The Haunt (A Spooky Story For Children)

‘Send him in,’ manthreekan tells his assistant.

A man enters, wrapping himself up head to toe in a shawl, looking like a man on the streets of Delhi on a December night. He is led to stand before a cloth screen. Manthreekan doesn’t see anyone face-to-face during these sessions to conserve his shakti.

‘Tell me.’

Mantra

In a soft voice, ‘Sami, until a week ago, it was very peaceful where I live. In fact, I haven’t seen anyone else in the tenement house ever since I moved in. Suddenly one night I hear this woman from a room across the corridor…she whines and wails all night like someone in her family has died.’

‘Well, you can’t expect your landlord to keep the rooms vacant. He has found a tenant. So, go and tell the woman to shut up. If she doesn’t listen, tell the landlord.’

‘I did, Sami. On the second night, when she was in full cry. Could bear no more. I decided to confront her…’

‘And?’

‘Well, I went in…it was not locked from inside…strangely the light was switched on…the room was bare of any furniture and fixtures. Only a cloying fragrance of jasmine in the air. And no woman!’

‘Ah, this gets interesting…’

‘Sami, I immediately recognized it is a woman’s spirit that has made it its home.’

‘And then?’

‘I also knew what would drive her out. With great difficulty and by some means, I got laid out in her room cloves of garlic and neem leaves in a generous spread, though I’m severely allergic to them myself. A near-death task for me, but sure to fix her.’

‘You did right. I too would’ve done as much. So why have you come here? You seem to know…’

’But this woman proved to be a tough nut. There was no wailing for an hour and then it resumed like before. Next day morning I saw the garlic cloves and neem leaves crushed and left in a dump nearby.

‘I said to myself, ‘Lady, if that’s what you want, a war of attrition, I’m ready.’ So, I somehow managed to have the antidote arranged again and again for four successive nights. No dice – she is made of stronger stuff. Now I’m here to seek your help.’

‘Well, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve handled more stubborn spirits.’

‘I’ve heard about it, Sami. My methods are not working. That’s why…’

‘This is not for amateurs…It’ll cost you money.’

‘Look at me, Sami. Have mercy. Please…’

‘God, why must I draw such impecunious folks…Okay, I’ll take it up for free just this once. Don’t ever show your face again without moola. You think I can live on fresh air…my shakti doesn’t go that far yet.’

‘I’m indebted, Sami…’

‘Okay, okay…quiet now.’

Sounds and smell of herbs and grains being ground with a pestle emerge from behind the curtain followed by chants of some esoteric invocations.

A little later, the assistant is summoned. The visitor receives an amber colored bottle from him.

‘Sprinkle this all over in her room. Remember this, it must be done before sunset.’

‘Sami, it would work, no?’

Manthreekan is offended: ‘How dare you doubt my shakti! Not just the woman, her entire family if resident would be thrown out…not merely from the tenement house, but from whole of this town.’

‘Excellent, just what I wanted…just one more thing, would it hurt me too, Sami, if I touch or spill?’

‘Why should it, eh? It’s specially targeted at her. It won’t harm anyone else. Now go.’

The visitor is mighty pleased. He would now have a free run of the house as before.

As he steps out on the street, a gust of wind blows lifting the shawl up.

The assistant isn’t sure of what he is seeing.

Mantreekan is right asking him sternly to abstain forthwith before it is too late. These days he sees things that aren’t and sees not things that are. It would only make the matter worse if he tells them he saw a man walk on no legs!

End

PS: Manthreekan is one proficient in manthra’s to engage with gods and spirits.

Source: Inspired by a one-pager in Kumudam, image from energymuse.com.

A Forgettable One-Night Stand (Drabble)

 

A cool breeze blowing in from the sea was such a relief after the sweltering heat of the day.

He was on the terrace all by himself until he heard footsteps behind him.

What? Who is it?

“Not to worry, mate. I heard noises up here and wanted to make certain everything was in order.”

It was a girl. Must have been in mid-forties.

She stood by his side. An amiable face, looking amused. The perfume…was it jasmine?

“I found they rent apartments here for such ridiculous money. It is crazy. Hope they didn’t rip you off.”

“Have I seen you before, lady? I moved into 21A yesterday and I hardly know anyone around here.”

“Just down the hall from you. 29B. You know, had I children, they would all be older than you now.”

Her hand was resting on his thigh. They sat in silence. The moon had risen. “Sometimes I wish I could step off the edge over there and just float like a leaf to the bottom.”

“A poetic image, lady.”

She looked down into his eyes and smiled sadly. “It is much too late for poetry.”

She stood up and walked away. At the parapet, where a low ceramic tile-topped wall bounded the edge of the roof, she stopped. “It has been a long time since I knew a man,” she said.

“Let’s go down to my room. They don’t bother you here”

It was past midnight when he returned to his apartment, sneaking in like a cat that overstayed on the outside. No one saw him coming out of 29B. He was mindful not doing anything to sully the reputation of the lady. Even the clicking of the doors closing and opening was carefully soft and muted.

No one was answering. Gray morning light was filtering through the dirty hall windows.

“What’re you pounding on that door for?” It was the building manager.

Showing a mild irritation, “Why, my friend in there.”

“Can’t keep it rented, even with the housing shortage in this damn town. Tenants always move out after the first week or two. Nobody’s lived in that apartment for months, lady. ”

End

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Inspired by and adapted from Mendel Cooper’s (quora.com/What-are-some-good-ghost-stories-to-tell-friends) ‘New York Has Some Characters’.

 

A Horror Story – In Two Sentences!

Terrifying two sentence horror stories

End

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Source:uberhumor.com

And they were 38

It was a rule the counter closed thirty minutes before the departure. The man was all sweat as he rushed, his wife, a portly lady straining for breath and her sari in disarray behind him. The hassled girl fixed him in a stare and after a moment’s indecision decided to take them in as the last passengers on the flight. Now this was it and no more. It was their lucky day, he thought to himself.

The airhostess standing at the head of the isle behind the pilot’s cabin launched herself into the routine of demo’ing safety procedures. Exhausted some had already slipped into a sound nap while she gamely went about her chore and there were others sharing their jokes when she was on the part about emergency landing on water.

In a couple of minutes the aircraft climbed to its cruising altitude and the seat-belt signs were switched off. It was a cue for a few to stand up and stretch their limbs. Shortly after the hostess was all business sporting a plastic smile and handing out tea, coffee and light refreshment. That done the passengers, 35 of them, caged in the aluminum shell for the next fifty minutes, quietly settled down to reading books and magazines, listening to the in-flight audio channels or to resume their interrupted nap. A few busied themselves on their laptops and tablets. The mothers pulled out toys and gaming kits to engage the restless children.

All was well until thirty third minute when the plane smashed through a large bank of thick clouds. The turbulence brought prayers to the lips of the believing. The seasoned travelers were nonchalant.

About twenty seconds later

The channels were quick to push aside economic crises, epidemic breakout and ethnic violence to announce with profound grief the loss of thirty eight lives – that included a promising TV actor, a group of business men returning from an offsite event, a few other professionals, senior citizens and families with children and a honey-mooning couple. The flight from the island resort had crashed into the sea. There were the usual stories of how some narrowly escaped the grim fate quite fortuitously and others despite hurdles kept to their appointment. The search was mounted for rescuing survivors, the prospects appearing dim. There were clips of wailing relatives, some quietly in tears. One of them pitifully cried to the camera: ‘If there was a God, and a benevolent one, how could He mercilessly and indiscriminately cut out so many lives in a single swathe?’

On the same day late evening one of the channels trailing in ratings put out a hastily pieced-together program on places of interest on the island. A partial transcript of what was said:

“…Weeds, reptiles and rodents had taken over the old mansion and its lands. No one dared to go anywhere near. Whoever went in to lay hands on the rumored treasures from the mansion’s cavernous rooms was said to turn up dead foaming at the mouth. Screams could be heard in the nightsThere were no records of any descendants; no one so far had come up to claim ownership of the propertyWhatever could be gleaned about the last occupants of the mansion was by talking to a puttering oldie – she had heard it from her grandma: The Pannaiyar (the big landlord) owned much of the lands in and around the village. He and his hands had mercilessly lynched a young lad accused of outraging the modesty of a woman from the mansion. That the boy was mentally a little unstable did not count. His parents, restrained, watched helplessly as life seeped out of the dying lad. They cursed the entire assembly of perpetrators to doom then and forever. That was the beginning of the end for the Pannaiyar, his family and others and the mansion…”

An innocuous factoid strangely preserved in the oldie’s account was regarded as an insignificant detail and edited out by the channel: they were thirty eight in the assembly.

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End
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Credits to openclipart.com (laobc) for the image.

Scenery

They were lucky to get the cottage, he thought, at surprisingly affordable rates, with a live-in house-keeper. It was at once beautiful and scary, perched on craggy rocks, with large glass windows opening onto a view of the small beach below.  Brilliant white sand shimmering under a cloudless sky, caressed ceaselessly by the gentle waves of turquoise-blue waters, swaying fronds of towering coconut trees and the summer sun kept in check by a light breeze,

But it was the painting in the bed-room that troubled her. She was sure the peasant girl was sitting by the stream, when she had looked at it last night.   

End

Five over hundred words on ‘Scenery’ in response to Aheila’s challenge at: http://thewriteaholicblog.wordpress.com/.