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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Theandric Thursday # 8: Mesmerized by Those Eyes...

**Long post alert**

This happened a few weeks ago during my summer break from school, when my dad had gone through a surgery in his left eye and used to look like a new born vampire, what with all the perennial redness. You know how it is when someone in the family is unwell. Relatives flock to your place to visit, ask the patient and the family questions they’ve already answered countless times. They offer their best wishes and leave. After dinner, of course. Anyway, that night one of dad’s sisters came over meaning to stay for the night. I personally enjoy a lot when any of his sisters come over, they’re such fun! To accompany her as well as to “see” dad, other members of the family had tagged along. My cousin has a two year old son who is incredibly cute but equally naughty. I’m not among those people who like to publicly coo and cuddle with cute little babies, though sometimes I forget this fact and do just what I don’t like doing: cooing and cuddling.

This baby would have reached London on foot if we could have put him on a straight road up till there, instead of having him toddling around in our house. This is despite the guaranteed inferiority complex he would have given to the pair of the most talkative parrots in the world. Really, sometimes I feel scared of babies. How do people even handle them 24x7? I get exhausted in the initial 30 minutes. And that is the maximum limit. Needless to say, I’m not fond of picking them up and cooing and walking around. But then again, sometimes with just the right kind of a baby, it feels precious. Alright, getting to the point, it was 11.55 p.m. and my aunt’s family was (finally) leaving for home. Just to be nice, I had tried some baby talk in that irritable kiddish voice, but the baby only slashed his hands across my face, giving me tiny scratches (though he gave that cute little laugh doing all that, so I suppose at least one of us was enjoying). So when we were outside waiting for one of my cousins to bring out the parked car and the baby agreed to come to me, I was quite surprised.

Here’s the thing I’ve learned about babies who don’t usually come to you. They’re selfish. They’ll come to you when you have to offer something they really want and then they won’t hesitate the teeniest bit. This baby loves cars and his mom was standing talking to my mom till their car was totally out. But the baby wanted to follow the car, and so my cousin dropped him off on top of me and he excitedly held on, wriggling up and down, and gesturing towards the car. I thought I might as well coo and cuddle while I’m at it and so I talked in that irritable kiddish voice, pointing out the other cars and speaking nonsense till we were almost where their car was waiting. There’s this grey bungalow in our neighbourhood, one of its kind, four houses down from ours. Even though it’s undoubtedly the hugest house in the vicinity, I never liked the dull grey color it has been painted with, mostly because of the slightly depressing aura it radiates every time you’d glance at it. And I had never given it more than a passing glance. We were standing outside that building, right next to their Honda City, 6522 (I’ve got this weird obsession of noting down car numbers), which was also a dull grey. Talk about depressing.

It also seemed to be the only car I hadn't pointed out to the baby and he kept on wriggling and leaning towards it until we were right next to the front passenger side window. I shifted so he could look inside and said, "See, baby, it's a big caarrr." The baby was still stuck to it and still wriggling so I had a hard time keeping him in my arms. And trust me I was trying really hard, because no offence, but I didn't think I could get out of the situation easily if he dropped/fell on the road because I couldn't hold him tight. Of course no one would blame the almost-two year old, he's just a baby, they'd say. Yeah right. Makes me wish my cousin could have had a baby girl instead. He kept on tapping his palm on the window, making small thumping sounds, so that at almost midnight it sounded eerie, just mixed with the baby's cute gurgling sounds and the sound of my brother-in-law guiding my cousin with the car. I was getting tired with all the activity going on in my arms (Note to self: Never have babies. Just adopt kids when they're like, 10 years old) and was about to turn around to find my cousin, when it suddenly became all quiet for a few seconds.

The baby stopped thumping and miraculously, even wriggling. He was still, just after his body jerked a little towards me and his tiny hands clutched my clothes at the shoulders. I could see the car reversing, my B-I-L with one palm held out straight and the other hand making sweeping motions, the car with its read tail-lights blinking, but there was no sound. It was as if someone had engulfed the baby and me into an invisible plastic sheet, not touching. My ears seemed to go through that experience where they're blocked out and numb, like when you travel by road in the mountains or while your flight takes off. Just those couple of seconds were enough to make my poor heart jump a mile and beat vigorously. The baby wasn't moving, I couldn't move and I was terrified. Then just as suddenly as it had come, the feeling vanished. The veil lifted and I could breathe. The baby started wriggling once more, just a little less enthusiastically. All this while my back was to the car. I swirled around and immediately felt sick, my heart banging across my ribs, for the car definitely wasn't empty. The first thing I noticed were those eyes! Almond shaped and incredibly bright yellow, with black oval eyeballs, and seemed to be moving from side to side, as if the body it belonged to was rocking back and forth. Just that.... there wasn't any body to support those eyes! I thought I saw a faint outline gradually getting fainter and then vanishing completely.

I was brought out of this shocking experience by the baby's bite on my left shoulder! Ugh! My cousin was now just a few feet away and the baby started thrashing my face and bawling. As if I wanted him anymore than he did! I passed a weak smile to my cousin and handed him over, feeling relieved and just wanting to run back home and hide in my room forever. 
"Goodnight sunshine!" my cousin called from the car and the baby shrieked as if to shush her down. 
Sunshine, how ironical.
"Goodnight di," I replied and tried giving a smile that she could easily have seen as a fluke had she not been wrapped up with the baby, trying to handle him. (Note to self: Just don't ever have babies!)

I did not want to turn around from where the car was. Like an idiot I hadn't gone running when my cousins had shut their doors, instead stood there waving them goodbye. Their car's tail light was getting smaller in the distance, I was still four houses away from my home, it was 15 minutes past midnight and I was alone, except for my tall shadow, cast down by the dull yellow light from the night lamp overhead. I took in a breath and turned the other way round, too scared to look into any of the cars' windows, but I couldn't help it. The red Alto on the curb, opposite the grey building had black translucent windows and I caught a reflection of the house and the car. Now when I think back to that night, I am surprised to see myself still alive. I should have died from multiple shocks my system suffered. The sight that was predominant in the reflection was just those yellow eyes, now shining more than ever. It seemed to be stuck on me and I felt like if I would move, so would those eyes. 

"Those eyes"

"Ashna... will you come back inside already?" mom called out and I jerked my head towards her. Thank God somebody remembered the kid is out of the house at midnight!
I almost jogged home, legs shaky and heart racing, as if I'm coming from running a marathon. That night when I finally fell asleep, pleading with mom to let me sleep in their room for that night, making the lame excuse of wanting to feel like a kid once again, I had the dirtiest of nightmares. You may ask why I didn't tell anyone about those eyes. The fact is no one would have believed me. Earlier I used to tell every single thing that happened to me, to my parents, before they started turning everything into lessons and points of reference for their scoldings and new strict rules. Had I narrated the incident just like it had happened, they would have either:
- Taken me to a shrink, or
- Asked me to read less fantasy than was normal.

So I just snuggled close to mom and plugged in my headphones and tried to sleep. When I finally slid into an uncomfortable state of stupor, all I saw was myself at night, heaving breaths with a face wet with tears, half walking, half running through a maze of streets (the same ones where I once got lost as a kid). I met numerous dead-ends and with each of those, I was met with shining eyes, just body-less, head-less, hanging-in-there eyes. Those same oval eyeballs, just that they weren't just yellow. Reached one dead-end, three pairs of green eyes. Get hell scared, turn back and run, reach another end, hellooo four pairs of red eyes. It took a lot many attempts at the jerking myself thing, my way of willing my conscious to wake up. When I finally felt like fading away from the dream, I jerked more than ever, tightly closing my eyes and opening them fast repeatedly, until I could feel the sheets rolled up beneath me and finding myself in my parents' room. Morning. 

I didn't go out for the next three days, even when the weather turned windy and pleasant and I could hear kids shouting and playing in the park. I was stuck inside with TV, books, laptop and Facebook. I didn't have any inkling, any dream related to those eyes and nothing unusual happened over those three days. It seemed pretty much convenient to forget about it, but I was still apprehensive about looking in that house's direction. The fourth day mom wanted to go out for some bank work and with dad still in the rest-till-you-get-better phase, I was supposed to take her on Scoot. I tried avoiding it, but.. let's just say mom can be scary at times. So I witnessed daylight after more than 72 hours. Not good for the deficient-in-Vitamin-D-me. I wasn't feeling all that scared by now, because I had been trying to wave it off as a figment of my imagination. As mom hopped on behind me, I took Scoot and zoomed out of the street, not sparing a single glance to the desolate building (which looked desolate even in broad daylight). Mom took me by surprise and asked me to stop outside our favorite gol-gappas place, where we gorged on the tasty snack and she talked about the new kind of teaching method she was planning for her students in school. It was fun, the way she tells stories about cute little five year olds and their antics. It's just these stories and examples of how I was as a little kid that I still have some hopes that kids are alright. :P

While we were returning, feeling light and happy, I had almost forgotten about those eyes. So when my eyes impetuously landed on that grey Honda City, and I saw a hint of those yellow eyes shining back at me again, I went through another emotional shock. It was all I could do to keep Scoot steady. My laughter had vanished and by now, even my patience was waning. I parked Scoot, asked mom to come with me and feeling braver than I should, walked her to the car and asked her to look inside and tell me what she saw. At first she gave me a bewildered look that shouted, "What do you think you're doing?" but seeing my worried expression, her brows furrowed and she peeped in. 
"Well, I see the steering wheel, the car seats and just... it's empty. What happened? We're not supposed to look into neighbours' cars like that. Come on." 
"No, wait!" I stood in front of the car and gave a sweeping look. Nothing. No eyes staring back at me. I felt a strange kind of a relief, apart from bewilderment and fear, mixed with the embarrassment of looking like an overactive kid. I looked carefully this time, heart going thump-thump and scanned the inside, backseats included. Nothing.

"Umm.. I'm sorry. I thought I saw something funny in there, but it's nothing," I stammered and took mom's hand and headed towards home. I think it was a part of some weird kind of imagination, because that day I was actually thinking about missing my Theandric Thursday posts. I soon succeeded in sending that thought to the back recesses of my mind. 

Two weeks before college was to begin, I was involved in all sorts of things someone who's desperate would do. I was crafting things out of cardboard, making papier mache objects, cards and quilling, sketching with dad, reading books, watching movies, blogging and writing stories. It was that time of the week when some of my cousins usually come over for dinner. 

Saturday night, 11.55 p.m.
The sound of laughter reverberated in the night air as my cousins stood huddled outside our gate, waiting for one of them to bring out the car. I heard the sound of my own laughter mingled with theirs, as the eldest one narrated his more-than-hilarious river rafting experience. A car's honk sounded in the distance and they all bid their goodnights to my parents, after which we started towards the parked car. Once everyone was settled and doors shut and windows slid down, we said our goodbyes and goodnights and I turned around to head home while they were still reversing. I found myself outside the grey building, looking as desolate as ever and with a slight jolt and a skip of the heart, I concentrated straight ahead on the road and started walking home. I hadn't taken more than two steps when my eyes automatically looked to their left, attracted to a shining red light. It seemed to happen all at once.

The Honda City 6522's tail-lights were a mixture of bright red and orange glows and those sharp yellow eyes, once more disembodied stared back at me. A flourescent yellow light came around the car, making everything else disappear so that all I could see was the haunted car. By the time a shriek formed in my throat, a two-second baseless tune sounded and all the car's lights flickered to life. I felt the shriek leave my mouth, rooted to the spot in sheer terror, unable to take my eyes off the ghostly scene that was making my heart something that I was positive was a heart stroke. The next thing I knew, there were voices. Two men came out from behind the car, right from the yellow flourescent lights and looked alarmed at the sight of me. I felt my mom's arm on my shoulder, looking worried and casting anxious glances at the two men, who looked utterly confused, if not scared. I could breathe a little now and my mom was tugging me, trying to take me home. I just stared at those men and almost mechanically, shrugged off mom and walked up to them, pointing to their car. 

"Wh.... what is this?" my voice shook as I attempted to form words that might sound coherent.
They looked confused and I refused to look again in the car. "Those eyes" I managed to whisper. The guy who seemed to be the older one glanced inside and then made a face like he understood, that 'O' kind of a mouth, an expression that said, "I'm amused but guilty as well". 
"Oh. You mean those yellow eyes?" he asked.
I nodded, now feeling better that I'm not the only one who knows what eyes we're talking about here.
"That is just a car-decorator hanging my brother got from the U.S. It glows in the dark, as you must have noticed." He replied, a little too enthusiastically for my taste. The other guy opened the car door. Apparently, that baseless noise was the sound of the automatic doors and lights clicking to life. I groaned and felt like someone who's been betrayed, along with being angry and upset. 
I glanced back at my mom who was peering into the car and staring at "those eyes" and back again, I said, "I'm sorry for interrupting you. Thanks."
"Not a problem." The man smiled and got in behind the wheel, three pairs of eyes staring back at me from inside the car.

I shifted a little to let the car pass as the engine spurred to life. With the movement, the hanging eye thing moved as well and rotated so that it had turned straight towards me. Before I could look away, very slowly, as if anything faster than that would not be inconspicuous, one of those yellow eyes came down, the lid sans eyelashes. I saw nothing else for a few seconds but those eyes, that winked at me. The next thing I know, I was engulfed in a blackness that wanted to choke me and then fell into nothingness.

***The End***

This post is part of a fortnightly (or, according to Usama), whenever-I-feel-like-it feature on my blog called Theandric Thursday, where I'll be having fun with putting down those weird thoughts and stories that occupy my mind most of the times. The dictionary definition of 'Theandric' is 'Relating to the joint agency of the divine and human nature'.

If you're interested in participating, write your own Theandric Thursday post and drop your link in the comments section. Feel free to write reality, part-reality-part-fiction or fiction, anything above the 'normality' of our world. ;) You can use the picture in your post and link back to this post.

PS- Check out Usama's latest Theandric Thursday posts. Two parts of a three-part story he's currently writing. Part 1, Part 2.

PPS- It's my dream to write something scary. I've tried a few times but it always ends up being funny. If this scared you even 1%, do let me know. :P


  1. It was so good. I've saved it in my feed reader too.
    You write like a novelist. I mean, you express so well with such simple words. Even though the end was a little obvious, I enjoyed reading right till the end, and then enjoying the end more, not because I knew what would be the case, but because I kept wishing I could write as well as you do. Autograph bhej de, please?

    P.S. Worth letting everyone else know. Besides, who doesn't like blogger comments? :D

    1. Oh right. 8| I love blogger comments ;)
      Thankyou so so much. :D

      Autograph? :P Haha! Sure. Just let me do something better and real before that. ;)

  2. Oh.My.God. Seriously, now that was something o.O Gajab imagination! A really gripping narration Ashna, hats off to you!

    I don't get scared off easily, but I really am thankful that I didn't read it late night or well.. ahem... you can imagine -_-

    1. Ha! Really? :P I've realized, though. To get into writing really scary stuff, I'll have to deviate a bit from my every-time-style. Let's see if it works, or I'll just move on to a better dream ;)

      Thanks for your lovely comment. ^_^

  3. hahahaha!!!! U n ur over active imagination :P BTW is this a true story????. If yes, Stop reading such books, But if that was an-awesome-fiction-out-of-your-imagination, I would say reading has paid U off really well. ;-)
    The narration was gripping and there is not a single point when dont want to know what next. Good Job :-) :-)

    1. How can I just stop reading such books? :P Even if this is real, I'd be glad to have something to write about ;)

      I'm glad you liked it. :D Thanks!! :)

  4. Haha! Super imagination Ashna. I wonder what will happen when you shift from horror books to seriously horror movies! If ever you hope for watching any, invite me :P

    PS: This was not at all scary. Maybe because I could imagine your expressions while you were writing this, or because I know you too well! ;)

    1. Aw man! If it wasn't scary, I'm all for watching a horror movie. :P

  5. OMG!
    This is amazing!
    How do you come up with all these ideas? :o

    You are on the right track dudette, keep writing :D


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