Viren’s hands shook as he looked for spare sachets of coffee. He had used up all the coffee he owned in the last two days.
“I must not sleep… nnnot sleep.” He kept mumbling to himself.
His blood-shot eyes strained against his will, just as two like poles of a magnet being forced together.
He teetered and slumped against the kitchen counter. For a mere moment he let his eyes droop but the next moment he slapped himself hard, yanking himself back from the edge of sleep.
Should he call someone? Tell someone about it?
But who would believe him. And even a small doubt over his sanity would ensure his dismissal from duties.
No! He couldn’t risk his career, his life.
“But you had no qualms about risking ours..” He heard them whisper. He closed his eyes and ears and began chanting all the prayers that he ever learnt.
A childish, tinkling laughter echoed around him. His eyes opened into slits, to see her sitting right beside him. A gossamer soft white dress hugged her little form. Her cherubic face exuded calmness. A silver glow emanated from her tiny frame.
“Why are you still awake? Sleep…Lie down for a bit.” She insisted in her sing-song voice.
She hummed a lullaby. Her soft, mellifluous voice caressing, cajoling him to sleep. His breathing slowed down, his body and mind followed suit, lulled to the rhythm of his breathing.
His body leaned of its own accord. She held his shoulders in a soft but steady grip and led him to her lap. Tiny fingers combed through his hair. A small warning rang through his mind, something about not sleeping. But he fell under the spell of her hypnotic voice and soothing touch.
It was too late now!
Viren knew what was coming. From behind his closed lids, he could sense the silvery glow being replaced by an inky darkness. The soft voice hardened, deepened, multiplied sending a chill down his spine. The tiny fingers elongated into cold, bony ones. Their sharp nails scratching his scalp, holding him in a deathlike grip.
The soothing lullaby transmogrified into an inhumane wailing, loud enough to raise the dead.
He sobbed, twisted in his sleep, but he couldn’t shake the nightmare away. His eyes remained shut, tightly glued together. The nightmare, the wails continued for the rest of the night.
In the wee hours of the morning, exhausted, drenched in sweat, he felt the hold slacken.
Viren opened his ruddy eyes. They were fading, retreating.
“Murderer!! You killed us. Ripped our unborn girls from our womb and left us to bleed…to die.” They hissed.
Viren stared at the wraiths. Some calm, some angry. He regretted his actions. His greed had turned his humble clinic into an illegal abortion center. He had blood on his hands – of the unborn and the innocent.
He begged them for mercy, to end the eternal nightmare but only heard their mirthless cackles.
“Don’t sleep ‘cause we will be waiting.”
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