Conquering a Demon

“Shhhh, careful!”, fearful, Jule hissed from behind us. “You shouldn’t have come with us. I knew you’d be scared and put up a fuss”, I scowled at her.

“Both of you be quiet, this isn’t the time for you to fight!”

We tiptoed around the table, past the long corridor and were able, to silently cross Aunt M’s bedroom. Even though I mocked Jule, in my heart of hearts, fear ruled. My mouth was as dry as the loaf Aunt M gives us for breakfast. I tugged hard at Moddy’s shirt.

“What?”, annoyed, he turned to look at me. “Aunt M might wake up anytime, it’s almost three.”

“Oh she won’t! Now keep quiet or go back, and I’ll do this on my own.”

I was too scared but I couldn’t let him unlock the cupboard alone. So I followed him with a silent groan. Not that I wanted to see my demon, but Moddy said it’d be the size of a lemon, since it fit into that little cupboard. Jule held on to my hand tight, and both of us with all our might, followed our leader closely.

Jule and I met Moddy last year during Christmas. He visits his grandma’s house every now and then, which is a few houses away from ours. This time, he came here to spend his summer holidays. “I don’t like you playing with him”, Aunt M says always. But we naturally reunited. We invited him over for lunch last week, little did we know that he’d seek an adventure later. No sooner had he entered the kitchen than the tiny white cupboard captured his attention. There was nothing else remarkable enough to evoke curiosity, but the white marble cupboard with flowers on it was exceptionally pretty. It was forbidden too. Aunt M always kept it locked, the keys hung from a peg high up on the wall. We weren’t supposed to go near it at all. It contained an ugly demon, who was locked up by Aunt, would otherwise come out in the night to hunt, little kids like us.

But Moddy did not seem convinced at all. “How can it hunt if it’s tiny enough to fit into a cupboard so small? Lies!”, he said. Although his words seemed wise, Jule and I never tried going near it, until he wanted to see how the demon fits. “No! You’re not supposed to see it. It looks terrifying. It has long canines, and only one eye. Has red hands and black fangs.”, I tried explaining. But Moddy was a headstrong kid. A little older to us, he was eight. Jule and I were young and naive. I was seven and she was five.

So we stood on the floor, eager but tense, glancing at the door every now and then. Moddy dragged a chair and climbed with ease. Within a moment he had the keys. Jule and I covered our faces, planning to flee before the demon chases. But as soon as the cupboard was unlocked, all three of us were surprised and shocked.

There was a row of large glass jars. They contained colourful treats- jellies and cookies and all kinds of sweets. “So this is the demon, ah-hah!”, Moddy smiled evilly, and embarked on the task of emptying them speedily.

And with my mouthful of red blue jellies, I wondered if it was a coincidence that Aunt M wasn’t quite fond of our friend.

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The weapon

He was later than usual. The night was very dark, it had also started snowing outside. All he carried was a cleaver in his hand. There was a slight wobble in his steps. Was he drunk?

The room was dark and quiet. He lit a candle, then took off his patched woollen coat and hung it on the peg. He lifted the hem a little- the blood had already dried and was almost invisible. Dried mud was stuck to the cloth. His coat smelled of fish, it was full of bloodstains. You cannot expect a butcher to take his coat off at work in this cold, especially when he can’t afford any other clothing. The stains were all dried and looked like rust. One cannot easily make out because of the dark wool and the dirt stuck to it. The stains looked more like a subtle pattern now, almost like a pretty design in the otherwise plain coat, he thought. He admiringly stared at his coat for a while. It looked pretty, he thought. Even if it smelled of fish and blood all day. He didn’t really mind the blood, he hadn’t decided about the fish yet.

He had placed the cleaver on the small table near the door. He looked down at it with the same air of admiration, feeling the dried trails of blood. He picked it up and walked to other door at the end of the room. A gush of ice cold wind hit him as he threw away the weapon he used to kill the man, and shut the door.

Snowflakes steadily gathered on the sharp metal outside.

I visited the House after several years

I visited the house after several years,

This time, not to spend my holidays-

My grandfather died.

 

Nothing had changed, except,

The porch was covered in moss,

And the stream behind the house was thinner.

Cousins from London and Zurich and Paris laughed endlessly,

Overwhelmed to see each other.

They exchanged usernames as I sat alone on a wet rock by the stream,

Recalling an afternoon from my teenage holidays.

The heat on my cheeks when he held my hand,

Our wrinkled feet dipped in the ice cold water,

A sin enough to forget each other by the following summer.

 

I walked towards my grandfather’s house,

As night fell slowly like curtains dropping after a magic show,

Stopped abruptly at the entrance. Remembering,

At the funeral I had overheard my brothers and father’s brothers-

They said they’d sell the house,

Before it was completely covered in moss,

For that wouldn’t yield them money enough.

 

A Letter From Me

Dear,

I know not if you will receive this letter, but I found some old papers to write on, and I have ample time.

You all have left years ago, and don’t intend to come back anymore. You live in places where stairs move on their own, and I have only seen trains do. Your skies are only covered with buildings. So you talk about your city, and never mention the village. And this house? Only a couple pillars and half a room along with a pile of rubble remain of what was once a mansion coated in lustre. Only I have remained here, as decayed as this brick baggage, and witnessed chunks of plaster crumble, the storeys give in. But the crisp gold sunlight still shows on the beautifully carved mermaid fountain, even though she has lost her nose, and one of her arms. The mango tree at the end of the courtyard occasionally gives me tiny unripe fruits. They are pretty useless, but help me recall how you all raced barefoot to collect plump mangoes during storms. I accidentally dropped a steel bowl the other day. The earful clank increased tenfold and echoed everywhere in the middle of the night. The sound was strangely familiar to the sound of cymbals, during Pujas. I loved the sound of cymbals as a child. It echoed in my brain until I drifted off to sleep, smelling the fire mixed with sandal, and camphor; dreaming of clay pots and vermilion. These days I seem to accidentally drop the small steel bowl more often as I walk in and out of my room, waiting for something to collapse.

Take care.

 

Via Daily Prompt:-

Crisp

Scribble Series #9-Writers’ Block

His blog posts became infrequent. The latest draft wasn’t touched up for a month.  Storey after storey, the high-rise completely covered the orphanage and the adjacent park from his view.

The builders successfully created a permanent writers’ block for the paralysed poet.

 

Dark Folly

I found you in the middle of chaos,

Hidden behind a sparkling veil of gloom,

You stirred my tinted glass soul,

An enigma I’d never before known.

Your gaze,  a melodious requiem,

Coldly cryptic, unlike a Sunday hymn.

I thwarted my butterfly coloured senses,

And sped towards your cindery heart,

Knew all too well that I would lie,

Beneath the worm eaten earth, when you part.

You beckoned me like an evil temptation,

I was too dazed to halt,

Suspended my noisy rationale,

I was morbidly enthralled.

Time stopped in our darkened orb,

Our roses paler than bloodied thorns,

I gave in and called it love,

Adorned with desire your world forlorn-

Or so I felt.

Because the cold, dark night of our certitude,

Lay in the open all along,

Mocking at illusions of delight-

To you, I never belonged. 

You gouged out my spirit and,

Drops of life leaked away…

But delusions never fail me.

So I pledge to find another way-

To you.

Conveyor Belt

Raman stared earnestly at the conveyor belt, his face, a clear reflection of anxiety. A resident of the rural town of Mannpur, this was the first time Raman left his town, and travelled to the city on a plane. Dressed in a spotless white dhoti, Raman slowly and carefully went through each procedure until he got into the plane. 

Sitting stiffly with his seatbelt on and eyes closed, Raman somehow spent two hours and hurried outside as soon as the flight landed. With a lot of help from the ground forces, he found the conveyor belt. He was awed at the mechanism of the flat, moving belt carrying everyone’s luggage. He decided that collecting his stuff from the conveyor belt would certainly be the most fascinating part of his journey. After missing his luggage, and mistaking another’s for his own a few times, Raman finally gathered his bags after half an hour. The place was almost empty. But he soon realised that he didn’t collect his box of mangoes. He frantically started looking for his box around him. It was nowhere to be seen. The empty belt kept moving in a single direction. He tried looking for the flight staff, but he was the only person standing around the  moving belt. Raman walked all the way to the other side, then back. Didnt find his box of mangoes. Frustrated, he even tried peeping inside through the rubber strips. In a moment of wild despair he considered climbing on the belt and take a look inside, but decided otherwise. They must’ve stolen it- Raman thought. But he had heard that airport authorities take special care of passengers’ luggages. But what else could’ve happened to his mangoes? After waiting for ten whole minutes before the mesmerising belt, he turned around walked towards the exit with a heavy heart. He was convinced that his box was stolen. Raman was almost at the exit, when a solitary cardboard box came up through the rubber curtain. The lonesome box took a full round and a second one and came up for the third. Raman was already on a taxi, on his way to his hotel.