- Jesmal Jalal
The House of Eyes
“What do ghosts do when they become one?”
The thought crossed my mind as I looked out from the balcony window. Do they
come back and scare us? Or do they just come back to see things one last time? As I glanced
around, the chilly wind wafted around me. I drifted off from that lame question to the colorful sky of the night. Spending the night looking out through the balcony was one of my favorite hobbies for the past week. I am stuck in this room for the daytime too, but it’s no use in seeing people with those masks. It is scary. The night is when those masks peel off to reveal the flesh underneath, someone said.
The neighbor’s dog howls precisely at midnight and almost all houses switch off the
lights before midnight. But there was one house, just to my right, that showed a peculiar routine. A window on the top floor of the house turns on the lights at 3:03 am and keeps on flashing the light for 10 seconds for a while and then switches it off. The residents were mysterious too. They just moved into the house a week ago, but they refused to get out and meet anybody. Well, if they are in quarantine, it’s been a week now so that the period would be over by midnight.
How many days have passed since my ‘actual’ quarantine period of covid? I wondered. My mind ran back to that day—the day I came out of the court—the first day of this quarantine. My parents knew I was innocent. The so-called victim knew I was innocent.
The law proved me innocent. But those eyes of the ‘actual’ justice couldn’t be convinced. So
I needed to be away from them–in quarantine.
I closed my eyes for a moment and looked at that window.
The cycle just repeated itself until 3:03 am. The light went on at 3:03 am, but it didn’t
go off at 3:13. Plus, there were no flashes. It was kept switched on the whole time. The first
deviation from the cycle! What now, 20 min? 30? I waited and waited, but the window was
alight. It was getting creepy because some sounds are usually heard during that 10 min
interval, but today there weren’t any. Something was definitely not right there. My mom and
dad weren’t home, so why not I go and check on them? (As you see, I am stupid !)
I got out of my house and saw no one in the street. A sense of relief passed through
me. Slowly I walked to their gate. I held it open slowly and entered. I stood and looked at the
dark house with that bright light from the top window. I called out, but nobody replied.
I approached hesitantly and saw, to my horror, that the front door was ajar. I rang the
doorbell, but no response at all. Reluctantly, I stepped into the house and turned on the
adjacent light. There was nobody, just some portraits of eyes…many eyes. But why are they
looking at me? A strange, sinister sense crept through my skin. It’s no good. Who would
leave their front door open and keep a light on the top floor? Burglary—or murder?
At the next moment, I found myself pacing through the stairs to the top floor. Why?
Some ominous thoughts leaped to my mind that I was about to witness some crime there. But the top floor was dark as well, and I couldn’t find the switch. I took steps blindly until I saw the light from a room. It was closed, but I could see the light around the door. And that light was the only moon in the dark sky around me. But it was not just plain dull dark. There were dazzling stars too!
I approached the room and took a glimpse around me. The stars were advancing
towards me. I got excited in that supernal ambiance. But it didn’t last long. As they rushed
towards me, I saw—they weren’t stars—they were eyes. Those judging and repulsive eyes
staring with a plexus of utmost hatred and disgust. Hundreds and hundreds of them. I flung
my back onto a wall.
I saw a window right next to me. My eyes caught a glimpse of a sheer blackness
outside. Never have I been more terrified to see my house not there anymore. I banged at the door.
“Who are you? What are you doing here?” Someone was inside!
“Something is wrong…These eyes …,” stammered I, “ These eyes are following me.”
“Oh, those eyes—,” remarked the voice dreamily, “Because you are guilty.”
“No, I am not. I didn’t do anything.”
“You are always guilty—in their courts.”
“Why don’t they believe my innocence proven by a real court?”
“Because they have created their own justice system, my friend. And they have
condemned you already to a life sentence in your house.”
“You need to escape this rigmarole, huh? Open the door and meet me.”
The lock went down, and I stepped into the room…my room. And I saw him. The
The following morning. A regular newspaper report -
“19-year-old boy commits suicide—The parents saw the body hanging in his room
early morning—The boy was recently acquitted from a false case of harassment a week
back—According to the parents, the boy was humiliated by the people and refused to go out ever since—The boy had epileptic seizures—The police found a suicide note in which the boy scribbled a bunch of eyes—”
“Multiple seizures longing 10 seconds at late night”, added I as I read, “Now I know
what ghosts do. It’s boring to read my death reports written so vaguely with so many
unknowns. Especially no hint to the invisible murderers involved.”
Yesterday was a dream I needed to end my nightmare.
I smirked as I looked down that lively street. The so-called ‘innocent’ society–those