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"Mine" short story


Rewa Karthik, flat 201, Manohar Heights

The alarm rang in the living room. Good thing Rewa placed the alarm there, now she has to walk all the way to switch it off and stop being lazy. Rewa, a 28 year old software corporate girl was on a long break she applied for just the day before. It was a much needed break and she was determined to spend this period productively. 

"Just a brief visit Kaku, I even got a juicy bonus message, we will have a blast. Kaka, dada all of you should come." Rewa was excited for having her family over for the holidays. They were her only family living away from her. Rewa spent her days and nights thinking about them, imagining spending good time with them. Well now she is going to have the time of her life. She spent her morning preparing the new set of beds, kaku and kaka cannot tolerate dusty bedding. She took out the treadmill in the balcony, dada cannot survive a day without it, being the fitness freak he is. She made theplas from the scratch, knowing how they won't have time to cook much amidst of all the fun. She invited her best friend Matangi over, because friends? family? Matangi and her relatives were all she had. They were all she could live for. 

The family came in the next day, with all the joy and jolly nature. Those screams of happiness and laughter, oh my! The day started with homemade breakfast, board games, gossip and laughter. Rewa hasn't been this happy in days! The knock on the door announced Matangi's arrival. Matangi and Rewa had been close for ages. Always there for each other. Matangi spent her time with them. Behaving all scared and timid as always, involving as less as possible, looking too young for her age, hardly talking, biting her lip with a beautiful mole right there. Every get together they make sure to capture the moments and hang it on the wall. Their sweet tradition helped them only wait for the next meeting. Kaku and Rewa loved painting, they even chose a wall to paint a mural to mark the occasion. The evening just passed by, the fun and good time they had was just the time she will have to cherish till the next time they meet. 

That night, they all headed to their beds and called it a night. Rewa couldn't bat a lid, those moments of joy, sweet memories, the thoughts just don't seem to end. The silence in the house was helping her feel joyous, and that's when she heard it. The noise, the grinding noise, wait, the treadmill? Was Dada working out at midnight? She crept out of the bed with some snacks , planning to grab a midnight snack with with dada. The gap under the door showed no sign of light. What? Is he working in the dark? She knocked twice on the door, the grinding noise abruptly stopped. She tried rattling the knob and open the door. The noise only resumed. What is he up to? She started walking towards her room, CLICK. The door unlocked. The creaky noise revealed, that the door was pushed to open. Slowly walked to take a peak inside. She did. The treadmill, it was up and functioning. Dada, was not on it. Who was running? Was she imagining it? How is that possible? Wait the noise. Who's pacing in the hall? Are they all playing a prank? Why is the sink water running in the kitchen? Why is Kaka not snoring anymore? Why are the footsteps now faster? Who is approaching her? Why did the treadmill stop? Why are the snacks in the bowl in her hand lesser now? WHAT IS HAPPENING? 

The curtains, someone just opened them. Kaki must've done it, Rewa assumed. She recalled the bad dream she had last night, peculiar enough, it had never happened to her before. She brushed all her doubts aside, pushed the sheets away to climb down the bed. The empty bowl of snacks, if only it could speak, it would know whether what happened last night was true or a dream. 

The door bell rang, and Rewa ran to open the door from the kitchen, where she was making the second batch of tea for the family, who were seated in the living room. Dada was busy solving the defective Rubik cube Rewa bought off the Kirana Store. Rewa tried to notice, was there anything peculiar? Nothing she could take note of. Kaka and kaku were busy talking to each other. 

Ragini Aiyer, Flat 202, Manohar heights.

Mrs. Ragini was busy arranging the mini sanctum and temple in her new house. She shifted just the night before. She was so worried at night, the neighbors seemed pretty irresponsible with the water, that too at late night. She was worried she might have to pay extra for the tanker the month she has shifted. She wrapped up pretty much everything and was about to hit the bed. Her thoughts kept going to how her sons and their families, kept asking her to live separately, not pile up the expenses. She was aware, in-spite of being a grandmother of five kids, she can live her life her away. And the decision she took, of living alone was just right. The house was old but its okay. 

Her morning ended with finishing up the left over work, and she headed towards the only occupied house on that floor. She rang the doorbell, to introduce herself to the neighbor. The girl took so long to open the door. Ragini was confused, she was sure she heard steel on the shelves. She rang the bell again, and the footsteps approaching the entrance opened the door. She looked like she hasn't consumed a grain of rice in months! She must be facing some financial issues, Ragini thought. The girl's appearance though did not match her expressions. She seemed so happy and lifted. The photo frames behind her has a happy family, a woman, a man, a young boy, and timid looking girl with a beautiful mole on her lip.

"I recently shifted to the house beside yours, I have made filter coffee, I wanted to give you some and introduce myself." Ragini spoke, noticing the girl's face the whole time. Something was so off. The girl spoke," I was about to make another round of tea aunty, my kaku, kaka and dada all of them are sitting here, we would love for you to join." Who? The living room had no basic furniture, who is she talking about? There was just a solved Rubik she noticed as soon as she stepped in. The house reeked of moss. Was someone even living here for a few years at least? 

" I will take your leave miss, do try the coffee and let me know how you like it." 

" No no aunty, come in. Meet my family, they haven't aged a bit have they?" She added with a giggle, while pointing at the photographs. Ragini could feel the creep growing on her. She wasn't even in the photographs, what does she want? Ragini hurried up, left the apartment, when the girl went in looking for some Matangi. Ragini turned around to leave, and froze. Those empty tea cups on the floor, stared right into her face. Those photographs didn’t seem to be happy either. The pale figure of her neighbour , glared at her from the kitchen. 

The Local Times, Dated 20th April, 2009 ( 11 years ago)

Schizophrenia patient murders her best friend and her family, severe obsession takes a toll, accused 17 year old girl missing. Manhunt in progress. 

- Ten-Acious


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