Sunday, September 22, 2013

Playlist, on demand

From the Frankly Spooking outtakes

"…Seagull airlines flight no….boarding from gate A…requested to…"

Esha Nigam could faintly hear these words coming from the ancient public announcement system. She adjusted her back against the uncomfortable chair and looked at the flickering display that went blank every few minutes. Her connecting flight was almost an hour later, at midnight. At this odd hour, the airport activity was relatively slower. She could count the number of passengers. It was a small town after all.

She buried herself inside the best-seller, oblivious to everything else. A few minutes later, she bookmarked her page, closed her eyes and reclined. She was even tapping her foot gently and mouthing the words of the song that played on her iPod.

“I just love this song," said a voice, softly.

Esha’s eyes flew open. Who was that?

Her song was still playing. But she’d heard those words clearly, in her ears. She pulled out her earphones and looked around. There was nobody sitting beside her, or for that matter, anywhere in her row or the row in front and back. Just an old man in the first row, snoring away. He was more than four rows apart. He couldn’t possibly have said that.

She shrugged, plugged her earphones back, and opened her book again.

She'd barely finished a page, when it happened again.

A chuckle, this time. She switched off her iPod and closed the book. The earphones stayed, though.

“Yeah, I know. It happens sometimes,” the voice said.

“Who…who’s this?” She said softly, looking around. What on earth was happening?

“Please don’t stop the music,” the voice whispered.

Esha looked at the display. Her flight was on-schedule. Then the screen flickered and a music video appeared. It took her just a second to realize it was the same song playing in her ears a moment ago. She looked to her right again. Everything seemed so normal. The airport staff was moving around, people milled about, maintenance staff were doing their job. So, what the heck was this?

She kept her eyes glued on the display and switched on the music again. It was in perfect sync with the video, almost like the video had been playing all along and she’d just switched off the audio.

On a hunch, she jumped to the next song. The video changed too. She played random tracks from her list. Every single time, the video on the display matched the audio. She sunk back in her seat.

“Nice,” The voice said. “Now, I don’t want this moment to end.”

Esha’s heart raced and she immediately switched everything off. The video changed, back to the flight schedule. She sighed. Phew.

The flight names appeared. But the time against each one read '00.00'.

She then turned to her right slowly, beads of sweat slowly rolling down her forehead.

The airport was empty now. Not a soul.

“He he he he he,” came the voice from the earphones.

Then the music started all over again. So did the video on the display screen.

But her iPod was still off.



Wings of Harmony said...

Whoa!! I had my earphones plugged in while reading this!!!! Thankfully, there's no video and only instrumental playing! :P

Kanthu said...

I read this with my earphones on, listening to music. :O *quickly takes off the earphones and keeps them away*

Tongue-fu Lady said...

Its hard to miss this story. :)

phatichar said...

Wings of Harmony: :) :)

Kanthu: heheh..

TFL: If you'd missed it I would have been disappointed.. :)

Keirthana said...

Spooky!!! And "Frankly Spooking" spooked the hell out of me, specially being the first book of this genre.

Anonymous said...

ooooo... next time I am putting my earphones on, I am going to be totally spooked.