I Sense A Presence – Final


Tears and blood started flowing at an equal pace leaving Henry inert and collapsed at Sally’s feet. His gaze locked at her face with many questions struggling to find a voice.

Sally got down at her knees, gently ran her fingers through Henry’s hair, and blew softly repeatedly and her voice choked with pain “I am sorry honey, I had to help Anne. For so many days she suffered silently. He cheated on her. As she spoke to him she raised her left-hand and kept it angled at a shoulder level as if someone was sitting next to her. She looked that side and nodded in agreement to something.

It was unbearable to Henry now, the pain as well as Sally’s lunacy. He groaned in agony “Stop it! Stop it! tell me why I am being punished this way?” He mustered strength and tightened his grip around Sally’s throat , now his tone was filled with rage. “Answer me”

Sally wrestled to get herself out of his grip and in her bid to so she crashed a wooden bowl on Henry’s head that her hand managed to get from the table behind her. Henry lost the grip and was wriggling in pain. Sally gasped for breath.

Now Sally chucked the cloak of innocence and grief she was hiding in. She pulled Henry’s hair and her face was in extreme proximity to his as she said ” You can fool the law, not me? Seems you care about Tracy more than me, like my father, isn’t it?”. The villainous smirk, anger, and blood on her face made her look demonic that no one is aware of. And it was her counter-question that rattled Henry beyond belief.

With a struggled Henry asked “you knew it all the time, isn’t it?”

She laughed like a maniac and paused to look and answer him. “I was fortunate to get a whip of dirty rotten secrets of my father. I found how he used to meet Tracy secretly to give her the fatherly love that he himself deprived her of. I kept silent, until mom (Sally’s mom was dead long back) spoke to me. I realized my father cheated on two ladies. And he has the audacity to give away not only love but what was MINE, a part of my properties. My nerves imploded as my mom stood there asking me how I will set things right and I had to put him at rest. I wish he had seen our marriage though. Mom told me, he is well-behaved man now. And when we moved here, I met Anne. I offered my shoulder to lean on but saw my pillar of strength crumbling under the cascades of tresses of my nemesis. You tell me what wrong I have done. How can I part from what is rightfully Mine, be it property or Love, My Love !”.

Sally’s statement left Henry more puzzled than putting an end to his trauma. Is she a victim of undiagnosed, unattended mental illness that breached her sanity completely or is she a smart criminal who knows how to use her cards well. Why she waited so long, what happened that night between the ladies is still a mystery.

“But now you don’t have your love. You should have trusted me instead of Anne” Henry said as he couldn’t keep his eyes open anymore. Clutching to his wound tightly, he felt how slowly his breath was escaping his body.

Sally kissed Henry passionately as he lied motionless “I am sorry, I was hard on you but can you blame me? Seeing you in her arms is more painful than anything else. Now I can rest” and she sang a lullaby the entire night, keeping Henry’s head in her lap.

***************************************************

Josh at his home (relieved after months) accidentally ran into grandma’s letter. He read it over and over. Was it a coincidence of mental illnesses and unfortunate happenings or something else beyond his capabilities and understanding occured in that house, that grabbed his attention after his friend got home. He decided to meet and greet Sally the next day.

As the door bell rang, Sally slightly peeped from the window upstairs, holding the diary of Anne Turner and said ” Anne, Josh is here, to see me. Do you think he will love me truly?” …

I Sense A Presence – XXIV


Investigator to Henry: Is it a new bluff, its better be not.

Henry replied with a smirk: Neither you are my friend nor this is a place and time to be bluffing around. I would rather choose to prove my innocence, I trust your intelligence, don’t question mine.

Investigator (sighed): hmmm, how can you prove your point, and does Sally know about her step-sister? How can step-sisters crop up all of a sudden, over the night? I am not ready to buy your fantasy fiction yet, keep trying till you drop and the truth finds its way out.

Henry gave a detailed account of when and how the secret was revealed to him by the family lawyer and put across a few valid cross-questions. He was not going to be a passive spectator of proceedings that clearlyspelledt doom for him and his love.

“Extra-marital relationships are usually less spoken about or completely kept under wraps, no matter how progressive we think we have become. I don’t blame Sally if she is unaware of her relationship with Tracy(He also stated that he doesn’t remember the lawyer mentioning anything about Sally’s knowledge of Tracy). Had she known about the same I don’t think she would have kept obscured from me. She let Tracy stay in her home” Henry put forth a strong point.

Investigator: Letting someone stay at home doesn’t acquit you directly especially when the person gets murdered on your premises and no traces of any outsider’s involvement has been found. Tell me one thing, was Sally never bothered by Tracy’s presence in the house, to be precise around and with you? Even if I give her a benefit of the doubt when it comes to her relationship with Tracy but no woman can tolerate a strikingly good-looking woman constantly making her presence around her spouse. Can you deny that? wasn’t there a single moment in all these months where Sally was wary of your closeness with Tracy? I bet you that can be a big motive enough to commit this “accident” as specified by you. I need you to speak up NOW (he placed his fist with a certain amount of force on the table as he looked intensely into Henry’s eyes, as if he wanted to scare him of consequences of holding onto the information).

Henry remained unfazed. “Yes, Sally was a bit disturbed and it was natural for her to be so, also given the trauma she had been into. She imagined things and I suppose after her medical condition has to do more with it rather than anything else. And on the given day when I entered the house, it was Tracy who was trying to attack Sally. What happened then was a tragic accident. I had to save Sally, but unfortunately, I couldn’t do it for Tracy.

Investigators are really finding it hard to break Henry’s defense. They will need more evidence and probably a reverse psychological game to ascertain the modus-operandi and the motive behind the crime. For this moment it seemed to be an open and shut case where these two people are under trial by a conspiracy of fate.

Meanwhile, each and every detail of Sally, Tracy, and Henry were being dug up. No matter how hard they tried there was nothing that could even remotely associate Sally or for that matter Henry to this murder. It was proved that Sally didn’t have any idea about Tracy as the investigators cross-checked with the family lawyer. “Mr.Pattinson was a man of secrets and this secret settlement of property is not an exception. I couldn’t settle it immediately or for that matter bring it to light due to my own professional and personal reasons. I did meet Sally after her father’s demise and spoke about other settlements but she completely seemed to be aloof” the lawyer concluded.

To add to the testimony for Sally and Henry, Tracy’s own stint with illegal activities, her act of disappearance from the city, owning a gun illegally proved quite helpful, receiving petty sums of cash from an anonymous account that traced back to Sally’s father proved quite a big point against her. Josh also chipped in with his statement “Sally always complained of someone trying to attack her, someone watching her. We can completely squash those fears as illusions or imaginary but given how things have shaped up now, how Tracy used her relationship with Henry to enter Sally’s life says a lot of things”.

On the other hand, Sally’s condition improved. She gave an account of what happened that day. She also showed a few injuries that she received in the scuffle. Sobbing and trying to regain her composure Sally said “I was alone when that night when Tracy attacked me. She was repeatedly saying that I took from her what was rightfully hers. I didn’t get what she was trying to say. She said her only motto in her life was to get revenge for her mother who died in misery and poverty and it was my father that caused her so much pain. Things seemed to get clearer then. But before I could apologize to her…”

Then why did you say “It was Anne who made you do this,” the investigator asked Sally?

“I am sure by this time you all know my condition. Chaos all around triggered voices in my head” and she hid her face in her palms.

After two months of rigorous investigation when the cops failed to prove anything substantial they did let Henry and Sally go and it was the case was recorded as an accidental death in the course of self-defense. An undertaking was taken that Sally will continue her treatment.

Feeling comforted to be in their house, Sally and Henry embraced each other tightly. Sally softly whispered into Henry’s ears “Thank you for being on my side”. Henry kissed her passionately and picked her up in his arms and took her to the dining table, where he laid her on the table, looking lovingly into her eyes. Caressing her hair softly, kissing her forehead, he was indulging himself in the moment as past few months have been nothing less than catastrophic to their relationship. He was just mending everything. Suddenly he asked in-between their lovey-dovey talks “You never had an idea who Tracy was? What has actually happened that night honey?”.

And Sally looked right past through Henry and said “Anne you are here again?” and she stabbed Henry with a knife from the basket nearby…

I Sense A Presence XXII


Both Henry and Josh were quite a bit puzzled by their respective callers and kept it obscure from each other. The former had no reason to tell and the latter has every reason to hide. Both dispersed from the scene without concluding and with odd excuses.

Henry wasted no time and reverted the call to Mr.Chad. As the call was on its way, Henry was blank as to what to expect from this conversation. Mr.Chad, the family lawyer of Sally for a long time now is just over an acquaintance for Henry as their relationship was cordial and professional to the core. But Mr.Chad calling Henry late that evening seemed unnatural to him.

Mr.Chad answers the call ” Henry, thank you for returning the call. I tried to call Sally but she is unreachable and I am afraid I couldn’t wait till tomorrow. So, I had to give trouble you at this hour” his words had a tone of unmistakable urgency to them.

“That’s fine, please tell me, what’s the matter” replied Henry.

“After your father-in-law passed away, as a legal advisor and the lawyer of the family I am entrusted with the responsibility of settling the legal issues, property settlement to be more precise” and there was a pause for fraction of seconds but long enough for Henry to raise his doubt.

“huh” Henry cleared his throat and continued “Settlement? I thought property belong to Sally as a sole legal heiress of her father’s properties and valuables. Am I missing something?” Henry raised his eyebrows as he slightly exclaimed over this new development out of his knowledge.

“Can you drop by at this moment? I could have waited till tomorrow but I have a flight to catch early in the morning and my return is quite ambiguous considering the nature of my visit. So I would like to explain few things now, so that proceedings become easier in my physical absence and for everything else I will be available virtually”, Mr.Chad concluded and awaited Henry’s response. And it was affirmative. It was going to be a long night for Henry.

Meanwhile Josh called back his caller but received no answer. He called Sally thrice but met with the same response and was directed to the message box. He was in a fix now whether he should go check her or not; whether Henry would be there or not by the time he reaches; if yes, then his entry might trigger or add to the unnecessary tension to their strained relationship as Henry’s visit to him was quite eloquent in itself of how things got complicated between them. Josh tried to convince himself that that call might be accidental. He went back to home with his head clustered and suffocating with voices and thoughts. He badly wanted to call it a day. As soon as he reached home, he hit straight to the bar and made a drink. His poison was Glenfiddich which he liked on the rocks for himself and gulped it at one go. He repeated. Four drinks down, and he snoozed off.

Even in his inebriated state his mind was mobbed by strange visions. A wailing girl, people shouting at each other and amidst them Sally pacing up and down the stairs in a rush and saying “come I have to show you something. You didn’t believe me but the thing is you didn’t know me well, don’t get surprised or shocked” and there was a lot of commotion.

Around 1AM in the morning his phone rang incessantly that shook him out of his slumber. It was Henry again. The moment Josh answered, rubbing his eyes, a wave of shock jolted him out of his sleep. “Tracy is dead, please come soon” Henry was in utter state of shock himself.

Josh rushed wasting no time. Lizzy alias Tracy was lying in a pool of blood, shot twice in chest and abdomen. His stare instantly shifted to Sally who drew herself to a corner in the kitchen, petrified and pale. And he looked for Henry who stood next to her, equally motionless.

Breaking the silence that blanketed the entire house there were sirens approaching the house (Josh intimated 911 as soon he set out to reach Sally’s).

On hearing the fast approaching emergency vehicles, Sally finally spoke in a panic stricken tone “I did nothing, it was Anne that prompted me. Otherwise Tracy would have taken him away (gesturing towards Henry). I swear she was here, please tell them not to punish me. It was Anne. Anne!! Anne!! Where are you? Come show yourself” She was screaming hysterically, clinging to Henry and pleading Josh. Josh felt as if he is still walking through his dream as this is the Sally whom he just now came across in his strange vision.

And soon the police entered, surrounding the crime scene…

I Sense A Presence XXI


As Henry’s name flashed on screen Josh was a bit confused. “What could have driven him to call me at this hour. Hope Sally is fine, hope everything is fine between them” and amidst such thoughts clouding his mind Josh picked up the phone.

“Hello” Josh answered the call.

“Hi Josh, Henry this side. Is it a right time to talk to you? Even if it’s not I am afraid I have to speak to you before it’s too late” Henry’s words had quite a restless tone to them, well at least this time around which is unusual of him for the kind of personality he is.

While Josh still in his elements and a stark contrast to Henry on the other side softly said “Yes, I am hearing, go on”

“Are you seeing Sally?” Henry minced no words as he continued “if it’s the case I am ready to be out of your way but want to know the truth”.

Josh chuckled at the weird question as he very well knew what might have ignited the same “Really Henry! I never thought this would be so easy. No hue and cry, no possessiveness, not even a hint of feeling emasculated at the verge of being rejected or looked over for the kind of GENTLEMEN the world has been a spectator too you are indeed a rare specie. Did you speak to Sally about the sacrifice you intend to make ? ”

Henry wasn’t feebleminded not to catch the sarcasm of Josh’s words. “I am man enough to see and accept things as they unfold” said Henry in a firm voice and continued “can you meet me now? I am at the fountain park near your place”.

“Ok, I am coming” Josh disconnected the call wasting no time. In ten minutes he reached the spot. He meant business when he greeted Henry with “when did the idea of giving up on Sally dawn upon you. Is it sacrifice or harbinger to an unexpected end?”

Josh paused to let Henry speak. “Well I want Sally to be happy. Since we moved here she is drifting away from me or say moving closer to you. What I saw today…” Henry fumbled and was immediately interrupted by Josh “What? What did you see? What’s the catch Henry? Is it really about Sally or TRACY has a role in your over the top altruism? Anyways did you speak to Sally about your decision to sacrifice your relationship?

Henry sighed “speaking to Sally!! How do you think it’s possible with her volatile self. Josh, I don’t understand how to put it, even if I struggle my way with my words and feelings I am sure you won’t understand. But one thing that is beyond my comprehension, what’s with Tracy, what are you hinting at?

Josh chuckled, put his hand around Henry and guided him towards a bench in the park. “Come let’s sit and talk. Forget about Sally for I know her really well and I can actually fathom to give you a benefit of doubt if it was really about Sally and her unpredictable nature. At this moment I am really interested in talking about Tracy. Is Tracy her real name? I hope it is and I really wish that you are not holding any cards close to your heart. In case you don’t know Tracy have an uncanny resemblance with a convict who went missing in thin air. I shared it with Sally, didn’t she tell you?

A long pause ensued. Henry was visibly uncomfortable and hesitant, yet he decided to spill the beans of things he know for he needed a face off with truth. “See Josh, I don’t know what are you talking about but I would like to confess that I concealed a truth from everyone’s glare. Her name isn’t Tracy indeed. When I saw her for the first time, I reached out to her and addressed her as I used to during our school days. But to my utter disbelief she told me that she has severed ties from her past including her name. She told me that she was being harassed constantly by a man called Manny and he happened to have strong connections in the police department. Her world completely collapsed under fear and abuse. And when she lost her mother she decided to move out of Texas with a new identity. Anything that reminded her of her past haunted her, so is her name. That’s why TRACY. That’s the reason I was hesitant to meet you as I know you were posted in that zone. I was only trying to protect my childhood friend”.

Josh was all attentive to what Henry was narrating. And by the time Henry finished a strange veil of calmness was clad over his face that was missing since he started his conversation with Josh. It was Josh’s turn to drive the conversation – either towards an end or through another round of interrogation. Placing his right hand pointer on his lips while his thumb firmly held his chin up, eyes closed and Josh sighed “hmmm” as if he understood and bought the entire story Henry just mentioned. “By the way what’s her actual name?” Josh asked with an “obvious” pinch of curiosity.

“Lizzy” Henry replied. And it fitted the bill of Josh’s intuition/ doubts about this beautiful, mysterious lady around Sally. It’s time for action And before Josh could say anything their respective phones buzzed. Sally was calling Josh while Mr.Samuel Chad, Sally’s family lawyer was trying to reach Henry. One glance at the screen and now they were looking at each other, a bit alarmed!!

I Sense A Presence XX


There was an awkward silence that enveloped the room. Emotions (rather anxiety) simmering in hearts. Before that silence could attain a monstrous shape Sally ran to Henry embracing him and pouring her heart, to be precise her fears to him.

“Someone is trying to kill me. Someone is after my life, watching me 24*7. Trust me, please!!!” Clinging to Henry as Sally spoke, words seem to be gushes of streams of her inner turmoils.

“Sshh honey, I am here, no one gonna hurt you. Calm down love, I won’t let anything happen to you. We will see through it” Henry spoke as he caressed Sally’s hair to pacify her. But warmth seemed to be missing in his words and momentary glance at Josh had some other equations wrapped up in itself.

“But I wasn’t expecting you” quipped Sally all of a sudden and that shifted his attention towards Sally again while Josh was still looking at Henry. And Sally continued her questions “and how you ended up coming from the backyard, and Tracy!! There was a vibe of suspicion in her tone.

“He wanted to surprise you ” Tracy (rolling her eyes) finally intervened who till now was a mute spectator of the entire chaotic scene.

Tracy’s presence has always evoked unpleasant feelings in Sally. Tracy’s intervention ruffled the same feathers in Sally who snapped back at her “a backdoor entry is more of a shock than a surprise. I deserve an explanation, don’t I?” Sally was fiery that no one knew of. From awkward silence to flaring tempers, that was a complete turn around.

Josh thought quitting the scene might result in some sort of serenity immediately. He did so, took leave and left. Henry on the other hand didn’t have this convenient option. He invested himself in handling Sally, trying to tackle her questions and dodge her stares. And Tracy has nothing better to do but to go to her room.

Sally wasn’t done yet. Her stare followed Tracy till she went out of the sight. “When will she leave our house?” asked Sally in a tone just a decibel higher than a whisper yet cold and seemingly menacing, signalling the dislike sedimented in her heart for her.

“Soon” replied Henry in a placid tone. And before Sally could further her investigation he took the initiative and tried to mellow down the tense situation with his care and caressing. “Honey let me make a cup of coffee for you. Something is bothering you and I see that but can’t see through it. Trust me” and he kissed on her forehead.

Around 9’o clock in the night:

Josh was still occupied with everything that passed throughout the day. He wanted a diversion but suddenly one more thing from the day’s minutes struck his senses – the letter !!

Crushing himself on the couch he opened the letter. It read:

Dear Diana,

Georgia finally found peace but how I wished it was amidst us. She was in pain, in deep pain which was beyond our comprehension. She wailed, she fought and she succumbed but unfortunately she was alone. We did everything in our capacity and understanding, from prayers to rituals, everything we were told we did in a bid to drive that demon away from our child. A mother’s heart knows how excruciatingly painful it is to see her child go hungry over days, restrained by shackles, bearing the burnt of religious fanaticism as a demon drive out exercise. She screamed in pain and I stood there just to offer my service as a hand holding a fragile, fear stricken girl with all it’s might telling her to “mind her ways”. I was only a fiddle to my god fearing husband and more than the god it was the world who he was fearing. We tried to keep things wrapped tight, so tight that we suffocated our own child. Demons still haunt us after Georgia left – demons of guilt, indecisiveness, agony and going to stay till we are buried in our own remorse. What we thought will be our safe and beautiful abode turned out to be our castle of nightmares. Georgia always complained about a presence. Why she has to go through it…….

Josh finished an unfinished letter. Now his head was heavy with an imaginary vision of what could have transpired in that house, what happened to Georgia, demons or something less cared and talked about. What is it?

As Josh has different concoctions cooking up in his mind the trance was broken by his buzzing phone.

Before he could pick it up it stopped but a message popped up “we need to talk right away” and the sender was Henry…..

I Sense A Presence XIX


Josh rushed to see Sally, she sounded quite disturbed. In his rush he didn’t heed any attention towards the letter that grandam handed over to him. He simply shoved it inside his pocket.

He rang the doorbell and waited at the door. It was taking unusually long for Sally to open the door and that rendered a certain amount of curiosity and restlessness in Josh. He peeped through the the windows to see if Sally is around or not. There was no trace of Sally.

As Josh turned to leave the door behind his back slowly opened. Sally was standing there with an iron bar in her hands. She firmly held yet was shivering tremendously. She was in a distorted state. She was pale and profusely perspired.

Josh wasted no time in holding her as if he meant to say “I have your back”. He took her inside, made her sit and rushed to offer her water. Just as she took a sip from the glass he asked “What happened to you Sally? What took you so long to open the door? Why are you holding this bar? You don’t look fine, tell me what happened?”.

With feeble hands she pointed towards the staircase running down to the basement. Josh looked over his shoulder in the direction she pointed and within a moment turned to ask her what it was about.

“someone came from here, someone is here. I was attacked” Sally said in a breaking and shaky voice. “What! I didn’t get you. Attacked as in? Are you sure? I mean it might be some bad dream” Josh wanted to ascertain the situation, therefore was apparently dismissive to begin with.

“I was here in the hall when She tried to choke me from behind. I struggled my way to the room upstairs and called you…” And before Sally could finish the word “She” caught Josh’s attention.

“You said She, how do you know it was “She” and who was it? Do you remember anything?” Josh was now in action. But Sally’s answer this time hinted some underlying problem.

Sally in a lot more composed yet illusionary tone said “I know it’s the lady on the wall. From the first day she had an eye on me, I can feel her presence. Her presence is suffocating me”. Josh was both confused and concerned for his friend now. He looked at the wall she pointed towards to find absolutely nothing.

“There’s nothing. I think you had a sort of nightmare. You probably need some rest. First you said there’s someone from the basement, now you are pointing towards the wall but I see nothing and no one. I hate to say this but I am finding it hard to believe you at this moment for being in a profession that trusts nothing but tangible substances” Josh struggled to put forth his stance.

Josh’s words made Sally wary and restless. There was a burst out of tears and a hysteria filled out the empty space of the room around ” you don’t believe me!!! No one does!!! You won’t believe me even if show you these” She flashed her shoulders that had bruise marks all over.

As Josh slightly leaned over Sally to have a look at the bruises there was a noise in the backyard. Suddenly the door opens and enters Tracy along with Henry.

Both the parties in a fix with regard to the position of their counterparts.

To be continued….

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.