(A weird story.Don't look for logic)
The sky was overcast and it was windy too.Vanamali went to the window overlooking the backyard to close it. He saw his wife Vasuki standing about five feet away from a big anthill at the corner of their fenced compound. She was looking at the anthill intently. A newly married, he wondered why she went near it. He had seen some neighbourhood ladies coming and pouring milk inside it on some special occasions. But this day was no such one. He rarely went to backyard much less near the anthill. He suspected some snakes were inside it. When he wanted to have it removed years back, his mother had dissuaded him saying that it was there since his grandfather’s days and that no harm would come to anyone. She also warned him that if it is removed there would be a curse with no progeny in the family He was still scared and was wondering why his wife had gone there.
Vasuki was tall, very slim and lithe in her movements. She had long hair coming up to hips and walked very gracefully like an accomplished dancer. Extremely fair she had narrow but long eyes that were very black. She looked beautiful even from distance. He called her “Vasuki, why you are standing near the anthill? It is getting dark. Come away” She was so engrossed, he had to repeat before she turned and looked at him with a weird expression.
“Don’t you know snakes are inside it? Infact I would have shifted long back but for this being ancestral house”
“What if, the snakes do not harm anyone unless they see a threat?” she replied
He did not pursue the subject but was a trifle intrigued at her response. A week later on a Sunday afternoon; they were watching TV in the living room. A strange smell assailed his nose and he turned to look around. He saw a cobra inside the hall with its raised hood staring at them. Immediately he jumped up on the sofa and cried out to her to do likewise. He turned to find a stick or something long to beat it. Holding his hand and dissuading him from such foolish thing she said ”Don’t panic. Just stay put. I will handle this”
She stood where she was a few feet away from the cobra and looked at it intently even as it stared at her. Though for a few minutes, it looked like eternity before the reptile slithered its way out through the door. Dumbstruck at her unflustered reaction and unaware why the snake receded as if commanded, he asked her “Aren’t you afraid of snakes? How do you know by staring at it, the cobra would go back?”
She did not reply but looked at him with a smile in her face. He felt some strange fear creeping him but continued watching the TV for a while before switching it off. He asked her to come out for walk but she declined. He went out pondering over the incidents. He was ill at ease and not comfortable.
That night as they were in bed, she snuggled close to him, put her arm around him and leg on his and brought her face close to his. He saw her glistening dark narrow eyes with a twinkle close to him when a chill went through his spine. He pushed her away but she was in no mood to let him go and enwrapped his body to bring it closer. He let out a shrill ‘No’ and moved away as if in front of danger.
“What is it? We are hardly married for six months. Why are you doing it to me? I have been seeing you behaving strangely since a few days and looking at me as if I am a weird person” she asked.
He kept quiet for a while and when prodded for an answer, he said “Nothing like that, I am tired today.”
She turned to the other side while he too turned. This went on for a few days and there was no discussion on this. She cooked the food, he went to office, watched TV and everything was done in routine. There was no quarrel but the intimacy was absent. In the nights when they slept in the same bed, he was like a scared animal keeping his distance away.
One night he suddenly woke up and found Vasuki looking at his face intently from close quarters. The glassy black eyes that flitted from one side to the other reminded him of the cobra. As he tried to get up, she pushed him down and kissed him on his lips. A shudder passed through him even as his body shivered.”Be quiet. Why are you like this? Am I not your wife? Hug me and kiss me. It has been several days since we had been intimate”
“No, leave me alone. I beg of you. I am scared” he cried like a child.
“I think you need to see a shrink. Something is bothering you and you are not open” she said looking at him with contempt as she left the room with a pillow in hand.
The next day Vanamali during lunch time asked Ashok, his close buddy, “Do you believe it is possible for a snake to take human form?”
That friend was shocked at such a stupid question and asked him “What has gone wrong with you? Have you been seeing some Vittalacharya’s films?” Vanamali gave a wry smile and did not pursue the conversation.
The next day around 11 am someone came rushing to Ashok and said “Have you heard the tragic news? Our colleague Vanamali was bitten by a cobra last night and had died”
It hit like a sledge hammer as Ashok recalled the question Vanamali had asked the day before. He rushed to Vanamali’s house. There was a small crowd of neighbours. Someone said “It is unusual for a cobra to bite on his lips. There were two distinct marks. The cobra must have crept to the bed. Normally the snake bites the legs. I think Vanamali has beaten the snake dead before he passed out. The cobra was lying there dead with blood all over”
“What about his wife? Where is she? She must know what had happened” asked Ashok
“No, she is not seen. The neighbours say they saw her even late at night at the back yard. But she had vanished. It looks strange. The police are expected any moment”
Ashok was in a quandary whether the dead cobra could be Vasuki.A shudder passed through his spine too..