The air reverberated with the chants of ‘Durga Maai ki Jai’ as Sree and Ajit stepped out of Sovabazar metro station. The entire stretch was decorated in shining lights. Kolkata, the City of Joy, had transformed into the proverbial Wonderland. They hurried past traffic signals, walking, catching their breath at times. No one wants to miss the Sondhi Pujo at Rajbari…
The beats of the dhaak were still fresh in their ears. It was getting late. Sree had to return to Garia. Ajit walked her off till the nearest metro station. Even in this lit-up jamboree, they found a dimly lit lane to share a cosy moment of togetherness…
Ajit was about plant a kiss on her cheek, when Sree moved back. He followed the trail of her eyes. Beneath a lamp-post that was barely glowing, sat a lady in rags, holding an emaciated shape – that resembled a human baby – in her frail hands.
“Ekta taka hobe bhai, aj saradin kichhu khay nai amar chheleta (Please give us a rupee, dear brother. My son hasn’t eaten even a grain of rice the whole day)” she squeaked.
‘Durga Maai ki jai’ – the chants reverberated in the air.
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Lucy and Andrew had just returned from their respective workplaces when that happened. That blue glow emanating from the fridge, voltage fluctuations and everything became normal in the flicker of a second.
“What’s in the fridge?” exclaimed both, together. Andrew was too afraid to even go near the fridge. Lucy had to finally take the plunge. Shielding her eyes with one hand, trepidation in heart, she pulled the fridge door hard, but cautiously enough so that whatever was inside wouldn’t jump on her.
It was perfectly fine! The routine vegetables and left-over food filled the fridge. Lucy was scared. She slammed the fridge shut and ran towards Andrew. As she drew close to him, the scene around her dissolved. She was in the middle of a forest… How did she get here?
The fridge was ubiquitous by its presence in the middle of a thick growth of wild bushes. Lucy screamed as the door of the fridge opened by itself; a blue light filled the forest. Lucy was too frightened to open her eyes. She kept screaming.
“Lucy, what’s in your fridge?” said a voice.
“No. No. No. No” Lucy kept screaming.
“Let me go Lucy. Set me free. Please.”
“No. No. No. No” Lucy kept weeping.
Daylight streamed in through the open curtains in to Lucy’s bedroom. She sprang up, as if on cue, and rushed to the dining hall. The fridge was there. A smile appeared on her face when she opened its door. Andrew’s body lay there; a serene smile spread across his face.