A Bat In The House

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is my first attempt at writing short story. This story is edited by Vasanthi Papu, pen-name "Angelin" on Booksie. My profound thanks to her for editing my work.

Submitted: February 22, 2014

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Submitted: February 22, 2014

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A Bat In The House

 

It was Thursday night. After having dinner and completing my homework I went to a corner of our living room. A corner - where I often listen to my favorite radio program airing latest English music while others watch their favorite soaps on TV. I put on a headphone and started listening to radio.

 

I hated TV soaps and for me it was nothing more than glycerine guzzlers but my mom and my sister liked it very much. Although my dad would tune in to news or sports channel if he had a choice. But at this hour he couldn’t have his way. So being left without any choice he also watched soaps along with them.  My little brother, Asim was habituated to complete his homework watching TV during that hour of the day.

 

After this routine dose of entertainment we got ready to go to bed at around 10 p.m. Being the eldest child, it was my responsibility to go to our bedroom first which was on the first floor of our house. Asim, Renu-my younger sister (in fact three years younger to me) and I used to sleep together in one room and my parents slept on the ground floor. Asim, who was about 6 years old, was always scared of going alone in the dark. So he was always last to come up. Renu was still helping my mom in arranging the kitchen utensils. Soon after completing his home-work Asim started playing with his toy cars.

 

So that day I was the only one to go upstairs and switch on the lights and mosquito repellent. As soon as I switched on the light, I noticed that something was flying in the room. The creature was so small and flying so swiftly that it was not easy to know what it was. It was circling around the ceiling continuously.  On keen observation I came to a conclusion that it might be a bat- a very small one; in fact it was smaller than a sparrow. I immediately went down-stairs without even caring to switch off the lights and went straight into the kitchen and informed my mom.

 

“What!.... a BAT!” was the immediate reaction of my mom, “how could that enter the room? Who kept the doors and windows open?” she started shooting questions like bullets from a machine gun.

 

“Yes…when I went up, the door was already open and the window of the other room too.” I informed her.

 

“Who did that?” she questioned angrily.

 

Renu interrupted hesitantly, “Mom, I kept the window open to hang the wet clothes for drying,” then she meekly added, “but I don’t know anything about the door. I never went into the room.”

 

“Then who kept the door of that room open?” Mom questioned.

 

“Mom it doesn’t matter whether who kept that open, but what to do about the bat in the room. We should do something about it.”  I interrupted her wanting to get the solution.

 

So far Asim was busy playing with toy cars but after hearing our conversation he excitedly jumped into the conversation entering the kitchen where I was talking with mom, “I heard a bat entered our house. Let’s shoo away that intruder. How can it enter our house?” He came and stood right in front of me. With excitement all over his face, “Bro, show me where is it? Come let’s go quickly.”

 

“No, no one will go up.” Mom shouted, “who knows, that bat could be a vampire bat. Such bats suck blood out of body,” mom said, still arranging utensils in the rack with the help of Renu. “All of us will go together and who knows, by now it might have gone away. Let me finish my work first.” She suggested.

 

“What is a vampire bat, Mom?” asked Asim inquisitively, “Are they really a scary creature?”

 

“Sahil, take him away from here; he will make me mad.” mom almost shouted at me wanting to stay clear of Asim’s never ending nagging questions.

 

So first I went into the living room, sat on the sofa and called Asim, “Come here, I’ll explain you everything.”

 

“No, not so scary but a little dangerous. So we need to be a bit careful.” I tried to satisfy his query making sure not to scare him by telling horrific mythical stories about bats.

 

Asim didn’t know much about bats so for him a bat was like any other animal. He never heard any scary things about bats.

 

Before he could ask more questions, I distracted him from the topic by fidgeting with his toy cars and started playing with him.

 

“Where’s your dad?” Mom shouted from the kitchen, “Ask him to get some cloths from the cupboard to cover our faces properly.”

 

Dad was totally oblivious of what was going on. Although he was sitting in the living room on a sofa just a few feet away from us, he was so much engrossed in noting down the daily expenses that he was simply cut off from the rest of the world. Normally even while reading newspaper he becomes oblivious of everything around him. It’s so irritating for all of us, but can’t do anything about it. He has it in him.

 

I knew to tell dad all about it, would take a lot of effort and explanation. But I had to tell him anyway, so I went ahead and tapped his shoulder, “Dad, take out some cloths from the cupboard to cover our faces properly.”

 

“Cloths to cover our faces! Why? What happened?” Dad asked the very obvious questions, which I knew from the very beginning that I would have to face. He was still looking in the diary with his head down. He didn’t lift his head even for a second.

 

“Oh dad! Just do as I’ve just said, a bat has entered in the room above.” I said urging him but with a bit of irritation on my face because I knew that dad won’t do what I said easily; he just like Asim would ask thousand questions before understanding the situation. But somehow I was able to apprise him of the situation.

 

“Just take out 3-4 dupattas (stoles) from the cupboard.” mom tried to guide him from the kitchen.

 

“Mom, don’t ask any of them to touch anything from the cupboard,” Renu cried. “Just today I’ve arranged all the clothes properly and they’ll make a mess of it. I’ll hand them over after finishing this work.”

 

When mom and Renu finished their kitchen work, Renu took out a dupatta from the cupboard. She tried to hand it out to dad but he refused, “I won’t use it, it’ll look sissy. I’d rather cover myself with a shawl.” So Renu gave him a shawl.

 

She then gave a dupatta to Asim. “No, I also won’t take a dupatta. Why dad’s not taking it? Even I won’t. And I won’t wear a shawl either. It itches! I’d wear dad’s helmet instead.” Asim completely refused to accept it.

 

“Go to hell!” Renu gasped dejectedly and wrapped a dupatta around her face. “Mom, see this crazy fellow wants dad’s helmet as a covering.” She complained.

 

“Renu! Don’t interfere with him. He won’t listen. Let him have his way or he’ll make our life hell.” Mom said calming Renu.

 

Mom offered me a dupatta and I accepted it unwillingly so as not to offend her. But I wrapped it around my hand instead of covering my face.

 

Dad took some flip-flops and shoes with him; mom took a long-handle broom and Renu took a normal broom while Asim was having fun with the dad’s helmet – wearing and removing it again and again. When he saw that all of us were ready to go upstairs, he immediately ran upstairs taking some more shoes on his way up.

 

This time I was the last one to go up as I was given the job of switching off all the lights, closing doors, windows and locking the main door as well. After completing my task, even I went up, but empty-handed.

 

When I reached up I stopped just near the entrance of the room to see what was happening there. And what did I see!

 

I saw the bat still flying at the height of ceiling in all corners of the room circling the fan. Mom chasing it with her long-handled broom with her head fully covered with dupatta except her eyes. Renu was doing the same thing but was waiting for the bat to fly at lower height as her height and the short length of her broom didn’t allow her appropriate reach. Dad was throwing flip-flops and shoes at the bat. Asim also tried to aim at the bat with shoes while wearing helmet. There was mayhem all-around; footwear flying everywhere in the room and the noise of screams filled the room.

 

On seeing all that I sneaked into the room, went on my bed quietly, covered my entire body with a thin blanket and lied down. No doubt I was scared and was more concerned about my safety. I kept a little opening to watch everything.

 

Now I felt completely safe under the protection of the blanket. So my fear also subsided. However everything else out there was still chaotic. All of them were still bent upon chasing the bat out of the room.

 

But the bat had no plan to leave. It was unfazed by the threat all around it. It smartly averted every threat by making subtle changes in the flying speed and height of its flight.

 

Mom kept chasing the bat with occasional shriek whenever the bat went passed her. She wasn’t successful in her effort to chase away the bat out of the room. Same was the case with Renu. It looked as if they were playing merry-go-round.

 

Asim was trying his best to shoot the bat down with shoes but his over-sized helmet would come off every time he jumped to make a throw. His efforts also yielded no result.

 

My dad was unable to hit even a single shoe on target so far. And how could he because his one hand was permanently engaged in holding his lungi (a type of sarong) together which was diverting his concentration.

 

Asim noticed that. “Dad, why are you wearing lungi? Had you worn pants, you would have been more comfortable.” He remarked. “Go, change it.”

 

“No. I’m comfortable in lungi.” Dad rejected his advice right away.

 

“He will be more comfortable when that creature will get inside his lungi.” Mom said taking a dig at him. On this remark Asim and Renu broke into laughter. Lungi was his favorite nightwear but we didn’t like him wearing it.

 

“Stop it!” Dad shouted angrily, “she is always against my wearing a lungi; she just needs an opportunity. But I won’t fulfill her wish till my last breath.”

 

“But dad, mom is right. This lungi could one day put you in an embarrassing situation. You don’t understand.” Renu justified mom.

 

I was just chuckling furtively hearing all that.

 

As Asim was continuously chucking shoes, one just hit Renu on her head. This made Renu livid and she went after Asim to settle the score. To save his skin Asim ran helter-skelter and while running he noticed my presence in the room.

 

“MOM.” He shouted in surprise. “Bro is here, lying on bed.”

 

“WHAT!” my mom reacted sharply noticing my presence on the bed. “How long you’ve been here. And shame on you. Your brother and sister who are much younger than you are working so hard to get rid of this bat and you are lying on bed.” Then she called me with all the synonyms which are used for a coward.

 

She was very angry with me. Deep inside I also felt she was right to a certain extent. I should have helped them. I began to feel guilty but could do nothing at that moment.

 

“We have been trying so hard and now we are exhausted. You have to tell us how to get rid of this bat”. She demanded a solution from me.

 

Whenever there’s any such situation at home all my family members always relied on my advice, especially when the situation demands driving away animals like lizard, rat, hedgehog etc. My tricks and ideas always worked in similar situations. But this time it was different as we had to deal with a scary and dangerous creature. I was at my wits end. There was pin drop silence in the room. All of them were looking at me demanding a solution from me.

 

Suddenly Asim pulled away my blanket, “You can’t get away like this. You think you’re smart then prove it this time.” Other members supported him. Now my reputation was at stacks. I had to get some idea, but my mind was blank.

 

Then I got up, pulled back the blanket and while covering it over my body, out of sudden I blurted out, “Why don’t you leave that poor creature alone. Just do what I’m doing (i.e. cover yourself and lie down on bed). Switch off the light because bats can see only in the dark. That’s why they are active only during nights; they can’t see in light. With light on that poor creature might be unable to find its way out.” Saying this I covered myself completely. They thought for a while and decided to heed my advice. They switched off the light and went to the ground floor. Now I was lying on my bed with no one in the room. Since I was covered fully I wasn’t fearful of bat anymore.

 

After about fifteen minutes or so, all my family members came back to check the status. As soon as my dad switched on the light, he found that the bat was no where in the room. It had left our house.” Everyone heaved a sigh of relief. Soon there was jubilation all around. Even I got up throwing away the blanket to check whether the bat had really left our house.

 

Renu came and gave me a high-five, “See, everyone, my bro has done it again. His ideas are always effective.”

 

Everyone nodded in agreement and asked, “Yes, sure, but how do you get such ideas? Couldn’t you tell us about this idea before? We are so much tired running after that bat and see the condition of this room. There’s mess all around.” But all of them were happy with me. I was able to reaffirm their faith in my capabilities.

 

Asim remarked, “I guess, he get such ideas because he watches Discovery channel too much and must have gained knowledge about animals from there.”

 

It was true that I liked watching Discovery channel and NGC, but so far I didn’t get a chance to watch anything on bats. I didn’t know from where that idea clicked and I wasn’t sure whether my logic was scientifically correct or not. Instead of blabbing the truth, I decided to take advantage of the situation, “so from tomorrow onwards I can watch my favorite program on Discovery Channel at 9 p.m.” Everyone scattered and went to sleep without uttering a word as if nothing had happened. I got my answer and went to bed.


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