Short Story: Lockdown Fever

“I’m tired of your whinings.” Mohini was agitated.

“You think I’m not?” Ravi retorted.

“Doing all the housework is not my sole responsibility.”

“I do my half.”

“No you don’t.”

“I do.”

“No.”

“I do. And you are trying to force me to do your work too.”

“What!” Mohini’s right hand gripped tight on the vegetable knife.

“Yes. You left the dirty utensils on the sink. I’d washed them in the afternoon. It was your turn last night.” Ravi replied.

It was 11:30 in the morning, on day 42 of the lockdown. They were in the kitchen of their house. Ravi had been working from home since day 1.

The couple had been at it for at least 2 hours. By now, Mohini was too frustrated to have a normal discussion. Her husband’s whining and childish stubbornness was boiling her blood. She put her right hand up, gesturing for him to stop. He was in the middle of a sentence but complied.

“You are at home all day. If you want stuff, start working for them.” She declared.

“You talk as if I don’t work. Did you even listen to what I was telling you?”

“I did. Now, you, listen to me. Do. Your. Work.” She seethed.

Mohini returned to chopping the tomatoes on the wooden board. Ravi was speechless for a few seconds.

Then he blurted. “Don’t…don’t think you can scare me like that.”

“Enough! Shut the fuck up and work.” Mohini smashed the wooden board on the tiled floor.

There was an engraved china clay teapot on the counter besides Ravi. It was Mohini’s favourite. In response to the wooden board’s crash, Ravi smashed the teapot on the floor. Unlike wood, the clay didn’t hold up. A dull cracking sound and then…silence! Complete silence.

Sunlight was streaming through the curtains draped over the French windows. The television in the hall was running at full volume.

Ravi could see the anger rise in Mohini. She took a step forward and plunged the knife into his torso. Again. And again. Heart, lungs, stomach – everything was perforated. Mohini made sure that her husband would never have a gastric problem again in his life, because that life was now gone.

Ravi’s eyes stayed open all through this. Too open, thought Mohini. She considered gouging his eyes out, before sympathizing with the dear departing soul.

Ravi’s body was oozing blood from multiple pores for the first, and without question, the last time. His body slumped on the floor, face first. Blood was pooling around, mixing with the fine-sliced tomatoes that had now turned to puree.

It was a few seconds before Mohini returned to being herself. She gasped, the bloodstained hands and the knife covering her face. She put the murder weapon down on the counter without a sound. She’d started trembling, she realized, before her eyelids felt heavy and warm, and her cheeks got drenched. She turned the tap on and washed her hands.

Her sister-in-law Pallavi, Ravi’s elder sister, was due to arrive at their house in two hours.

“I can’t let Pallavi see this. No, no, no. I need to hide him somewhere.”

She wracked her brain, but it became apparent to her that there was no place in her house where she could hide a dead body. To make it worse, this body was bleeding.

“I need to dispose him off,” she concluded. The next logical question was, “How?”

She sat at the dining table, watching the blood dry at the bottom of the kitchen drawers. She noticed that of its own, a stream was flowing towards the hole under the kitchen sink. “My husband’s blood is as smart as he was,” she thought as a smile flicked across her lips.

They’d watched a show on Netflix about getting away with murder. But that was a year ago. Now Mohini had no recollections of the tricks employed in the show.

“I should do a Google search.”

She picked up her smartphone from the dining table. She opened her browser and started typing in the search box.

“How to dispose…”

She’d only typed the three words when her phone started ringing.

“Darling, aankhon se aankhen chaar karne do…”

The song from the film 7 Khoon Maaf was her ringtone.

She was startled, jerking her head back at the first vibration of the device’s motor. She took a quick breath. It was Pallavi. She picked the call.

“Hello?” She started.

“Hello, Mohini.”

“Hi, Didi.”

“Hi. Listen. My grocery shopping is done. Ask Ravi if he needs whisky. I’m buying for myself and Ilesh and can add more.”

“Um, no, Didi. We have enough stock as is.”

“Fine, then. I’ll be there in an hour, hour and fifteen minutes max.”

“So early?”

“Why? Any problem?”

“Uh, no. Come over. I’m preparing lunch.”

“Bye.” She cut the call.

“I need to do something fast.” Mohini thought. Her eyes returned to the search bar, and as she was going to type, she panicked.

“Police will get my search history during investigation. This will be the tell-tale proof.”

She deleted the search history and put the phone back on the table. She got up from the chair and paced around, stealing glances at the body. The blood stream had reached the sink hole.

She averted her eyes and opened the fridge. A half-finished bottle of Jack Daniel’s was in there. She took it out, poured the whisky in a glass tumbler, and took two quick sips. She let it burn through her throat and settle in her belly before screwing the cap tight and putting the bottle back where it was.

“What if I check out the plot of a movie with this kind of a story?” She wondered aloud.

“No, no, even that might throw the police’s suspicion my way.”

“I have to throw him out, and then tell the police that he went to another city on company business and never returned.”

“Yes. This is the only way.”

“But how am I going to search for the tricks?”

Her eyes fell on the vegetable knife she was working with. “That won’t do it.”

“I don’t have a meat cleaver.”

She took another sip from the tumbler. She was biting down on the nail on her left thumb.

She was still standing besides the refrigerator. A strange smell was beginning to take hold in the house.

“Is this the smell of blood, or meat?” She wondered.

“Whatever.”

“Darling, aankhon se…” had started playing again. This time it was an unknown number.

She walked over and picked the call.

“Hello madam, I’m speaking from E Mart. Your home delivery order is ready. We will be delivering it in an hour.”

Mohini was silent.

“Hello? Madam?”

“Yeah. Hello. I don’t want the delivery.” She cut the call before the person could respond.

She took a series of quick breaths. The next breath she took, she held it inside, her mouth half-open, her eyes trying to catch an inspiration anywhere in her field of vision.
She exhaled and rubbed her tongue over her lips.

“VPN!” She cried out. “Yes! I should install that.”

She opened the app store on her phone and searched for “best vpn apps.”

A number of options came up. She selected the highest-rated one and started downloading it. The 4G internet wasn’t lightning fast, but she was hopeful of it getting done soon. She paced from the kitchen to the hall. A famous yesteryears Hindi song was playing on the television.

“Apni to jaise taise, thodi aagey ya peechhe, kat jayegi,
Aapka kya hoga janaab-e-aali?”

“God, please save me here. If I get out of this situation, I’ll do anything you ask me to.”

She glanced at the phone’s screen. The app was now installing.

“Not long now.”

Installed.

She clicked on the icon on her home screen to open it. But at that very moment, she heard a scream.

“Mohini, Mohini, come here, Mohini.”

Mohini woke up. She was in the bedroom, drenched in sweat despite the AC.

“Mohini, I need tea, yaar. Get up.” Ravi was shouting from the hall. She could hear the TV playing. Sunlight was streaming into the bedroom from the slit between the window curtains. Anger and relief fought with each other for her primary attention.

“God! I’m going to kill this man one day.”

The End.

Do share your views on the story in the comments section.

Thank you for reading.

11 Comments

  1. It was a gripping tale but thank God that it was just a dream. I expected a twist at the end. Well written. I have a feeling that if Mohini talks to Ravi about her dream, he’ll start becoming a little more helpful! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOL! First half of the story was like unreal… seriously, and I was like surely she wouldn’t go to such extremes and surely Ajit won’t write something like this. The end was a good way to round it up though. I’ll admit there have been times in every married woman’s life when she wishes (if not dreams) some violence against the husband. Good comic relief in these hard times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha. I’m glad I saved my reputation then. 😀

      Thanks for the kind words. Married life has its challenges, I guess, more so in these lockdown times. Glad you enjoyed the story.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. haha that was scary. Look what women have to go through, they are already murdering their husbands in their sleep. It’s quite interesting when you can stand in the place of women and write. Good Job writing!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s