The Blind man
The Blind Man
Genre: Murder Mystery
By Wrong Writer
6 min Read
It rained heavily that night. I was alone, with only the sound of the rain and my boots splashing the water for company. Nothing could have stopped me from telling Jake about the call. Amy wasn’t dead. I was pretty sure about that, even though Jake seemed to have moved on. She had called me the night before she went missing.
The lights were off. The bulb over the porch hung limp and lifeless. I could see the outline of the house and the chimney jutting out of the roof from a distance. But this wasn’t unusual. Not at Jake’s.
I couldn’t locate the doorbell in the dark. I knocked hard on the door the very first time. The rain pattered down hard on the tin roof. I couldn’t hear Jake walk up to the door, as I usually did. Just as I was considering knocking again, Jake opened the door.
“Hey Jake,” I said.
“Hey,” he said, recognizing my voice instantly.
“I’m sorry to bother you at this hour.”
He took slightly longer than I was comfortable with to respond.
“No, no.. it’s ok. I just don’t get many visitors here you know. Not since…,” Jake chose not to finish the sentence. “Please come in.”
It was pitch dark inside.
I considered asking him about the lights but decided against it for some reason.
I heard him draw out a chair in the dark and sit down at a table.
“I didn’t know you like to keep the lights out,” I asked finally.
“It’s… it’s all the same you know…. when.. when you are blind. And alone,” he said.
I immediately regretted asking such a stupid question.
I heard a matchbox shuffle. The next moment a light flashed in the darkness. He passed the flame to the candle. I saw his face for the first time that night. His eyes were wide open, but he had that peculiar void he had in his eyes. You could tell he was blind, even if you didn’t know him.
“Have a seat,” he said.
I pulled out a chair and sat opposite him at the round four-seater table.
“No light bulbs?” I asked again.
“I had forgotten to put them out once. So, got them all removed. For good. Why pay for something I don’t need?”
He pushed the candle to the centre of the table. Now I could faintly see my reflection in his eyes. The candle was living its last moments with the flame burning close to the surface of the table. The wax had melted away and spread itself around the bottom.
“I heard about Amy,” I said. “I’m really sorry. She was such a nice person.”
He turned his head and looked down at the floor as if recollecting something painful.
“Were they able to find the body?”
He tilted his head back up.
“I read the police have given up on the investigation.”
“You know … the day she went missing… she had called me. I could tell she was in the bathroom. You know… the way her voice echoed on the phone. And I was pretty sure I heard Lars in the background….”
“Lars was with me the whole time that day,” Jake cut me short. “Isn’t it Lars?”
A hand drew itself out on to the table. A face leaned forward from the darkness into the light. It was Lars. He had been on the table all this while.
“He is right,” Lars said, in a weary baritone voice I recognized immediately.
“Jesus Christ,” I shouted, jumping out of my chair.
“What’s the matter?” Jake said, surprised at my reaction.
“Why didn’t you tell me he was here?!”
“Relax. He’s been here all evening. I thought you must have seen him already,” Jake said.
I just didn’t know what to say anymore. Jake kept a straight face. He never apologized. He should have.
Lars slammed an empty whiskey glass on the table. It landed hard.
“It’s been a long day. We just couldn’t be bothered about the lights,” Lars added.
I was up on my feet by now.
“What made you think it was me on the phone?” Lars said.
“Why don’t you have a seat?” Jake said.
I was in no mood to talk anymore. And I was pissed Jake hadn’t apologised.
“It must have been a misunderstanding on my part. I’m sorry,” I replied. “I must leave now. I’ll come around some other time.”
There was no response. It got eerily uncomfortable in the room.
I scrambled for the door. As I rummaged for the door handle, I laid my hands on a switch. Instinctively, I clicked.
The lights came on. I looked up at the light bulb overhead with dread. And then I turned to the four-seater table.
At the other end of the room, I saw Amy sitting on the fourth chair at the table and staring back at me.
Writing’ the wrong. Original short stories, twice a month.
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