It was one of those days when Riya’s heart pumped very fast. It was a clear moon day with its light zooming in her small apartment room. From the day she turned 18, she felt like she was watched and followed. At times, she felt someone’s presence in her room but she could not see.
Her fear grew when she consulted a guru who advised her not to stay alone since she was haunted by some unknown spirit. She didn’t believe him first, but when she experienced it, she knew what to believe.
She was in her room working on her laptop when a finger brushed her neck. She turned back to see but found no one. She walked to the fridge to drink water and calm her nerves. The lights in the fridge flickered. She stepped a foot back, when lights kept on flickering she rushed to her bed with the bottle of water. She opened her chat window with her closest friend and typed what she first experienced. Her friend replied, “did it feel good? “What? It was scary.” “Why?” “When an invisible thing touches you how can it feel good?” A parade of angry smiles followed. She got scared and ran out of her room. A thud was heard inside her room against the door—the ghost had thrown the bottle at the door.
She stayed at one of her friend’s place. Though she could not catch sleep due to fear and scary thoughts—what if it wasn’t her mind but a real ghost?
In college next day, she had a discussion with her girl friends, including the one she stayed at night. They concluded that it was her mind and nothing else. When she spoke to her on chat, the friend’s brother might have operated it because she had gone to use washroom and did not type anything like that. Her friend promised to confront her brother when he is back from school. Fridge’s light might have broken. And the thud she heard might be from another floor.
She relaxed through her college hours and drove home with her boyfriend, Manan. “Should I come in to help you settle? You still look scared.” They both entered the house and noticed a roll-over bottle at the corner. She took a deep breathe, “I don’t feel good about this place anymore.” “Will find a different place for you.” The lights flickered again. She yelled and hugged her boyfriend. “You have your answer. Electricity problem.” He takes her to the bed and settles her down. He goes to the kitchen to get water. She feels a feather-touch on her legs. She stands abruptly. “What’s the matter?” He returns with water. She explains and he shows her the bed-sheet which had loose threads.
They settle back on the bed and he pushes his hand over her shoulder. “It’s alright baby. I am here. I’ll stay here tonight.” They fall backwards on the bed and he puts himself half on top of her. He kisses her hard and busies himself in touching her everywhere. She opens her closed eyes and sees gas everywhere. She pushes him and shows him. He gets shocked how that happened. “Let’s go please.” She whispers. “It is nothing. Stop being scared.” He gets up and inspects everywhere but finds nothing. Meanwhile he was inspecting, she gets up to leave but the door smashes itself closed at the end moment. “What are you doing?” She tries to open the door but it won’t budge. He walks to her and stops her. “Open the door” He pulls it and it easily opens. She looks at him and runs out. He gives the room a last stare and walks out too.
“You see. Your building had a fire on floor top of you.” They were watching news on TV at her same friend’s place. “I don’t know, Ritu. That place doesn’t feel right anymore.” “We will find a way to sell it and look for better option till then you can stay here.”
Next morning Ritu rushes to her room to inform Riya that she has to leave for her mother’s place because she is hospitalized. She met with an accident at home while working in the kitchen. Riya left the same afternoon and Riya was alone in the apartment. The bell rang and she opened to find Mr. Balwas at the door. “Where is Ritu?”
“She has left for her home.”
“Good, I want the apartment empty by evening today.”
“My son’s family is coming and they will be staying here.”
“You can’t ask her to leave without notice.”
“Yes, I can. She has no papers to stop me.”
“She can register a complain against you.”
“No, she can’t. To save money, we didn’t sign any agreement.”
Riya called Ritu after Mr. Balwas left. After many attempts, she could connect her. Ritu already knew about the situation because Mr. Balwas called her immediately after leaving. Mr. Balwas’ son lost his eye sight and he was coming to Mumbai for treatment. No one knows what happened and how he lost his eye sight.
Riya calls Manan and requests him to find a place for her. But he refuses saying that he cannot do anything in a short notice. He would need atleast a day to talk to people and find a place for her. He tells her to go back home and wait for him. He would be there after his class. She goes home with hesitation and walks in stealthily. The moment she enters the apartment, the door behind her shouts closed. She squeaks and tries to open it. But she is thrown back and lands on her bed. The lights starts flickering again and she crawls back to the head-post. The lights becomes stable and the rolled-over bottle at the door is up with a thud. Riya yells and squeal stops her. She covers her ears because she felt the sound was made near them. She looks both the sides but finds no one, “Who is there? Please come out. I don’t like pranks. I am scared.” He stutters and cries saying those words.
The pictures from the wall falls and shatters the glass. She could hear some sound like glass were moving and rubbing on the mat. She moves to the edge of the bed and reads, “This is no prank. This is me.” She raises her eyebrows and looks surprised. She sits back on her knees and asks “Who me?”
The glasses moves again and settles with, “Your love”
“WTF? You are not my love.”
“Yes, I am” yells the ghost.
“What’s your name?”, she manages to say. She knew should could not be scared.
Light dawns on her and she remembers him from a faint memory. She was suppose to get married to a person named Tony after they turned 18. This was fixed when she was only a baby. When she became old enough to take her decisions, she decided to not go ahead with the promise made years back. He is a ghost now.
“I am here to take you home.”
“I don’t want to go.”
“You have to. You are going to be my wife and we are going home.”
“What happened to you?” She understood that her denial will only make him angrier.
The glasses turned around quick, “I died for you.” Glassed turned again, “You should die for me now.”
“I can’t die”
“Why?” The font size was loud enough to tell her how angry he was.
“I can’t die right now. How can I die without meeting my parents?” She had to buy time.
Minutes passed and she held her breathe, “Please. Please”
“A day” The breeze told her that he was gone. The last message with the glasses was, “Take my name and I’ll be there for you.”
She stood and rushed out. She walked down and called her mother. “Mom, Tony’s ghost is behind me.” She did not believe her and opinionated her to see a doctor. Resigning she asked, “Do you know how did he die?” She learnt that he was travelling to Mumbai in a bus and the bus fell when the Mahad bridge collapsed. He was coming to convince her to marry him.
She catches a rick and travels to Manan’s place. His parents disapprove but lets her in. He shouts at her but calms down when he hears her story. “Are you mad? A ghost? That’s f*** nonsense.” He laughs it out. “I am not lying. He spoke to me. He wants to take me with him.”
“You need to relax and show yourself to some doctor. There aren’t any ghost.” She got agitated and called Tony in desperation to prove her point. “You have gone crazy.”
The ash tray fell off the table and a message was written with the ash, “She hasn’t”. He gets scared and she smile at Tony’s timing.
“What the f**”
“Language. Don’t be rude in front of my wife.”
“Wife?” Manan murmurs to me.
“Tony, I am not your wife.”
“To be wife.”
“Are you kidding me? You are talking to a ghost in my room who replies with ash.” Manan shouts.
“Nope. You didn’t believe me. I had to call him.”
“Ok. I believe you. Please send him again.”
“That, I don’t know.”
“I am not going leaving you alone with this man in a room.” Manan flies in the air and ends up on the bed. “I am not going to let him do that to you again.” Tony was in the room when they Manan and Riya shared intimate moments.
“Tony, I asked for a day. You should let me have it.”
“You have 22 hrs with you, Riya. Then you are mine.” The breeze confirmed that he was gone.
“Happy to have witnessed it yourself?”
“Aren’t you enjoying a little too much? Why aren’t you scared?”
“Earlier, I was scared but not anymore. I know he will not hurt me. He could had but he didn’t.”
“How will you get rid of him?”
“I don’t know.” She sits next to him and Manan moves away thinking the ghost will be back.
“He won’t come back. He is true to his word. He will be back after 22 hrs or if I call him. What should I do now.” She looks at Manan with the big question.
-How will she get rid of the ghost? or Will she be able to convince him to leave?
——-To be continued