Sunday Writing Prompt “Phone Call”
DIAL M FOR MADNESS
By Neel Anil Panicker
“Hello!…hello…hello, who’s this?”
Hot beads of sweat began to trickle down Neha’s temple. Standing by the wall stand, she found herself trembling as she put the handset on the cradle.
Then, she turned around to walk out of the room but her feet refused to do the bidding. There she stood, transfixed like a stone, immobile and in limbo for God knows how long. It was just was just seconds but to Neha’s tortured mind the wait seemed like an eternity.
Unfailingly, the phone rang, once more, just as it had been doing so this past one week.
Always between ten and six every single day save Sundays, at hourly intervals.
By now she knew the routine. There she would be, in the kitchen, either cooking or cleaning utensils, or in the balcony, looking out of her eleventh floor window, killing time, staring aimlessly at the world go eleven floors below when the phone would start to ring.
Tring…tring…tring…its shrill sounds piercing her ears, jabbing into her hearts, stabbing her inner arteries, blood oozing out of her inner being.
Her heart on a turnstile, she would then rush in, her mind already crushed water melons, her heart a sagging airless tube.
Then, with trembling hands, she would gingerly pick up the phone’s receiver and place it onto to her ears.
And, hear nothing. Her hellos would be met with zilch. There would be zero response from the other side.
The heavily pregnant pauses would continue; she, her heart and mind now in great turmoil, would stand there, a statue, as a stony silence passed between the air waves___between her and whoever it was on the other end.
Then, after some time, after she had gone to hell and back, after she could hold on no longer, after the world around her eyes began to go dark, she would, with hands still violently trembling, keep the receiver back to its cradle.
And that’s when the real torture would begin.
That’s when she would limp her way and slump onto the bed only to find herself getting sucked into the dark dungeons of her inner soul where horrendous childhood memories came revisiting with an intensity and vileness that was so life sucking that when she finally would wake up from her comatose state, she would be rendered ineffectual, a her mind and body a mere rotting vegetable, unable and unfit for anything.
For Isha Mukherjee, the once chirpy effervescent girl with the heart melting impish smile, the descent into hell, the madness had just begun.
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