When you are trying alcohol for the first time. You feel dizzy, maybe nauseated and funny. People differ though. And when you end up trying all variations of alcohol, lots, the first time, at the same time. It’s chaos. The room of spinsters, all in their mid-thirties, Koel, Shona and Nats, define the chaos. Sheets muddled, cushions toppled, broken bottles and furniture. Besides the mad knocking in the head is not pausing.
Three of them tried opening their eyes. It was Shona, who noticed things wide-eyed and poked others. The scene in front of them was a mess, a big fat mess. Ladies turned goldfish were opening and shutting their mouth try to voice out something, anything. Nothing came. Koel asked, “Where is Shawn?” Shawn is Shona’s twin brother. He was in town for business. He was at their place yesterday for dinner, where he showed up with Champagne.
Right now, three of them are sitting at the patio, sipping hot filter coffee, thinking about what happened. Shona voiced “So, you two remember anything? I recall Shawn with a bottle.”
“That was Champagne. Sweetheart!” filled in Nats tying her brown hair.
“And then, we had dinner. Right?” Koel wondered.
Shaking her head Shona said “Shawn met me after 3 years. We filled in life-work details for these years. And, we had tea. You made it. Remember now?” Koel could only shrug “I don’t.”
Nats spoke “Ahh yes I do! We were seated at the hall.”
It was about an hour now while they were trying to recall events with little success. They recollected Shawn, Champagne, random conversation and playing poker. Poker clue was not a major breakthrough, cards were lying down the couch with few bottles of beer. The mobile gallery is filled with blurred selfies giving away no clue. Man of need, Shawn was missing. His phone was directed to voicemails.
“Don’t you guys think, we are fretting over nothing. I mean none of us is injured or there is no major accident around us. Shawn must have gone for work purpose and return soon. “Nats spoke out.
While Shona nodded, Koel was unsure to say a word. When Shona poked her, she screamed scaring other girls. Nats pulled Koel for a hug and Shona tried soothing her with assuring words.
It was noon now, Shawn was still missing. Girls freshened up and ate ordered food with medicine for a hangover. Nats and Shona were soon engulfed by sleep but Koel was feeling restless. She was not able to point on anything particular but she could feel something was wrong.
To divert her mind, she started cleaning the already cleaning hall. Fixing cushions in place, wiping the dining table, etc. Her phone buzzed citing a new message received. It was from an unknown number. She kept her phone aside and continued her work assuming it must be one of those spams. Till it strikes her, what if it’s not. She ran to check that message. Before she unlocked her phone, another message was received. She stilled. Hairs on her neck were standing, she has started sweating and her eyes were shut tight. Nats and Shona found her like that.
Shaking frozen Koel girls queried “Are you okay? What happened?”. All Koel could do was pass on her now unlocked mobile with reading message. And it was time for Nats and Shona to freeze. The message said IT WAS BEAUTIFUL YESTERDAY. The second message was I DARE YOU, AGAIN.
Hours passed by and silence prevailed. None could recollect earlier events. Outside weather was changing from pleasant warm noon to stormy night. Windows started banging loudly. Nats ran around the house to close all the windows and main door. While she was returning locking the main door, she heard a faint window banging. A worried woman checked all shut windows again but the sound was still present somewhere. Wondering if the door to the terrace was left open she took the stairs. Next moment, Shona and Koel heard a painful scream of Nats.
Both hurried upstairs, to find Nats in a pool of blood. Without wasting time Shona called for an ambulance. Koel tried patting Nats to get a response, she was breathing shallow.
Sitting in a hospital waiting lounge Koel is still unaware how they managed to get an ambulance and get injured Nats to the hospital quickly or any later event chain. According to Dr. Basu, Nats broke her ankle and hit her head hard, resulting in blood loss. She was out-of-danger now and under sedatives. Shona has gone to get medical formalities complete. She rubbed her eyes to ward off the burning sensation. It has been a really tough day and all are still clueless about previous night events. Shawn is still missing, no phone calls or message. Nats got into an accident too. Her buzzing mobile phone shook her out of thoughts. Another message popped ONE DOWN. TWO LEFT. Before her brain could understand the words, there was another buzz saying DARE STILL ON
Holding hands together Koel and Shona were praying to God. They have no idea about the meaning of messages or who the sender was. The hospital was smelling of phenol. Murmurs and cries of patients were pushing them to edge.
“It’s time to take help. Let’s go to the Police. It would be better rather than staying horrified.” Opinionated Koel. Her monologue continued “We might not do something awful. Someone is playing a bad joke. Yes, nothing else.”
“Or something beyond our thoughts had happened. And we are ignorant of what it was.” Interrupted Shona.
Girls decided to take police help the next morning and returned from the hospital as both can’t stay there for the night. But the scene in front of them was unexpected. One cannot be in the mood for the party after a terrible day and trip to the hospital. Their humble single-story house was now decorated by bulbs, hanging lanterns and nice smelling flowers. Friends from social and office groups were screaming SURPRISE. They went over the top with a banner stating “Proud of you”. While surprised girls have no inkling of the turn of events and reason for so.
“There you are.” A joyous voice grabbed girls from behind making both scared out of life. It was Shawn, dressed casually with shining eyes and laughing at their state. Well, his laugh was short-lived when ladies attacked him with angry punched and murmuring inaudible things. To Shawn’s horror, Koel and Shona fell thud on ground shedding tears. He knew he scared both by hugging from behind but this outcry was unexpected. Guests were dazed and exchanging glances.
Shawn hurriedly pulled girls and excused too nearest room. He signaled caterers to continue serving food and drinks, that would keep people busy. Or so he thought. Closing the door, he kneeled down to face girls and begged to say something, anything. Koel answered first mentioning how they woke up with mess around. Shona added the message and Nats’ accident. Not before firing an array of questions to Shawn, which he replied honestly. Minutes later girls felt as if the burden was removed from their shoulders. Shawn urged both to freshen up and join the party.
When Koel and Shona re-entered the surprise party both were glowing with happiness, though they missed Nats. When guests left the venue leaving Shawn, Koel, and Shona, Shawn took out 3 champagne flutes. Looking at him, girls busted out laughing as he said LET’S PLAY DARE GAME AGAIN.
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Next morning Shona and Koel were accompanied by Shawn to meet Nats. When Nats saw smiling faces she knew the problem was resolved. Shawn poured the happenings of mystery night. Apparently, when Shawn appeared with champagne he insisted ladies to have a try. Starting from sips they drank the entire bottle and Shawn added more variety to try namely beer, vodka, long list. Then they started playing “Dare game” where one would challenge others. By the end of the night, Koel had unexpectedly visited her ex-boss who used to harass her resulting in her switching job. She broke his nose in a nasty punch before running away. Shona speed a bike in highway shedding her fear with bikes. (P.S: drunk driving is not encouraged) And Nats has booked a flight to meet her upset from years sister, Jane. They dared the other to overcome hurdles and had fun. The messages were sent by Shawn from his co-worker’s number as his phone broke earlier.
“Then why were you messaging only Koel?” asked Shona.
Shawn was quick to say “She took three dares that night. One kicked the ex-boss. Other two were, going on a solo trip and paragliding. So, two still left.”
They laughed that morning. A lot of laughs.
Featured image source: Pixabay