ALONE

At first, I thought they were just stains of white paint on the jet black wall. Daddy wanted to remove it. He wanted to repaint the wall in blue. But on close inspection he said he would leave it as it is.

It was actually a painting on the wall. A beautiful mural, according to Daddy. Done on black and white. An interesting one too. A little girl along an endless road. A highway. Alone she was. Her back towards me with her hair swaying to her left. Trees lining the horizon. It was night. A full moon on the clear black sky. Where was she heading?

It was my first day at the new home. Daddy and mommy had already seen it. It was big, bright and beautiful.
Second day at the new home. The furniture were already in place. Mommy was deciding on which curtain would suit which window. It had to match the wallpaper.

By afternoon Dev uncle and Maya aunty came to see us. Dev uncle works with Daddy. They were classmates too. It was through him that Daddy got to buy this new home. I liked him a lot because he never came empty handed. Chocolates, toys, you name it. This time I got a teddy bear.

Sometimes I felt sad for the couple. They didn’t have children.
After they left in the evening I felt so alone, because Daddy was busy with his laptop and Mommy was watching her soap.
I had nothing else to do but to admire the mural. Wasn’t the girl afraid? I imagined me in her place. It was so dark and scary. Is that a streak of lighting? No. There was a full moon. So it was a tree branch. Much like the trees at the horizon. Then I noticed.

There were crosses amongst those trees. A cemetery. And what was in her right hand? Flowers? Yes.

I woke up hearing a loud shriek. It was Mommy. I rushed out down to the spot where Mommy was lying on the floor on Daddy’s lap holding on to him and screaming. Then she passed out. Daddy said it is alright. Mommy had seen something on the wall in their room. Daddy told me to stay with her and went in to check what had happened. Moments later he came out, sweating as if he saw something and closed the door from outside, as if he didn’t want me to see it.

Two neighbours came to investigate and when they offered help, Daddy said we were cool. One of them had called for a doctor, who advised Mommy to take rest.
All this while, I was unable to understand what was really happening. And I peeked into their room when Daddy was talking with our neighbours. There was nothing wrong in the room. Except for the foot marks on the ceiling. They were small and red in color.

Mommy and Daddy have shifted to upstairs with me.
Today morning I found my teddy bear torn up. Mommy scolded me for that. I didn’t do it, I swear. I started crying and Daddy came to support me. Mommy has been very uneasy since the incident.

Daddy helped me mend the toy. He removed all the old cotton from inside the bear. It was all stained and smelly. Brown coloured stains and there were some twigs and leaves and dried flowers. Then he filled up the bear with some fibre-foam and sewed it back up.

Strange. The flowers looked familiar.

Daddy seems upset today morning. Something had happened to his office papers. They were all stained red. He hasn’t even talked to me yet. He thinks it’s me. Mommy is still uncomfortable in the new house. She says someone pelted stones at her while she was sitting in the lawn and the garden swing was moving on its own.

Dev uncle and Maya aunty came in the morning. They too were looking edgy. Dev uncle was not in his funny mood, and nor did he bring any gifts for me. He forced a smile when he saw me, but I can tell he too is tensed about all these incidents. He is getting older. The spectacles looked bigger on him. And gray streaks had started appearing on his head.Maya aunty was seen comforting Mommy while uncle was arguing with Daddy about leaving the house. He was showing something to Daddy. An old newspaper.
I was again alone in my room. I dragged the teddy bear along the room towards the painting. I felt like I was the little girl in the painting. Alone. Is that a teddy bear she’s holding, along with that bunch of flowers?

I looked ahead towards the cemetery at the end of the road. And till now I hadn’t noticed the strange figure lurking behind one of the tombstones. He was hiding as if he was getting ready to pounce on the little girl.

And he wore big round spectacles.

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