The Child.

On the prompt : Resident.

I live alone. Often when I come back from office after a long, tiring day, I like to sit down in my armchair in the veranda and read a book. My favourites always seem to be the fantasy fictions and the thrillers. I sit and read with a cup of badly brewed coffee because I’m dysfunctional in that way. Aren’t all of us millennials?

This started a few weeks ago. When I would come back and sit in the veranda in the late evenings, it would be calm and quiet except the slight chirp-chirping of the birds and the voices of the insects. Calm. Serene. I would read a while but when it started getting dark I would just sit there and let the cool breeze put in varied thoughts in my mind. That’s when, one day, I suddenly heard a child scream. A shrill, loud shriek. I tried to waver that off my mind by convincing myself it was coming from another house in the neighbourhood but I knew for a fact that there aren’t any young kids in this colony, just students and us working singles. I was tired. Must have been my imagination. I went inside and after watching a little TV and eating last night’s cold order-in, I dozed off. Had an early morning meeting the next day, and a thought like that was just a passing one.

Except that it happened again. And again. Until it started happening everyday and started getting worse. It was no more just a scream, it was a child crying, a helpless child asking me to pick him up and love him and this sound came from my house.

Then, it reached a new peak and I wasn’t able to recover from what I heard. This one evening I came back home late after having some drinks with my colleagues, it was Friday and mum was visiting the next day. When I was outside of home I thought less and less of that child hidden somewhere in my house and so, I tried to avoid home but came back to the same gothic sounds every evening.

As I was unlocking the door that Friday, I heard the child speak for the first time. It cried and cried and mentioned to me of how all his dreams were shattered when he woke up and everything he had imagined his life to be was no more that. He told me I was the only one who could help him, and I wondered how.

This went on for hours and I hid myself in the bedroom too scared to imagine what I would see if I stepped out and looked for the source of this sound. My blankets made me feel safe and I hid myself inside of those, still feeling cold, still scared, still hearing sounds.

Eventually the sounds died out and I dozed off too.

In the morning when mum came home, I told her everything expecting her to laugh at me, telling me that this was just another story my writer mind thought of, but I saw a look of horror on mum’s face. She immediately called a doctor.

Doctor? I laughed. What would a doctor do? Shouldn’t we be calling a priest or something?

Mum wouldn’t hear a word and she took me to this clinic where I found out the source of this crying.

There was indeed another resident in the house. A resident thriving inside of me.

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