Because muffled sounds are often the most dangerous ones…

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“Why don’t you get down and get it done yourself” I hear my mom scream, busy frying puris in the kitchen. I shudder at the thought of getting down all by myself. Images of what happened with me while returning from school today start flashing in front of me. Feeling uneasy I try to shake it away but I can still hear the thud of footsteps following and the strong gaze but when I turned back there was no one, this is been happening for a week now. The hair on the back of my neck rise, I feel nauseous.  I will have to get down to take the print outs for my project that is due tomorrow. Changing from my pajamas into faded jeans, I tie my hair in a bun and slowly walk out of my room closing the door and grabbing my clutch as I switch off the light. I walk to the adjacent room and knock the door before I open it and peep in. my brother was busy doing something on the computer, in a suggestive tone I asked him,” Meet can you come with me to station, we can get you a chocolate mint ice-cream from Baskin Robbins on the way back?” all I got was point blank “NO”. Urghh I hate little brothers though he wasn’t little just a year younger to me. Why can’t he just agree to something I ask!  Irritated I head to the door throwing a “will be back soon” to my mom. Just when I close the main door and step out of the house irritation is replaced by an irrational fear. I totally forgot why I had asked Meet to accompany me in the first place.  Banging my head to a non-existent Iron rod, I press the button for the elevator. When I step out and the fresh air hits my face I realize how I missed playing badminton, stupid exams!

In spite of summers the wind was cold, I have this habit of wearing a hood when I have to go out in the evening , I pull up the cap over my head and place my hands in the warm pockets of the hood, plugging in the earphones of my iPod I start walking. After some time I feel it again, the feeling that someone is following me, I could feel the stare digging holes at my back, I stop and turn to find no one there. Leaving a shaky breath that I did not know I was holding I resume my tread. This time I turn down the volume of the iPod and try to concentrate on the voices around me, I can hear the crumbling of leaves from my footsteps; I can hear the crickets and some muffled voices of people having a conversation at a store some blocks away. There aren’t many shops here and so the street is pretty much empty and dimly lit. Then I hear it, the crumbling of leaves as the feet hits the pavement but I was standing it can’t be my feet, can it? My blood runs cold as the reality downs on me, mustering up strength I turn around just to find no one there AGAIN! This time I run as fast as my legs could carry me, my lungs burned from the lack of oxygen but I did not stop, my mind was screaming for me to get home as soon as possible.

When I reach the shop near the station, I bend down as I pant, there is a thick layer of sweat on my body, I could feel the droplets as they rolled down from my forehead to meet the ground. Taking support of the motor bike parked next to me I try to stand strait still drained I remove the pen drive from my jeans pocket and walk into the store. I hand over the pen drive to the person there and inform him about what I want. As he gets to his business I am left wondering is someone really stalking me or it is just my mind playing games? And if there is indeed someone who has developed this new interest in me cannot be that fast to cover his tracks and disappear whenever I turn back, can he? I turn around looking at nothing in particular but then something meets my peripheral vision, a man with black jacket and jeans a hat covering his features as all I could see was his rugged beard and the cigarette that was supported by his lips, he screamed bad news. Trust my brain to get into an over drive as it tried to zero down on possibilities that this man can be the stalker.” Madam” I heard the shopkeeper say, it jerked me out of my thoughts. Collecting my materials from him I pay the bills and start my walk towards home, my senses heightened for any movements behind me, my feet already pumped up if the need arises for me to run. Eyes cast downwards on the shadow that my body leaves behind and ears alert for any muffled sounds I increase my speed, determined to reach home before 9:00pm. Because every girl out there knows how helplessness feels and that chills those nights give you are more than what mere cold can afford.

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