The summer holidays were boring and uneventful till we went to Shimla to soak in some good weather. I had settled comfortably on the bed and was reading a book when my 14 year old twin brother bounced in the room we shared, with some exciting news, ” Niks, you know that old house we saw at the turning of the road. It’s haunted. Some ghost meeting for night?”
I gave him one of my *rolling eyes* looks and went back to reading The Secret.
Oh, wait, let me introduce ourselves, I am Nikita, Niks for short and Sameer, Sam for short is my twin brother. Sam is fascinated by occult sciences and his experiments till now have not introduced him to the people from the other world. Where was I? Yes, the haunted house at the turning of the road. Simla is famous for the spirits that are known to haunt various houses, roads and places, so needless to say when our parents picked up Shimla as a destination for the summer, Sam was thrilled.
“Let us go t-o-g-e-t-h-e-r. Please? Tonight at 1, when the spirits are at the active best” he said with a dramatic flail of his hands.
Having him as a sibling was bad and to be an accomplice to one of his adventures was worse.
“No”, I said, determined to be out of this mess.
“The Secret? eh? ” he said glancing at the book. “Did I ever tell you that I know your secret too? The romantic trips to Narula’s with Ani” he said with a sly smile!
*What the*…how could he know about that. I slammed the book shut and knew that I had no choice but to accompany him in the midnight ordeal.
That night we set out to explore the haunted house and encounter the spirit that the drunk watchman at the bungalow told my brother about.We arrived at the haunted house in less than 10 minutes. It looked and felt spooky with the creaking windows that rattled with the breeze. We got inside through an open window that Sam had discovered in the morning recce. I brushed off the cobwebs that plastered on my face and the hair. It was creepy. We tiptoed around and the occasional sounds of mice scurrying around made my heart lurch and I would bump into Sam who would angrily shoo me away.
“You think, I should go up the stairs and you wait here?” he said, looking at the staircase and before I could answer he was walking up the stairs. I stood at the bottom of the stairs, waiting patiently.
I glanced at my watch 1: 10 am. The place was so quiet that I could hear my own heartbeat. I glanced at my watch. It was 1:14, Just four minutes? It sure felt like eternity. I wished Sam would hurry up. That was when I heard that noise. Footsteps to be precise. I froze in panic and fear, actually, the other way round, fear and panic. I tip toed to a space below the stairs where I hoped I could not be seen. I doubled up and crouched in the space. The watch showed 1:17 am. Damn. Sam was off for almost seven minutes, leaving me to tackle the unseen person. The footsteps came closer. I felt someone lean in closer and say;
“Do you want to go now?” I felt the breathing down my neck.
I crouched further not wanting to see the person.
“We need to go, you don’t have a choice.” I felt a push, “Get up, will you?”. I knew this was the end. I needed Sam to know I needed help. I let out a blood curling scream and passed out.
I woke up to someone shaking me forcefully. I saw my parents peering at me anxiously and pacifying me that it must have been a bad dream, while Sam stood in the corner glaring at me, convinced I had made it all up.
I walked to the bathroom, chuckling to myself and thinking about my dream. I glanced at the mirror. What were cobwebs doing in my hair? I just know that I let out another blood curling scream before I passed out.
P.S. I had submitted a longer version of this story in a website called NDTV books that seems to have shut down. I didn’t have a back up of it and this is an attempt to rewrite it.