“Yaar, I’m telling you, this house is haunted,” Vikram said, taking a swig from the beer can. He and his brother-in-law, Jithesh, were sitting in the living room.
Jithesh smiled. “Yeah? What made you say that – did you chat with a ghost last night? You don’t sleep before 1 am anyway.”
“Ha, that would’ve been better. At least we’d have been friends, and he…or she, don’t know what, would’ve stopped bothering me.”
“How does it bother you?”
“Well, you know when I wake up at say, 3 am, and go to the fridge for some cold water, I can somehow feel that someone’s standing beside the fridge, watching me take the bottle out.”
Jithesh leaned forward now. “You mean, you saw the ghost?”
Vikram shook his head. “I just feel the presence. I don’t see it.”
“Vikram, that’s your 5th can talking. Just gulp it down and hit the sack, man. ‘Feel’ the presence indeed. Ha.”
Vikram frowned. “You don’t believe me?”
Jithesh shrugged and looked at Vikram seriously. “Well, I’d certainly believe if I saw it myself. Think you can manage an intro?”
He then sniggered. Vikram rose and swayed to the kitchen. “You bloody son-of-a…, I’ll give an intro to you. Just you wait until after we hit the sack.”
Jithesh was still laughing from the living room. “Have you told this to Anushka? She’ll pack her bags immediately, I guess.”
Vikram returned with another can.
Jithesh’s eyes grew wide. “Another?”
Vikram waved him away and sat down.
“Are you nuts? I won’t tell Anushka even if the ghost were to strangle me. Thank God she’s traveling.”
“Yeah, but she’ll come to know some day, don’t you think? That is, if …there is a ghost here.” Jithesh’s smile returned. That wicked smile.
Vikram was thoughtful, in a drunk sort of way. “I don’t know yaar. You think I should tell her, when she returns?”
Jithesh nodded. “Tell me something, hasn’t she experienced anything like this?”
It was Vikram’s turn to laugh now. “And not tell me about it? Where are you from, dude? If she experiences something like that, she’ll exorcise the ghost simply by screaming her lungs off. I feel that should happen sometime. The ghost had better not mess with her.”
Jithesh reclined on his cushion now. “Hey, be nice now. Don’t talk about my sister like that.”
Vikram chuckled. “Then what…you asked me, so I’m telling you what’ll happen.”
Jithesh smiled hazily and stretched his legs. He was snoring a few seconds later. Vikram sipped on his can and switched on the TV. It was close to 1 am.
“Vicky,” he heard Anushka’s voice from behind him. Hairs standing on end, he turned slowly.
Anushka stood looking at him, sleepy eyed. “Sleep na, baby, you have that important meeting tomorrow, what’s wrong with you?”
Vikram stammered. “Hon..honey, you…you..how did you…”
“How did I what?” She was still sleepy.
Vikram then looked beside him. Jithesh wasn’t there.
Anushka was awake now. “Jeethu? Here? Vicky…how many have you had?”
She looked at all those cans strewn around Vikram. “Gosh…Vicky – just come to bed. Now. Enough of drinking.”
Vikram tried to focus, as he rose shakily and tried to steady himself. It all felt so real. Jithesh, their talk about ghosts.
He then looked at Anushka and laughed. “You won’t believe what just happened here.”
“Oh, I believe you,” Anushka said and burst into a peal of laughter that stunned Vikram.
She then turned into Jithesh, winked, and disappeared.