22 May, 2020

#SpecialFeature :: Read an #Excerpt from Until the Music Stops by Naimish Srivastava

*** Special Feature May 2020 ***

About the Book:
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He is not crazy for her.

He is just crazy.

It is impossible not to like Grace Malhotra—she loves her family, her friends, and she does everything right. All she wants is a normal life. But she makes one mistake: She thinks everyone is as nice as her. And Amir Malik makes her pay for it. He starts tormenting her again.

Thus begins a game of cat and mouse that leaves Grace questioning everything she knows, including her sanity. The cracks in her relationship with her husband begin to show. Will they be able to get through this together? Will she be able to get away from Amir alive?

Read an Excerpt from Until the Music Stops

The noise started somewhere around ten. At first, Grace thought her ears were still ringing from some old dream and went back to sleep. But when her eyes opened again, the banging on the front door had quickened. Her mouth was dry. She felt Siddharth's side of the bed, but it was empty.

She covered her ears with her pillow, but the low thumping sound refused to go away. She got up and sat cross-legged on the bed. She slapped herself and dug her nails deep into her palm, hoping to wake up with a start, but nothing happened.

The sound kept getting stronger. She knew she would not be able to wait it out. She went and checked on her daughter and then walked down the stairs and into the kitchen. Her throat was so dry that she couldn't even swallow her fear. She poured herself a glass of water and rested her elbows on the countertop.

The sun wasn't going to rise soon enough for her, and her hero wasn't going to come to her rescue. The voices in her head were not going to stop. You and I gonna dance this little dance; you and I gonna dance this little dance, they kept on saying.

Her eyes fell on the steak knife next to the stove and its blade called out to her. Her body recoiled as she tasted blood in her mouth—the sharp metallic taste scared her.

She looked away as her hand searched for the handle of the knife, and put in the drawer. She put her glass in the sink, and as she looked up, all the horrors in the world turned into one faint outline outside the window.

It was Amir, no doubt. She would've known it was him even with her eyes closed. She couldn't see him clearly, but she could imagine, and her hand to God, she couldn't stop that even if she tried. She could feel his eyes, dark as the night, on her body, looking deep into her soul and stirring her crazy.
She could see his mouth opening slightly, craving flesh and blood, teeth chattering like a rabid dog. And he smelled. Grace could feel the foul smell, like a carcass left out in the open that had started rotting, enveloping the kitchen even though he was on the other side.

He lifted his hand and waved to her. The smell started overpowering her—it was coming from his armpits.

She shut her eyes tightly, and when she opened them, the smell was gone and the thumping sound had stopped. She pressed her face against the window and looked outside, but there was nothing there.

She kept looking over her shoulder as she ran towards her room. She waited for a hand to reach into the darkness and grab her from behind. She waited to be sent tumbling down the stairs. She waited for her neck to snap and for her head to crack wide open. She waited for a disaster because it took away the element of surprise.

She jumped into bed and pulled the blanket over her head. That felt as safe a place as any to her, because she thought if she couldn't see him, he wouldn't be able to see her, too. She held her breath and thought that that would stop him from smelling her. And then she thought that maybe if she stopped breathing altogether, he would let go of her.

She closed her eyes, knowing she would not be able to sleep that night or any night after. But she felt like she could try.

She was trying, but then that damned sound came on again. And it was much closer than the last time. She listened closely and realized it was the tak-tak of stones hitting the glass window of her room.

She wanted to push her fingers deep into her ears and make them bleed. She just wanted the sound to stop. She kept thinking about it for too long, and then her fear became a living, breathing thing that was sharing her bed with her.

It kept coming closer and tried to wrap its arms around her. She removed the blanket and walked towards the window. She was shivering. She looked out of the window, and once again, nothing was out of place. Everything was perfect, too perfect.

She felt like the grass was shorter than before, and that meant that someone had mowed the garden. Her heart started pounding. She rushed back into bed but couldn't take her eyes off the window. She could still hear the stones. But the noise had dampened. The stones weren't crashing against the glass anymore, but against a softer surface. Her head started throbbing again. She felt like something was beating against her skull.

And then she knew where the sound was coming from—it was coming from inside her head. It was the tak-tak of her screws coming loose and falling down.

About the Author:
Author's Amazon Page

Naimish Srivastava is a twenty-two-year-old writer and spoken-word poet based in Delhi. He reached the Top 15 of AIB First Draft in its first season, and is the author of two novels - Thinking Out Loud and Until the Music Stops. He writes in a professional capacity as a Copywriter during the day, and in a personal capacity (with a cup of tea) through the night.

Naimish Srivastava on Instagram

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