The sudden crashing and rattling of crockery and cutlery made Sally hop upwards. As she approached the dining hall, she saw milk spilled all over the floor, broken plates, butchered bread and a whole lot of mess.
“Oh crap! What is this” exclaimed Sally tucking her hair behind her ear. Her eyes searched around the room for the cause of this botched up space but could find nothing but utter silence. As she took few steps towards the table she tripped on the wet flower. And her heart escaped a beat and a shriek let out of her mouth as she saw a pair of shiny eyes, sharp canines resembling to fangs of a demon flashed at her as if mocking her scared plight and zoomed out past the cat window. That was a cat indeed but shocked Sally for a moment. “What a notorious creature!” Sighed Sally and recovered herself and set to clean up the mess.
Just few minutes into the work, she was interrupted again by the noise of footsteps approaching the door of the dining hall she was in. Intrigued and turned to see what or who else it could be. She had a frail sense of fear lingering in those eyes given the trauma she went through in the recent past. The door made a creaking sound, Sally froze and Henry entered with a bunch of flowers.
“Geez you scared me!! What are you doing here, so early? You told you had some really important meeting and would be late. What happened?” Clueless Sally fired away her canons of questions. Which were anyways met by as usual cool as cucumber Henry.
“Don’t you think you get scared more often and more than what is required” Henry continued his teasing tone “were you expecting anyone else?” Sally smirked, interrupting Henry “hahaha, very funny. I was not expecting anyone else and you either at this moment Mr.Teaser”.
“I told you I have all the bonafide rights to tease and trouble you. I technically lied to you to give you a surprise. Planned a dinner tonight. But what is this” Henry pointed to the disarray Sally was amidst of.
“Ah a cat from neighbourhood, not sure which neighbour though had one hell of a dirty dancing here as I was busy with few cartons to settle downstairs” Sally didn’t give the full account of her exploration stint in the basement though.
7:30PM, Riverdale Restaurant in the posh, upscale, busy part of the city, away from the silence clad quarters of the town where Sally and Henry live :
“Its good to be in this hustle bustle sometimes, to realise the beauty of silence” Henry made a deep statement that was received with a smile from Sally who was radiating in the light of candles at the table. Soon a waiter attended them, order was given – Scallop Risotto, mashed potatoes, well done steak, red wine to go with, tiramisu for dessert.
And as they waited their order to arrive, Henry had something important to ask.
“Darling, today at lunchtime as I was out for a sandwich I bumped into my high school friend, Tracy Tucker. It’s been quite a time since I last saw her. She is in city for some project work for three months, putting up at Hotel Belson. Talking to her I came to know that she has been going through really a rough patch off late. Something you can very well relate to”.
Mention of her name kindled some curiosity in Sally. She was more attentive to details now “I didn’t get you” she seeked clarification on his last statement.
“She lost her mother recently, her only companion throughout” Henry paused. “And I know that you know what it means to lose someone so close, what pain it causes, what trauma……..
Suddenly Henry realised Sally though listening to him had her uncomfortable past rallying past her eyes and he stopped.
He held her hands fondly and caressed them. “Honey I am sorry to bring up all this in such a beautiful moment. I am here today with a request. Can we welcome Tracy at our home to stay with us during three months of her stay in the city. I know it’s too much and out of the way to go for a friend but loneliness can be demonic. I don’t want to regret my inaction after losing a friend to such a demon that can be easily slayed. I need your permission for this.”
Henry put forward his entreat and awaited the response. Dinner arrived and was savored in silence. Silence ensued on the way back to home.
In the bedroom, tucked in sheets Sally broke the stillness of the atmosphere ” I like chocolate mousse better than Tiramisu just the way your Yes made me more happy than my Yes to you now can” and giggled embracing Henry lying beside her. “I am looking forward to meet your friend” Sally made things more clear and Henry ecstatic. They cuddled and kissed and the night passed like moonlit velvet.
The next day once Henry left for the office Sally got herself busy with the unassigned task of setting up the guest room for Tracy. She made the room quiet a comfortable one but doled out lot of “not actually waste” material. So another trip to the vault was simply imperative.
Work aside Sally couldn’t keep herself away from the tiny pocket of the basement which she couldn’t completely inspect in her last visit. She looked up and down the walls that had some unclear scribbles all over. Felt the weight of iron shackles lying there as snakes in slumber. Touched the chair covered in dust which seemed to have untold stories resting in its lap. Sally was measuring every inch of that room with her eyes and fingers. And then her fingers stumbled upon minute engravings, especially on the arms of the chair.
She started reading them slowly. The first thing she read was “comes the other woman”…….