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THE MYSTERY OF THE BLUE STONY STEPS
By Neel Anil Panicker
The blue painted door always fascinated her.
Walking back from school, Sheeba would deliberately fall behind, allowing her sister, a year younger at twelve, to walk ahead of her.
“These legs, they’re killing me. You go ahead, Heena, I will take some time”, was her standard ruse.
Then, all alone to herself, she would take the slow uphill climb and when reaching the corner bend, she would linger around, her eyes gazing at the lone red brick single story flat roofed house.
Ever since she was five, the time when her mother had walked her first to school, and when she had first sighted the house, it held a fascination, an eerie pull that was inexplicable to her young mind.
On several nights, when back at her house, and long after dinner, when she had tucked herself in bed, the little girl would stay awake, and wonder what it was about the house that was so magnetic that she couldn’t even if she wanted to, extricate herself from its stranglehold.
An answer to her befuddlement arrived at her mindscape almost a decade later, when the young girl, now almost on the verge of teenhood, had a dream one night.
In that dream, her mother appeared: a young woman, clad in a bright red saree, an usual attire for she’d always seen pictures of her mother clad only in skirts and top.
Radiant and beautiful, she was climbing up the well worn moss covered stony steps.
A moment later, she’d knocked on the blue painted front door, and the next moment: voila! the next moment, who does she see: Uncle Bob, her father’s younger brother, the one who year ago had shot himself in the head.
The next morning, and for the next few days, Sheeba’s mind was a flotilla of psychedelic images as she tried to make the connect between the dream and the reality.
Was there something between Uncle Bob and her mother? Is that the reason, her parents never ever mentioned his name, leave alone acknowledge that they knew of such a man?
As the days rolled into weeks, her restlessness grew, her mind further befuddled by the mysterious dream, further intriguing her impressionable mind.
It was then, a couple of months later, on her thirteenth birthday that young Sheeba pledged to herself that one day she would grow up to be a detective, and solve the mystery of the Blue House by the hill, and its tenuous connection to her family history.
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