There was no chirping of birds that morning. That was unusual. There were always birds on the tree, outside her window - the monotonous tweeting of sparrows and sometimes the loud cawing of a crow.
There was no noise today.
Khushi woke up with a start. She rubbed her eyes and took in the surrounding. It was not her room. Where was she?
Before she could think further, the door opened and the familiar figure of Payal entered.
"You are in my room," she replied seeing Khushi's puzzled expression. "How are you feeling now?" Payal asked, softly, "You were in a pretty bad condition last night."
Last night... A sudden chill crept up in her bones. The taps bursting, the lights shattering, the unnatural presence behind her... She remembered trying to push open the main door and then nothing. The next thing was her waking up in Payal's room.
"What happened?" Payal inquired again, "I had called a doctor last night. He reckoned you might have gone through a stressful situation. He prescribed some meds and ample bed-rest."
On seeing Khushi's fearful face, she added, "Don't worry. You are fine now."
Khushi sat upright on the bed and Payal propped the pillow behind her. She felt somewhat drained off energy. "Thanks for helping me. How did you... find me?" Khushi asked her.
Payal raised an eyebrow, "Umm... you called and texted me."
It was Khushi's turn to be shocked, "No, I didn't." She remembered that she wanted to call Payal for a plumber but before she could do that... she shut her eyes at the thought of what had happened next.
"You did. Here's you phone, see for yourself," Payal handed the mobile to Khushi.
Khushi scrolled through her call list. There it was - the dozens of calls that she had apparently made to Payal. She opened her text messages and just as Payal had said, there they were the string of sms, all very succinct, asking Payal for help.
"When I received those calls, you didn't speak anything. I thought maybe it was a pocket dial, but then I got those texts," Payal was explaining, "I found you just at the doorway of the flat. Mom and I carried you down and called the doctor."
Khushi was barely registering Payal's words. She read and reread the texts. She was certain she had never called Payal or anyone for assistance. How could she? The moment the lights went out, she had dropped her phone and her body had frozen. She barely could make her way to the main door, let alone type a coherent sms. There was no way in hell that she had typed those short messages.
If she didn't, then who had?
Arnav paced the length of the drawing room. He'd not been worried in a long time and he didn't like the feeling. If he heard any movement, any sound outside, his ears would perk up and he'd expect to see Khushi.
He wanted to know what had happened to her. Was she fine? Did he injure her badly?
He cursed himself for being so dramatic last night. But what was he to do? She gave him no other choice. The girl was oblivious to everything around her. He needed something major to catch her attention. Maybe he should've taken it slow, he thought in hindsight.
He'd never be at peace with himself if he wounded any human. They were annoying and a major source of interference but it was neither his style nor intention to cause serious agony to them as much as he despised them.
If only he could get some news of the girl, it'd calm him.
Last night he'd experienced fear at seeing her unconscious body. He was grappling at what he could do to help her. He had only seen her interact with 1 person - Payal. So he used Khushi's phone and dialed her number. Payal received it, worried that Khushi was calling her at midnight. On hearing no response, Payal had hung up. Each time.
Arnav then texted her one message after another, till he heard Payal and Garima's voice at the bottom of the stair well. They were coming upstairs. But knowing the mother-daughter duo, he realized that they'd waste time in debating if to enter the house. He was aware that his haunting episodes were responsible for their reluctance, so he opened the door and gently pushed an unconscious Khushi, as much as he could, till she was just at the door entrance.
Thankfully, the Garima and Payal didn't waste a second when they saw Khushi. They had immediately carried her small body downstairs. That was 12 hours ago.
The sun, now, was at its peak slightly after noon. Pacing the room for the millionth time was not helping. He looked around the house the floors were seeping with water and were covered in broken glass.
Maybe he could channel his nervous energy elsewhere; especially if she came back.
When she comes back, a small voice in his mind hoped.
This is madness! Khushi muttered to herself for the hundredth time.
She took her first step at the ascending stair well and craned up her neck. The door to her flat was closed.
With every stair she climbed, her heart raced faster.
I am crazy, she mumbled, Payal is right. I am crazy.
A rational person would run away but she was walking towards the apartment. A part of her wanted to runaway but another part of her was in a dilemma.
Last night, there were only 3 people in Payal's house - Payal and Garima on the ground floor and Khushi on the 1st floor. Khushi was certain that the door to her flat was closed. She was even more certain that she had never called Payal for help. Then who helped her?
She couldn't run away before she got an explanation. Someone had texted Payal and opened the door of her flat. Someone who was inside the flat... with her. She had to find out who it was.
The rational part of her mind popped the question and what about the presence you felt? The unnatural events that happened last night?
Khushi's response to that was shutting her mind off. This was something she had to do. Moreover what else would she do? Pack up her stuff and leave? Where would she go?
Anywhere but a haunted house! Her mind taunted.
There was no surety that the house was haunted. It could've been a freak accident. She tried to assure herself, shaking her head at the weak justification.
She was outside the main door now. All her logic and reasoning had been shut and locked away as she turned the door-knob.
With a deep breath and mustering all her courage, she pushed open the door.
The first thing that caught her eye was the spic and span floor. There were no broken shards of glass. The kitchen top, the bathroom floor; were dry - no sign of water anywhere.
There was a mess last night, she was certain of it and some one had cleaned it up. Was it the same someone who saved her? Was it the same someone who put her at risk?
Arnav had not felt so relieved to see any human as he felt when he saw Khushi walk in. In hindsight, he had not felt many emotions so strongly in a long time be it excessive worry at harming her, or fear that something severe had happened to her and now, relief that she was fine. These past 12 hours had been very unusual for him.
She was slowly taking in the surroundings, her eyes moving from the floor to the kitchen to the bathroom as she took one reluctant step after another.
He'd cleaned up the house in anticipation of her coming back. After putting her through the horrors of last night, he thought it'd be nice if she came back to a clean house.
She was noticing the lack of clutter but instead of being relaxed (as Arnav had hoped) she was perplexed. Her eyebrows furrowed as she looked here and there.
"Okay, okay," she mumbled to herself as if trying to calm herself down. She took a step back, hit her hip on a chair and stumbled.
Arnav rushed to her side, "Careful!" he exclaimed, his hand hovering near her.
He'd have backed away but Khushi's expression caught his eye. She looked straight ahead, her eyes wide and her mouth open.
She had heard him!
It was an unmistakable voice - a male voice.
Khushi had heard him. The voice seemed to have come out of thin air. There was no one around her, yet the voice belonged to someone standing right in front of her.
"You... you can hear me?" the man spoke again.
Khushi looked ahead, eyes narrowing, as if trying hard to see the person.
"This is..." the voice sounded surprised, "this is something... This has never happened before."
"It's not in my mind," Khushi muttered to herself, "I am not crazy." She repeated like a mantra.
"No!" the voice softened, "no, you are not crazy. I am here."
Khushi felt her body sway. What was happening? Why could she hear an invisible man?
"You should sit, maybe," the invisible man spoke with concern. At that moment, a chair in the far end of the room turned and dragged itself to where Khushi was standing.
She plopped down as her legs gave in. A bottle of water flew from the kitchen. "Here," the voice offered her.
Khushi eyed the bottle floating in the air. How was this happening? It wasn't her imagination, was it? Or was it her fatigue?
She slowly reached out and wrapped her fingers around the bottle. The invisible hand holding the bottle let go and she felt the weight of the bottle sink in her hand.
With shaking fingers, she opened the cap and drank more than she needed.
Arnav backed away and waited patiently for Khushi to return to normalcy. This was no less than a miracle for Arnav. When he had found himself trapped in this house, there were 2 boys who were the tenants then. He had tried very hard to communicate with them all in vain.
He was scared and confused and trapped. He spent the first month tailing the guys and trying to speak to them or anyone who'd enter the house like the cleaner or the milkman, the electrician, the plumber, Garima, the newspaper boy - anyone, but all his attempts were futile. Not a single person could hear him.
His fear and confusion had turned into frustration. He was so angry all the time at the lousy humans who couldn't hear or see him, at his own inability to leave this hellhole. He had once thrown a glass in frustration. That's when the humans noticed.
Arnav did a few more of those actions, in hope that he might be able to communicate with the people. He sometimes wrote too - on the wall, on a page, on the mirror sometimes words, sometime lines but instead of reading them, the humans started getting scared at the sight of the writing.
That's when the trails at exorcism had begun; the hordes of people entering the house, trying to get rid off him. He'd gladly go away, if only they knew he just didn't know how.
But all that had changed now. Somehow this girl Khushi, could hear him! He didn't know why or how. He didn't care. In a long time someone could hear him, someone could respond to him and that filled his heart with joy.
Topic started by ErisedWitch45
Last replied by Eccentrica