Thank you for taking time out to read Chapter 1 of our first Episodic Story ‘The Woman in My House’. Here’s chapter 2 for this week.
Startled by the sound of footsteps outside my room, my eyes fluttered open. The dim moonlight filtered through the window, casting a soft glow on the room. For a moment, I wondered if I had forgotten to lock the main door, but then I remembered I was in the mountains. Bheemchatti was a safe place, untouched by the chaos of the city. Here, the villagers respected each other’s privacy, and no one would dare enter my house without my knowledge. Moreover, there was nothing of value worth stealing in this secluded abode. I looked at the clock on the wall which showed 3 AM. I had slept for 8 hours straight, yet it did not feel enough to compensate for the fitful sleep I had received the previous week.
Shaking off the thought, I closed my eyes, attempting to drift back into slumber. However, the wind outside began to howl with increasing intensity, creating an unsettling symphony that echoed through the night. Through the window, I could see snowflakes dancing, heralding the arrival of a heavy snowfall. By morning, the entire region would be blanketed in knee-deep snow. Yet, there was something peculiar about the wind—it refused to subside with the onset of the snowfall.
Trying not to overthink, I sighed and rose from my bed. I slipped my feet into my shoes and made my way to the living room, a flicker of unease lingering in my mind. There, I double-checked the lock on the front door, finding it securely fastened. The house was still and silent, as it should be in the dead of night.
However, an inexplicable sensation gnawed at my senses. It felt as though someone’s eyes were fixated on me, observing my every move. I glanced around, searching for any signs of intrusion, but everything appeared same as I had left. I wondered if I was hallucinating, the result of countless sleepless nights spent in the tent during my expeditions in the forest.
Brushing off the notion, I retreated back to my room, seeking solace in the layers of thick blankets that adorned my bed. I lay there, attempting to dismiss the disquieting feeling that clung to me. But as I closed my eyes, an awareness of being watched persisted.
Minutes turned into hours as I lay awake, the weight of uncertainty settling upon me like an invisible presence. Shadows danced across the room, cast by the soft moonlight that filtered through the curtains. The wind continued its relentless assault outside, now accompanied by the rhythmic patter of snow against the windowpane.
Gradually, fatigue washed over me. With a final sigh, I surrendered to sleep, hoping that the morning light would bring clarity to the enigmatic presence or perhaps my strange imagination. Little did I know that the journey to uncover the truth behind the haunting gaze had only just begun.
I woke up at 7 in the morning, greeted by the warmth of sunlight filtering through my window. It was a comforting sight, and a smile naturally formed on my face. Dressing up in thermals and a winter jacket, I put on my snow shoes and walked into the living room. I dropped a notebook, and a few pens in my backpack and made sure I had all the camera gear I needed. I locked the house securely behind me. Stepping outside, I was met with a picturesque snowy landscape. The snow was knee-deep, and I made a mental note to clear the path upon my return.
I had not completely recovered from the exhaustion. Even after a good night’s sleep, the pain on the left side of my head persisted. But I did not have much time to rest. My tickets to my hometown – Mangalore were booked for three days later and I had to finish my article and submit the photographs to the magazine before that.
Determined to make the most of the day, I trudged through the snow, my camera in hand, ready to capture the beauty around me. Throughout the morning, I focused my lens on the intricate details of snowflakes, the vastness of the surrounding scenery, and anything that caught my eye. It was exhilarating to document these moments, envisioning them as valuable additions to my travel section for the magazine. The possibility of a successful submission and a generous payment motivated me, as it would fund my future trekking adventures. I also reminded myself to invest in new snow boots for upcoming expeditions. The ones he was currently wearing had worn out and his snow trek experience, otherwise exhilarating was hindered by the shoes.
As the day progressed and the sun reached its zenith, I sought shelter beneath a magnificent walnut tree. It was a peaceful spot where I could gather my thoughts and reflect on my travel experiences. Sitting there, I began jotting down my encounters, determined to craft a captivating narrative that would transport readers to the stunning landscapes I had explored.
In the evening, as the sun started its descent, casting a warm glow on the landscape, I hurriedly packed my belongings. The temperature was dropping, but I noticed that my hands and feet remained surprisingly warm. Perhaps it was the resilience I had developed during my recent trekking expedition in sub-zero temperatures.
Upon returning to the village, I smiled at a familiar woman from the neighbourhood. However, she seemed preoccupied with her thoughts as she continued to carry the firewood on her back secured tightly by a rope, and walked away muttering something about a good-for-nothing drunkard husband. Sensing it wasn’t the right time for small talk, I continued on my way.
Confusion filled my mind as I approached my home. The veranda and the path leading to my house had been cleared of snow. Uncertainty crept in, suggesting the possibility of someone else occupying my humble abode. The unsettling presence from the previous night loomed large in my thoughts, igniting a mix of curiosity and concern. Summoning my courage, I cautiously approached my house, ready to uncover the truth behind the mysterious happenings.
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