General Fiction posted May 29, 2017

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story starting with the sentence...

By God's grace..

by Sanku

There was a knock on the door. I looked through the peephole. A lady in a green sari stood there.

"Yes?" I asked, opening the door.

"I am sorry to bother you, but I want to see Mrs Laila Josef urgently. The door is locked". She said, pointing to the door opposite mine from which a bronze lock was hanging from the bolt.

I didn't answer, just lifted my eyebrows as if asking the reason for troubling me. I was reading a very thrilling crime story when I heard this knock.

"I am sorry". She apologized again. "Do you know where she is or when she will be back?. I have been coming here looking for her last two weeks, but the door was always locked. Has she gone to USA?
"I don't know", I shrugged.

Actually I knew that she was away visiting her daughter in US, but I was wary of imparting any information about my neighbour . Not that I liked her, for she is too talkative for my taste and given to gossip.

"But you are neighbours . Wouldn't she inform you if you are going away for a long time?"
"Not necessary. Sometimes we don't meet for days , then at times we just say hello-how are you".
"Is there any problem? ," I asked. We have an apartment manger. You can find him in the office. May be he knows".

"She owes me a great deal of money and I need it urgently. My child is dying." Her face puckered and she started crying, but immediately stopped as if trying to be brave.

" If you have given her money, then you must know her very well , I said . "Don't you know if she is here or away?"

"I know her very well.She was my neighbor before she moved into this apartment. We visit each other regularly. About ten months back she asked me for some money for her mother's treatment."

I remembered that her mother was sick for a long time before she finally succumbed to cancer. But I was surprised to hear that she had borrowed money from someone and had absconded without returning it.

The woman sobbed and said, "My son is in the hospital and he needs an operation. I am running from pillar to post to organize the money for his treatment."

"I am sorry. I can't help you. I do not have her mobile number.
She sniffed and said ,"Can I have a glass of cold water?"

"Please wait here", I said and turned to fetch a tumbler of water from the fridge.
But I sensed her stepping inside to follow me. I looked back and she thrust a handkerchief on to my nose.

I felt the coolness of water drops on my face .I opened my eyes to see many faces hovering over me.

I struggled to get up and one of the faces helped to sit up on the sofa.

"Are you feeling okay?" Meena who lived in apartment C asked. "I came here to return your book and saw you lying here on the floor.

Slowly everything came back to me. I told them what happened and Meena suddenly shrieked , "where is your mangalsutra?"

I looked down and saw the gold chain I was wearing was gone . So were my two gold bangles and my wedding ring.

"Call the manager. She has been neatly robbed". Meena had a habit of using 'neatly' to any clever work. A heart attack is a 'neat 'death for her .

The manager was called. Soon a similar case was reported from the other block. There also she asked for the absentee neighbour who was a close friend of Leila Josef . She was also away on a holiday. The security recognized her from the CC camera footage. Police was called.

Later we heard that she had made a third call , again next to a locked apartment. This time she went away without spinning any story because the lady was not wearing any jewelry.

Within a week she was caught. She immediately confessed and told the police how she planned everything in one night and "with the help of God I could do it without a hitch".

Two things were true .One that she knew Mrs Laila very well and two her son was seriously ill. He was fine now and would be out of hospital in a week.

Mrs Leila indeed had taken the money, her only savings which she had carefully saved for her son's Engineering admission next year.

She had known that the chemical she used would not harm us, only would make us unconscious for a few minutes.

We asked the police not to press charge. They were reluctant. We were sure she would retrieve a our jewelry from the pawn shop.
But Mrs Laila ? Let her come back. We would handle her.

Sentence writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Write a story that starts with this sentence: There was a knock on the door.

Mangalsutra is a gold chain with specific charms that a Hindu married lady wears. most older generation ladies always wear it and never take it out .
Thank you, Mike K 2 for this picture.
Part of it is based on a true incident.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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