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Short story: The monsters within us

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By Aashini Sameer

It was October 16 2018, a date I would probably remember for the rest of my life. I am Alya and this was the day I tied the knot with Alex. It was one of the happiest days of my life.

We had a wedding in Paris, so we thought that we should tour before we go back to our country. We went to see the Eiffel Tower – which certainly doesn’t need any description and the Louvre, one of the biggest museums in the world.

We were staying at the hotel ‘Le Bristol Paris’. It felt like time had just flown away. I didn’t even realise when the week passed. It was almost our last days in Paris and we had to leave in two days. While watching the sun setting from the huge windows of our room, I noticed some uneasiness in Alex. And suddenly, I realised that there was a zipper beneath his brown messy hair.

With a zip sound I pulled it down, and to my surprise, it revealed a huge creature, neither a human nor an animal. He was something of a sluggish body that was fitted inside the – human skin coat he was wearing.

With eyes that were still bright, but now with a lot of uncanny kindness within them, he was trying to say something, that even if his appearance isn’t like what people expected, he’s still good at heart. That was the last thing I saw before I ran in terror and locked myself up in the bathroom.

I called up my parents.

“Alex… he… he isn’t a man,” that was all I could say with a tremulous voice as if words were stuck in my throat. After that the line went down, and I don’t think anyone believed me.

After a while, I could hear Alex saying things in a wobbly voice as if he could cry at any moment.

“Please open the door… Please don’t be scared… I swear I wouldn’t harm you…

Please”

I couldn’t understand what he was saying, for I was way too afraid. I didn’t reply nor did I open the door even though I knew that he would never harm me.

I sat there for a few moments without any reaction, all in silence. Silence always makes me think about things… So, my trail of thoughts began…

“When I didn’t know about his true form, he was the nicest person I have ever met”,

“But then aren’t we all monsters by some way or the other. People think about killing each other, they commit crimes, trouble innocent animals”,

“Maybe it’s better to look a bit monstrous, than being cruel and monstrous at heart, hmm” …

“After all, he isn’t that bad” …

With this firm belief, I finally got the courage to open the door.

The door opened with a cracking sound; it was Alex with his usual messy hair, muscular physique, and deep blue eyes – that could mesmerise anyone. He was standing, leaning against the wall with a dejected and miserable look. As soon as I opened the door, his expression changed drastically, he started smiling with tears in his eyes.

“You’re looking good,” I said in a sarcastic manner.

“Thank you” …… “I… How are we going to spend the next two days?” I asked avidly but also nonchalantly. “We can visit the Cathédrale church…” He replied.

“Thanks… Thanks for believing”

We did go to the Cathédrale church and a few other places of interest.

Around midnight, we were again in our home, tired from the trip. We slept as soon as we hit the bed.

At around 3 am, I woke up…woke up with a sudden urge to check the zipper again, was it even there or was it gone?

I did check, it wasn’t there, or could I not see it? I don’t know, but I was relieved.

At the last, he was back, I was back and we were back.

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