I Sense A Presence XV


After Sally called Josh in a hurried manner and hung up on him he kept calling her but she wouldn’t respond. She was taking time to get back to her senses from a horrific nightmare she just witnessed.

After a string of calls Josh left a message “what happened”. Sally consolidated herself and simply reverted “10:30 AM at any cost. Don’t ask anything now” and hit the sack switching off her phone. After a brief struggle and with the help of mild tranquilizers Sally did doze off.

She got up around 7 in the morning, checked for Henry on her bedside as she didn’t speak to him about the chaos and horrific vision she experienced yesterday. And before she could say anything Henry who arrived from the bathroom after a shower, came to Sally and as usual planted a kiss on her forehead “good morning love” he whispered. He seemed to be in a hurry.

Sally’s gaze followed him in the room as he was getting ready much earlier than his usual routine. “What’s the matter? Any emergency? Where are you going? You seem to be hustled?” Sally asked.

Henry : Honey, I have a sudden client meeting to attend and will be out of the town for three days . There might be an extension too depending upon the circumstances . Wanted to tell you yesterday but you were sleeping. Didn’t want to disturb you. See you soon honey.

And Henry left hurriedly even before Sally could say something.

Sally was silent yet her silence was contemplating something. There was a lot of chatter in her head as she laid back once again on her bed. Fog of memories, unusual occurrences that happened off late began to seize her mind. Faces were flashing in and fading out. Probably the tranquilizer effect. But suddenly two frames collided in her mind – Anne Turner’s mystery from the tottered pages and Tracy flashing her conspicuous smile. That effect was enough to get Sally back to her senses. She checked her phone to see what time it was.

9:15 it was already. Sally sprinted like a deer to get ready as she was supposed to meet Josh. In no time she was in her car and drove towards Charlie’s cafe and restaurant, a resto-cafe they decided to meet at. Meeting at police station could make things awkward so they decided otherwise.

Josh arrived 10 minutes past 10:30. Tucking hi shades into his shirt’s pocket he waved at Sally entering the place.

“Have you placed an order or no?” Josh asked Sally looking at the Menu at the table.

“Yeah our regular from college days” Sally answered Josh and quickly moved to Tracy’s matter.

“How on earth did you identity that Tracy isn’t Tracy in such a short span of time? What’s the issue after all?” Sally in her usual inquisitive tone questioned Josh.

Picking up coffee that the waiter just served, sipping it Josh asked ” Dear there’s a reason why I am in police force. Have you ever noticed the peculiar birth mark in her left eye and on left temple? And besides the face quite closely resembles to Lizzy that I mentioned to you”.

“Birth mark?” Sally rephrased quite puzzled. “When did you notice, except for eyes I never noticed anything else” Sally shrugged her shoulders in denial.

“Well, chances are minute to non existent that you could have noticed anything as the birth mark I am talking about is quite frail now. Unless you have seen her before it’s hard to make out. I sensed her discomfort when I told her I might have seen her before. She immediately covered her temple area on some pretext. She is definitely doing some sort of cover up. I vividly remember how she was caught earlier for possession of drugs by police. There wasn’t a slightest remorse on her face. She was last seen when she left the Hemington prison premises to be changed to a new prison. After that was never seen never heard of, simply never reached the other prison…. ” Josh was still continuing when Sally interrupted him.

“What if you are mistaken and she is not the one you are looking for. How can you be so sure” Sally countered Josh.

“Hmm, may be I am mistaken. In fact would love to be proven wrong here as I don’t want a criminal in your proximity. Just wait and watch” Josh replied to Sally.

“I wish I could wait. I need to unravel mysteries before they unsettle me. Time is running out” said Sally with a deadpan look on her face.

“They? Mysteries? Time? What’s on your mind Sally, speak up” Josh’s tone had depth and pause this time…..

To be continued……

I Sense A Presence XIV


Sally rushed to the door. It was jammed. Exerted pressure both with her hands and her vocals. “Open up damn” she struggled with the door. Kicked it, levered the knob and it separated from the door. It left her baffled and worried. She didn’t had her phone with her, no one was at home and with the diminishing daylight it dawned upon her that she was trapped.

She settled down at the feet of the chair positioned in the centre of that dingy room. Silence and darkness were slowly getting themselves acquainted with her. Her fingers caught hold of iron shackles tied to the chair.

As she was getting a feel of them a drop trickled down her neck from the backside. She turned and raised her head to see what it was. In the faint brightness of streetlights basking inside that basement through the ventilator it was hard to ascertain what it was. She didn’t pay much attention to it and walked towards the light filtering through the bars of the ventilator. She sensed huge shadows looming over her. And in a moment she realized she couldn’t move further. Something was dragging her back. In a jiffy she turned to find that the shackles she was moments ago fiddling with now bound her. As she tried to free herself the door sprang open and a woman with a knife charged at her. Her face was masked. Before Sally could unmask her she stabbed Sally with vigour and was laughing in a demonic way. Sally collapsed wailing and wriggling in pain. Her shrieks tore apart the blanket of silence that room was embracing till that moment.

Sally woke up in a jolted state. She didn’t realize that she slipped into sleep when she settled near the chair. Her hands raced to reach her abdomen It was an illusion, a dream, a gruesome one. As she was perplexed and gasping for her breath the jammed door did open.

Standing in front was Tracy with a knife in her hand.

She approached the petrified Sally and knelt down on her knees and peeped into Sally’s eyes and said ” you fear me right?” whiled holding knife close to Sally’s face.

Sally by this time was stone cold sans any emotion. Silence ensued again before Tracey broke out in hysterical laugh and handed over her hand to lift up Sally. “I just came home and heard you screaming and tracked you down here. And this knife is to cut… Apples…Red as Blood, I was doing the same when I heard you”.

Both of them climbed up the stairs. Sally couldn’t take her eyes off Tracy. The dream, Tracy and knife still playing havoc in and with her mind. She was struggling hard to divert her mind and posed an unmindful question ” where’s Henry? Isn’t he with you?”

Tracy smiled and said ” you aren’t as naive as you seem to be, isn’t it?” Their gaze was locked in awkwardness before they reached the common area between their bedrooms. With a good night they retired to their respective rooms.

Sally rushed and shut herself in her room and called Josh. ” See you tomorrow” she concluded without giving him time to respond. Sally’s heart was racing…….

To be continued..

I Sense A Presence XIII


Night passed in restlessness but Sally chose not to open up first. She awaited for Henry to make the first move and enquire about the last night as that would give a confirmation to her doubts if she was being watched over by him. But nothing of that sort happened. And the day began to roll out as usual. And Tracy too didn’t exhibit any change in her behavior, it was cold yet cordial as it used to be.

At the breakfast table Sally intentionally mentioned about Josh, his police diaries, fugitives on run, tricks they adhere to escape from the trap, adventurous chase downs. She was playing a bluff. She wanted to see Tracy’s reaction as she couldn’t have directly questioned her in the absence of any evidence. Sally was suddenly over friendly with Tracy.

She turned to Tracy and said “You know what he narrated so many stories to me. I was just dumbfound. Real life incidents sometimes could be more stranger and unbelievable than the fictional tales. He mentioned about a strange case, there was a girl who was caught with drugs, charged and after spending sometime in the custody puff.. she was gone… Vanished into thin air!!! Police simply couldn’t trace her. Bizarre, isn’t it? ” (Pauses with a conniving smirk.)

Though Sally spoke at an unusual pace but her eyes kept a close track of every minute change in the facial expressions of Tracy. She didn’t utter a word, didn’t show exasperation, didn’t exclaimed in disbelief and her face had a veil of stoic poise but her gaze was lowered. It almost seemed she was avoiding meeting the questioning stare of Sally. And Sally was observing, and somewhat enjoying the awkward silence of Tracy.

Henry whereas interrupted Sally “I am sure Josh got many escapades in his kitty. I would love to hear them at leisure but some other time honey, now we shall make a move” and smilingly left the breakfast table and planted a kiss on Sally’s forehead. Tracy too excused herself cordially. With a plastic grin on her face Sally watched them leave.

As soon as they left Sally called Josh. But she reached his mailbox. So she left a message:

“Hey Josh, this is Sally. Can we meet at the earliest possible day? It’s urgent”

And she got busy winding up chores and after that she proceeded to her room. Alone in the room her mind incessantly ran towards the scribblings that rested in her bedside drawer. She was intrigued at the coincidence of how details of a diary are intertwined with her own life. Her fingers ran through the pages as her mind spoke to her “I am not sure why I am doing this, how on earth is it even possible? Two complete strangers, different time zones yet similar lives. Is it the history repeating itself or a prophecy? If I share this with anyone they will call me mad. Am I thinking too much? There’s something about this… This diary, Anne Turner, this house…..I..I can sense a presence. Argh.. this is only in my head, nothing else” she had so many convoluted thoughts.

To her surprise all she could find in the diary was torn pages, struck out words. The last thing that was mentioned was – I was trapped in my own house!!

That raised Sally’s curiousity. She grabbed that diary and marched towards the basement to see if it had any more sequels. The basement is still an unexplored landmine for her, especially that room from where she found Anne Turner.

She set her foot again in that room. Sensing every inch of it with her fingers – The racks, dirty clothes, the shackles, the slight rays of light falling on the chair like it was in the spotlight. Sally sat on the chair and leaned back. There was strong wind blowing outside, she could feel it from the ventilator.

Thad! The door closed with a bang. She rose and ran to open the door, but it was jammed. Hours passed, storm did die so did the sunlight. There was darkness all around her and Sally was Trapped in her own house…….

** to be continued

I Sense A Presence XII


Sally couldn’t believe her ears. She jumped out of the bed and left the room in a hurry lest not to disturb Henry.

“Are you sure? You better be serious, I am in no mood for your pranks Josh” warned a shocked Sally yet keeping decibels quite low.

“Prank!! At this hour!! I thought you know me better than this. I agree that I goofed up by calling at this hour but my suspicion about having seen her before isn’t wrong at all. Her awkward hesitant behavior in our short meeting if at all you have noticed especially when I told her that it seems it isn’t our first meeting kept me pondering over and over – Who is she? Did I actually see her before? Some flashes from past about a certain case started hoovering around in my mind. Once I reached the station, the first thing that I did was to access the records across different cities in the country. There I saw photograph of Lizzy, a 20 years old girl, caught and charged with possession of drugs.”

As Sally was quite intrigued in what Josh has to say she felt a presence watching and listening to her. She hung up on Josh hurriedly and turned to see who was there. She could find no one. She rushed to her bedroom to see if it was Henry. She found him in sound sleep. “Was it Tracy? Is it possible?” She thought to herself as she once again found herself in anxiety ridden situation.

“Talk to you later” she sent a message in jiffy

To calm herself down and divert herself and get a grip on her nerves she chose to resort to her new found interest, reading the diary of Anne Turner. And she began restlessly:

“Vile is an understatement. Her eyes are keepers of secrets, secrets so dark and devastating. Her smirk is venomous and her silence is a silent catastrophe that’s waiting to knock us over”

Those words churned a whirlpool of emotions in Sally. A realisation suddenly dawned upon her ” is it a mere coincidence?” She asked aloud in her head at the turn of events in her life and the notes she was reading – striking similarities. Mysterious aura of Tracy, Her own bruised arms, inebriated Tracy, Josh expressing his doubts about the identity of Tracy – everything flashed in front of Sally’s eyes. She was lost in the fluttering pages and was perspiring heavily.

Suddenly shocked by a hand that jolted her from behind. It was Henry.

“What happened? Not slept yet? What are you reading now?” Henry looking at the diary in Sally’s hands.

“N..N..Nothing, I thought you were sleeping, in deep sound slumber” Sally’s tone was a mix of anxiety, intrigue and suspicion. And she continued “Did I disturb you?” She asked fixing her gaze on Henry’s face.

Henry chuckled and said “Indeed I was sleeping but the continuous buzzing sound of your phone disturbed me , I would say a little”.

Sally realised her phone was not in the silent mode she usually activates at night and was at this point not sure if Henry heard her conversation or not. “Oh I am sorry today I forgot to switch on the aeroplane mode. My apologies for the disturbance” Sally put on fake smile so as to not to give him an insight of her state of mind at this very moment.

Henry calmly tossed to the other side and said “it’s ok Honey. But seems someone is really restless to send out notifications at this hour. Anyways good night darling”

And Sally kept staring at Henry in utter confusion. She had many questions and was battling for answers. That might passed in absolute silence to what meets eye but a storm was raging inside Sally, swaying her strongly.

I Sense A Presence X


Sally’s gaze was fixed on the diary but feet petrified. She stood at the window all night long as a motionless statue but her mind was raging. There were tornadoes, volcanoes, whirlpools swirling, erupting and devastating her from within. She wanted to cry, shout, scream but it seemed as if something caged her at this moment. Panic attacks aren’t new to Sally, her emotionally vulnerable nature have always put her on the receiving end.

Hours passed and it was dawn. Henry woke up around 6 AM and was terrified for a moment to see a motionless and emotionless Sally standing at the window staring at him without battling an eyelid. It seemed as if she is possessed.

“Are you Ok honey?” Henry quizzed as he got from the bed to get a hold of Sally. But before he could touch her she collapsed. Her body couldn’t take more.

“Sally!!” Screamed Henry catching her. He lifted her to the bed, placed her body comfortably. Meanwhile Tracy entered their room as she heard Henry screaming.

“I heard you screaming, what happened? What happened to Sally?” Tracy asked as she looked at unconscious Sally.

“I don’t know, when I woke up I found her standing at the window, looking pale and ghostly. When I tried to reach her she collapsed” explained Henry.

Tracy without furthering the discussion or showing any concern asked Henry if he would be going to office today or shall she start without him.

Henry gave a stern look to Tracy but cordially replied “gonna take a leave today, can’t leave Sally in this condition. And to think otherwise is a stupidity to say the least”.

To that reply Tracy walks up to Sally, settles beside her and gently carassess her hair and says “yeah, she will need a lot of that care now (emphasising on the last two words). Ok I shall take your leave now” and she left the room and Henry returned to Sally. As he was attending Sally, Tracy turned her head once more to get a glimpse of them over her shoulder. She had a smirk on her face.

Around 2 PM Sally woke up, struggled to get up straight as her head was in immense pain and felt dizzy. Henry at once dashed to her to help her. But even in such misery she was cold to the concern that Henry showed. He noticed that at once.

“Look I explained myself yesterday itself that how Tracy ended up at dinner with my client. To accept it or scrutinize my words is your call. I can handle your unwelcoming, cold, suspicious behavior towards me. That’s not my concern, people do change. This is surely not you, I mean not the one I know or have known. My worry is what or who is changing you” and he left Sally to ponder over his words as he got busy arranging lunch for her.

Resting her head on the pillow she turned to her left with Henry’s words now echoing in her head. She thought “he is not completely wrong. Women around Henry isn’t a new sight to me but I have never found it awkward or untoward or say never looked at it in that perspective where I could doubt his loyalty towards me. He gave his explanation, then why I am not able to process it. Am I really getting influenced, is there anything that is taking a toll on my common sense and understanding of circumstances”. She was immersed in her thoughts while looking at the diary as Henry entered the bedroom with lunch. She was so lost in her thoughts that “adventures and miseries” of Anne Turner couldn’t magnetize Sally to pick and turn to read the next turn of events in her life.

Sally and Henry had lunch in utter silence. As Henry got up to take back the lunch set up to the kitchen a sorry escaped Sally’s lips. That was nothing more than a whisper but did reach Henry’s notice. He simply smiled and nodes and turned towards the door to leave.

But before leaving he once again paused at the threshold “by the way honey I forgot to tell you a guy called Josh called when you were asleep”.

This made Sally a bit uncomfortable as she never disclosed about Josh to Henry, though she has been in touch with him for quite a some time now. “Oh Josh! Wh..what he was saying? She enquired in an inquisitive yet shaky tone.

“He asked you to call once you are awake, nothing in particular. Call him” Henry gestured to give a call and left. He left Sally in a guilt ride by not asking Who, Where, What…….

I Sense A Presence IX


Josh didn’t ask anything further and Sally left.

Josh knew Sally for quite a sometime now. He has seen her sensitive side, he has seen how she could hesitate to empty her heart and needed persuasion to vocalise her emotions and thoughts. A tiff with one of her best friend over her boyfriend whom Sally thought wasn’t right for her , left Sally disarrayed for weeks. It took lot of insistence by her other friends that included Josh as well to pull her out of the shell she has drawn herself into. As their paths crossed each other after years that old image of Sally loomed large in front of Josh as the petite figure of Sally diminished.

“Hmm, she is unsettled again” he sighed and retreated to his office.

Sally drove back with her head and heart full of the convict she met at the police station. His demonic demeanor invaded her thoughts . Cold sweat trickled down her spine as she rushed through the empty roads surrounded by dense woods. She was driving at such a speed as if someone or something was chasing her on those desolate streets. As Sally was lost in her incoherent thoughts “THUD” something hit the speeding car so hard that for a moment it shook the car. The tyres made a screeching sound bringing the car to a halt and Sally got down to see what was it.

She could find nothing but a trail of blood running towards the woods. “Gosh Sally What have you done!” She exclaimed and held her forehead in disbelief. She wanted to check as she inched few steps further in the direction of the blood into the woods. But the very sight of blood, deserted road had made her put off her plans and run towards her haven – her home while she apologised for the unknown creature that she hurt in her thoughts.

As Sally reached home she got a call from Henry. “Darling have a dinner with client, will be late tonight” and he hung up.

Sally quickly retreated to her bedroom. She needed a strong distraction from the tornado of negative emotions and thoughts she was experiencing at that very moment. And her eyes showed her a way out, the diary was still lying there. She picked up and continued.

…. you chose to trade them with a charade. Charade of emotions being reciprocated.

“Interesting” Sally thought asshe turned pages and continued to read.. your attention short lived, affection faded and admiration died towards me. We are now strangers in the guise of a relationship.

Page turns ….. I saw you snuggling with that witch in those sheets that still has my imprint all over. Can anything else be more painful than to see your heart being torn apart by someone who dwells in there…..

Sally felt for the woman as she got a peek through through these ragged piece of papers. As she was sympathising with the stranger she was reading about she heard faint giggling sound of a woman. She went close to her window as she was sure that it was from outside.

She was metted with a sight of bewilderment. It was Tracy, in an inebriated state and that was not the case of concern for Sally. It was her closeness to Henry that made Sally’s heart pound faster. She is a beautiful woman after all!!

Henry helped Tracy reached her room as she giggled and blabbered throughout. As he turned back, was taken aback by Sally who stood behind him.

“Oh my God! You scared the hell out of me Sally!” exclaimed Henry, loosening his tie and making his way to the bedroom. “Is it? How? Have I caught you? By the way how was the dinner with client? Was Tracy a part of your job? I am all ears for all your answers” Sally was unprecedent in the way she behaved – taunting, sarcastic. She has seen Henry with many beautiful women before too, but never for once a speck of doubt even faintly crossed her mind. But today it was not the same. Something is playing with her mind. She has been given a different prism to look at the situations.

Henry did come up with his explanations as to how Tracy ended up in the scene but was received by a rather cold Sally.

It was around 10:30PM, Sally stood near her window staring at blissfully sleeping Henry. Her stares were blank, emotionless. After standing at the window for an unreasonably long time, an unsettled Sally looked pale, her emotionless reflection in the mirror was nothing less than spooky. As the stares crossed Henry and reached her side drawer the diary was there, enticing her to dig deeper…..

**Is the life of Anne Turner the new prism for Sally?**

I Sense A Presence VII


Sense of being choked to death in her sleep left Sally perplexed. She reached out to the glass of water on her bedside and saw the diary she was reading before she dozed off. Her fingers danced in confusion for a while that whether she should pick up the diary and start from where she has left. After few moments of dilemma she pulled the drawer, put the diary back and picked up aspirin instead as the disturbed sleep left her with a severe headache.

Ward off bad dreams” grunted Sally, tossing in her bed. It was 4 AM, when she finally slept. Four and a half hours later she heard some footsteps pacing up and down the room. It was Henry getting ready for the office. Around 8:30 AM he kissed her forehead and lovingly “Honey have a great day, I am leaving for the office”. Both indulged in a sweet moment as Sally acknowledged him while still keeping her eyes closed. But the harmony of the moment broke as there was a knock on the door and a voice followed “I am getting late HONEY”. It was Tracy, clicked her tongue and immediately corrected herself “I am getting late Henry, may I come in?”.

Her rectification couldn’t though avoid an awkward moment for Henry and Sally, it was uncomfortable for Henry and a suspicious one for Sally. Clearing his throat Henry said “her office is one the way so …

“I get that” interrupted stern Sally freeing Henry from her embrace and permitted Tracy to enter. The question “what’s going on, I need an explanation” was all over Sally’s face. Henry hasted to leave to avoid further tensions. “While you take out the car from the garage I will have a quick word with your beautiful wife” Tracy prolonged her stay in their bedroom.

Good morning Sally. I am sorry for the last evening and now as well. See, I can be weird sometimes with people I consider as my own. Whenever this past thing erupts I fumble, I go crazy, I….” and she paused for a while as she settled on Sally’s bedside, very close to her staring straight into her eyes. “Look at those beautiful eyes, so dark and dreamy, resting place to rainbow clad dreams. I envy you my darling” Tracy had a certain amount of cynicism to her tone that can send shivers down the spine. Her words were not loud, just more than a whisper. They were like a whip of air catching someone from behind unaware on an absolute silent night – scary! They left Sally dumbfounded.

The moment froze for few seconds and the stillness of the room was broken by the car horn on the road. “Bye dear have a good day. Once again thank you and sorry for everything” Tracy left with a devilish smile leaving Sally at a junction of conundrum.

“Am I overthinking about this lady or there is truly something to ponder or dig into about her? Was the entire Honey-Henry episode just a fumble or there’s something more to it than what meets the eye?” Sally’s head was buzzing with these questions as she left the bed and went to freshen up.

In the mirror she saw herself and realised that her right arm is bruised, it turned blue. That sight brought the words from the book to her mind “bruises were my constant companions”. But she decided to brush everything under the carpet of coincidence. “Must be a sleep thing” she shrugged and yet decided to know more what’s there.

She settled again on her bed comfortably and laid her hands on the diary, now it started from the beginning. By this time thought of Tracy was put at the backburner.

The first page had a small photo of a lady with a disfigured face and at the bottom was mentioned the name “Miss Anne Turner”.

“Hello Lady” said Sally to herself and continued. Those pages to begin with were just like any other ordinary diary – an in and out account of miscellaneous and mundane activities, incidents of one’s life. Sally wasn’t much interested in the petty chores of Miss Turner and she decided to go random. And she was successful in finding the interesting spot. It read:

I loved you with my heart, my smiles, my tears, my soul. But you chose to trade them with a ……

Before Sally could finish the portion (pale letters were a tough read) her phone rang. It was Josh, her friend from the police department.

“Hi Sally, I have a news for you. Its regarding your father’s murder. Can you come over?” Asked Josh. And this left Sally at the very same spot she was months ago, battling….

I Sense A Presence VI


Sally kept on her excavation to see what else this room hosts. There were more words engraved very minutely. They seemed to be cluster of bees, making it difficult for Sally to read. They were entangled mangle of letters. She could hardly phrase out – mad, free, go. That extra stress on her eyes made her shut down that exercise in the middle.

“Huh” grunted Sally as she shifted her focus to the rest of the room. In her quest she found a very dirty gown and wrapped in it a book, probably a diary. Pages have age written all over them, few were torn, writing was neat to begin with but slowly became more scribbled.

Sally took the diary upstairs and preserved reading for sometime later. In the evening Henry arrived with their guest – Tracy. Sally warmly welcomed her. Tracy was a 38 years old, beautiful looking woman. Standing 5 feet 5 inches tall, brown curly cascades of hair running till her waist, unmistakably enchanting honey glaze eyes and a figure that could make any woman envious and man go weak in knees. But Sally was looking beyond her physical appearance – a broken person from personal loss, just as herself.

“Sally thank you so much for having me” Tracy thanked Sally cordially, to which Sally smiled and said “most welcome” and they moved in. At the dinner table amidst the chit chat rounds Sally brought up the issue of Tracy’s mother.

“Tracy, by the way Henry told me about your loss. I can totally relate to your pain. May I know what happened to her and what about your father, where is he?” Sally’s eyes now fixed on Tracy waiting for her response.

Tracy went silent for a moment and after a pause she continued ” my mother meant the world to me. The loveliest person of my life had to suffer the most because of the love of her life, my father. Till her last breath she waited for him who abandoned her for another woman. That’s why I killed him”. That word engulfed the room in an eerie silence. Tracy’s eyes were stone cold, devilish anger veiled her beautiful face and the fish in the plate got butchered to shreds.

Henry coughed and Tracy came back to her senses. “What I meant was I wiped him out of my thoughts forever” and she gulped down a glass of water and excused herself to her room.

Sally was stunned to see Tracy’s behaviour but brushed it aside with a thought that emotions can be overwhelming and might make people say words that they didn’t mean literally. She only tried to understand her agony and pain. She apologized to Henry for having brought up this topic. She felt guilty. But Henry being Henry “Darling, don’t be, she can be extremely emotional sometimes. She will be fine, don’t worry, have your dinner”.

Sally went to the guest room in about five minutes to sort out the issue with Tracy. “Tracy I am sorry, I shouldn’t have spoken about your family at the dining table. I promise it shall never be repeated. Will catch up tomorrow, have a good sleep. Anything else you need don’t hesitate to ask me. My room is just over there” Sally pointed out towards her bedroom while apologising about the tense situation that arose few moments earlier. They hugged and Sally left.

Marching towards her room Sally turned to see Tracy once again. She could sense a steel cold vibe. “Oh Sally! give the poor soul time” she thought in her head and went to her room.

In the room she found Henry already hit the sack and in deep slumber. Sally lied down on her side of the bed, drew a drawer where she kept her new found diary. Turned some random pages. She could hardly read the paled out ink. With some tussle she could read ” I feel suffocated at nights as if someone gagging me to death. Bruises are now my new constant companions”. This gripped Sally but not before fatigue & sleep took over.

1:00 AM – Sally suddenly felt as if she is being strangulated. She wanted to move but couldn’t budge, felt chocked. In few moments She got up and sat straight gasping for breath , found none around. Was it just a dream or was someone here? Her thoughts set to tick…..

I Sense A Presence V


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”…….

I Sense A Presence IV


Sally was just looking at the patch that the plumber painted. He told that he found nothing faulty in particular but still he changed the fittings of the water pipes running behind that wall just to be sure that leakage of any kind is checked. The plumber left.

She inched closer towards the wall, touched it and a felt a vibration, more like a short (for a fraction of nano seconds) spell of electric shock. She snapped her fingers back still looking at wall but was soon distracted by her ringing phone. It was Henry calling.

“Hey Honey will be late tonight, got one really important meeting cropped up at a short notice. See you in the night, don’t wait for me over dinner, Love you, bye” and Henry hung up.

Sally disconnected the call with a wry smile. She in fact felt disconnected from her self since the demise of her father. She contracted herself into a shell, severed ties with the world outside. Now over a year with Henry having her back things slowly started rolling. She wants herself to be occupied, she wants her old self back. But at this moment crushing in sofa with her coffee mug Sally was thinking how she could kill time. Getting enrolled in a university, joining her father’s office, working on hobbies, being socially active, taking up a social cause – many ideas crisscrossed her mind. Right now cutting the clutter and winning her attention were the unopened boxes and unwanted extra stuff waiting to be settled somewhere. And that “somewhere” was the big basement of her house. They knew its there but never explored and utilised yet.

A dusty, noisy staircase led to the basement. It was huge, dim lit and well segregated into few rooms and compartments. There were strong old fashioned wooden closets; some hardware inventory like paints, brushes,ladder; broken furniture; cobwebs all over. Sally brought down the boxes and settled them but she wasn’t done yet. She decided to inspect the rooms/ compartments. She was checking the spaces of that vault one by one. Broken flower pots, old porcelain pots, tools, furniture fittings, pet cages – there was so much to ponder with, segregate and dump too. She finally reached the tiniest room of the vault and it was locked.

She ran upstairs to bring the bunch of keys she had to check if any of them belong to that room. But alas!! Nothing seemed to be fitting. She was so engrossed in her trials and curiosity caught hold of her so much so that she lost the track of time. When luck didn’t favour her she kept aside the keys and begun her quest with the closets.

“Hmm they are beautiful” she thought as she touched the carved doors of the closets. She opened them. Old curtains, few rugs were kept there. In the drawers she found items like a hand mirror that clearly reflected how old it was, a hand bell, silk treads. She kept finding miscellaneous petty things till she accidentally laid her hands on a small rusty box kept hidden behind one of the closets. She opened it, it was empty in the first look of it but actually wasn’t. Beneath a cardboard layer there was a key.

“Finally!!” she said to herself and started fiddling with the key into the keyhole. The rigid dust and rust of many decades was making Sally struggle hard before the door finally flung open. That tiny room was filled with a pungent smell strong as compared to others. It had a small ventilator opening upto the road outside the house. There was a chair, a plate, a glass, a small wash basin and iron chains that had one end engraved in the wall as if the other loose end is used to keep someone cuffed. It seemed there was something written and struck off vehemently on the walls

The entire scene of that room intrigued Sally even more and as she set her first step inside the room there was a sudden violent crash overhead in the kitchen jolting Sally…