My First book – ‘Pneuma’ Preview

                                                                                ONE

                                                                               Enigmas

Neha sensed a slow movement around her which could have been easily mistaken for a gentle breeze had it not begun to seep through her. She felt like she was being possessed by an unknown entity and she stiffened when the unexplainable assumed the shape or form of a hand that began to fondle her. She resisted with her will as she was incapable of pushing the invisible force away from her. Fear paralysed her as the thought that she was becoming one with the supernatural invaded her mind which commenced a bout of incessant chanting. Prayers seemed to be powerless in the face of that mystifying persistent potency which continued to maraud against her will.

Fingers trailed on her supple skin and Neha could hear her deafeningly loud breathing drown every other sound in her bedroom. She could not summon enough courage to open her eyes let alone sit up and investigate or reason the origin of the unexpected intrusion that was frighteningly and strangely seductive. She was unsuccessful in her rationalisation as the roving hand was determined to terminate her digressions and left her gasping in pleasure. Manipulative fingers prodding, probing and caressing her body from head to toe made it impossible for her to harbour any sinister feelings about the freakish encounter.

The inscrutable turned more demanding and urgent, which matched Neha’s rapid breathing, forcing her to relax and subduing her instinct to protest. She could feel its grip tightening around her waist groping for softness embedded within her inner lips. When she struggled to appear unresponsive, Neha felt the hold slacken only to wander away to the soft swell that accentuated her femininity. Hungrily the hand clenched and unclenched over her mounds of softness making her arching body clamour for more. Neha suppressed her moans as disturbing John, who was sleeping in the adjacent room, was unthinkable during the witching hours.

Wave after wave of sensual pleasure washed over her ruining the possibility of peaceful repose which would have rejuvenated her for the next day’s tedious hours. Neha’s attempts to surface from the tormenting sea of desires were shattered when the caresses turned into agonisingly slow penetration that engulfed her entire being in sweet ache. She quivered with delight unable to deduce the source of her enjoyment. She relished the moment when her inner lips parted welcoming the anticipated thrust wishing for the incessant tease and torment to consume her with a raging passion. She felt a tug at her fuller bottom lip and as she was succumbing to the bewitchment a melodious ascending ringtone ended the night of clandestine debauchery.

Neha switched off the alarm on her mobile phone and lay staring at the ceiling struggling to differentiate between fantasy and reality. The nightmarish dream felt so real that it was impossible to dismiss it as chimera. She headed for the showers not wanting to break working days’ routine and as she unwound herself in the long warm shower she reflected on how life itself was an enigma. There were so many occurrences in her life that would have appeared less abstruse had she been successful in obtaining solutions. With a sigh, Neha concluded her reminiscences as the call of duty claimed her mornings. Ensuring that John woke up on time, showered, changed in to full school uniform and had a healthy breakfast took a toll on her and by the time she hit the road she found herself ranting and raving about innumerable issues such as lack of discipline, traffic, lateness so on and so forth.

Neha dropped John at his high school as usual and breathed a sigh of relief only when she had eluded the traffic bottleneck near the school zone. The smoothing vehicular flow of the Hume Highway, which was uninterrupted, untangled Neha’s taut nerves and she paid some attention to Mikee and Emma’s Radio show on 96.1. It usually took an hour’s drive to get to her destination and as she was driving Neha thought that her decision to migrate to Australia in her advanced stages of pregnancy throwing away a substantive position in a government institution was nothing short of a gamble. She was one of the fortunate candidates, among the several hundred thousand who sat for the Teacher’s Recruitment Board examination, to have emerged victorious both in the written section and the interview. Within few months, Neha received the guaranteed permanent appointment letter as lecturer in English at a Government Arts College and Neha’s teaching career skyrocketed with the transition from self-financing institutions to government colleges. Industriousness being her middle name she laboured for four years to complete her doctoral thesis on existentialism, however, its submission was followed by the Australian government’s grant of Permanent Resident visa at an hour that was fortuitous.

Neha realised the need to focus on the road as her musings were impairing her driving skills. She swerved dangerously around the corner of Charming Rd and into the teachers’ parking lot ignoring the 40kms school zone sign. As she rushed into the school building she noticed mothers with prams and fathers in work attire waiting outside the library.

‘It must be one of those PTA meetings,’ Neha ruminated as she stormed into the staffroom flinging a muffled ‘Good morning’ to the occupants engrossed with their routines.

She breathed a sigh of relief when she noticed a blank, highlighted space on her timetable for period one. Pangs of hunger ravaging her reminded Neha that she had skipped breakfast. Coffee was inevitable, of course! As she watched the thin group of mothers with prams and toddlers grow into a significant cluster in the quad through the staffroom window, Neha envisioned the days when she traversed everywhere with a pram. Commuting to University was no different.

Recollections of sprinting with the pram to drop her baby off at the University Kids campus and having to retrace the route to attend lectures; of facing disappointments when assignments were returned sans credit or distinction and of being a victim to tall poppy’s syndrome; of exiting the lecture hall just before 7 pm to pick her son from the day care at closing time and of wondering, while looking at the tear-stained face of a traumatised child who had lost his battle to exhaustion, if the sacrifice made for a tertiary qualification was worth the grief inundated her psyche. Recollections of pushing a pram in the early hours of the morning through the nearly deserted streets of Campsie; of quickening pace to reach the residence of a family day carer who defied rules to welcome a struggling migrant’s nine months old baby at the crack of dawn; of whizzing through Beamish Street and boarding a particular train to ascertain that Kuring-gai campus was reached on time via linking transportation came crowding into her mind.

Neha, who was never a quitter, knew only too well that adversities often lead to accolades. She persevered holding on to moments such as a rare display of genuine affection by a few friends who claimed her succinct spare time, a word of recognition that augmented her sense of achievement, a goalintoxicated contribution that would eventually warrant success. With great reluctance, she yanked her gaze from the quad reminding herself of the need to organise herself for the next period. As she ascended the stairs the day appeared ominous for some awful reason. She could not dismiss the foreboding feeling as insignificant. It dampened her high spirits and wrenched away her moment of basking in the glory of her accomplishments.

She shoved the anxiety building within her to the back of her mind and concentrated on distributing workbooks to Year 8 students who had piled into the classroom at the knell of the bell.  She was kept on toes by the queries of inquisitive children whose lively expressions betrayed their growing interest in the topic ‘Media Madness’ which they were determined to mask.  It was their way of seeking vengeance on an educator who did not believe in wasting a minute of their lesson in frivolous pursuits. Applying themselves diligently through any learning activity for more than half a lesson was sheer injustice to them. Being an experienced teacher, Neha was not fooled by their counterfeit disinterest. In fact, they were so skilled at their pretensions that their histrionics would have fetched them Oscar nominations. She carried on unperturbed and strained to suppress her amusement which was short-lived due to an unforeseen interruption.

Neha was relieved by a faculty member from her lesson as the Deputy Principal had to discuss a matter of utmost significance with her. Once again that daunting feeling pervaded her entire being. It travelled languidly like a slow poison making each step to the DP’s office more arduous.

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