The Knock6 mins 179 6 mins 179
Someone knocked on my door around 11 that night. I sprang up panicked and asked anxiously, "Who is it?". No response from the other side made me a little suspicious and afraid. It was a cold winter night of December. Struggling to come out of my cozy warm bed, I reluctantly dragged myself towards the door. Rubbing my half closed eyes wearing boxer shorts and my old yet favourite white tee-shirt. The silence of the midnight made me scared a bit and I decided to look before opening. I began to tense as I strained my eyes and peeped through the cracks of the wooden window of my old government barrack.
There he was standing outside with something in his hand. I could see his silhouette against the light of a half-moon night but the long object in his right hand was not visible enough. With my eye fixed on him, I asked again, "Who is there?" No answer followed. Unlike normal people, this weird man was still standing motionless giving no heed to my worried calls. My imagination ran wild and pictures of all the sharp deadly weapons from all those gory movies that I've ever watched began to fuel my fear. I knew the poor door won't hold strong, not for long. It is not meant to. Afterall it's a government barrack. A strong shove and it will come crumbling down. He knocked again with a little more pressure. I could sense the increasing frustration in the knockings. The howling of the wind outside gave me some relief from the ghostly silence.
I stayed unmoved, just like a Mannequin, controlling my urge to twitch the arm or scratch my itchi back. But my mind was frenzy, it was trying to think the next best move. Dozen of plans were rushing through my head; I'll not open the door, wait till he break-in and then fight till death, I'll take my dao and open the door to frighten him, I can shout my lungs out for help, which was obviously not a good idea since there were no neighbours. Many more plans , some good, some bad and some nonsensical kept me busy untill he knocked again with a little more vigor but still didn't say anything. By now I could hear my own heart beat and though I was trying not to make any sound, I was thinking maybe he could hear it too.
Holding my breath carefully I fixed my eyes to the window crack observing the man outside. He was about 5.6 tall with a woolen cap on. I could barely see his squinted eyes on a shady outline of a rough edged face. A medium built scraggy-looking man in his 40s it seemed, wrapped up in a dark coloured oversized jacket and a knee-length camouflaged shorts. Shorts in a winter night is odd, but an unknown non-speaking scraggy-looking man at your door in the middle of the night is bizarre. His silence spooked me even more than his unwanted presence outside my door. He had a torch in his left hand but the object in his right hand was still not visible. He was wearing gum boots and carrying a local machete with him. Fear engulfed me totally, it was around midnight and I am in a faraway village with only few houses in the midst of mountains and forest.
"Thud, thud, thud." This time it was not a knock, it was a blow. He banged my feeble wooden door, it almost broke. He didn't say anything. I was afraid and as much of annoyed as I was panicked. "Why is he not saying anything?" My annoyance screamed in my head.
Though I had a dao (machete) in my hand, the picture of butchering someone made me nauseous. I knew I couldn't stand the gush of bloods and slashed human flesh. But I had to defend myself and the luxury of choice was not on my plate that fateful night. While I was making my mind to make a move, the door moved again with a heavy banging which continued for few seconds. I lost it, I lost my patience and reached the heights of fear and annoyance at the same time. I took a step back and stood front of the door as if to confront the fear atlast. I didn't know how to react but desperately wanted to end this terror game, so I shouted at him, "Who the hell are you? What do you need? I've a gun and I don't want to make things ugly for you, so just leave." There was again no response from the other side of the door. I looked through the window crack and saw his silhouetted figure turning back and moving away.
"Good riddance." I murmured in relief. It felt lighter now and I relaxed. As a matter of fact I felt proud of myself, this stunt will certainly be something to brag about around my friends and family. I began musing again. How I showed courage and stood alone against an intruder and scared him off. A perfect heroic tale to tell. As I was joyfully immersing into the river of self glorification, the rusty door banged again. That weird man has changed his mind and returned. I couldn't take it anymore, the suspense of it. Clutching the dao in my right hand I swiftly opened the rusty door wide with a creak. There I stand now face to face with my terror. The suspense ended and it was finally the showdown. I gathered all my might and shouted at his silhouette pointing my dao, "Do you want to die?" Pretending to be a dauntless hero with all my acting skills. All he responded was a motionless stare of surprise for few seconds, which seemed the longest suspenseful pause I ever had. I couldn't intimidate him with my dramatic posture and heroic dialogue and so I challenged his stare with mine. His squinted eyes made it a little tough for me to focus and the rhythmic chirping of Crickets in the background made this stare more awkward, atleast for me.
Then he raised his right hand towards me and I took guard cautiously. He offered me something. Surprised, I looked closely and it was pieces of Mithun meat in two bamboo skewers, which he was holding in his right hand.
"Oh !" I sighed, "I thought...... never mind." I faked a smile to conceal my embarrassment. "Thank you so much for this." I said, to show gratitude but he was still not talking, he gestured to show me that he is mute and also deaf. I was now ashamed, relieved, shocked and surprised, all at once. How my fear took a toll on me? I joined my hands in a gesture of thanks to the generous villager and apologized. I don't think he understood my apology but he smiled anyway and left.