Did the tale manage to hold on to the thrill of doubts?

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NAINA was getting late; she was staying quite far from the venue. A small wrinkle of worry had started appearing on her face. “Hey, no worry, buddy, Nikh’s will drop you back home”, assured Olivia. Naina and her group of friends were in town around 45 odd kms away from her residence to watch a live music concert which was suppose to wind up by 10.30 p.m. As usual the performers came late and they were left waiting with baited breath. It was all worth the wait, as the concert rocked and they had a good time. William had got them some brunches which had kept their stomach away from rumbling. None of them had time to hop in to a restaurant for a well laid out dinner so after the concert they decided to head towards their home. Senorita was staying the closest but could not invite her friends home as her parents disliked visitors after 10 p.m. Seno’s friend Willy had promised her parents that he would drop her back home, rather at her door and only then return to his pad. They had to say “yes’ half-heartedly which both Seno and Wills ignored royally. Olivia, Naina and Sameer were all in the same route just a few kilometers around while Nikhil was much closer to Naina.

IT was 11.34 p.m. when the concert ended and all of them jumped into a waiting rickshaw from the stand to reach the nearest bus-stand. They waived out to each other and took their route. After some time Naina and Nikhil were giving each other company. Nikhil was not the guy who would walk an extra mile for a friend and Naina was not the demure kind to look out for help. For some strange reasons, Naina was a bit uncomfortable that night. Nikhil said “You will manage, nah, I don’t think there should be any problem; nowadays the streets are crowded way past 1.00 too, thanks to the Call Center’s odd working schedules”. Naina sealed it with a smile, Nikhil raced towards the exit waiving out to her, “Do call me up if there is any problem, let me get off at the signal, it is easier to walk back home from here. See you babes” the voice and the person vanished in thin air.

NAINA has walked back home many times past 12.00 and it is not the first time she is doing it. Strangely, today she was feeling perturbed. She has not been able to rule it out and now Nikhil getting off a bit early made her more edgy. She looked around in the bus and noticed see she was the only woman! She inched towards the driver and then got off at her stop. She saw another man getting off with her. Naina wanted to know which way that man is taking. She had to cross the main road and take to the street, a cool 12 minutes walk to her home. The street broke in to many smaller lanes both in the left and right side. The street which was hustling and bustling with activities till 9 at night was deserted at 1.30 a.m. She saw a man walking 700 meters ahead of her; she wanted to catch up with him, but in vain as he disappeared. Where the man who got off with me went, wondered Naina. Why is she so worried about a stranger? She had no clue. Her heart was pacing fast, there was no one on the road and she could hear her own footsteps which were louder than required as she was pacing fast down the street.

SHE tried to recollect the vada-pav stall, the pani-puri stall at the bend, the tailor who never stuck to the delivery date, the dairy milk shop which was always short of curds; she smiled a bit and paced faster. She felt something or somebody is behind her, trying to catch up with her, who it could be, may be that man – who saw Nikhil getting off and trying to follow me! Naina decided to be defensive too. She pulled her shoulder bag in front and kept her right hand in the outside pocket where she always hid a small scissor! In case, she needs to….

HOW can I succumb to these men, she questioned herself. I will give a tough fight, I will knock him off, tall, short or forceful does not matter. I have to win today otherwise my parents will have to hang their head in shame, my family will have to face the aftermaths, I too will lose my freedom forever and my future will ruin for the silly reason, that fear dominated me and I did not try to fight back. I will fight and I am sure about it. Should I turn and look, if there is anyone behind me, who is he? At the very moment she recollected her aunty telling her, “After 12 past midnight if you hear anyone calling you from behind or feel anyone following you from behind never stop and turn, just walk, in case you fail to do so, the ghost will win and capture you, enter your body…..”. “Aunty, why the hell you have to insert these liners in my head, look they have popped out when I am in defense mood” Naina consoled herself, if it is a ghost, then… She will never be able to convince the world she encountered one! She let the thought at rest and preferred it to be a human who is following her!
THE street seemed to be longer than required; her right hand was still intact in the first pocket of her shoulder bag. It was time for her to take the first bend towards right to reach to her destiny; she mustered up courage to take the bend and wanted to look behind to find out who that man could be! She turned to see… “Oh! There is no one”, she was happy now and raced towards her building which was third in the row. She hoped for the security to be awake to open the gates. As she reached the gate, she called out to him, he was nowhere in his cabin! The 30 seconds wait at the gate was more palpitating, she looked around continuously, trying to protect herself from those men who are all set to finish her. The security came running towards the gate, opened it and she quickly rushed towards the lift and then to her door and then quietly inside. Heavens, I am back home, safe and happy.

AFTER freshening up, she laid tossing on bed for sometime. Was there no one behind me on the road? Whose footsteps did I hear? Where did the footstep that was following me disappear? Did Aunt’s lesson save me from the ghosts? Or, was there no one around and it was just my imaginary fear?
WHATEVER it was, Naina congratulated herself for the brave act. She had realized that fear had dominated her that night and still she gave it a good fight. If only, she had succumbed to it, she would have not been home but …..! Or did the footsteps realize that Naina has been taught a valid lesson by her aunt and their chase is futile?
NIKHIL called her up the next day to know, if she had reached safely!
Am surprised not a single feedback for this piece of writing. Has someone read this!
I read the story Malspie, but I forgot to comment on it. I read it when you first posted it. It's an interesting read.......Im a avid reader and love reading fiction and non fiction. Hope you will be posting more.
Hey Faaria
Posting tales gets interesting when viewers read and post feedbacks. When there are no takers for such posts, it is better to put a hold on such posts. I am glad that you returned to give your feedback and loved to know you enjoy reading tales both fiction and non fiction.
Im sure there other who have read it Malspie, because I know there are some readers like me on the forum. I think you wrote something before as well when you first joined the forum.
Writing tales invites feedback which encourages the writer to contribute with enthusiasm. I appreciate you remember my previous contribution SAVVY - LETS RUN.

Now, there are a few responses, in those years, none would post a feedback for weeks. So I stopped contributing here.
Am surprised not a single feedback for this piece of writing. Has someone read this!
Ahh Malspie....Im sure many have read this but just not commented. Living in India its easy to relate to this story with the little things mentioned like the vada pav and pani puri. You should consider publishing....:)

If you know any publisher who is ready to publish my tales, do let me know dear friend. I would be happy to get them published. I enjoy writing short stories
Enjoyed the read Malspie. But Im an honest person and I would give my honest opinion.......please dont take any offence! I think the story could have been a little longer, otherwise I enjoyed reading it a lot.