Friday, September 21, 2012

Up close...


Smitha was furious with her maid. She’d clearly left instructions for her to hang the clothes on the terrace; and now look what she’d done. Left the damp lump in the bucket and disappeared.

She lugged the heavy bucket up the stairs to the terrace herself, cursing beneath her breath. It was around 9 pm. Luckily for her, the air seemed relatively dry; she figured the clothes would be crisp as notes in the morning.

The night sky was clear, and the faraway sound of traffic sounded oddly comforting. She immediately decided that she’d sit around and look at the city lights once she was done hanging the clothes. The terrace was twelve floors up and she could see a whole lot from here. She smiled and walked to their part of the building. She had had to come around the huge water tank, almost hidden from the terrace door. She started undoing the knotty clothes in front of the hanging line.

She was onto the fourth or fifth garment when she heard a distinct sob.

Huh?

She stopped for a second, frowned, and went back to her clothes.

There. Another.

She now stopped and turned in the direction of the sob.

“Who is it?”

It was coming from behind the water tank, on the other side. She knew some kids came up here in the evenings to thrash out little kiddy strategies, teens came up here to pour their hearts out to their besties, sometimes even grown-ups came up here to make those clandestine phone calls, or that all important business deal without anybody’s interruption.

In short, the sob wasn’t a surprise to her. It was probably that girl Mamta – always got picked on by the other girls.

And she was right. It was indeed Mamta; she stood below the water tank sobbing heavily.

Smitha’s heart went out to the poor girl.

“What happened, child?” She said, reaching out to touch the girl’s shoulder, when her cell phone rang. It was Charu, her neighbor. She’d wished her a half hour back, on her way up from the basement.

“Hi Charu,” Smitha said cheerfully.

“Smitha,” Charu said, sounding distressed. “Where are you? I came by to your flat, it was locked.”

“Oh, I’m on the terrace. That stupid Raji again forgot the clothes…”

“Oh my God Smitha, you’re there? How … see…you…no…some…ibble..pnd…”

Charu’s voice was breaking. Smitha walked away from Mamtha towards the parapet, a little out in the open.

“Hello? Your voice is breaking ” She said, wincing.

“I said, you’re on the terrace..didn’t you see? Something terrible has happened,” Charu said.

“Didn’t see what?” Smitha cupped the receiver of the cell in her hand. Charu wasn’t still very clear, but this was better.

“Didn’t anyone tell you?”

Smitha was getting a little irritated now. “Arre, I told you na I was here all this while. What happened?”

“You know, that girl Mamta….she…she” Charu started sobbing.  “Oh God..Smitha..she  jumped from the terrace a while ago…it’s so…horrible,” Charu said and started crying.

Smitha was near the edge now. Did she hear her right? Did Charu just say Mamtha had jumped off the terrace? What the hell…? She then looked down. There was a crowd gathered below. The wind carried sounds of crying and shouting intermittently. It was chaos. And there, in the midst of it all, lay a limp form, quite a mess.

Smitha’s hands trembled, throat went dry, and her head reeled as she turned slowly. The wind howled. Mamta was now standing behind her, in the semi darkness  – staring at her -  tears mixed with blood running down her cheeks.

****

21 comments:

Me said...

EEEEEeeeeee...... why do I have to read your posts at this time :/

Now I will not be able to sleep!!

Uma said...

who asked Smitha to dry clothes in the terrace at 9 p.m. all alone??...phmph!

*Dark Angel* said...

Omg, this is scary. but going up in the terrace at 9 pm is a bad idea, she could have hanged the clothes in the balcony!

goingbeyondthepages said...

I really shuddered reading the end. You rock Sri. I never knew written material can be that scary. I mean movies create a visual effect and you expect that. Hats off sir.

Nirvana said...

hehehe...... you're BACK!!!! loved it - as usual!

Nisha said...

awesome. I loved the way you narrated it - Perfect!

Keirthana said...

Your stories never fail to send a shiver down my spine! Keep rocking.

Keirthana

Makk said...

not your best..

easily predictable.

Tongue-fu Lady said...

EEks.. this one gave me the chills in a hot afternoon

phatichar said...

Me: Uh oh.. :P

Uma: Point..

Dark Angel: Hmmm.. :)

GBTP: Thanks J; kind words indeed. :)

Nirvana: Errr...was I gone? :P

Nisha: Thanks!!

Keirthana: Thanks ma'am. :)

Makk: There are days, huh? :)

TFL: Hee hee :P

the little princess said...

scared me! why do the good guys have to see ghosts? I thought only the bad ones did!!

Soumya said...

9 pm? Drying clothes?

Weird.

Visha said...

walked twelve floors up *shock* no wonder the maid did not go the terrace to dry the clothes :P

Good narration, chilling!!

phatichar said...

Princess: That's how it is... :P

Soumya: :P

Visha: Errr.. :P Thanks. :)

Pooja said...

Well narrated as usual :)

Saru Singhal said...

Brilliant, I was hooked to it. Amazing narration :)

Erratic Thoughts said...

You are so Friggin good at this Sri, I got shivers! Though I predicted it but I got spooked by your narration...

Varsha Naik said...

Awesome narration, as usual. Vivid!

Dwiti said...

for someone who has just discovered ur blog, m wondering where it was before..
Brilliant narration...

phatichar said...

Pooja: Thanks!

Saru; Thanks for the kind words.. :)

ET: Heheh :P ..junior..

Varsha: Thank you, doc. :)

Dwiti: Oh, it was right here :P Thank you for the comment! :)

Pallavi said...

You scared me :/ Again :/ And now I'll keep on wondering if Smitha would still be alive :(