The Mystery Man
The Mystery Man9 mins 460 9 mins 460
Early one morning, I think it was twilight, as the sun was still reluctantly absent, lying on the bed, the room was dark. Doors were closed. It had poured incessantly through the night, and it was still raining.
A chill ran through my back as I heard a knock on the main door. Too scared to move from my bed, realized that I was alone at home. Bringing up courage, I stepped out of bed and walked down to the hallway in a trance, and still half asleep. Tiptoeing to the door, I disengaged the lock. Calming myself, I held the door knob and turned it slowly – as my heart went racing. I shrieked - but realized that my voice was not interested to cooperate with me. My brain had momentarily stopped working. Adding fuel to fire, my hands and legs were shivering and had gone weak and numb. I will never know what happened in the next few seconds, as somehow, inexplicably, I suddenly found myself staring at the wall – but not facing the door anymore. How this could have happened, I have no idea. Meanwhile, the door opened on its own, with a creaking sound as if it was right out of a horror movie. The next instant, the door was ajar. Sound of the rain hitting the sidewalk grew louder. Lightning struck and thunder followed as if they were playing a game of catch me if you can. I could also hear the wind swishing through - uprooting some weak plants in its wake.
Making a humongous effort, I once again summed up courage and turned slowly towards the door – most unwillingly. I was shocked beyond imagination with what I saw. The silhouette of a magnificent, tall and strong figure formed in the doorway – lit up only by the momentary streaks of lightning. My throat was dry and my palms sweaty. I could discern that this figure was wearing a large hat and was holding an umbrella in the hand - neatly folded. At this point, I could just about make out that this was a man standing at my door. As a sudden series of lightning strokes lit up the stormy skies behind the man – it gave me a spooky feeling that increased my sense of unease. In a jiffy, nerves got the better of me and I sprinted back to my room and lay still under my blanket. I did not even dare to breathe - was scared beyond infinity that my breathing would somehow give me away. Seconds passed like years and I held my place not knowing what to expect. I know not for how long, I remained shrouded under my blanket. I was brought back to reality with a faint wisp of air very close to me and sensed that someone was now standing right at my bedside. Unwillingly, lifting the edge of the blanket, I turned and saw that the man, I had seen at the door, was now standing only a few inches away from me. Everything was so dark that I couldn’t see his face.
The collar of his coat was very large. It looked monstrous. I could also hear labored breathing. I could still hear the thunder rumbling outside. It was as if it was angry at someone. Anger – yes, that was it! This thought struck my mind - what if this mysterious man standing so majestically in front of me was some kind of monster, who was angry at me for something that had taken place in the past. That thought gave me goose bumps. Suddenly my mind decided to make up for all the lost time from the past few minutes and flooded me with surreal possibilities. It was as if my mind was controlling me, instead of me controlling my mind. In a moment, these thoughts fleetingly came and went – falling over each other and making no sense at all. Even as I was still trying to check which one of them had more possibilities of being true, the man spoke. His was voice deep and had a sense of mysteriousness which only accentuated my fear further. I sat up with a start.
In the wildest of my dreams, I had never expected my day to start on such a sinister note. The man said “I am the king of mysteriousness!” in a powerful but low voice. “And I command you to bow in my respect, little girl” he continued in the same tone. I felt so small in front of that king or whatever he was, that my instincts made me bow. Then with a lot of effort, hopefully not wanting to betray my fear, I said “Your highness may I know the reason for your visit to my tiny little innocent house?”
“You have been chosen for a task of mine that has to be completed at any cause” he now said loudly. “And I will not accept no for an answer” he added. I was so terrified at the very thought that an unearthly monster of a man, claiming to be the king of mysteriousness was visiting my house, and telling me - actually ordering me, to complete a task of his at any cause – and for no apparent reason. “That’s not possible because I am not interested in doing something for someone I do not know” I replied – trying to sound loud and courageous. “You silly girl, you do not know what you are saying no to.” He said rather rudely. “This is once in a life time opportunity that you are ignoring, you do not know what it is to work for me” he scowled.
I said “I am sorry if I hurt your feelings of being all mighty and powerful and all that, but I did not mean to”. “So you still are saying no to my proposal?” he asked in a slightly dejected voice. “Sorry sir but I cannot accept your proposal” I said softly to him. I suddenly felt that he needed someone to console him, as he appeared to on the verge of crying – having lost the majestic tenor. “Sir, can I help you in any way other aside of finishing the task?” I tried to reason with him. “No there is nothing that you can do for me” he said curtly. “Dear can u switch on the lights please” he continued. “Sure sir” I said, immediately feeling a bit silly and warming up to the conversation at the same time. Somewhere I could not find the fear that had overcome me initially. Something in my head started to get real and told me that switching on the light was the best thing I could have done – even if it meant getting out of the safety of my warm bed. Gathering courage I turned on the lights. As my eyes adjusted, I saw the face of the so called king of mysteriousness. He was a handsome looking guy with a nice French beard. He was quite young and did not relate to his deep voice. Then he did something most unexpected. I hear him say something that I couldn’t understand, but when he said that, his umbrella turned into a trident. It was huge and light shone off the shimmering metallic trident. He said something once again and summoned a royal looking chair for himself. With the chair he also summoned some royal maids of his, who were at his service the next minute.
“Dear, do you see my powers now? You still have the time, to say yes. I can give how much ever power you want.” The majestic voice was back. I thought for a moment and then I said “Sir, how can I believe you that all of this is magic, when there is no such thing as magic in this world.” I was determined to know how he had done whatever he did - the summoning of royal chair and servants and what not. Continuing, I asked “How did you do all that summoning and stuff?” He answered in a very calm voice this time around. “That is why I am known as the king of mysteriousness.” This confused me further as he did not seem to providing me any more information to dissolve the mystery surrounding him. My mind was whirling in a spin - so much was happening that I felt like shouting at the top of my voice in frustration. I had no idea how to get rid of this man sitting comfortably in a royal chair in my house and being served by his servants – all against my will. Then I made up my mind and said “Look here sir, I accept that you have a lot of power. But I cannot entertain a stranger in my house. I do not know who you are and I also am not interested in knowing more about you.” “Very well, then.” He said calmly. He slowly got up from his seat. His chair and the servants disappeared as instantly as they had appeared. Then he said with a cruel smile “You silly girl you do not know me…“ I interrupted rudely at this point with “Tell me something new that I do not already know.” With that, I let him continue “..and you have no idea about how much power I have. You must respect and bow in front of me instead of ordering me to leave. I think you don’t know I can come and go wherever I want, and nobody can do anything about it.” With a lot of firmness, I told him “I think I have to work it out the other way round. I was being a little polite with you, but now that’s it - no more of it. Look here Mr – whoever you are – a king, a magician, or just a plain impostor. I don’t care how much power you have, the only thing I care about now is that YOU ARE GOING OUT.” “You arrogant girl you will have to pay for this” saying that he lifted his trident - the building started to shake and I woke up with a start.
It was a beautiful bright winter morning, warm sun streaming through the lazily curtained windows and my mother was trying to pull the blanket off me while talking to my father who was standing at the bedroom door. I was sweating badly, but glad - it was all over.