Cool breeze gushed in from the window forcing me to shut my eyes. It was long since everything had been normal. It was long since I had a good night’s sleep.
“Nightmares again?” Whispered my mom from nowhere, placing her hand over my shoulder.
I resumed staring back at void, into the emptiness.
“Luis, you must stop blaming yourself.”
“Mom, you know I can’t.” She was tired of me. I was a looser. How many times could she explain it to me? “Mom,” I turned back. She had left.
I stared back into the void again. Pictures and images started materializing before me in the dark. Pictures from the past…
A year back…
I sat beside her in the bed sliding my fingers over hers. So smooth. So tender. I slowly moved my finger from her hands to her wrists. Her wrists adored a black thread. It contained a talisman.
I never used to believe in unseen. My wife did. She knew a lot. And her family background made her believe in it.
Once she said that there was something strange wandering in the house. She told she could feel it. “Stop being a paranoid.” I used to say. But she never listened.
I glided my hands over her arms, to her shoulders, and then held her hand, kissing every finger of hers.
We slept caressing, making out, and finally cuddling.
“Wow, wow.” Cold water splashed on my bare face. “Oh dear god”, I woke up, “it’s Sunday,” I groaned.
“Come on don’t be lazy, we have to go out.”
“Mom!” I cried out loud to sway in some sympathy from my mom.
“Hey wake up you will be late. You never get time to spend with Sarah.” my mom yelled from kitchen.
“What magic have you done on my mom?” I used to joke.
“The same magic I did on you and going to do now.”
“Oh come on,” she teased me with a puppy face, and kissed me on my forehead. “Now wake up.”
Now it was different. It was my mom waking her up, taking care of her. It was my fault, all my fault. I shouldn’t have married her.
I sipped on the hot coffee in recess time in office. Standing alone staring at nothing… My eyes pricked and cursed me for not sleeping the whole night yesterday. But it was not my fault was it?
A year back
“Oh wait wait!” a 16 year old boy shouted running behind a bus. He had just got down the bus tossing a coin when the coin fell on the foot board. The bus drove away. The boy gave up and walked away.
The bus stopped in the next station. A person wearing a dark cloth casing full body and face stepped down the footboard. And accidentally placed his foot on the coin the boy had dropped. He slipped and fell really bad. The veil flew. And I saw the person. It was a woman.
She had fallen. She lifted her hand weekly waving towards a bike, oh no… The bike driver was going to run over her. She lifted her hand and called for help she thought the bike driver would stop. But in vein… he didn’t even seem to notice her. He drove over her abdomen. And she, she started burning like acid was being poured over her.
And suddenly fire rose everywhere. A mist of fire was forming everywhere. Bizarre voices started echoing, the pictures of the boy dropping the coin started reverberating. “It was you,” murmurs weird murmurs. Oh my god….
My eyes shot open. It was a dream. Thank god, I sighed. I was sweating badly.
“Honey,” I squeaked. Where was she? What’s the time now? I reached for my mobile phone on the table beside. “Oh my!”
“Sarah!” I grumbled, “It is 3a.m in the night. Honey where are you? What are you doing?” I got up rubbing my sore eyes. I switched the lights on. No lights, weird. The fan is working.
Bizarre voices started echoing the whole room from downstairs. The lights started blinking. Strange I must call the electrician again. They take so much money for this. They will pay for it.
Who is playing such strange music? I groaned. Come on its 3 in the morning.
“What’s happening? Sarah where are you?” She was not in the washroom. The room door was open. What’s she doing out now? I stepped out the room. “Luis,” my mom came out from hers yawning. “What’s it? What are those voices?”
“Mom, they are approaching from down stairs. I guess.” I tumbled down the stairs, fumbling on the side railings. “What’s that?” A high pitched scream emanated from down the stairs. A lump formed in my throat, creeps grew behind my spine.
I ran down as fast as I could. And saw it. The dream I had seen had come true. The woman I saw dying in my dreams was alive with the same attire.
“Who is it?” I growled, “Mom call police. Who is it?”
I slowly stepped down the last stair picking up the baseball stick from the corner.
“Who are you?” I moved towards her lifting the bat, ready to hit, “tell me who are you? Else you will get it.” It paced forward and gripped my hand in a second. “Let me…” The words stuck, as the veil over her face flew. I saw her. “Sarah!” I exclaimed… It. it… She… was my wife. “What’s wrong with you?” I saw her eyes. Those eyes screamed for help. I could see fire deep in them. Fire I had never seen before.
The baseball bat slipped from my hands over my shoulder and fell behind ricketing on the tile floor. I couldn’t understand as to what was going on. I grew still, froze… Pictures… moving pictures… fast moving pictures started flashing before my eyes.
The bike guy drove normally, until a man approached in front of him. The driver suddenly tried changing his direction, losing his balance he skid over the asphalt. He fell down the bike, circling five times and finally coming to a halt. But only for a second. “Screech” a bus drove over him. Blood oozed out of his body. He was down, still and dead.
Now it’s you. A voice echoed. I opened my eyes, breathing hard; I pushed Sarah back, with a shudder. She was standing, staring with rage at me. “Look… This is how people look when they are about to die. Like me…” She growled. Her voice was hoarse like a man’s voice.
Again pictures started flashing before me. The picture of the boy who had dropped the coin slowly got clear. It was me, me…
“You took away my wife from me. You and your coin were the root of the cause. The death of my wife…” The voice reverberated throughout the house. Windows clattered deafeningly; the glasses splintered not bearing the pressure.
“Sarah!” I rumbled begging before her, “Please stop kidding with me.” A fire started rising from the gown. She started shouting, crying, her hand was towards me, begging to save her. I was frozen, not knowing how to response. The fire rose.
And suddenly everything grew still. “Mom!” she had just splashed water over her. The fire stopped burning. Mom again splashed water over her, chanting something.
The whole house ricocheted with her cries and chants of mom. My ears where going dumb. I suddenly jumped to take hold of Sarah. It was like my hands were tied up and were suddenly freed now.
And the gown, the cloth that Sarah wore tore, stripping off her body all by itself, leaving her naked. The cloth flew out through the window. I held her still as she had gone unconscious. All the voices ended. I stared at her, her hand. Something was missing.
My mom, immediately fell to her rescue. Covering her we took her to hospital. She was frozen cold.
“Her mind is lost in her childhood. She is no more than a ten year old now.” The doctor said.
That stuck me hard. No she couldn’t just live me. It was my mistake. I murdered her.
“The magic or whatever this was, it is gone now. But the effects shall remain with her forever.” A priest said.
Sarah was gone. The evil that had taken over her had died, but had left its marks over her forever.
Today I stood staring in the void. It was Saturday and so I had left early from office. Well it seemed too pleasant as it did about a year back. But there was a lot of difference. “Come on.” Sarah whispered. Again it was not same Sarah as it was a year back. She was a kid. She needed to be taken care in every way. My mom had to wake her up, brush her hair, force her to eat food, etc…
“Come on,” she whispered again seeming very happy. I got up, “Yes, Sarah what’s it?” I asked cheering her up. “Come on, follow me.” She said and started running. “Stop running, you will fall.”
“Come fast,” she yelled from the stairs. I followed her. “Gimme that.” She said pointing over to a picture frame hung on the wall. “No you don’t play with that.” I disciplined.
“No! Gimme gimme gimme that! I want that…” She started crying.
I got a chair, climbed over it and removed the photo frame dusting it all over. Something fell from behind it. It was a paper full with dust. “Take this,” I handed her the picture frame.
What’s this? I took the paper in my hand, dusting it. It was a letter.
It seemed like it was written and folded in quiet hurry. Yeah it was written in hurry. And the writer was very dear to me. I could understand the handwriting. It was from Sarah. She had written it.
And so it goes…
To my dear hubby,
You might be thinking where I vanished leaving you alone. No please don’t, don’t hate me.
It was not my fault. This ill-fated night something called me. I woke up and saw you sound asleep. There were voices calling me from the drawing room down stairs. I came down to see something I had never seen before, but had believed nevertheless.
It came near me, with its hands ready to catch my neck, squeeze my throat and kill me. I shouted…
And suddenly it was repelled by me. It saw my talisman and growled.
And it said something I had never heard off. It gave me two options. Either I die, or it was you. And it could easily kill you. You never wore it. Please wear it now. I am leaving it for you…
You know I love you more than myself. And if you die I would not stay alive anyway. I may not be alive tomorrow to see you. So take care of mom, and…. I always will love… Take….
The letter ended abruptly. The letter portrayed many things. It seemed as if she was crying. Her hands were shaking badly. Her screams could be heard. Her call for help…
Tear rolled down my cheek and fell over the letter. A globule of dust formed over it.
Sarah had given up her life because of me. I looked towards her playing with the frame sitting on the floor. She was trying to remove something. A thread… She was trying to pull the black thread that hung behind the photo frame.
“Here let me help…” I said taking the frame, I removed it. It was a black thread, the Talisman she wore back then, before that ill-fated night. (That protected her from the evil.) It was not on her wrist when I saw her then. That’s what was missing…
She had given that up for me… Tears hot like lava glided down my cheeks. I took the talisman in my hand, I knelt down on the floor and caught Sarah’s hand… Still soft, still tender hands.
“What are you doing?” She said afraid pulling away her hand from me. I pulled it back, “it gives you power.”
I tied the talisman around her wrist placing it right where it belonged.
“Never remove this from your hand.”
I interrupted her, placing my finger on her lips, “You got to listen to me on this, okay? You have got to take care of yourself and your baby. Right?” I said placing my hand on her six months swollen stomach.
Her innocent eyes fell silent. They turned from revolt to acceptance. “Okay!” She said with her head down touching her tummy with her hand. She snatched the photo frame back from my hand and continues removing the papers stuffed behind it.
“Okay I will get a comb, let’s brush your hair.”