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House of Darkness

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Mr. Joshi was on his way back home from the cinema. It was 10 P.M. and the evening show had finished just an hour earlier.

He was in a happy mood. The movie had been interesting—he liked the part where the hero fought and defeated all the villains single-handedly despite his background in journalism. Like most Nepali movies it had a happy ending and the hero not only managed to get the girl but also was able to convince the girl's parents to let him marry her. The audience had cheered and whistled and applauded when the couple finally kissed and then the movie ended.

He used to go to the cinema alone. He could not remember the last time he took Mrs. Joshi to to the cinema or anywhere else. Inside their house, they had their own private little lives and each respected the other's privacy. Mrs. Joshi had been a widow before he married her. He had decided to stay unmarried until he finally yielded to his family's wishes and decided to marry at the age of thirty eight. There was a narrow path that branched out from the main road that led to his house. On either side of the path there were vegetable patches—cabbages, little radishes and turnips. It was difficult to navigate the path at night.  His pocket torchlight lit the way, projecting a consistent beam of light.

As he approached his two-storied house he heard the sound of leaves rustling in the direction of his guava trees. As he pointed his torch in that direction he saw a silhouette of a man standing just below the trees. Except it wasn’t a man.

It had the body of a man—in a black suit. His humanlike qualities ended just as the neck began. It was a headless body.

Mr. Joshi let out a scream. He dropped his torch and fell back. The torch fell on the ground and flickered for a second but continued illuminating the grass. Mrs. Joshi must have not heard his scream; she would have come outside the verandah if she had heard him screaming in front of the house like a lunatic.

He picked himself up and stumbled towards the door. He banged the door with his fists. As he banged the door incessantly, he could see the body at the same place where he had first seen it. It was standing awkwardly—as if it was hung by the neck with a rope. Then it gave a lifeless twitch.

Finally, he heard footsteps from inside and the door opened and he burst inside. He bumped into his wife and nearly fell on the floor.

"What are you d—" she began.

"Out!" He said. He could not speak. "Outside!" he cried as he pointed to the door. It was all he could say.

She went outside. "There is nothing out here." she called back.

"A m- man" he stuttered "A man with no body!"  He wanted to say "a man with no head." He was breathing like of a drowning man.

Mrs. Joshi closed the door and looked at him with a perplexed expression.

"Just sit there on the sofa. What you need is a warm cup of tea." she said as she started walking towards the kitchen.

"Wait!" he said still shaking violently and struggling to from coherent sentences. "I'll come with you" he blurted out.

She gave him a smile and went to the kitchen and he straggled behind her.

He let out a bloodcurdling scream as he saw the body— sitting on the dining table—black suited and headless. It got up.

Horrified, he turned towards his wife to grab her and get out of the house. Instead, he saw a knife in her hand and a wicked smile on her face…

And then the lights went out.

 

The End

Author Bio: I am a law student from Kathmandu, Nepal. When not pouring over legal theories, statutes and case laws I try to write short stories. My hobbies include cooking and staring at the green wall of my room for hours thinking about story ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

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