Suspense At Midnight!


The family of four had frayed nerves, flying tempers and irritability throughout that miserable Saturday. Everybody quarreled with everybody over petty domestic issues or watching TV. Nobody could pinpoint the exact reason why though!

They had a quiet dinner. When they assembled again in the sitting room for their drinks they just froze. Their attention got riveted on the dining table. Knives of varying sizes were arranged there delicately. Night light shone ominously on those.

Loy looked at his younger sister Zuma who gave back an intrigued stare. ‘What’s happening? An inside job to be executed?  Then who is against whom? Or an outside assignment? Even then, someone from inside has to be involved!’, thought Loy furiously. Zuma was getting frightened. There were recent reports of a serial killer at large in the city.

Pop Dinesh sized up his children staring furtively towards the kitchen door with fear written large on his face. His wife told him nothing about what to expect next as was the rule always!

Nobody could just speak it out. Who could be the predator and who the prey?

Mom Mridula came in with the tray of coffee cups and glasses of milk. Distributing the drinks she announced, ‘Get to bed immediately after, all of you. I have a very important assignment!’ All stared back at her from the knives.

Sitting down relaxed with her steaming cup of coffee Mridual continued, ‘Now you are staring at the knives! Do you understand how I suffered cooking for you, giving attention to your tastes and choices…and all that! …Don’t you see! Edges of the knives became useless long back.’ She took a sip and went on, ‘At last he is coming! You know, I’ve arranged! I am his first customer! At sharp 8 o’ clock tomorrow morning the knife-sharpener (dharwala) is coming with his machine!'

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