A strange thing happened last night. I don’t know how to describe, rather how to explain. Yet I am inclined to tell it, for you are someone who would listen to my story. Sorry, it is not a story but a real one, a real feeling, indeed. I know you are feeling I am going to scare you. No, no absolutely not. I am not a damn creator who is capable of weaving such a story that would haunt you, day and night. I won’t do so. I won’t exaggerate. You remember how I loved smoking. Yes, loved smoking. I used to enjoy my puffs. Despite the fact how insidiously smoking kills, I would cherish it. Plain and simple, I couldn't help it. You may call me weak. I won’t mind. But that is not going to happen this time. Certain events change the course of life. Certain facts push you to a state where you can’t make a distinction between reality and fantasy even how hard you try.
But my case was not a product of fantasy, I can bet. Like other nights I went to my balcony to have some puffs at the wee hour of night. It was 2.30 P.M, I guess – an hour when the negative vibe is better felt. I lighted up a cigarette. Calm and composed, I was inhaling and exhaling, while randomized thoughts kept crossing my mind. The world went into a nocturnal hibernation. There was no moon. It was dense dark outside. The stray dogs as usual kept howling in such a way that their collective vocal efforts at times seemed to reach a crescendo. There was a street light erected just beside my house with serpentine electric wires creeping around it. The faint dim lights created a scary crisscross around that only intensified the darkness. The swift movement of unknown creatures alarmed my senses. I kept puffing, ceaselessly.
Now a strange thing happened. To my amazement, I noticed how the wreaths of smoke swirled up into the cold air in the month of December and assumed a strange shape of an eye. Mere coincidence, but interesting! Gradually it grew larger. Now more conspicuous! A face of a fiery woman with baleful eyes! My eyes quivered a little, fingers stiffened, my throat choked. She was staring at me with a kind of predatory malignancy. I felt like being numb. It was not sort of fear that gripped me but a cold numb warning. Yes, a warning. Panting, sweating, I somehow stuffed my cigarette and threw it. Gradually the smoky eyes faded into the darkness giving me a statutory warning ‘smoking kills’. It all happened for a few seconds.
Dazed, exasperated, I woke up. Was it a dream? Was it a hallucination? Did I go to bed last night at all? Of course I did, otherwise why I was on bed. Did I smoke at all? Confused! But the baleful eyes! Yes, the sight was so horrible. The numbness I could still feel to my spine even in the freshness of sunshine. Now I would have to go office. I got ready. ‘Everything all right? Yes, my purse, I took it. My monthly, yes inside my purse. My cell, yeah I took it. My lighter, yes.... My cigarette packet, ..., ’ I muttered. The uncomfortable memory of that diabolic stare gripped me once again. ‘Never again, Smoking kills,’ someone whispered into my ears.