The accidental eavesdropper.

I recently submitted a story for the annual literary magazine of my college. It got printed. I didn’t want to post before it got printed. So here it is !

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He woke up with his head throbbing. He opened his eyes slowly. It was dark outside.

It was night ! How long had he been out ? Where was he ? Marie will be furious !

As more of his environment swam into focus he saw that he was lying in a bush, a neat one at that. He tried getting up, using his arms to prop himself. But as soon as he did so, his arms gave way and he fell, his head spinning around.

Okay maybe I should lie here a bit longer. 

He heard a few hushed noises. Two, he discerned after a while. A stern voice, a woman’s was saying, “celebrating all right…flocks of owls, shooting stars…Diggle…never had much sense”. He supposed he was in someone’s garden, toppled over from all that partying the night before.

It came to him in flashes. He had been with strange people, dressed in different robes and pointy hats – he had met a few celebrating and hugging each other in his usual hangout place after work. They were so bent on celebrating that they had ordered several rounds for everyone present and had proceeded to go berserk, partying and gallivanting across London. And somehow he had gotten caught up in all that mess.

Marie would be furious.

He had gone all night and the next day with them celebrating god knows what ! It had been the craziest time of his life. He couldn’t figure out what had happened after a point in his memories, it was all so muddled up. They had been strange people though; all the while they had been chanting … some name – he couldn’t remember – and speaking their own language and waving small wooden sticks around as if they magicians or something.

His brief reminiscence was broken by the sound of a loud roar of a motor – an engine ?  It was quiet but in that quiet night, it was quite distinct. And near him. The owners of the voices were in the porch.

The voices seemed to have been waiting for this event. They greeted the third voice with questions. He grasped some more. “…fell asleep as we were flyin’ over Bristol”. This was the new voice speaking. Rough, heavy and labored.

The third person in the trio now spoke, a calm, old voice,”…scar forever… better get this over with.” Then someone sniffing, a rough, loud sniff and a “there there” from the lady again.

Robbers ? Odd group, if so.

They put something on the ground. He almost missed the soft thud of something being softly put down. Some more murmurs.

He realized he could almost get up on his own. But he dared not; these people were behaving strangely. He stayed put.

Then he heard shuffling of steps, and silent murmurs.

Probably saying their bloody goodbyes!

There was the motor again. And it softly receded into the distance.

Finally when heard no more and the motor was at a distance, he got up. By now, he had almost regained control of his limbs and was staggering out from the porch towards the gate of the house.

There was no sign of anyone. He looked around the neighborhood. It was a darker night than usual. None of the street lamps were on.

He looked at the porch. He saw a basket with a blanket inside it. He moved to check it out but turned, startled, as he saw something bright fly from the corner of his eye.

What was that ? 

Suddenly the night was bright again. The street lamps were lit. And the sound of the motor was gone.

Okay what did those guys make me drink ? 

Freaking out, he’d feel better when he was at home; he staggered out of the gate.

On his way out, he noticed a small sign, smartly placed, declaring the house to outsiders. But as he turned round the street the only thought which went through his mind was:  Marie will be furious !

He had forgotten all about the sign which had read:

No 4, Privet Drive.

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