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I was very disoriented today. The lines between reality and dreams were a blur. Was this real? Or was it part of a charade inside my head? I couldn’t make out. So, I resigned my head to the pillow and closed my eyes. I could feel a pair of eyes on me. But who would be watching me, I thought and dismissed it instantly. Within my head, the lines from the book I was reading came alive going much beyond the few pages of prologue I read; resulting in my brain scripting parts of the sequence not even present in the book. I jolted awake. I pulled the book close to me, hoping to draw clearly lines between the fiction and my life in this moment. I flipped the last few pages and began reading again. Was that all the book had said? Maybe there was a lot more happening inside my head than I realised.

I gave up and buried my face in my pillow again. “I can’t think straight,” I muttered into my pillow.

One thing I didn’t know though was that I was in fact being watched. My intuition irked me but I was careless and let it slide. Sleep overcame my senses and I drifted, again.

As I travelled to strange lands in my sleep, I felt a pair of eyes glued to me. The uneasiness from the attention grew until I jolted awake.

“When did you come back from work?” I asked noticing Sam by the door of our bedroom.

“A while ago. Did I scare you?” he responded.

“Yes! You are taking the Police song too seriously,” I joked and threw my pillow at him.

“Not really,” he laughed. “You were struggling in your dream. So I didn’t want to make it worse by coming closer.”

The kindness never left his eyes. He kissed my forehead as I let go of the unease. He propped the pillow under my head. As I lay in bed, waiting to sleep again, I couldn’t make out anymore what had happened that night and what was just a dream. I peered over the side of my bed to find my fat book lying open. All I knew for sure was I was reading tonight and he was actually watching me.

As he pulled out his bedtime book, I whispered, “Don’t watch me sleep.”

He just laughed as he tucked a loose strand of hair behind my ear.

“Sleep, honey,” he said.
 

 

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. We give out creative writing topics each weekend for Indian bloggers.

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“Long time ago or was it once upon a time?” she began.

“Either way, amma. Tell me a scary story today,” I said.

“Want to sleep in my room?” my mother joked.

We laughed it off.

“There was a small community who were outcasts for their practices didn’t match the lofty standards others had. They believed in life after death; they even had sacrifices.”

“Sacrifices? Of what?” I asked.

“Human sacrifices. They believed that evil must be sacrificed each time a good soul dies of old age. This was done to keep the balance of good and evil.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“It was said that there was an old lady. She turned 80, then 90 and eventually died. Her family was devastated. So they went to the lead men of the village and pleaded to bring her back. They told them about the many wonderful things she had done; her good deeds towards society and the wonderful children she had given birth to. Upon understanding their situation, one of the men marched over to the local prison to chose their bait. Despite the village being an outcast, they had strict rule of law. Guilty were punished in the jail. The man randomly picked a prisoner. He asked him, ‘What crime did you commit?’ The man replied, ‘I killed a bird.’ The head man of the village nodded at the prison guard. The guard released him with chains and the marched over to their public execution ground. The head man ordered for the old lady to be brought. They placed her on a hospital bed along side the guillotine. The bird-murderer was executed, slowly and painfully. As life left him, it entered the old woman. Slowly, the body hung limp. The old woman stretched and sat up. She was alive again. The family cried tears of joy. She was with them, once again.”

I stared at my mother. “Is this a real story, amma?”

“No. No, Nina. You cannot bring back the dead,” she said.

“It is just a story?” I asked.

“Just a story. Now go to sleep.”