It was a usual Saturday morning with ‘not so usual’ things happening around. Ash, my best friend since pre-school was moving out with her parents to New York. Her house was in the process of getting disheveled by uniformed men packing stuff in big cartons, her mother yelling relentlessly at them to be careful of the glassware and her favourite pieces of furniture. Her father was talking over the phone, sometimes chopping his hands in the air in accelerated movements.
Watching the commotion from my house right across the street, Ash and I stood by the window next to the bunk-bed that I share with my perpetually snappy little brother and all we could think of was her grandmother’s room, locked since she left this mortal world on her final abode six years ago. We missed her and were dying to unlock her room before it got tousled and stowed in the truck. Without much discussion over it, we sneaked into the house and searched for keys. To our fortune, the master key-chain was with one of the uniformed boys, presumably in-charge of the organized chaos at the house. We took them and dashed our way through the staircase, two steps at a time, turned the key and slid inside her chamber.
The room felt oppressively humid and smelled of moist grime and mildew. Ash opened the blinds, as my eyes adjusted themselves to the dimness. The sunlight crept inside, washing the darkness off the walls and disturbing the dust suspended in the air. I looked around and realized the limited furnishings the room housed. A canopy bed placed in the centre, with sunlight refracting through the cobwebs between bed-posts and casting eerie shadows over the floor. A sap green chesterfield sofa sat against the wall on my right, and a walnut wood cross hung over it. We stood motionless for a few minutes as the scene got absorbed into our being. As we inched towards the chest of drawers to our left, I noticed the creepy longcase clock beside the bed and couldn’t help murmuring a silent prayer.
The wall between the clock and the drawers had several photo frames with family pictures in black and white. I recognized a younger version of granny posing against Taj Mahal and she looked lovely as ever. Ash saw herself clutching at her mother’s bosom in a picture clicked during one of their family vacations. I pointed out her expression in another picture and we laughed. Our giggle was interrupted by a high-pitched squeak coming from the chest of drawers. Ash almost screamed but I put my hand over her mouth. We turned around and tiptoed towards the sound. I tried opening the first drawer but it didn’t budge. The sound became silent for a minute and started again, this time it grew progressively louder. My hands were shaking but I mustered all the nerve i had and opened the second drawer carefully. It was filled with yellow sheets of paper stacked and stapled in multiples bundles, chewed at one corner. The sound stopped again. We started removing the papers delicately, as time had left a ruinous impression on them. As I lifted the last heap, Ash identified them as writings of her granny. There were hundreds of sheets filled with words that meant a lot to her, and we were thrilled to have made this discovery. In our excitement, we forgot about the squealings which kept growing louder every minute. I turned around to close the drawer and I saw something move. Tossing the last sheet of paper aside I discovered a litter of white rats, still very young to develop the characteristic white coat. Ash moved ahead to touch them when their mother or father or whoever that was pounced on her. We screamed our lungs out and kept screaming till Ash’s mother came inside followed by her army of packers, and took us downstairs.
…………….to be continued.
This post was prompted by http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/writing-101-day-eight/
I couldn’t go out to a public place, as suggested by the prompt. So I imagined one and weaved a story around it. I hope i did a fair job. Feel free to share your opinion and let me know if you liked it.