“Cheche, close the windows and curtains.” Dema shouted from the kitchen. Dema remembered the weather forecast predicting the powerful windstorm around evening.
“Yaya Ama.” She reluctantly stood up from sofa and her eyes still glued on TV, Cheche went to close the windows.
*Creak* *Creak* the window in altar room was playing a game. Cheche didn’t want to miss her favorite program, Doreomon. She pushed hard outside and pulled inside with full force.
“Careful Cheche, you will break the glass.” Dema’s audible words burrowed her ears.
“It’s not working, Ama.” She shouted back.
Dema came for her rescue. The wuthering sound was growing louder and scarier with passing time.
“Amaaa….”Cheche screeched abruptly hugging Dema, eight year old has been always afraid of the darkness.
“Shh….love…it will be all right.” Dema lit room with her cellphone torch.
“Ama, when is Apa coming home? I am scared.” Cheche asked following Dema while she went to fetch a candle.
“Soon, love.” Dema assured her daughter not letting her own anxiety show. Dogs howled wrecking her nerves. She tried not to be superstitious.
Time and again, she checked her phone and dialed repeatedly on same number. It was disconnected instantly. With the passing time and growing darkness, something inside her was gnawing her alive.
“Cheche….stay here. Seems Apa is back.” She hurried to the main door. Opened.
“Who is there?” Her heart sank lower and as she scanned the premises with torchlight.
“Bloody wind.” She tried to reassure herself.
“Ama, where is Apa? Who is at the door?”
“Love…Apa is coming soon. It was the wind slamming on the door.” She hugged her little one.
With each knock, she was gripped by fear. She felt heart shrinking in the darkness. She hugged Cheche firmly.
“Ama, you are choking me.” Cheche whispered.
“Oh..sorry.” she freed her “Do you want to eat now?”
“I will eat with Apa.”
No network coverage, total blackout and her man was nowhere to be seen. Dogs howled again, louder this time.
“It’s Apa. I will open the door.” Cheche ran before Dema could stop her.
“Where were you, Apa? You know that I am scared of darkness, Ama too.” Cheche complained.
“I thought you wouldn’t come tonight.” Cheche continued.
Relieved, Dema went to set up dining table. She felt safe when her hubby was around. The rice was still warm in the rice cooker. She reheated the curry and boiled water in the kettle. Tshewang drinks abundance of hot water.
“Apa, when will electricity come?” Dema heard, Cheche has always been a daddy’s girl. When people mockingly made her to choose between Dema and Tshewang, Cheche always chose her father without a second thought.
“Ama..look..Apa brought doll of Elsa and Anna I asked last time.” Cheche came running to her. She wiped her hand and turned to Cheche.
A series of expressions played on Dema’s face; confusion, shock, fright and finally her knees gave away. She wobbly fell down, hot boiling kettle splashing on her, it barely made the difference.
“Ama, what happened?” Her daughter rushed; her left hand was as if holding another hand and in right hand, she was holding an imaginary doll she claimed her father bought. Eight year old saw what Dema didn't. But Dema understood what Cheche couldn't.