“Who’s there at this time?” He looked at the clock groggily. It showed five minutes to 12. Almost midnight. He climbed down his bed carefully and slipped his feet into the cold rubber chappals.
This was a small village. Everyone knew everyone. If there were an outsider coming at this hour, the village dogs would have risen hell. But all was quite outside. His heart was where the disquiet grew.
He peeked outside through the window on the side of the door. It was pitch dark outside. The lantern he had left burning at the front gate had either burnt out…. or had been snuffed out. But the gate itself seemed undisturbed, still unlocked from the inside.
Knock, knock, knock….
He jumped in alarm. This time the knocking was accompanied with a rasping sound, no a scraping, and it came from the window at the other side of the house.
What is this? Who is it? A thief? C’mon you can’t be scared of a thief. Face the bugger!
He ran towards the window where the sound was coming from and wrenched open it’s shutters, only to find the branch of a peepal tree scraping on its wood from the outside.
Oh God! Relief washed over him as he pushed back the branch so he could close the shutters again, all the while smiling at his own stupidity.
He didn’t notice the key in the front door lock turning all by itself…
Copyright ©2017 Pradita Kapahi.