I have always been a scared person. No backstory, no cousin who locked me in dark, no incident or accident…just a scared kid. And whenever I used to pass by that abandoned house near my school, there was always a chill in my veins. The worst part was that we had to wait for our bus ride home near that house only. I’d just keep my eyes on the road when waiting for the bus and never looked towards it.
The reason was that one of my seniors had told me a story of the house that it was owned by a British couple in the pre-independence era. Those were not actually into politics, but they didn’t like Indians very well. They used to scream on Indian people who ever entered their courtyard. In one official party they had with the governor at that time, they said that Indians should just disappear. They were killed in a riot before independence. Burnt alive.
“Their souls still haunts that place waiting to take revenge….make us disappear.”
When they told us that, I was in third grade. I still remember that story and it used to run in my mind every time I waited for the bus on that stand.
We were a group of five who used to travel by the same bus every day. Also, there was another guy who was a year older called Shravan. He used to tell us scary stories of how a doctor became mental after spending a night in the house and later how police discovered skeletons hanging on the tree just outside the gate after that. Nobody, who goes in, comes back alive.
“They had a skeleton in showcase once and they say that those skeletons come alive at night. You should never go into that place at night.” Shravan used to tell us very enthusiastically. His eyes used to gleam like a mad scientist himself. He once told he wants to take science in eleventh grade. I always suspected he aspired to be a mad scientist.
So one day, our bus was stuck in a jam and was late. We were supposed to go back to the school and wait for our parents to pick us up. Instead, Shravan told us that he wanted to explore the ghost house.
“Ha…” I didn’t like the joke, but I couldn’t let them think I was a ‘fattu’ (coward).
Apparently, Shravan wasn’t joking. He somehow convinced my best buddy to go with him. Now, I couldn’t let my best friend go in alone. I tried to convince Manoj to back out, instead, I was roped in.
Shravan made us believe that we can go in as Pirates. I rather felt like Scooby Doo and Shaggy. Shravan could be Welma as he wore specs.
The gates to that whole place were blocked by government officials. So we climbed the fence. Well, they climbed the fence, I was thrown in before them. We reached the garden of the house. There were waist high hedges as no one had trimmed them for years. We thought of finding the main door. But Welma had this genius idea of splitting up. I was scared and ready to pee in my pants. I could, I was just ten at the time.
“Welma…oops..Shravan…that’s a bad idea.” But Shravan was not ready to listen and he just ran in the opposite direction. We decided to follow him but as cliché Scooby and Shaggy, we lost her…him.
While trying to find him we ran into the garage near the back door of the house and saw an abandoned car. Some old ambassador model. We tried to open it but all doors were jammed.
As I and Manoj were looking for a way to open the car doors, we saw Shravan running to the main door, which was locked. The house was covered with cobwebs and even the windows were dirty. Shravan called us and we followed him to that main door. We were looking for a place to enter but had no luck. Till now I was also feeling a little comfortable. But an eerie silence was around which makes even a pin drop voice loud as a bomb.
Okay, maybe I wasn’t as comfortable because Shravan found a broken window at the end of the veranda and I DIDN’T want to go in. We tried to have a peek inside but nothing was visible. He tried putting his hand into that window and check if we could see something.
“The bolt is loose. My hand won’t fit. You open it.” Damn you Welma.
“No way. We are not doing it.” Not without a Scooby Snack.
But have you ever seen anybody listen to Scooby? So here goes the hand. I put my hand into the window…and…suddenly someone grabbed my hand inside the window as a shriek escaped my mouth.
“Aaaa….aa….aa…” Watching me shriek both Shravan and Manoj started pulling my hand out. Suddenly my hand was free and all three of us started running towards the hedge. Shravan suddenly stumbled on a root that was growing out and fell down. His glasses came off (cliché Welma…!!!) when the front door opened up and a man walked out. The Mad Doctor…Pandu came out with a stick.
I was too scared to even scream. Suddenly, the man next door came to his first-floor balcony and shouted. “Pandu…those are just kids. Go inside.”
Pandu made faces and went inside.
“Kids. This is a locked property. Go out or I’ll complain in the school.”
We ran towards our school because we just realized our parents would have arrived. That meant another tough scare of life. But let’s discuss that next time.
Co-written by: Akhilesh Math and Lipi Gupta
Copyright: Akhilesh G Math & Lipi Gupta, 07/07/2018, 12:30 PM IST