Whispers In The Dark
She shuddered as she felt the cold wind touch her skin and whisper into her ear. She walked back home dragging her feet along with her bag. The short stretch from the gate to her front door announced an empty house. She sighed as she picked up a yellow sticky note that lay at the doorstep that had long gone lost its glue. It was one of those usual messages that conveyed to her that her mum would be away for the day and would only return home late at night. She carelessly put down the note and made a beeline towards the kitchen and settled herself with cold food that had been left in the fridge too lazy to warm it in the ancient oven. She jumped into bed managing to get cosy with a book after having almost drowned herself at the shower. Four hours latershe stirred in her sleep realizing the fact that she had drooled all over the soft pillow where her head had created quite a dent. She shuffled towards the living room; no sign of her mother. She wandered around the house with her earphones plugged in, the volume turned on. The clock chimed in at stuck nine and yet there was no sign of her mother. It was the usual mundane routine thereon. Days would rush past without an exchange of words and all the lingered was her absence. A sort of fear and anxiousness started to grow somewhere within her. She couldn’t help but imagine that something fatalistic was brewing and that her mother would be at the vortex of it. Tired of pacing and cooking up stories that took her mother further away, she headed instead to her room. Sleep came when she least expected it and perhaps it was the exhaustion of the strained imagination, but she was soon lost in a quiet oblivion. It was the quiet click of her doorknob and the muffled footsteps on her carpet that woke her up. That was when she noticed that she was not alone in the room. A faint silhouette caught in the cross lights of her night lamp and the stray light from the streetlamps captured her attention. It seemed like the back of a person bent from years of solitude. Unable to fathom whether she was awake or asleep, she pinched herself. Before she could feel the pain, she felt instead an unexplainable fear. The woman had half turned and from behind a curtain of hair tapered with grey, a pair of cold lifeless eyes turned to stare at her. The scream escaped her then even as she felt herself being engulfed in a bear hug. “I’m right here, sweetheart.” She felt her mother’s warm embrace soothe the nightmare from her dreams. She held her mother tighter, grateful for her presence just when she needed her the most - thankful that her dreams were in the past as were her premonitions. Her mother felt the urgency and let herself be held longer than usual. The door to her bedroom was still ajar when she heard the front door open and shut. A voice exactly like her mother’s call out, “Honey, I’m home!”, even as she slowly recognized the dead sheen from the curtain of black grey hair that held her even tighter.
© 2017 Deirdre Basumatary