Was she real?
By Sharmeen Rahman
It happened when we moved to our new house. It had been just a week and we still hadn't fully unpacked. My parents had gone out and my younger sister Tara was at grandma's place. I believe I am too old to be taken care of at the age of fourteen and so stayed home alone and invited my friend Sreya, since it was a weekend, without the pressure of morning classes.
The smell of a storm was in the air. I could hear the grumblings of thunder outside; kalboishakhi was coming. Naturally, we planned to see a horror movie.
“Hey Tania, I forgot to buy popcorn.” Sreya said looking through my movie collection.
“That's fine, chips will do.” I said from the kitchen.
“Nooo, I'll get some from the grocer's across the street!” Sreya insisted and quickly opened the door and walked out before I could stop her.The door closed behind her and there was silence everywhere, the deceptive calm of the weather adding to it.
“I wish she hadn't got out in the rain. She might catch a cold.” I thought as I locked the door.
I kept the chips bag on the coffee table and threw myself on the couch.
I was feeling excited about the whole thing; a horror movie night, just me and a friend. I loved horror stuff - movies, stories, Halloween, everything.
Suddenly, the door bell rang twice and I jumped up. Couldn't be mom and dad. Did Sreya come back so quickly with the pop corn?
I slowly walked towards the door and shivered from a strange chill. I can't explain why I felt so weird. As I touched the doorknob, I was a bag of nerves, my hands were sweating. I opened the door and the electricity went.
I could see nothing. A sudden gust of wind slapped the cold night air in my face. There were droplets of rain in it. I could smell wet earth and the thunder seemed louder. But there was something else in the dark, something standing at the door. I could hear breathing.
Something whipped past me and into the house. I muffled a scream in my hands and took a couple of deep breaths.
“Who is it? Sreya?” I asked in a broken voice.
“Hey, who are you?” I asked again, a little louder. But my voice still shook.
As I squinted in the dark, the door closed with a loud slam.
Pitch black everywhere. I thought I heard footsteps and deep breaths. It's a trick. Trick of the mind. Trick of the night. Probably a stray cat at best.
I needed a light. There was no point in braving the stairs outside in the dark. So I walked towards the kitchen. But the furniture and the unopened boxes everywhere hampered my progress. I tripped on to the edge of something and fell; the object toppling on my ankle and shattering on the floor. I yelped in pain as I felt around my ankle and realised it must be my mother's favourite vase. There were broken shards all around me.
Then there was someone breathing in my ear. I couldn't move; I couldn't even breathe, let alone scream. Something spoke. It sounded female, but no girl or woman ever had such a voice.
“It is time for a feast.”
There was a heavy weight over my chest. Scream! I needed to scream!
“So hungry. For so long.”
My heartbeat was painful inside my chest. It smiled in the dark and I saw fluroscent red teeth. The bar over my throat seemed to lift. I screamed till I tasted blood.
And then nothing.
“Hey Tania, what's wrong? Are you okay?” I heard a soft voice.
I opened my eyes. It was Sreya.
She was leaning over me with a huge bag of pop corn in her hand. I was still on the couch and the electricity was back and there was light everywhere. The television was playing a movie; from the sound I knew it was a horror movie.
“Are you alright Tania? Bad dream? ” she said softly with a smile. I stared at her for a few seconds and then nodded. “Yeah, bad dream. I better go throw some water on my face.”
I stood before the mirror, breathing heavily. Stupid nightmares! I sighed and looked myself in the eye. Only, they didn't look like my eyes. The image in the mirror smiled.
I saw red teeth.
Return of the Blackout
By Ahmed Ibrahim
This is one for the conspiracy buffs (yes, we exist despite the conspiracy to prove we are a myth). The other day, while I was enjoying the darkness and the colourful use of creative profanities by my neighbour during the umpteenth blackout of the day, it suddenly hit me: what if the rumours were true? Now, I shouldn't really be saying this out loud (much less putting it in print) but there were some whispers a few days back, started by me of course, that the government is actually diverting away all this electricity to build the coolest weapon of all time after the Lightsaber. That's right, the Death Star.
Though the whole project has been very 'hush-hush' I finally found someone from the National Genjamzz Association (NGA) to corroborate this. "This is very high level stuff. We feel that we're behind all the other countries in terms of high-tech weapons we will never use and so we decided to go ahead with it," says the insider, who, for obvious reasons of confidentiality and swag, has chosen the pseudonym Mental Gangsta'. "It's actually a win-win situation for us," he says. "We get to build a cool device, while the entire populace enjoys a few hours without Hindi serials." Of course he wouldn't give us the location where it was built, but after two minutes of haggling and a surreptitious exchange of an envelope, hints indicated it was somewhere in Dholaikhal.
Why did we choose to build a Death Star in the first place? "Well the orders are from pretty high-up," Gangsta' replies after a pause. "It's probably because it was the most expensive and inefficient project we could take up. More space for screw-ups - and huge funds with no one person to keep track where all the money goes. Besides, bomb-making has instruction manuals. Here, we just watched Star Wars and copied the thing on screen. We actually improved on it, using local materials like bamboos and made it cost effective by using Aica instead of cement."
I don't know about you guys, but knowing that the government actually observes decent works of film, my faith in them has been restored. Now we could go on drawing comparisons between Star Wars characters (Darth Vader, Jabba the Hut etc.) and the good people of our government but that's not the pressing issue. What's more important is, who is Princess Leia in all this? And who is the father? And where are the Lightsabers - or are we using tube lights again? I'll let your imagination run wild on that one although I probably lost you at Leia.
So there you have it. Another mystery solved and impending crisis averted (er, don't ask what crisis, long story about pelicans and penguins teaming up with someone called Wormtail and the big fiasco about number 42). So the next time you are about to smash in your computer or television just think of Princess Leia. Or look up at the night sky. If you see something bright and glowing, that's probably not what you're looking for. Who would build a glittery, shining Death Star anyway? Although we do hear there will be posters of Bangla movies pasted on it. Anyway, it's out there somewhere, biding its time, though it's nearly impossible to spot. Sort of like a Fernando Torres goal.
In an alternate universe
Johnny Depp and Poornim
By Entertainment Desk (Jawad)
The entertainment world is buzzing with the news of budding romance between “Captain Jack Sparrow” Johnny Depp and Bangladeshi heartthrob Poornim. The press has already dubbed the pair “Doom”.
According to paparazzi sources, the big star Poornim was seen walking out of Depp's apartment with a broom and a bucket of water in her hands. “They are definitely dating. A broom and a bucket of water guarantees that their relationship has developed to a certain stage where Poornim can clean the house,” celebrity analysts said on an extensive discussion on the Rising Star's Facebook wall.
Meanwhile, thousands of female fans gathered before Depp's house and demanded to see their favourite pirate one more time before “he is snatched up by that devil woman”. Depp is currently busy thinking of another PotC sequel and was thus unavailable for comment.
Poornim on the other hand maintained that their relationship is “pure” and that she considers him “just a friend”.
Only time will tell how “Doom” turns out.