The Lost & Found Spirit 23


A sigh was not what she expected.

How could a heartfelt sigh qualify as talking? Was that enough to call 911? Well, a sigh is sometimes more articulate than words, agreed… Still… Anyway, what was she going to tell after calling for help? That she had heard a stranger’s voice in her house? There was an intruder in the house and he was hurt? Come to think of it, it was not like the Voice was threatening her. It was more like it was in pain. Did it need help? ‘It’? Was it an ‘it’ or a ‘he’? The Voice was not continuous either, just bits and pieces here and there, not even a complete sentence.

Nevertheless, Scarlett did not want to take risks. She looked at the floor where the plate and glass lay shattered into many tiny pieces. Slowly she peeked into her bedroom and looked around, straining her ears to hear more of that Voice. It was not very strong the first time she heard it. But the tenor of the voice had steadily grown until it sounded like the voice of a solid person like somebody was talking to her from the same room.

Was it/he still there? She was standing behind the door, on the balcony, partially leaning inside. Her fingers were pulling at the curtain, self-consciously, trying to decide whether she should go into the kitchen to grab a knife and do a thorough search of the house. Was she brave enough to do that?

Tristan could not understand what Scarlett was trying to do. One moment she was eating her dinner and the next, she dropped it. And she was peeking into the room weirdly. Now that’s strange… She looked doubtful of entering the room, her face reflecting all the confusions in her mind. Did she see something strange in the room? Under the bed? On the floor?

Scarlett took a careful step inside the room. Her head was spinning in all directions as if expecting somebody to jump on her that very instant. She paused for a minute, crouching and watching, and then she took off like a frightened cat out of the room. Tristan was truly surprised. Amused. What the hell was that…!

Scarlett stopped only when she reached the farthest corner in the hall, sitting on her haunches, still alert and ready to run and scream as well, should she come face to face with the intruder. Were her neighbors helpful sort of people? She hoped they would come at least for the sake of curiosity. She should really introduce herself to them. “Damn… there is an intruder in my house. And I am thinking of inviting my stranger neighbors to tea… good ideas always come at odd times.”

All the action films she had ever seen kicked into her subconscious and conscious mind. Scarlett stealthily darted from one wall in the house to another, in a weak attempt of acting like a spy, all the while looking frantically into unsuspecting places. The only thing missing was a stylish revolver in her hands. She could only guess how ridiculous it would look if somebody was watching her…

She turned on the master switch and all the lights in the apartment were turned on. Scarlett again paused for two minutes, listening for any sound. Was anyone breathing or panting? All she heard was her own frightened huffs of breath. Feet shuffling?? Turning of keys? She sniffed the air for any unfamiliar scent. Then she went and opened the front door wide, in case she had to run for her life. But there were no scary sounds. Just the silence in the house, one which is now so familiar and dear to her.

Scarlett was not sure whether to let her guard down or not. She had definitely heard the voice loud and clear. And the sigh. She felt it in the last bone in her body and in the tip of her toes and in the last fiber of her heart. Totally confused and frustrated, Scarlett stormed into the kitchen and took her best and sharpest knife. Again in James Bond style, she searched the house, flipped the curtains, pushed the sofas and jumped away and went back to sneak around the furniture. There wasn’t really a lot of places to check, but she didn’t want to be careless either.

She reached the bedroom again. She had first heard the sound in the bathroom. Was there anybody in there? Shit. She threw open the door and jabbed the long knife into the air inside the bathroom. No one. She even checked for secret cameras in the corners and holes, inside shampoo bottles and other bizarre things in the washroom cabinet. But there were no signs of a break-in and there wasn’t anybody who would go to such lengths to annoy her. Maybe she was overreacting.

Tristan watched Scarlett with interest. She was walking carefully with measured steps, holding forward a deadly knife like a sword, as if she was hunting an animal and was just waiting for the right moment to go for the final kill. The only thing was, she was wearing a worn out grey shorts and a black tank top. A warrior woman in shorts… hair all over her face… concentrating so earnestly that she bit her lips… If he hadn’t been on the other side of the frame, Tristan would be rolling on the floor and laughing.

Scarlett poked the curtains near the window on the other side of the room with her knife. She was squinting through the veil of her hair and waiting… Tristan had no idea what she expected will emerge out of the curtain. It was fun to watch anyway. It’s been so long that he was entertained like this. Scarlett blew out the hair falling on her face with a huff and turned around the room. Suddenly she bent down on her knees and peered under the bed. Then she got up almost immediately and opened the door of the wardrobe and jumped back two feet, expecting something or someone to fall out of the cupboard.

Forget rolling and laughing, Tristan would be howling and laughing shamelessly if he was on the other side of the frame.

Scarlett was not amused at all. She turned to look at the painting and warned, “Don’t you dare laugh at me! Do you have any idea that there was an intruder in the house?”

Tristan felt like Scarlett knocked the breath out of him. How did she know he was laughing?

The Lost & Found Spirit 24


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