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The council is building a community Child Day Care Center right next to our house. On that very ground, once, lived a bald and stout pensioner. Mr. Muleya was our strangely opinionated neighbor. He had this disturbing fascination with the nobility of solitude, and he went all out to prove his philosophy, for he was a practical man. Indeed, he kept much to himself and did a very good job, while at it. I think he was one of those people not exactly cut for any kind of society whatsoever, for he would invariably find something disagreeable with every member of the human species. One would be found too forward, another too loud, too intrusive, too provincial, or just too something. Apparently human society was pathetically inadequate, his standard soured above everything and everyone.

In his mundane obsession with the dignity of isolation, he had put up a poster warning ‘people of dogs’, although he never owned any. At least as far as I knew him, and we had been neighbors for 12 years. He hated our dogs so much, they ultimately became his favorite objects of resentment. In the resultant conflict, he had almost poisoned all the dogs before we intervened and decided that the dogs should never be allowed anywhere on his property. But he had logical reasons for his actions. These abominable creatures had a poor understanding of boundaries, they urinated in his garden, consistently defecated on his lawn and dug holes along the durawall. Grievances against these canine malefactors were inexhaustible.

And, wait I will tell you, without delay, of one incident which hopefully will put his behavior and everything else into perspective. They were building a very high wall which would separate us(ending permanently the problem of the venomous dogs, the prying eyes of neighbors and neighbors’ kids who often conveniently strayed into his orchard). The project would complete the grand enclosure, a spectacular sight if you ask me, it imposingly stood out like a castle. It was very much metaphorically illustrative of his resolute, inner desire to stay aloof.

To complete the assemblage, a razor wire was to be fixed at the top end to discourage trespassers. Along with an electric wire to encourage good behavior and a rapid response notice in order to emphasize the wisdom in compliance.

On this particular day, the boys were playing outside. School was out and their cousins had come for holiday, so ecstasy is the appropriate word for the general mood in the boys department. I was also happy, at least I would be allowed to enjoy some peace while the dopamine-charged boys occupied themselves with whatever little men around 6-8 love to do. It is in this perfectly harmonious state of affairs that our neighbor’s voice is heard, carrying with it an offensively intense aspect. It beams so loud, unashamedly shattering the beautiful serene atmosphere. Believe me, the man had a terrible excuse of a voice. I secretly thought of it as a squeak, for nothing in this world could make such a painful sound but pigs, and himself of course. His voice aside, his temperament did not help matters. So, I recognized the call, something was terribly out of order. I scrambled uneasily across the yard, to where everyone else had already gathered in response to the crisis alert. I immediately noticed that the little boys wore curiously strange expressions, undecidedly resonating between mournful regret and pure advanced fear.

We were soon to learn that, while the boys were playing, their ball had accidentally fallen into Mr. Muleya’s yard. Obviously oblivious of the consequences, the boys had innocently crossed over to retrieve their object of play. In the process, they left their tiny footprints in the concrete casting of the durawall pillars, yet to be erected. So, before us lay a concrete evidence of the boys’ malfeasance, the prints constituted the reason for Mr. Muleya’s amazing fit of rage. In the heat of the moment, I moved closer to assess the damage. The prints were very small, yet a bit too deep to ignore. If he were to ignore these tiny impressions, they would effectively transform the image of this formidable and almost intimidating castle into something like a Child Day Care Center. It was hilarious, I almost laughed before I quickly checked myself, again becoming aware of the impending crisis. So, clearly apart from nosy people, not so nosy, people, dogs and neighbors, Mr. Muleya was highly allergic to little people.

Then came the fateful day. Circumstances surrounding this eventful day made me consider. Murphy’s philosophy. The one in which he states that if something may and can go wrong, it will. I was as usual at my favorite spot in the living room, concentrating on finishing the last chapter to my essay on the paradoxes of human existence. I was so engrossed that I could not have felt, smelled or heard anything without interrupting the stream of thought. I did not like that, or even the idea of the possibility.

We were only alerted by passersby who either saw or smelt it. At first the smoke was not very noticeable, then followed the unmistakable pleas of distress. Flames emerged with starting immediacy, as if provoked by the disquieting squeaks of the helpless man. He was fighting a losing struggle. We tried to save the man, to no avail, for the house was specially designed to keep out people. Well, not entirely, for there was the intercom. He died at the door, scratching furiously at the automatic door now locked forever. Later, when the police came, they had to tear down the doors to take out the man’s blackened form. He was perfectly cremated. I almost felt sorry for him, he was our neighbor, our sophisticated neighbor.

Bio: I am a new writer who is interested in crime and mystery stories. I also enjoy writing book reviews. I have written book reviews for OnlineBookClub. You can check reviews by chiefsimplex. 


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