House of Darkness


Mr. Joshi was on his way back home from the cinema. It was 10 P.M. and the evening show had finished just an hour earlier.

He was in a happy mood. The movie had been interesting—he liked the part where the hero fought and defeated all the villains single-handedly despite his background in journalism. Like most Nepali movies it had a happy ending and the hero not only managed to get the girl but also was able to convince the girl's parents to let him marry her.The audience had cheered and whistled and applauded when the couple finally kissed and then the movie ended.

He used to go to the cinema alone. He could not remember the last time he took Mrs. Joshi to to the cinema or anywhere else. Inside their house, they had their own private little lives and each respected the other's privacy. Mrs. Joshi had been a widow before he married her. He had decided to stay unmarried until he finally yielded to his family's wishes and decided to marry at the age of thirty eight. There was a narrow path that branched out from the main road that led to his house. On either side of the path there were vegetable patches—cabbages, little radishes and turnips. It was difficult to navigate the path at night.  His pocket torchlight lit the way, projecting a consistent beam of light.

As he approached his two-storied house he heard the sound of leaves rustling in the direction of his guava trees. As he pointed his torch in that direction he saw a silhouette of a man standing just below the trees. Except it wasn’t a man.

It had the body of a man—in a black suit. His humanlike qualities ended just as the neck began. It was a headless body.

Mr. Joshi let out a scream. He dropped his torch and fell back. The torch fell on the ground and flickered for a second but continued illuminating the grass. Mrs. Joshi must have not heard his scream; she would have come outside the verandah if she had heard him screaming in front of the house like a lunatic.





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