Adrita Chakrabarti


The pattering rain dropped on me as I cycled towards the only house in the entire alley to escape from getting wet. Yes, I was definitely unprepared for this sudden rain and as my luck never favours me,the rain had started at Morrison Street which had only one house in the entire 2 km stretch. I left my cycle on the porch of the barren house. It looked as if no one had lived in it since a very long time. I stood on the porch looking up at the cloudy, dark sky. The speed of the rain had unfortunately increased and I frowned realising it would take some time to stop. As soon as I was about to grab my bag from the cycle, a sudden creek was heard behind me followed a breath-chilling cold breeze. I shivered and looked behind. To my surprise the door of the house had opened. "Must be the breeze..." I thought to myself but my thoughts changed as I saw a lean figure appearing amidst the shadows ready to grab my hand...

I stepped back, trying to save myself from whatever was lurking behind the shadows in the dark. Due to the wet floor I slipped and fell back." Aaahh" I moaned in pain . I could see two shining eyes in the dark approaching towards me. Terror grasped me as I stood transfixed to the ground. "Are you alright my child?" A pale and faint voice asked me from the shadows. I looked at the empty door and from behind the shadows emerged an old lady wearing a nightgown. " Ummm ya..." I grasped for breath as I slowly got up and dusted myself. She offered me to come inside as she told that the rain would not stop any sooner and I hesitantly agreed,not having any better options...

The house was as old as it seemed from outside. The paint of the walls had faded into grey and old dusty paintings decorated the house. The rusted smell of the house reminded me of the never visited attic in my grandma's house. However, the silence enriching the house was quite surprising compared to the thundering showers outside. The old lady took me to a room filled with antiques worth millions. She told me to sit on a chair that looked as if not even a single soul had sat on it for millions of years. She sat on a rocking chair that apparently seemed too still, not affected by her body weight at all. I stared at the old room for quite sometime until she broke the silence asking if I was curious about something or not. "My expression must have given my thoughts away!" I thought to myself with shame as I spoke in a soft tone and asked, " Why is there only one house in this entire Morrison Street?" She had been expecting this question as her crooked lips gave into a ßsmile and her hand slowly touched her motioned towards a painting in the middle of the room. I could not do anything but stare at the handsome man with bright blue eyes dressed up in a British troop uniform.

"Well, he was a man of honour..." The old ladies voice broke the silence and woke me up from that trance I was in. "Yes what about him ? Did he tell the people to run away from Morrison street?"I laughed but looking at the old lady's stern look I quickly apologized. She looked at me with a grave look and asked, "You do know about the Great War, don't you?" I nodded in approval not knowing what else to say." Yes, so admiral James Morrison or the man in the painting owned this residence. He was a very modest man and to him duty came first."She paused a bit and then spoke calmly, "Admiral James was appointed to lead the battle against the rival nations. He trained his troops months after months and taught them the best tactics. Britain was sure to win under his guidance and brilliant command. However, a certain incident changed the entire course of history! One week before the war when he came to his residence to pack his belongings and bid a goodbye to his people..." She paused again. The grim look on her face hid more secrets than her mouth could ever utter.

I was way too interested in that story by then than the number of people living in the whole stretch of land. I asked her curiously,"What happend after that?!!" She looked at me blankly and said,"Well, he was telling the maid while she was packing his case, his plans of building a big park around this road, where kids would play at peace after this grim face of life ends for good when suddenly a knock on the door was heard. He went down to check just when a bullet shot was heard followed by a heavy fall..." I could see in her eyes drops of tears like drops of dews on a dried leave. Her voice trembled but she continued,"The maid ran after hearing the loud sound. Her eyes widened at the sight of the bloody motionless body of the admiral. The dripping blood from the admirals head and the blank eyes of the dead admiral silenced all. The maid stared as if bewitched, not believing the gruesome look in front of her eyes. "No!!!"was the only word that was let out of her still lips. Her body shook convulsively and her legs didn't support her anymore. She dropped down on the floor beholding her lover's body not being able to hide her feelings anymore. Her eyes filled with tears as she had lost the person she loved unconditionally- to whom she could never confess her love. She cried and moaned but the grief was too much to bear. I stood motionlessly staring at the heartbreaking sight not knowing of what should be done other than disbelieving the entire incident. The next day three bodies were found on the porch of the residence, one beholding a shocked expression while the other with a look expressing deep loss and the third..." Her voice faded and her eyes seemed to be lost in some distant memory.

"The rain should have stopped by now! I should probably go else my parents would be worried about me." I said and she looked at me with gloomy eyes and an aching heart. "Yes sure kid! Do visit more often. " She smiled at me. We got up and she lead me to the door and unlocked it. The blue sky had a refreshing look and the clouds seemed scattered like fishes in the vast ocean."Thank you for attending me." I said politely and added,"I still didn't get my answer!" She looked at my inquisitive face and replied, "Well until the admiral's wishes aren't fulfilled, the spirit of the admiral's maid will shove people away from here either by means of fear or by violence." She said in a clean tone without any emotions. I looked at her bereft of words until I managed to say,"Okay,thank you so much!" I said as I took my cycle and bid her a goodbye!

As I paddled my way across Morrison Street I felt an unfamiliar emotion - I re-envisioned the scene of the death of the admiral and thought,"Alas, the old lady hid her pain behind her unforgettable alluring smile, and, death snatches all moral attributes but love -may it be that of a mother or that of a secret admirer..."

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