked. Neelam smiled and shrugged.

“Meanwhile I also need to pick up my top from the tailor. Aunty might’ve made her heavenly pakodas, so gorge all you can,” Shipra enticed Neelam further.

“Oh, chuck it. You don’t have to give me any incentives to spend time with Neetu aunty. But, I can as well come with you to the tailor, no? Why do we have to go to…” Neelam said, raising her voice against the wind.

“I need to hand over some cash to Neetu aunty. She’s been having some money problems lately. Her drunkard husband died leaving a cartload of debts, which even she wasn’t aware of. Poor thing.”

Neelam nodded. ‘Oh.”

They arrived at the front gate about 25 minutes later. Shipra dropped Neelam and turned her two-wheeler on to the main road once again.

Neelam waved at Shipra and turned to open the creaky gate. The lawn hadn’t been mowed for a while, she noted. She was about to climb up the short flight of stairs when she spotted Neetu aunty smiling at her from the kitchen window.

“Hi, aunty,” She said, waving at the older woman.

“Hi beta. Come.”

Neelam walked into the living room.

Neetu aunty peeped from the kitchen, smiling. “Some water?”

Neelam crinkled her nose and smiled. “Thanks, aunty.”

Neelam looked around, and noticed the living room was slightly untidy. It was unlike Neetu aunty. She was always spick and span, and kept her house likewise. Maybe she wasn’t keeping well. She did look a little tired. She wondered what it was about the money. She picked up a magazine from the center table and started flipping the pages. She craned her neck towards the kitchen every few seconds.

About 10 minutes later she frowned and kept the magazine on the table.

“Aunty?” She called out.

Aunty never took this long to get a glass of water. Was she cooking something?

Curious, Neelam went over to the kitchen. Neetu aunty wasn’t there. It couldn’t be. She’d not seen her coming out. She hadn’t been so immersed in the magazine. Then, where was she?

She checked the bathroom, the laundry area and the small store room adjacent to the kitchen. Aunty wasn’t there either. Odd.

Neelam came back to the living room. She stood blankly for a few seconds, and then switched on the lights; it had gotten dark, both in and outside. She switched on the light in the front porch as well. She then went to the bedroom. Maybe aunty had gone in to change. She knocked twice and called out gently. The door wasn't fully closed. She slowly pushed it open... and gasped, covering her mouth.

Neetu aunty was hanging from the ceiling fan, her blood-shot eyes staring straight at Neelam.

Neelam felt the ground beneath her suddenly give away and she sank, her breath coming in short bursts, her voice dying to come out of her throat but unable to. Her head reeled.

The lights went out.

Just then, from the kitchen came Neetu aunty’s voice – “I’m making some hot tea and pakodas, you’ll have na, dear?”

****

24 comments:

Shreya said...

Me first!! Yayyy!!!

And damn....I'm so not visiting and lonely aunties anytime soon :(

kismitoffeebar said...

Oh my God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This was so creepy.

Kanthu said...

The one blog where I love to read the comments as much as the posts is urs..:) I just want to know what new adjectives ppl keep coming up with. Like I already mentioned, Keep 'em rolling out..;-)

Soumya said...

Woaaaahh :D

Don't know why it is reminding me on the 'Darna mana hai' series :P

Baba Vaniteshwar said...

I'm running outta adjectives man :D

Rohan Shankar said...

Trademark. I expected it from the time her husband died leaving her with debts. Try something new, like the RAW story you once wrote!

Rohan Shankar said...

Don't think I am some kind of jerk though, I think it is necessary to be critical... ( no hypocrisy... I'd rather have people criticizing my blog with valid points rather than reading it and saying "ooo good blah")

phatichar said...

Shreya: Hellooo.. :P

Toffee: :)

Kanthu: Thx..yep, I try to keep the assembly line busy :P

Soumya: There you go again :P

BabaV:Oh, come on now.. :P

Rohan: Thanks. I agree with you 100%.

Interesting..you've read the RAW story, which is like a year old; and I thought you 'chanced' upon my blog only recently. Lurker, eh? :) Criticize me more often man. Lurking is good - constructive criticism is good too. Stick around, click on 'em many more links if you haven't already - am sure you'll see I've taken shots at some parallel genres as well. Enjoy the ride :)

Truth be told - I'm too lazy to write specifically for the 'oohs' and 'aahs'. I write anything that catches the fancy of my 'shaithani khopdi' like rohu here keeps saying. :)

Revacious said...

My gaad, my gaad! Don't u ever get scared of your own stories?

sumitra said...

Sometimes I guess the ending of your stories, but I still end up getting scared. The words you use manage to spook me out!

sumitra said...

Sometimes I guess the ending of your stories, but I still end up getting scared. The words you use manage to spook me out!

the little princess said...

oops I did it again..
read ur story at night,
Ohh what a fright!
there goes my sleep down the drain!

CD!!! said...

I thought the husband might have become the ghost. Getting better day by day :)

lilac said...

Gosh oh gosh!does anything or anyone scare u at all in life..how were u as a child???what got u so inclined towards writing spooky stories?

phatichar said...

Revacious: No. I won't be able to write, if I were, now would I? :)

sumitra: Ah, yes - I agree, horror does get predictable after a while. But if you mean what you just said, then my efforts have paid off. I try and make up for predictability with words to effect. :)

princess: My advice still holds. Read a story (the lighter stuff) of your own after you read mine.

CD: Thank you hai ji! :D

lilac: LOL...you make me out to be some kind of a psycho. Gosh - hehe..let me assure you I was a perfectly normal child, and nobody in my family did or said something to instigate this. I get scared as well, at times. About writing spooky stories, to be very honest, it's nothing to do with how I was (that normally happens to people who end up doing what my characters do, I just write about 'em, if you know what I mean - there's a difference, hmm?), it's just that I like the idea of getting scared, or the fact that something unknown brings out that fear in all of us. That intrigues me. See how boring I am - started rattling off such a lengthy explanation... :D

Rohan Shankar said...

I chanced upon your blog through Solitude Sublime(apparently you posted something similar at the same time and you got scared.... whatever) recently.

I don't lurk, I've been meaning to write this for quite some time. I have read your full blog... and the last excellent ( rather up to your mark) story was the dude on the bike who died before he thought he had a puncture.

But then of course, proxy is a re-post.

phatichar said...

Rohan: Ha ha..now you're talking - well, like I said before, I agree with you 100%.

Just that, I felt maybe you hadn't read my other stories and assumed I wrote only spook and nothing else. But, the fact that you've actually read my entire blog is flattering indeed. Thank you for that.

Any genre, for that matter, gets a little predictable after a while. We all know that. I mean, what more can happen in horror aside from ghosts, zombies, and spirits, hmm? But the trick lies in treatment, which I try to keep fresh every time. Then again, you win some, you lose some. Believe me, it's a challenge. But it's also a lot of fun, especially when readers play the devil's advocates ;-) -ups the thrill quotient, prodding me to do different, do better every single time. And I'm always thankful to you guys for that.

Incidentally, I'll shortly be posting a series again. This time, it won't be spooky, but something (I hope) different, just like how mentioned.

Once again, thanks for dropping by and spending time :)

Mirage said...

Oh bapre!!!!!

You did it again. Bot khatarnak wali achi story thi by god. My internals are keeping me busy otherwise I wouldn't miss a single dose of this scary stuff. :D :-)

Ankita said...

I recently started reading your blog! I love it.

As much as I can predict the ending to a lot of the horror stories, when I read them at night, it still freaks me out!! haha

One of my favorites (out of the other ones I read) is "Haar ki jeet". Did you write a sequel on that?

Ruchi Jain said...

thats nice...

Seяendipity said...

Fuck, lonely aunties are anyways always creepy.

phatichar said...

Mirage: all the best with ur internals! :)

ankita: welcome aboard! Umm, no , don't think there'll be a sequel to that one, tho i agree it has the makings of a longer story :). Meanwhile feel free to browse the archives, there are a few more like that one.

Ruchi: thanks!

Serendipity: hehehe...true.

Hereiti said...

Quick question, what story is Rohan referring to here --> "the dude on the bike who died before he thought he had a puncture"?

phatichar said...

Hereiti: Hello, welcome here. Rohan was refering to this story:

http://imsri.blogspot.in/2012/03/road.html

Cheers! :)