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Monday, May 13, 2019

Fade In, Fade Out...!—Part-2


I did as I planned. I managed to push the door free of its hinges to the wrong side outside. However, the falling door failed to crush anyone under its weight. To my surprise and horror, there was only that frail old sick lady outside, and she dexterously succeeded in wriggling herself out of the falling door.

Eyes blazing, breathing venom, hair and hands flailing and shrieking wildly the woman was dancing in a seizure of insanity. “Give me money...give me food...you crooked fool!” I failed to retreat inside, as if paralyzed by the spectacular dance of insanity in front of me, as if trying in vain to analyze what it was all about. I lost a few precious moments in the process. In those seconds the wild cavorting spectacle in deadly throes took hold of a small iron table, and came rushing to hit me. I pulled my mind out of wondering about how she could come to possess so much of energy, so ominously potent, and concentrated on my next crucial move.

My self defense mechanism now turned to the attacking mode as I moved out in the open trying to run around her eluding her, trying to tire her out and to catch the most opportune moment to deactivate her. For the first time I was aware that it was an open space, like a backyard, and there were few building blocks surrounding the space. There were some heads and voices too in the lighted balconies of some blocks, but no one tried to intervene or help either of us. You cannot expect anything from these zombies; at the most they will take out their mobiles, take selfies and enjoy, I mused bitterly as I ran around the space with the specter giving a relentless chase. “Give me money...give me food...you wretched devil!”

Perhaps there came a divine intervention. In that seemingly endless run and chase, one moment came to me when she was close enough to me on my right about to turn around to confront me. I accepted that moment like the proverbial straw; caught hold of her and the iron table using both of my hands, gave her an almighty shove and ran headlong towards my room—through the broken door and through that enigmatic door. Unnaturally powerful as she was, the frail lady could not take it this time reeling, cursing and falling with a thud at the farthest side of the space, the iron table on top of her. That gave me good enough time to seal my protection.

I activated all the locks available on that mysterious door, and sat down on the bed panting with a rush of blood to my head. Shrill shrieks of the insane woman could no longer be heard now. However, at this particular moment things again got a little blurred, I had no idea at all why. At that particular moment I should have done the most obvious thing—call up reception, report that emergency and urge them to take immediate preventive steps. But instead, I only felt pangs of hunger in my belly, and thought about taking preventive steps for that only. I looked at my watch. Oh God...it was quarter past ten, no point calling the canteen now, I thought despondently.

My mobile phone rang. In the commotion I totally forgot about my phone which was lying abandoned at the bedside table. Now that lively gadget somehow brought me a little closer to reality, it seemed. It was Srijay flashing on the screen as I answered it.
“Sir, have you taken your supper? Are you already in bed?”
“Neither. I forgot to order on time. Few odd things happening here that I’ll tell you tomorrow at leisure. For the moment I am famished and I don’t know what to do! No vehicle available to venture out to the town.”
“Sorry to hear that, Sir. Anyway, don’t worry. There is a joint, reasonably good, nearby. From the main entrance of the guest house turn right and you’ll find it a hundred meters away. I’ll accompany you if you want.”
“Thanks a lot, Srijay. No...No..., you take rest. I’ll manage. Good night, see you tomorrow.”

For good or bad I was not sure at that time, my hunger pangs got the better of me submerging my earlier queer experiences into an understanding with reality. How I came out of the guest house without confronting anyone in the reception I didn’t give a thought to that time and neither could I remember now. The whys and hows in my narrative were still refusing to reveal themselves, to my utter helplessness.

Anyway, I exited from the guest house gate and turned right as instructed. The scenario puzzled me quite a lot. As I remembered from my earlier visit or visits the guest house was located in a small township of the institution with only a main road and classroom and administrative blocks and staff quarters scattered around with open spaces lined with trees. Coming outside now I found several other roads connecting to the main road, and lots of lighted shopping or eating enclosures all around. However, there were lonely stretches of maybe hundred meters each on either side of the guest house.  I even found distant hills silhouetting a dim skyline opposite to the guest house which was definitely no there when I came last. Queer thoughts creeping in again I quickened my steps towards the eatery... 
                                                                          (To Be Continued...)

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