Train of tales Children

Strange happenings

Illustration: Sonal Goyal   | Photo Credit: Illustration: Sonal Goyal

The story so far:On the last day of their vacation, it rained all day. They were stuck indoors and settling in for a long, boring day when a series of mysterious events shake them.

By noon, it was dark and gloomy. The rain had given way to mist. They could barely see outside the window. The cold permeated into the house. “We’ll ask Albert to light a fire in the fireplace,” said Moti uncle.

A fire seemed a cheerful thought. They went in to the dining room for lunch and found a frazzled Albert still in the process of setting the table. “I seem to be messing up the table settings! I’ll get the food…” he said distractedly, stepping out of the room. As he brought in a hot bowl of chicken curry, suddenly, it went flying out of his hands. Moti uncle, Keya and Dhruv moved away in a hurry and Mishti hid behind them.

Albert was aghast. All he could do was apologise profusely. “Never in my 40 years of service have I done something like that. I don’t know what got into me…”

“You sit here,” said Moti uncle. “We’ll get the lunch on the table.” Albert sat down, tut-tutting and shaking his head. When the table was set, Moti uncle coaxed a distraught and distracted Albert to sit with them and have his lunch. Halfway through the meal, Albert said said, “You know I distinctly felt my hand being jostled. I didn’t trip…”

Dinner that evening was quiet and subdued. As they got ready for bed, Moti uncle said, “Oh! I forgot to remind Albert that we are leaving in the morning. Let me just pop down and tell him. You kids, be packed before getting to bed.”

Eerie time

Keya and Dhruv went to their rooms and began packing. The rain was making an infernal din on the tiled roof. “I’ll be glad to be off tomorrow. The rain kills the holiday spirit,” thought Keya.

There was a loud bang, almost like an explosion. Keya and Dhruv charged downstairs. Mishti followed them.

There was no sign of Moti uncle. Mishti whimpered and stood close to them with his tail tucked between his legs.

In the kitchen, they found pots and pans on the floor. Suddenly, the tap opened and water gushed out. Dhruv ran to turn it off but slipped and fell headlong. As Keya went to help him, the power went off. The quiet of darkness was broken by the sound of water gushing out of the tap, and the pounding rain.

Then they heard it … a chuckle. The tap was closed and the lights came on. Dhruv stood up. Though he had not hurt himself in the fall, he was shaken.

Mishti shivered and tilted her head looking at a point above her. With a low keening, she ran out.

To be continued

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 2:44:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/strange-happenings/article33537617.ece

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