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Flash fiction is an umbrella term used to describe any fictional work of extreme brevity, including the Six-Word Story, 140-character stories, also known as twitterature, the dribble (50 words), the drabble (100 words), and sudden fiction (750 words)

In my mind, the room has a window facing north. From my seat at the table, through it I can see the blue water of the pool two floors below and the kids splashing about in it, also the tall trees that border the pool and the smaller flowering plants with their multicolored flowers.

None of this could be true because there is no window on the wall facing north. To see the pool one has to walk out of the bedroom through the only door to the right, down the corridor to the dining hall and through the French windows on the left out to the balcony.

And yet….

From the balcony I watch the children engaged in some sort of impromptu game they have come up with. The picture is the same one etched in my heart except this one is not framed by a window. A feeling of utter desolation, like a tangible dark and cold cloud, cloaks me. I shiver involuntarily.

I turn to stare at the wall again. No window. Why wouldn’t the picture go away?

“So, what do you think?”

Krishna’s voice cuts through the gloom to me and the clouds melt away. The air is warm once again.

“It is nice…” I reply cautiously.

“Nice??? Nice!!!! It’s a bargain. The rent is low considering the locality. I’d grab it if I were you. You can walk to your office. Think of that!”

Krishna,  my colleague at the new firm I have joined, spends a couple of hours one way, on commuting. Unlike me he has a family and they have made their home in the suburbs. This apartment belongs to a friend of his wife’s family who hadn’t wanted to rent it out for a long time.  Apparently they have changed their mind and here I am with Krishna taking a look around.

I debate whether to tell him the apartment feels familiar. But it seems silly, considering I have never been to this part of the country. I try to shake the feeling off. Probably it just reminds me of some other place. Stepping back inside with him, I find the caretaker waiting. He gives me a wide smile displaying pan stained teeth stubs.

“You like house?”

“Yes” I say, glancing around once more. “I’ll want to move in next week. Let’s get the paperwork sorted out next.”

I follow him and Krishna  out of the house and wait while he locks up. I tell them to go ahead as I want to soak up the atmosphere of the place. I’d meet Krishna at the main entrance while he drives up from the parking area. The truth is I cannot keep up with them. Ever since the accident that had me laid up for more than a year, walking has been a slow affair.

“It’s a really sad affair. Only seven, you say!” I hear Krishna ask from down below. His voice is carried upstairs in clear tones to me.

“Yes.” replies the caretaker. “He couldn’t move after the accident, was always in his room. Not long though…. some complications.”

“Is it true what they say, his father had the window walled up?”

“Yes, because the boy was too depressed watching the other children swimming. He used to be a champion swimmer, you know. Who can say whether it was right or wrong? The dad himself was suffering, his wife gone, son bedridden….”

The hairs on the nape of my neck stand up and my skin begins to tingle. I turn around slowly and look up the flight of stairs at the door slowly closing.

©Shail Mohan 2017

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