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Frightened

by Svatee Bedi
(Mumbai, India)

The lights in the restaurant were dim. He was gazing at the girl, sitting at a distance intently.


His eyes were never leaving the girl,who was having dinner with her friends.
“There is a look of recognition,” he thought.
Rahul took a sip of the beer he was drinking and got up.

He moved towards the girl and went ahead and said “Hi! Sheena.”
The girl looked at her friends and then him.
“Are you talking to me?” she asked.
“Yes.”
“Sorry ..I think you have mistaken me for someone else. I'm not Sheena.”
“Oh!! I am so sorry Ma’am, your face looked so familiar.”
“That’s ok,” she said.

Rahul went back to the bar to finish his beer.
He looked at her again.

The girl’s friends were teasing her “Aisha, another guy trying to flirt with you…huh.”
Aisha ignored the remark.
After finishing the dinner, Aisha and her friends stepped out of the restaurant.

Once, the few rounds of goodbyes were done, Aisha went towards the parking.

The parking was completely empty; hers was the only car parked there.

Aisha quickly started the car, and left from there.

At some distance, she felt there was a car following her. She looked from the rear view mirror towards the car. The face of the driver was not visible.

Aisha speeded up her car and kept on looking behind from the rear view mirror. The speed of the other car also increased.

Now, Aisha’s fears were confirmed that someone was following her.

Suddenly, there was a ring on her mobile.
She didn’t want to pick up her mobile, as she wanted to reach her home really fast.
Her phone rang again.

Aisha looked towards the screen and realised it was her boyfriend Siddharth calling.
She ignored the call, and sped really fast.
After travelling for a few minutes, Aisha realised that there was no car behind. She heaved a sigh of relief.

Once home, she called back Siddharth.
“Where are you? I have been calling you.” Siddharth sounded anxious.
“I was driving that time, and a car was following me.”
“A car following you..? Really?”
“I am not sure now.. , as I couldn’t see the car after sometime.”
“I guess it was your imagination, sweetheart.”
Aisha couldn’t help but agree with him.

The next day, Aisha went to the college. She was chatting with her friends.
While talking she felt that the same man, who had come up to her in the restaurant was looking at her.

She told her friends, and when they looked up, they couldn’t see him. Aisha felt that maybe she was just imagining things.

While returning home, she felt a car was following her again. And once again after a distance, there was no car.

She couldn’t sleep that night.
“Was someone really chasing her?” The thought kept on lurking in her mind.
This kept on for days, the feeling of seeing the same man in her college, and then a car following her.

One day when Aisha was about to go to bed, she could see the shadow of a man in the curtain. Aisha’s heart skipped a beat. She didn’t know what to do. Her breath got really low.
“Who is it?” She called out.
There was no response.
She called again, and again, with no response.

Aisha thought of going ahead and seeing, she picked up a vase lying near and went ahead.
Aisha moved really slowly towards the window, her heart pounding fast.

Once, near the window she drew the curtain away and there was no one.
Aisha was really sure she had seen a shadow.
She went to her bed to sleep.

Suddenly,she felt some one was holding a knife and was about to slash her neck. She got up with a gasp and looked around. There was no one.

Aisha was sure someone was there in her room.
The next day, she confided her fears to her boyfriend over lunch.
“I think you had a night mare, nothing else,” he said.
She didn’t feel like believing anything, but kept silent.
She looked around the restaurant, and saw the same man again.

Aisha told Siddharth about the man and looked towards him. By,the time Siddharth saw him he had already left from there.
Again,that night she saw the shadow in the curtain.

Then, she heard a voice, “I had loved you so much, why did you leave me?”

Aisha didn’t know what was really happening.
Her days and nights had become agonizing.

It had already been a month since this was happening, the fear of seeing someone around always.

One day, she once again saw Rahul standing outside her college. She told Siddharth, about him on seeing him.

Rahul came upto her and said “Hi Sheena, how are you?”
“I think you are mistaken again.”
“Oh!! Hi, I am so sorry..its you.”
Rahul introduced himself to Aisha and left from there.

Aisha saw his car from the distance, she somehow felt that it was the same car which followed her. She told Siddharth about it and also she saw him daily outside the college looking at her.

Siddharth stopped Rahul from a distance.
“Why are you following Aisha all the time?”
“What??” Rahul sounded confused.
“I know you have been following my girlfriend, since past month.”
“Siddharth I …No ..Not at all. Why would I ?”
Aisha now knew that Rahul is the person, who was stalking her. Else,how would he know Siddharth’s name, she had never introduced him.

Aisha went ahead and joined Siddharth, and looked at Rahul with an accusing look.

Siddharth was telling Rahul to stay away from her, and not to stalk her. Suddenly, both Siddharth and Rahul burst out laughing.

Aisha looked at both of them confused, as to why they were laughing.

Once they both stopped laughing, Siddharth told Aisha that Rahul was his childhood friend and had left the country few years ago.

He even told Aisha that both of them had a bet, in which Rahul would follow her; stalk her and really scare her. Siddharth had betted that Rahul would not be able to scare her.

Siddharth had known all of Rahul’s moves, and was trying to convince Aisha not be scared of anything. Now, Rahul had finally won the bet.
Aisha looked towards Rahul and smiled.

Rahul apologized to Aisha for everything.
Siddharth and Aisha said goodbye to Rahul and went from there.

Rahul looked towards Sheena’s photo in his mobile and then towards Aisha.

“The same eyes,the same smile, the same faces. How can this be possible?” Rahul thought.
***

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Jan 13, 2018
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Nice
by: Deval Agarwal

Nice story...

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