From the Frankly Spooking outtakes
It was not the first time Aabha heard sounds coming from the attic. It could’ve been rodents – her mom always thought it was that, her dad would always shake his head and continue reading the newspaper, paying no attention whatsoever to whatever Aabha had to say after he was done shaking his head.
So it was on a Sunday afternoon, Aabha – armed with two to three packets of rat kill tablets, a canister of ‘hit’, and bread crumbs, climbed the rickety stairs to the attic. She always wondered what the attic contained.
“Oh, some old stuff from your great-grand father’s time, a trunk full of junk, and then some,” her father would shake it off.
Strange. Why didn’t these guys realize that an attic with relics such as those had a good chance of having stuff worth over lakhs of rupees, to say the least. And she wouldn’t let all that crumble to dust just because some gluttonish rat decided to make it an ‘all-you-can-eat’ buffet paradise.
“Here I come, Jerry.”
She pulled the cloth mask over her nose and mouth, and stepped into the attic. It was dark, though some light did come in from the squarish window on the far side. She flicked on her cell phone’s torch and searched for the light switch. It would be a wonder if it worked. But it did. A dusty 40-watt bulb flickered itself on. There were assortments. The odd trunk, everything covered in cobwebs, of course just like in the scary movies. The dampness inside made her suffocate. Luckily she’d sprayed on some fragrance into the cloth mask. She coughed her way around, looking for her enemy.
“Come out, come out..wherever you are,” she whispered. The floor beneath her creaked.
“Aabha,” her mother called from below.
“I’m here,” she hollered back.
She could hear her mother cursing her for climbing up there. She’d done it a few times as a child, but soon after had lost interest in it. Now, after almost 10 years, she had somehow decided that something really vintage was lying around there. And she decided to clean up the place, have an auction perhaps. In the garage.
“You’re nuts,” her best friend Aarti had told.
“Tell that when I laugh my way to the bank.”
Goodness..I can’t believe we live right below this trash can. It needs a thorough vacuuming.
She shone her torch at all the the nooks where light didn’t make it. No movement, just the good old cockroaches and lizards flitting around. Then she heard a distinct thump behind her, to the right.
She turned slowly, crouching, and placing a few poison pellets below a smallish table, from where the sound seemed to come.
“Here ratty, ratty, ratty…” she whispered, and pulled back, waiting for the creature to come out. She sat still for a while, sweat breaking out on her brow. She breathed heavily, and looked around; mentally calculating the amount of time it would take to sanitize the place.
I’ll have to ask Rohan to get some guys. We need to take down the trunk first. And then…
She heard a thump from inside the heavy wooden trunk right behind her, against which she reclined, making her jump.
Shit, what was that…
She stood up and looked at the trunk. The thumping continued. She pulled the heavy latch out, and slowly opened the lid, shining her torch at the contents inside. The thumping was coming from a box. Her hands shaking, she clutched the handle of the box and pulled it out, placing it on the floor.
She then took a deep breath. Here goes…
She opened the lid. It was empty. What the…
She looked inside the trunk again. If it wasn’t the box, where was the sound coming from? She looked back at the empty box. The thumping went on. She frantically looked behind the trunk now, the suspense getting to her.
She turned to check on the pellets. Looked like a whole colony of rodents in here. She walked over to another corner where she hadn’t checked. But the sound definitely came from near the trunk. She walked back and stood with hands on her hips. Hmmm.
She squinted her eyes, the dim light from the bulb making it all very hazy, but did she just see the box move? She crouched and kept looking at the box.
It did move!
She shook her head, tied back her hair tighter and positioned herself properly, on her knees. She shone the torch at the box now. Her heart pounding, she watched the box slowly changing its shape, while the sound continued. It was as if something invisible were squeezing the box right in front of her eyes. So it wasn’t wooden after all. Felt like it, though.
She watched as the box got squeezed some more, like dough, and melted onto the floor. Holy shit...
The light went out suddenly, making her drop her cell phone. She patted the floor around her to search, but she couldn’t find it. Damn, damn, damn. She was now scared to cross the ‘box’ or whatever it had turned into, and reach for the door, which she’d closed behind her. That was dumb, Aabha.
She cleared her throat and tried to shout her mother’s name, but nothing came out.
She then felt something cold, something liquid move across her feet. She pulled back with a scream that now escaped her lips, hoping her mom would hear her at least now. But the cold fluid just kept coming at her. Breathing heavily, almost weeping, she shrank back, trying to shake it off. But she couldn’t.
Caught unawares, she felt something push her roughly as she fell back. She tried to get up but the force just kept pushing her down, until she was lying on her back, unable to move her limbs or face. The cold liquid engulfed her.
Aabha’s mother stood below the attic and called out. She’d heard Aabha cry out. Not that it was anything new. She’d been hearing her scream ever since she was a small girl. But she didn’t reply now.
“Aabha, what’s it baby…are you ok?”
No reply. She turned and left.
The light came back on in the attic; the small box had come back to its original shape, and was now rolling back into the open trunk.
But the thumping continued... a bit faster now.