A pleasant afternoon. The sky was clear, birds were flying high forming a beautiful design, and I was driving fast on an empty straight road. No one was there to race with me. The cool air hit my face, making me delighted. I just peered through the window both the sides of the lonely road. Gradually, the loneliness pinched me, pushed me to think absurd things! Suddenly I noticed a small house a little far away from the side lane. I wondered that how come only one house was in that vast locality!
I turned my car towards the house. I don't know, why my intuition beckoned me to know more about the residents. I parked my car outside of the small fenced house. A quick grasp was enough for me to admire the sense of planned construction of the land lord. I gazed around, then gently knocked the door, ‘Hello, anybody is there?’
No answer came from inside. Two, three times I tried, then a feeble voice responded, ‘Come in please.’
I helped myself to open the door since for five minutes, I had to wait. I entered inside the house. It was beautiful but one thing was lacking, that was human presence! Few seconds later, an old lady holding a saucepan, hobbled around the kitchen room said, ‘Please be seated there, son! I am coming.’
I took a seat on the four seater sofa, waiting for the lady to come. She came out from the kitchen room, put a plate on the dine table. Full make up was wrapped on her face to hide the wrinkles but yet it was visible. Nicely two side clips were put to tie her short curly hair. A thin platinum chain with a dazzling diamond pendant was hanging on her neck. She was looking decent reminding her beauty of her young age. Only the physical fitness was hampered with her hobbling walks.
With a smiling face she greeted me, sitting on my side seat. She asked me, ‘So, you are new to this place, right?’
‘Yeah! I went to my aunt’s house, she lives in another town. While coming back, I felt little tired. When I noticed this house, I thought of giving a break to my long driving and relax a bit.’
‘That’s good, son! Want some coffee?’
I was in two minds for a moment because of her walk, but then agreed.
Few minutes later, she put two coffee mugs on the teapoy.
‘Thanks!’ I continued sipping my coffee, ‘nobody else is there?’
‘Um..no..they were there but not now,’ she sighed.
‘They, you mean your children?’
‘Yes, my family members.’
‘I am sorry! I think I have disturbed your work,’ I apologised.
She shook her head to and forth, then smiled at me. We both remained silent for next few seconds. I felt a little awkward as the silence lingered.
I cleared my throat said, ‘So, ma’am, I think your family members may be on the way. Sorry for disturbing your work. Let me go now. Thanks for a wonderful coffee!’
She leaned forward and squeezed my hand, assured me that there was no problem and she intended me to meet her family. I could notice her eagerness to tell me something about her children. So, I had no choice but obeyed her request.
Out of courtesy, I questioned, ‘Where have they gone? A long journey?’
She took a deep breath and said, ‘Yeah! A long journey, boy! My grandchildren had their vacation. So, they all decided to go for a white water rafting in Ladakh. Six days, they roamed around the city, enjoyed the amazing sites of Himalaya, and they loved that place! Every single snap they sent it to me. I was overwhelmed with joy, seeing the beauty of the Ladakh. But the day when they did the rafting, that was the last day of their life! The boat leaked somewhere and dashed into a huge rock! My son, daughter-in-law and two children, they all got severe injury. Eventually buried under the water. Nobody could save their life! I was shocked but couldn't do anything! Later, they use to come in this time. We happily pass our time together. Abruptly the old lady gestured me, ‘shhh…wait, they must be coming.’
‘What? What did you say?’ my sudden expression burst out immediately. First, I was confused! I couldn't understand what she said. I was stunned with her statement! Then, I thought that maybe because of her severe loss, she has lost her memory and she was babbling or she might have developed Alzheimer's disease. However, I felt uneasy as the time passed. I was not sure whether I should show my sympathy for her loss or I should run away from that deadly place!
She tried to reveal something, but the noise outside of the gate, break our attention towards the door. Two adults with three children with a lots of thing, gushed through the door laughing, talking loudly. They all looked at me. Instantly, I stood on my toes with frayed nerves. I was so scared, barely I could utter a word. The old lady’s son rushed towards me, shook my hand promptly, gesturing me to sit there. He genuinely showed a warm welcome to me!
I stuttered, ‘Hi!’
He grinned, in response said , ‘Hi! First time to this place?’
By that time, I could smell the fowl smell of my sweating, my heart beating was too high, that I could hear nothing but that! I stammered ‘yes’ only and tried to slip out and run. All on a sudden, the light was off, the total room was filled with darkness! I screamed aloud, ‘Ma’am, please light the candle. I feel suffocated, please let me go!’
There was no answer! I screamed again, ‘Hello! Please switch on the light!’
In that darkness, I ran to my life blindly and dashed somewhere on a hard surface. I guessed it might be the wall of that room. I leaned to the wall, moved forward. At last I got the door knob! I was so terrified that I failed twice to apply my force to open the door. In third trial, I opened it.
Outside the light was diminished too. I ran to my car, with shaking hand turned the key and to its fullest speed drove the car away from that place. I dared not to look back but from the rear view mirror, still I could see that house! I felt as if a dead man was driving the car!
One hour later, I reached at my home town. When I explained everything to my mom that happened on the way, she was terrified! She said, ‘Maybe it is that ‘haunted house’! I read about it few months back in the news paper. That old lady also died in heart attack after getting the heartbreaking news of the accident. But I never thought that my own son would be trapped in that haunted house!!!’
When I heard this from mom, I became speechless for a moment! But I was still in a dubious mind whether really ghosts exist? If not that what I have seen???