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I don’t know how I got in here. My innate curiosity would’ve brought me here. Though there were many people in the room, no one seemed bothered to get out. How strange? I saw some distorted, disfigured faces beside me. The one on my left was particularly abstract. The cranium was part open, pink and blue flesh hung loosely. The punctured jaw had glass embedded on one side. The spine poked out from the shoulder. Or was it the collarbone? I couldn’t tell. He was hurting,it, was hurting.

I could stand & keep looking but I had work to do. I had to get out of there. I started walking towards the exit, but the door was locked from outside. I screamed, but no one came, no one heard. I tried climbing up the ceiling vent. Fell down and hurt myself again. I tried breaking the window, that didn’t work either.

Tried calling Jemma, shouted, but she couldn’t hear. I promised I’d be home soon, I promised I’d finish work early,I promised I’d pick up the grocery on the way, I’d promised I’d spend time with her. She must be waiting, expecting. And here I was unable to get out of this room. Claustrophobic I was.

The retina was burning, the liquid had dried up, and the veins bursting. My eyes bled. But I kept them open. The sound was like nails on glass, screeching endlessly. Coming close to me louder, harder, faster. The odor was choking, ripe raisins, rum, peaty, wood fire, all shaken and stirred. It tasted salty, just like sweat, with a hint of blood or wine. My lips had dried, throat parched and that’s all I remember.

And then I found a tag attached to my wrist.
It read, dead on arrival.

I couldn’t sleep that night.

Gyanban Thoughts - its been a  while I ventured into the horror zone.This piece was written for Qyuki publication for a Chetan bhagat initiative called I couldnt sleep that night.The idea was to tell a story in 300 words around that phrase.I ve used all the senses of taste,sight,smell etc. to capture the mood and effect without getting too gory.The other experiment was to rearrange the paragraphs and see if a different story,narration evolved.See if you can spot it.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Subroto and welcome to Gyanban.

  2. What a way to end the story? Superb! Well told!

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    If you are interested so reply me 1 google page rank


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the dark skin is brighter,
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a minty breath drifts over the shoulder,
the noose around my neck chokes
gasps for breath and the heart pokes
the lights are incandescent inside
empty faces on the outside.

The tube-light and the guard flickers
People wearing strange monikers
floating close to the floor
a door opens, the stupor
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my eyes lose him and hope to find.

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the cardigan shrugs off and the  lips quiver
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