By : Thiyam Ningol, Dr.Nalini, Africa
She knew that she was right but she never knew that she was damn right.
She sat down and tried to recollect all the past evidences which made her come to the conclusion of phoning the police.
Her neighbour looked weird. The very first moment she met him, she felt some strange, unexplainable discomfort. It was not that he was ugly; he had a wooden expression on his face. The eyes had telescopic power, the broad square jaws had the strength of bull dozer.
She regretted why she ever went to his place to introduce herself.
She tried to ignore his existence. She knew they would not get along.
She bought the house recently, very cheap for herself and her son. At last they were going to have a house of their own. No landlord was going to irritate them anymore. “A weird neighbour is better than an irritating landlord”- she thought. There she went wrong.
She and her son shifted to their new house as quickly as the payment was settled. They had to do a lot of repairing work in the house. She thought no hurry for that. She was desperate to move in. Their little belongings could fit in well in their new house. She planned to make a comfortable home later.
On several occasions, she felt they were watched by the weird neighbour. She was too busy to look for proof. She simply warned her son to be away from neighbours for sometime “with time, we will learn who are good neighbours and we will make up to them.”
A bushy hedge separated them from the weird neighbour. They could hardly see anything through the hedge and they did not need to see anything.
One night, she was awoken several times by the sound of digging from the neighbour’s side. She had to wake up her 13 years old son who assured it was the neighbour who was cultivating. They peeped through the window but nothing could be seen; the hedge was too thick. “Cultivating at night?. Strange. Anyway, it’s none of my business”. She went to sleep.
Everytime she had visitors or technicians coming to do minor repairing works, they were watched. In the beginning, she tried to ignore but overtime her mind changed. She felt that he was hiding something, he was afraid to be found out. That could be the only reason why he was watching the neighbours.
It was her turn to watch him.
She had never seen him going out or coming in during day time. Perhaps because she herself went early morning and came back late evening. She doubted whether she could recognize him if they met on the road. He, for sure knew her very well.
It was late evening while they were having dinner; her son gave her the news of one of his friend’s mother missing for 4 days. Not long ago, they heard the rumour about the disappearance of a lady from the neighbourhood. That lady was a nuisance, bad news to the neighbours. So nobody paid much attention. Within three months, two ladies had disappeared.
While she was listening to her son, she felt a lump in her throat. She could not swallow the food…..exactly 4 days ago, her neighbour was digging again. She heard the police inspector appealing to the public through the TV to notify any suspicious incidences. She decided to keep quite, no evidence so far.
“Why the house was sold so cheap to me? Why the agent never introduced me to the owner of the house? Whose house is this?????” She had nightmares everyday.
More than a year had passed. Everything was quite. They had forgotten about the incidences. She felt a far guilty of doubting his neighbour.
Again the digging. It was drizzling outside. She did not like to wake up her son. She took out her phone from her purse and was contemplating whether to call the police or not. Decided not to. The next day early morning, she bought a new sim card and dialed, whispered with a croaky voice on the phone-“If you hear about the disappearance of any person especially a female, please check in the compound ……” She described their locality in detail and briefly mentioned about hearing digging sounds at night” and she cut off the phone. She took out the chip and threw in the gutter.
After 2 days, she saw a police Land Rover arriving at her neighbour’s place. Good number of passersby and neighbours had collected at the scene. The police dogs were snooping at the wet ground. Two men started digging. The police found what they were looking for. She saw what she did not like to see-remains of decayed human parts.
As soon as the crowd dispersed, she put a sign in the corner of her plot “HOUSE FOR IMMEDIATE SALE, GOING CHEAP”.
She phoned her previous landlord “Can I get back my room in your place?”
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