THE LETTER - A SHORT FICTION


THEME FOR Jan 25, 2013 'WOW' : You meet a random person and start talking… What happens next?


"Excuse me...Do you have a moment? Excuse me!"
I heard a voice come from behind me. I turned to look back. I was on a short crime inspection tour to this quiet little town and didn't know many people, and was somewhat lost. I needed to get back to the Volvo bus stand to take me back to the city. But I had taken off, the beaten track, last couple of hours, and didn't quite know how to reach the depot. There was no one around to ask the way back either.
And it was almost a relief to hear this voice.

I saw a thin, old woman walking up to me. She had wrinkles on her face; her hair grey, and was wearing a pale blue polka dot dress that had seen better days. She looked quite frail too.
"I need help. Can you help me, son?" she said, as she huffed and puffed trying to reach where I was standing.

Well, I could do with some help too, I thought. "Yes, sure. What is it?" I asked.

"Look, I need you to take this letter to my daughter in the city, can you?" she handed out a crumpled piece of paper. I took it and began to look.
"No,don't open it," she stopped me. "It is for my daughter. Please understand."

"Oh,Okay", I said, putting the paper inside my pocket.
"Can you give me her address, where I am supposed to deliver it?" I asked.
"Yes, yes...Please write it down," the woman, then gave me the address of her daughter which I wrote on the back of some visiting card that I had in my wallet.
"Her name is Daisy. She is in trouble, and that letter is very important to reach her," the woman said. She looked nervous.

"Can you tell me about it? I could help, you know." I was always eager to help out people being in the profession that I was.
"No, just take this letter to her, and make sure no one else gets it. Also tell her to do exactly what's written on it."

I was bit puzzled. "If she needs help, you can visit her yourself too, right? And the address you gave is not very far from here, in the city."
"I can't son; its not so simple, I'm afraid. But I will try one day definitely," she looked sad as she spoke.

"Okay as you wish," I said, not willing to intrude further in private matters.

"It is going to be dark soon, and your last Volvo will depart; we must get you back, you're lost," she said.

I was surprised, how did she know. I shrugged and said sheepishly, "Yes,I'm bit new here and lost my track."

"Here come, I'll show you the way," she look my arm as she began to guide me back the path. "But be careful, do not lose that letter."

"Your letter is safe with me," I assured her patting my pocket. "First thing I'll do when I reach the city, is deliver it to your daughter," I said.

"Oh..poor girl. She needs help so badly," the woman said, almost whimpering with emotions.
"Hey, are you alright?" I asked.

She nodded. "But once she gets the letter, she should be alright." She seemed to regain control now.
"She is the most loveliest daughter, I could ever have had; an angel! Everyone takes advantage of her innocence."
She kept saying more praises about her daughter. Her face lit up animatedly as she talked about Daisy.

I kept nodding to her chatter as we walked back, with her taking the lead. We reached the bus stop soon, and I was surprised, how on earth I could've lost my way as it wasn't that far from where I had thought, I went off track.

The last Volvo stood for the last passenger and we stopped near the bus. The woman pressed against me urgently and said, "Remember the letter, and make sure my daughter gets it."

I agreed again, and got up the bus. As I took my seat, I waved at her from the bus window. She stood still; an anxious look in her face, and waited, till the bus drove off and vanished from sight.

Two hours later the bus entered the city. It was not very late yet, so, I thought it'd be a good idea to deliver the letter that the woman had given me so urgently.
I looked up the address and reached the place. There was light coming from the window of the house, so I went up the porch and rang the door bell.

After two minutes a lady opened the door. She was young, beautiful; but there were faint bruises on her face. She looked tired, sad.

"Miss Daisy?" I asked.
The lady nodded, as she opened the door further.

"I have a letter to deliver from your mother, whom I met earlier today," I said cheerfully, taking out the piece of paper the old woman had given me, from my pocket. "What a nice lady she is. She has been missing you a lot, and been very worried about you."

To my surprise Daisy's face turned white; her eyes astonished, as she gaped at me; her mouth open.
"Where...where you met her?" She asked, almost whispering.

I mentioned the town.

"Are you Okay? Is everything alright?" I asked, feeling a bit uncomfortable now, seeing her reaction at the news I had just given her. She hadn't yet taken the letter.
"Here take this, she asked me to make sure that you read it," I said. "She's concerned about you."

"Its my mother's native town," Daisy was speaking, that shocked look never leaving her face. "But how can it be possible? She expired just two months ago, and she was buried in that town as she loved that place so much."

It was now my turn to be shocked, as I watched her, my eyes wide open; my ears barely believing what they had just heard.

"Wait a minute," she said, as she rushed into another room and came back as quickly, holding a photo frame in her hands. She shoved the frame right at my face, and I watch in horror at what I saw.
It was the photograph of the same old lady whom I met in that quaint little town, just a few hours ago. Grey hairs and pale blue polka-dot dress.
"It's her," I said, stunned.

We both stood speechless. I still had the letter in my hand. Daisy then, took it and opened to read :

"Dear Daisy,

My lovely little angel.
Do not fret and be sad my dear,
I love you and am always near.
You have to get rid of that brute
Who's been troubling you,
Take help from this wonderful inspector
Whom I'm sending to you.
I know, you'll be safe from now onwards,
Do what I've asked; trust me, my best regards.

Love always, Ma."


As she finished reading, Daisy broke down into tears. I tried to console her, though, I was quite shaken from the turn of events myself.

She showed me the letter and said, "Ma is right. He is such a brute, he has made my life hell, and I miss her so much."
She then showed me the bruises and cuts. It made me angry. How on earth could someone do this to such a lovely lady.

"Where is he now?" I asked protectively.

"Maybe at the bar, drinking as usual. He comes and goes whenever he wants; beats and humiliates me as and when he pleases. He only wants my property, my money, and not me."

I felt very sad for her. This was no way to live. And after whatever happened that day, I felt the need to protect her. There was a special unspoken bond that we shared.

The old woman ( or her spirit? ), I met, had wanted me to protect her daughter, which I ultimately did in the days that followed. Being an inspector, I could arrest the man for domestic violence and sent him behind bars, finally freeing Daisy from his greedy clutches.

Her mother was right, with me patrolling around the city, Daisy now had a new friend whom she could trust completely and be safe.
Few people's lives *including mine* did indeed change after that strange encounter with the 'ghost' of the old woman who gave me 'the letter'.


Copyright ©2013 Nandini Deka

P.S : This is a work of fiction and bears no resemblance to anyone living or dead.


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25 comments:

  1. A well-told story with a very convincing build-up of a spooky atmosphere and tone.

    Let me know what you think of my entry -
    http://fisheyes-meanie.blogspot.in/2013/01/the-lady-on-bench.html

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    Replies
    1. Thanks and I did read yours and commented as well. Its a lovely write up!

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  2. Very nice narrative! Wish you luck!!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you @Meenakshi :-)

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  3. Great story, awesome narration... A good read... :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ayushi...thank you...glad you liked it.

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  4. Nice interesting story...Good luck Nandini.

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  5. Replies
    1. @Swarnpriya ...thanks dear

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  6. Hey...very good story...loved the narration!

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  7. Hi Nandini,

    Oh my, that was quite spooky but well written and a prompt well-executed.

    The question is, how did a spirit end up handing a physical piece of paper into the narrator's hands?

    Wish you luck for the contest :) :) :)

    Regards

    Jay
    My Newest Blog Post | My Entry to Indiblogger Get Published

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    Replies
    1. Thats a mystery for the readers to solve...I just took some creative liberties which is allowed in fiction....Come to think of it you'll find more questions in the plot like the one you just did....but I wont reveal them :-)

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    2. Yes, spoken like a true professional Nandini :) :)

      Hmm, do you mean the Get Published entry?
      Well, I guess your post is testimonial to the fact that an article or fictional post which raises questions is the one which becomes interesting.

      Good job Nandini. Keep up the questioning work :p :p

      Regards

      Jay
      My Newest Blog Post | My Entry to Indiblogger Get Published

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  8. You caught my attention from the first line--it was an interesting read-even if unbelievable.
    Good luck!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks...I did try my best to make it believable :-)

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  9. Well, well, indeed the well written fiction has caused some friction in the mind raising an awareness that even ghosts need to be educated to convey.

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    Replies
    1. Ha ha...thats why its a fiction...your comment itself has the answer.

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  10. It is well told. It would have been better if you had not let out in the beginning that it is a spooky story! All the best!

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  11. ouch!! spooooky...but interesting enough..


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  12. i like your ending line. Superb...!!

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  13. oh this was simply superb...

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