Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Now a Frankly Spooking outtake
"Are you sure you want to do this, Kishore?"
He patted her shoulder. "Trust me."
"But it looks desolate, honey. It might be spooky, for all you know." Preeti pulled her shades over her head and winced at the large, greyish two-storeyed building. It was evident that it was an abandoned structure, the tall bushes and dry leaves all over testimony to the fact.
"Yeah, but just look at the weather. It's all nice and sunny," he chuckled. "Have you ever been scared of a building on a day like this? It's all about the darkness, the rains..and of course, the background score." Now he laughed, but Preeti was not amused. She followed him inside reluctantly.
The iron gates, so archetypal of spooky stories, groaned and they walked in. No watchman, no caretaker. This building sure was nobody's favorite legacy.
"You know, it's bang in the middle of the city. I've been watching this place ever since I came here. 10 years ago. That's a long time for something to be left untouched. Not in an area like this. And whenever I passed by, I swore that one day I'd come in and snoop around. It's a childhood habit I can't help." Kishore parted the bushes with his bare hands, making way for them.
Preeti frowned, looking around. It almost looked like the set of a scary movie. Only, the crew had left it as it was, without bothering to clean up behind them. Outside, the sound of traffic reassured her that all was fine, and they could just leave whenever they wanted.
The door was obviously locked. It didn't take much for it give away, as Kishore tugged at it a few times. He smiled at Preeti, who just shrugged. They stepped into the ruins. She turned back, almost expecting the door to shut behind them...and then shook her head at her own silliness. This wasn't a scary movie after all.
"Hmm...," Kishore picked up a vase lying on the floor. It was muddy, but he could tell from the doors and other fixtures that it had been the dwelling of someone wealthy. He wondered why such a magnificent house was abandoned this way. Well, the reasons could be many. The living room was bare, but the windows were open, letting in the light. That helped. There was wild growth all around...the damp smell of earth coupled with bird droppings. A couple of sparrows fluttered around, as if annoyed with the human visit.
Thankfully,the stairs didn't creak, but the cracks showed. "Careful," Preeti whispered, but Kishore kept his head up. The first floor was different. It was darker, and the windows were shut. There were two rooms right across the landing, one on each side. The space in the middle was a corridor that led to the balcony, or sitout, he guessed.
"Let's first take the rooms."
They entered the first one. Not much different from the one below, except this one didn't have undergrowth, but still a few leaves from the ceiling hinted at the green invasion pretty soon.
Must be the peepul tree outside, Preeti thought. The room itself was pretty spacious for a bedroom. A closed wardrobe on one side...and..Kishore started moving toward it.
"Kishore, don't..." Preeti started.
"Why? You're afraid skeletons might come out?" He laughed at his own little joke and pulled at the door. It came in his hand, with a ball of dust escaping the wardrobe. he shook it off and covered his mouth.
"Did you hear it?" Preeti said.
It was coming from the other room. Like a groan. Must be a tramp, come in for shelter, thought Kishore. They stood still for a while. A sparrow flew in and out of the room. They tiptoed out and across to the second room. The door was ajar. Kishore pushed Preeti behind him and pushed it further.
They looked around. Up at the ceiling. Down the rails at the living room.
"Huh." Kishore frowned.
"Chalo. Let's go..I'm not liking this."
"Arre, it wasn't coming from this house. Maybe the neighbors. And moreover, we've not yet explored the terrace."
"Whatever, I don't want to be here."
Kishore was rubbing his right shoulder.
"Are you ok?" Preeti patted him.
"Yeah..don't know why, looks like I have a muscle pull here."
"Beats me. Ok, let's go. I'll come back later some day."
They walked back to the car. Kishore was rubbing his left shoulder now.
"What, the other side paining as well?"
"Hmm, looks like. It's nothing anyway..". He started the car. Preeti looked back at the house. Her eyes roved over the walls, the building itself and then the terrace. She clutched at Kishore's hand so hard, he scowled. "Ow..what?"
"I thought somebody was watching us from the terrace."
Kishore chuckled. "yeah, probably it was him we heard."
She turned back and frowned. Did she really see somebody or was it just her imagination? Anyway, they were out and away. And that's what mattered.
Probably the pain, Kishore felt heavy and his walking was laboured, as they opened the gates and walked in.
"Still paining, sweety?" Preeti rubbed his shoulder. " Don't worry, a couple of pain-killers and a hot-water bag should do. I'll give you a massage as well" Preeti said, with a naughty wink, as they entered their home. They'd visited friends after their adventure and returned late. It was past nine. Kishore had as usual showed off about their snooping around. "Will take you guys there the next time."
Now, as Preeti prepared the hot-water bag, he stood at the sink and washed. As he dabbed his face, he noticed small drops of blood on the basin. He saw himself in the mirror and touched his nose. No, wasn't his nose. And he'd not cut himself. He bent down to wash his face once again, for good measure. Then he did a double take.
There in the mirror he saw a boy, not more than eight, sitting on his shoulder, smiling. Blood trickled from his mouth. Instinctively, with a gasp, Kishore tried to shake him off, but his hands just went through the boy's legs.
And then, the boy tightened his legs round Kishore's neck...smiling all along.