When I walked through….(Chapter-3)

Click here to read chapter-4

Her head was throbbing with pain.She felt powerless.Trying to shift around in her position, Stella laid there unconscious.She slowly started to open her eyes but immediately covered them with her hand as the moon-light from the opposite window was falling directly on her.After a few moments of lying still and thoughtless, she again tried to get up.It was like a war but she managed a victory.She crawled to the nearest wall and laid her back against it.

The hit was bad. She gently examined her forehead to find out if she was bleeding. She was!

“Oh god! The cut has to go before John sees it. It would concern him.”

As she stood up slowly and started to walk she immediately remembered –THE CONSIGNMENT.

She rushed back to the hall, the package was gone! The turn of events gave birth to a lot of questions. Who was that man? How did he get inside? Did the consignment belong to him? Was he here to take it back? This entire confusion was making her head hurt even more.

“Okay! I think I need some fresh air and I would need some bandage for my cut.”

She locked the house, checking all the doors and windows once again and then went outside to explore her hometown. Stepping outside sent the memory trail running again. Although a lot had changed in her town, things were still the same enough to allow her to dive deep in nostalgia.

Walking down the road, her eyes stumbled across the town park. She stopped-by to take a closer look. Somehow, nothing was changed in the past seven years. Same benches, same lighting, everything was the same.

“Are you sure?”, said Alex with a worried look.

” Yes!”, affirmed Stella in the rudest tone possible.

“Why don’t you understand Stella, your parents are not selfish, they……they are just emotional about you.”

“You don’t understand Alex. It is suffocating and I cannot take it anymore. I have a life, a dream. I want to build a grand career.”

” Do it, for sure, but you can’t just abandon your parents like that! You are their only child. Talk to them, convince them, take them along. Don’t just run away like that!”

“Stop being an emotional fool, Alex.”

“You are a fool!”, said Alex grabbing Stella by her shoulders.

She pushed him away aggressively and ran away. Needless to say, even after seven years, Stella still regrets that conversation with her best friend. She never ever talked to Alex again. That was the last time. Alex was her childhood friend. They knew each other even before they could speak. It was a very special bond.

Thinking about it now, standing right at the place where it happened, filled Stella with guilt all over again. Alex was correct all along. Stella gave out a deep sigh.

” Still thinking about it?”

She abruptly turned around to find a tall, pale and dark-eyed man standing to her right. It took her a few seconds to recognize him. It was Alex!

Curly hair, pleasant smile and an accent that still flaunted his Italian roots. She immediately broke into a smile but it soon turned into a hesitant and faint one. He sensed the hesitation.

“Don’t worry! I am not mad. Sorry to surprise you like that.”

“No! That’s fine. I am glad that we met again.”

“In town to sell the house?”

“Yes. How come you know?”

He stopped for a second with a confusing frown and then continued, ” The lawyer that you are dealing with is a close friend and by the way, your house is quite an anecdote in the town.”

Stella gave a nod.

“What is that cut on your forehead?”

“Oh! I fell down. I was going to the medical store to purchase some bandage.” Stella smiled as she said that, trying hard to conceal her lie. She definitely did not want to worry Alex just a few moments after their reunion.

“Strange! I was also going to the medical store. Let us go together then…..that is…..if you would like?”

“Yeah, sure! Why not?”

The first few seconds of the walk were silent. Then, to break the ice, Stella started talking about the weather.

” It is quite cold, right!”

” Yeah.” He gave an awkward and uninterested reply.

The silence gave Stella a few moments to analyze everything that took place. There could have been no way that Alex was just casually there at the town park. It was opposite to the way to the medical store from his house. And also, that confusing look on Alex’s face when Stella asked her that how did he know about the deal! It all screamed out loud that something was fishy. She was not exactly suspecting him to be the man in the house but there is some link between him and that man.

Busy thinking, Stella did not even realize that they had already reached the medical store. They both went inside, still silent. Purchased the supplies and exited the store.

When they stepped out, Stella abruptly stopped Alex.

“What is wrong with my house?”

” W…..what……N….nothing.” He stammered, adding fuel to Stella’s hunch.

Now she looked him straight into the eye. “Alex, you need to tell me. The consignment, that man…… What is wrong?”

” I don’t know anything Stella. Why would you even expect me to know?”

” Don’t tell me, Alex, that you knew about the deal just because your lawyer friend told you. There is no person other than you who could have had the key to the house. I checked, there were no break-ins.”

” You are still the over-thinker that you have always been. You…..”

” Over-thinker?”

” Maybe any of your relatives kept it there. It has been seven years Stella, maybe it was always there and you forgot. You are a journalist, I know, but I don’t think that you should try to find a story in every single part of your life!”

” Alex you….”, she started angrily only to be interrupted by Alex.

” Oh come on Stella! What is wrong with you? We have met after so many years! Let me walk you back to your house and answer all your questions along the way. Fine?”

He reached out to pull a paper out of his pocket. As they turned around, a man came and gave Alex a tight slap. He snatched the paper from his hand and it got torn into halves. Four more men joined him. They pushed Alex onto the ground and started to beat him.

Stella tried to intervene but was pushed to the ground. Her knee started to bleed. As she raised her eyes, she noticed that one of the shoes had the same eagle mark as the man’s shoe that she saw in her house.

Before she could have looked at his face, they left, leaving Alex behind, bleeding and unconscious.

Time seemed to have stopped around Stella. Panic gripped her. The man from the medical store quickly called the ambulance. Everything seemed less important now. All that mattered was her best friend.

What was the connection between the events in her house and Alex? Who were these people? What did they want? Why did they beat Alex? Find out in the upcoming chapter of “When I walked through….” Follow the blog to receive an e-mail every-time we release a new chapter.

When I walked through….( Chapter-2)

Click here to read chapter-3

A huge part of our personality and our being is crafted by our experiences as a child. We are almost like a formless rock lying ashore to a river, THE RIVER OF LIFE. Sometimes the water flows slowly and peacefully but at other times God sends the rain pouring down; then there is turbulence, storms or even floods. No matter what happens, every single drop of water that comes our way has one and only one purpose, every single drop of water has the greed of a sculpturer; it wants to carve out the best piece of art ever made.

Stella as a child was chirpy, curious and lively but definitely the most ambitious kid one could have ever met. She wanted to win over the world. She wanted nothing less than the best but needless to say, she failed to recognize where to stop.

Her conscience, I must say, knocked at her heart every single moment through the seven years she spent away from her family in New York, building the beast of a career she has as the assistant editor of a leading daily. Her soul urged her every single day to get into the car and rush back to find her parents, especially after they willed their house to her name and shifted to some unknown place, but, what did she do?

She ran. Fueled by her ego, her guilt, her pride, she ran as far as she could, away from her soul and conscience.

Here, she was standing in front of her past for the last time. She was going to get rid of it, very soon.

She was here for farewell not for reunion. When she walked through the door, she kept this in mind.

She pushed the door open, it creaked in the scariest way possible. The wood was old now, there were spider-webs everywhere. The fact that the house was abandoned was being shouted out loud by its remains.

The sun had already started going down, so it was hard to see inside the house. Tripping and stumbling over things, feeling walls, she somehow managed to figure out the light switch and flicked it up.

As light filled the living room Stella experienced her entire childhood coming back to life. She was instantly filled with nostalgia. Flashbacks started crowding her mind…..

It was high school when she discovered the little artist inside her. Her father was a lawyer but he was also a very skilled painter and hence, her interest in painting was a surprise to no-one. Her first painting was this beautiful landscape with trees, mountains and a waterfall but her favorite part in it was the clear, open and blue sky. Just looking at it made her want to fly away.

When she was about to finish her painting, she accidentally dropped some blue paint on one of her mountains. She rushed to her father crying.

” What happened Stella?”

” I accidentally dropped blue paint on the canvas.” She said as she sobbed.

” Hmmm….okay, let’s see what can be done.” He got up from his desk and went with her to her room. He looked at the painting, still and silent for a few seconds. Stella was just waiting for him to tell her that her painting was now spoiled forever, but instead, he picked up a brush and some white paint and blended the blue paint. When he finished, it appeared as if water was rushing down the mountain

“Wow!” gasped Stella.

“You like it?”

” Yes! Dad, you are the best!” she said as she hugged him.

” Stella do you know why I love painting?”

” Ummm….no….maybe you like colors..”, she said this with a clueless face.

Her father smiled, “…..because the canvas for me is like a parallel universe, it is like a different world owned by the person with a brush in his hand. You paint whatever you want, it is all about your vision. Nothing is judged as a mistake, everything is perfect in its own way and if you think it is not, there is always a room for improvement.”

“Even I have started to love painting now.”

“Do you want to be a painter?”

” I don’t know about that but I want to be super-rich.”

Her dad laughed and stroked her forehead gently as he left the room.

Suddenly a mouse ran across the lobby bringing Stella back to her present, almost abruptly. She wiped off her tears and as her eyes followed the trail of the mouse, they stumbled upon the painting, her painting, it was still hung on the wall. She went to the wall and brought the painting down. She stared at it for some time, looking at the same blue open sky but sadly it did not make her want to fly now.

She kept the painting on the nearby table and instantly noticed a bubble-wrapped box kept on the ground, just beside the table. To her surprise, it seemed newer compared to the other things in the house. She picked up the box and turned it around to look for any details of the sender. There was no such information but just a date, “December 11, 2018”

” What? How can this be possible? No one else has the key to the house except me!”

Just then there was a loud thud and then the sound of a screeching floorboard from the darker side of the hallway. She turned her head in that direction and noticed the silhouette of a man.

” Who is it?” she asked with an assertive voice.

Suddenly, the silhouette started to run away. She was an investigative journalist early in her career so, out of habit, she followed the lead and ran.

The street light shining in from a window revealed the man for a few seconds. He was tall and wearing a very strange looking shoe. The shoe had the picture of an eagle inscribed on its buckle.

He increased his pace and started running towards the back door. Suddenly a metal object came flying from somewhere and hit Stella on the head.

Everything blacked out.

Who was that man? Who attacked Stella? Where there more than one person in the house? Is there a secret about the property that Stella doesn’t know about? Find out in the upcoming chapters of “When I walked through…..”Follow the blog to receive an e-mail every time we release a new chapter.

When I walked through….(Chapter-1)

Click here to read chapter-2

“Yay! Dad!”

“Oh, my little sweetheart! How are you?”

“Wow! You bought me a gift! There is something in your hands! No, please don’t hide it. Mom, daddy bought me a gift!”, little Stella exclaimed all the way as she ran downstairs to greet her dad.

” Stella, baby it is for your birthday.”

MY BIRTHDAY! Dad, ten days are left for my birthday. How am I going to wait for that long?”

“Waiting for little things in life makes them more enjoyable.”, Stella’s mom quoted as she picked her up.

” ..and, you will like it more if you opened the gift on your birthday,” said Stella’s Dad as he exited out of the lobby towards his study to keep the briefcase and the gift there.

A disappointed Stella retreated to her room. Her stubborn and curious ten-year-old brain refused to comprehend that she might have to wait to experience the joy imprisoned behind the shiny and colorful gift paper.

She decided that at night, she will sneak inside her father’s study, take a look at what’s inside the gift box and then re-wrap the paper.

Stella waited patiently till midnight. Staying up was not an issue as the curiosity snatched all the little sleep that Stella had.

After what seemed like forever, she mustered up the courage to quietly get out of her room, check if her parents are finally asleep, get downstairs and run to her father’s study.

She flicked on the light switch. the light-filled the room, revealing the beautiful pink shiny gift-wrapped box to her eyes.

She tip-toed to the box, since the study was directly under her parents’ bedroom, even the smallest sounds would have reached there. She reached the table and straight away went for the box. The table was a little higher for her height, so she jumped. She got the box after two attempts but she accidentally knocked off her father’s pen-holder off the table.

SHE FROZE.

The loud thud definitely woke her parents up. They came running downstairs. As they reached the study, they slowed down as they feared a robber to be in there.

They slowly tried to peak in and…… “HAHAHAHAHA!”. Upon finding Stella with the gift standing near the table, they burst out laughing.

“I would lie if I said that it was not expected.” teased her mother.

Stella turned pink from embarrassment but considering how funny the situation had gotten, she also started laughing. Her father took a break from laughing and picked Stella up. “Come let’s open the gift.” The mischief in his voice brought a joking grin on the mother’s face too.

Stella’s face changed emotions from embarrassment to laughter, to shock and then to joy and excitement within seconds.

Stella’s father sat her down on the couch and gave her the gift saying, “Happy birthday dear!”

Stella quickly unwrapped the box finding a very beautiful dollhouse inside. She exclaimed in joy, “WOW!”

” You like it?”

“Yes, it’s so pretty….”

Her dad and mom looked at each other and smiled.

“Now come Stella, you will be late for school!”

“Okay, Mom. Good night Dad, love you.” , Stella waved a kiss to her dad and left the room with her mom.

The phone rang……..TRRRRNN……TRRRRRNNN……

“Stella!Stella!”, someone shouted from behind. The abrupt voice pulled Stella out of her memories. She turned around to find John running towards her.

John, her fiancĂ©, she met her five years ago in college. He is the vice-president of a company. A tall, handsome and charming man with a smile that felt like home. no wonder Stella’s restless heart found peace with him.

“Stella, are you okay? You were not picking up my calls. I was worried.” Stella checked her phone, it had seven missed calls!

“I am okay…I just got caught up in some thoughts. Anyways, what about the paperwork? How long is it going to? We need to sell this place as soon as possible.”

Stella, the girl who was once madly in love with her parents’ house, was now standing here and talking about selling it. She, for sure, felt hollow. Her brain was caught in the whirlwind of numbers but her heart was silently praying for everything to stop.

John replied, breaking the stream of her thoughts once again, “Actually, it should have been done by now but our lawyer has to suddenly travel for some business, so…….”

“Oh, okay.”

“Ya, we will come back the next week.” , John reassured.

“Can I stay here till the next meeting.” Her heart started pounding in her chest as she asked that. It was hard to tell what the feeling was, but it was there and strong.

“Are you sure you will manage alone? I mean, this place has been abandoned for a while.”

” Yes, I am sure I will figure it out.”

” Okay, then.”

They gave each other a good-bye kiss. As John’s car drove out of the driveway, Stella could feel the demons of fear and guilt rise out of her confusing numbness. After the last bit of John’s car faded away, she turned around towards the house. She stood there, still for a while, exploring her surroundings with her teared-up eyes.

Dreams and ambitions, they have a mystic power. They can turn everything around, just in a moment.

She pushed her tears back. “So, my sweet home, I will be troubling you, for the last time.” She sighed heavily and started towards the door, trying to cover her tears by her smile.

Click here to read chapter-2

Why does Stella want to sell her house? Where is her family? What is waiting for Stella beyond that door? Find out in the upcoming chapters of “When I walked through”. Follow the blog to receive an e-mail every time we release a new chapter.