Sulekha looked at the surroundings. Unkempt fields with tall grass made her wonder what lurked within. She quelled her trembling heart and entered the colony. She looked around and felt butterflies in her stomach. She had to admit that the place looked a bit spooky. She had expected to see some activity, some children maybe, mothers, men, servants… Someone, anyone… But there didn’t seem to be a soul around. No security, no random resident, no visitor... Except them. She looked back. She could make out their car and Udit still puzzling it out.
"Mom, I want to use the bathroom," Param whispered as they moved through the passage between two buildings. Sulu's heart was beating fast. In the near dark, she saw a drain, partly covered. "Quick, do it there and let's get back," she urged.
A sudden 'bushsh' sound startled them. They stood frozen. The sound didn’t stop. White foam rose from the gap. It started small and fluffy. It was so incongruous, so unexpected that the three chuckled involuntarily. But they stared fascinated as the foam grew bigger and bigger. Suddenly, it was not so funny. The bushsh sound had amplified and it filled their ears. They saw two foamy limbs pushing itself up from the drain even as it kept growing in size. A scream froze in their throats as the foam became their size and then grew bigger, towering over them menacingly. They stepped back instinctively.
Mother's instinct kicked in. Sulekha reached out, pulling her children to her. The foam bent towards them as if examining them. Sulekha felt suffocated. She felt her children clutch her back and she felt hemmed in from all sides. "Mommy, mommy!" Param and Manya cried out. The foamy monster straightened and seemed to touch the sky.
“HHooo arrrre youuu?” asked a metallic voice. Sulu realised that it was coming from the monster, though it didn’t have a mouth. It was creepy. She looked around, to see if she could slip away with her children.
She stepped to a side. “Aaaa minnnnutttteeee lady,” the monster said, looking down, as if peering at her.
Sulu felt her throat go dry. Her hands were damp. She clenched it. The gesture reminded her of the mobile phone and she wondered if she could reach for it in her pocket without the monster noticing. She was paralysed with fear.
She put her hand into the pocket slowly.
“Nnoooo… Nnnnoooo guns pleeeeaaaassseee…” the monster said. Then it cackled. “OOOOr mobbbbile phonesssss.” She realised it was laughing. That did not reassure her.
She caught the sound of another hiss that was growing larger on a side. She glanced up and saw another monster. It was dark now, but still, the monster seemed carved against the sky, darker than the night.
For Chapter 3
For Chapter 3