The Joy that Kills!

Shlok Sinha, Class 7 A, Bombay Scottish School, Powai, Mumbai

It was a pleasant, beautiful day in Ohio. Melodious notes of a distant song which someone was playing in the yonder hills reached the house of Mr Mallard, a renowned, successful doctor. He had planned a lavish get-together for his friends to have some good time off from his busy schedule. His wife, Mrs Mallard, was a fair, pretty woman but her eyes bore a sad and dull look, probably because she had to always compromise and bend her will to suit that of her husband’s.

Their house was beautifully decorated with fresh colourful flowers and the best of shining crockery and cutlery was laid out on the large dining table. Everyone was having a perfect evening when, out of the blue, Dr Mallard’s best friend, Mr Richards, rushed in gasping and said, “Mallard! Mallard! I have some disturbing news. A man in the hospital is afflicted with scarlet fever, and no one is willing to treat him!” Mr Mallard, though very disappointed about being disturbed, felt sorry for him and felt it was his duty to attend to the sick man. He hurriedly took his coat and rushed outside.

The weather too seemed to have changed its mood, with dark grey clouds piling over one another and tiny patches of blue sky seen through them. The delicious breath of rain filled the air. He sprang into his Adventador, stomped on the accelerator and raced through the roads. Looking at the streets ahead was hypnotising with the steady beat of the raindrops. The roads were getting wetter and damper and almost soaked in water. There came a sharp turn at which Dr Mallard slammed upon his brakes, and instead of stopping, skid across the road. Panic clawed his guts for the split second in which he lost his control on the vehicle. The car dashed into the guardrail and toppled over it and there it was – tumbling down and crashing into bits and pieces. The body inside was in a single piece, but pools of blood oozed out from the head turning his face dreary and gruesome.

Very soon this fatal accident was flashed in all the news channels but images of the body were not shown saying it was brutally injured. The doctor was a well-known figure, so the news reporters reached his house to get a few words from Mrs Mallard. She broke down and cried inconsolably.

Mrs Mallard and Mr Richards sat together on the couch, glaring at the television, shell shocked. Soon, the storm of grief had spent itself away. The feeling of wild abandonment was coursing through her veins. But the lines of repression and suppression seemed to have eased away from her forehead. She was free! Whispered words escaped her parted lips – free, free, free! And suddenly, they started jumping in glee. The brakes of the car did fail and their mission was accomplished! They rejoiced over their victory and began to plan their wedding.

Unexpectedly came a mysterious visitor! As figure in a wheelchair with an enormous smile on his face. He was happy to see his wife. He was back from the dead. Mrs Mallard and Mr Richards went white! Both of them collapsed instantly.

The doctors said that they had died of heart failure. They had died of the joy that kills!


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