Chapter 5 - The Talk
Khushi didn't know how long she was sitting on the chair, holding the (now) empty bottle of water, and sluggishly crushing the plastic. The sun was setting outside - was it a couple of hours?
The man; the invisible man; the ghost what should she call him (!), had been patient. At times Khushi would begin to think that it was all a dream when he'd clear his throat and ask if she was all right. She would nod slowly, in a daze.
Her stomach rumbled, letting her know that she hadn't eaten in almost 18 hours now. As if on cue, the fridge opened and out came a floating piece of carrot.
"Don't," Khushi protested, weakly lifting her hand, "Don't do that."
The door of the fridge closed. "I was just trying to help," the voice sounded dejected.
"It freaks me out," Khushi blurted, "So just stop with," she raised her hands and moved them, "any invisible moving of things. It's creepy."
"Okay," the voice took some time to reply. She could sense that he was controlling his displeasure at her command; maybe because she commanded him, rather than request. Was it advisable to enrage a... ghost? Demon? Monster? What was he? She had to clarify his form first.
"What are you?" she looked near the fridge, assuming that was where he was standing. She took an apple from the dining table, not quite comfortable walking to the vicinity of the fridge.
"My name is Arnav," the voice replied, "I am a..." He was at a loss of words.
"Demon?" Khushi offered.
"Of course not!" he sounded offended.
"I don't think so. I don't know..."
"Are you alive?" she asked without thinking. It was a silly question. If he was alive why would he be haunting her flat? But what was she supposed to ask? There were no guidelines to follow on how to talk to your resident ghost!
The ghost took some time, "I don't feel that I am. I am not sure."
She could sense some sorrow in his voice, "I am sorry," she replied earnestly, "... Arnav." She added his name as an afterthought. It was weird calling this ghost (she had decided to use the term 'ghost' for him) by his name.
She took a bite from the apple. "So what's you story?" she spoke with her mouthful.
"That's not a good etiquette," the ghost reprimanded her.
"What?" she asked, befuddled.
"Talking with your mouth full," he replied as a matter-of-factly.
"I know," Khushi rolled her eyes and swallowed the contents, "Forgive me but this is an extra-ordinary event. I was not prepared to spend my evening chatting with a ghost."
"I'd prefer if you refrained from calling me that," the ghost asserted, "you can call me by my name."
Khushi raised her eyebrows. This ghost was getting sassier by the second. She wanted to tell him to dial down the attitude but she refrained. He was after all a ghost! Who knows what he could do if he was incensed.
"Okay... Arnav," Khushi responded, "Tell me your story. How long have you been here? Where did you come from?"
Arnav nodded and then stopped. Why was he doing physical actions? It's not like the girl could see him.
He cleared his throat as she took some more fruits from the table and sat on the sofa, staring at the wall in front of her. He walked over to where she looking and sat down. He didn't need to though he felt it would be easier for her to have a conversation that way if she thought she was looking at him.
He began, "I was in this place... this dark room which had no walls-""
Khushi interrupted him, "When?"
"Few months back, I assume. I feel it was after I left my human body, after my death. I was in a dark room without walls but as far as the eye could see, it was all black. There were many others with me old people, young people, and children. They were all catatonic- no one talked to another; no one acknowledged the other. We were all waiting."
"For what?" Khushi's interest was piqued.
"For the light," Arnav explained. "At random intervals, a door would open and fill the room with blinding white light. One of us would get up and walk toward it and disappear. No one called out names. The person would just know it was his turn to walk into the light. Like others I was waiting too."
Khushi interrupted, "How long were you waiting?"
Arnav shrugged his shoulder, even though she couldn't see him, "I don't know. It could've been minutes, or hours, maybe even weeks. There is no concept of time in there. We just wait without thinking, without getting tired."
Arnav continued, his voice growing solemn, "Then, I heard a voice - it was a girl's at first and then a boy's, maybe more than one. I couldn't understand clearly what they were saying, but I could tell they were calling someone and laughing. I looked around at the others. No one seemed to have heard the voice. I was curious and tried to reach the source, through the darkness. The next thing I know I was here."
Arnav sighed, "And I have been trapped here, ever since."
"You are trapped here?" There was bewilderment in her voice.
Arnav nodded, again stopping and rolling his eyes at himself at the futility of the gesture. "Yes."
He then explained how he had tried to communicate with the then tenants, the 2 guys and how he had failed. How shocked he was when he found out he couldn't go anywhere beyond the perimeter of the house. How he'd driven away the 2 guys and the couple who came after them. How he had to deal with unwanted interference all the time. It was a nightmare for him to be stuck in a small house, to be able to look outside but never leave.
"You must have been so lonely... All this time, with no one to talk to, nowhere to go," Khushi replied, sympathetically. "Though you have super powers," Khushi added, as if trying to make him feel better about his state. She was referring to his ability to break lights, and taps simultaneously, while being at the same spot.
Arnav chuckled at her attempt and she seemed to suppress a smile on hearing him. "I don't have super powers. I can move physical objects from a distance and I can vanish and materialize any where."
"Show off," Khushi muttered under her breath, so he couldn't hear her, and grinned. "What else can you do?" she asked out loud with child-like curiosity, "Can you read minds?"
"No, I can't read minds but I can read the aura around a human I can tell what emotion he or she is feeling - anger, fear."
"What emotion do you read from me?" Khushi asked, fascinated.
"You have a very optimistic energy about yourself most of the time when you are awake," Arnav replied honestly. "But when you sleep and sometimes for a split second when you are awake I sense loneliness."
Khushi stiffened at the mention of the word. Loneliness. She had been alone since a young age always fending for her self, never had the time to make any other connections.
"Wait," she blurted suddenly, "You watch me sleep?"
"Initially, yes," Arnav replied, "Especially when I was trying to get rid of you. But you are one person who I think can sleep through an earthquake. I have had to wait for appropriate moments to scare you, when you were awake."
Suddenly it hit Khushi, "O my God!" she spoke and put her hands around herself, as if trying to cover herself, "Did you... have you seen me... without clothes? You know when I am changing or in the bathroom?" Her face had become red.
She knew that a ghost seeing her naked was far less a priority than a ghost being around her in the first place.
"Of course not!" Arnav exclaimed. "I have never gone in the bathroom. And no, I have never seen you or tried to watch you in an indecent position."
Khushi nodded slowly, debating if what he was saying was true. The ghost had caught on at her unvoiced doubt.
"I am not a pervert!" he sounded offended, "There was a couple living here, before you. And they'd have sex like rabbits and literally scream each other's names. Do you know how many hours I have spent waiting on the balcony, with my ears covered? There's only so much noise I can drown out."
"Okay, got it," Khushi said awkwardly. "You are not a pervert."
The sun was almost beyond the horizon, bathing the room in a reddish orange light.
"You helped me, didn't you?" Khushi asked looking outside, "Last night."
"Yes," the voice was solemn. "I only wanted you out of the house. It was not my intent to cause you any harm." He added, guiltily, "I am sorry about that."
Khushi was amazed at the events that had taken place since last night In 24 hours she had discovered that she had been living with a trapped ghost for a week and since the past couple of hours, she had been conversing with him. A ghost! It was surreal him being around and what he'd said.
She needed a walk; she needed some air. Abruptly she stood up, and walked to the door.
She turned around before leaving, "I need to process all this." The ghost didn't say anything, which she took as an affirmation.
Arnav stood at the balcony, looking at the night sky. How long had she been gone? An hour was it or two?
Something of a chill crept up his spine - did she leave for good? The only person with whom he had spoken in a long time; the only person who could hear him... What if she, came to her senses, and ran?
He set the thought aside. Khushi wouldn't do that. She can't.
Arnav was still in awe about what had happened. It filled his mind with questions Why could she hear him? Why now and not a week ago? What had changed in 1 night?
He recalled the glass breaking incident when she had cried and he had said sorry.' She must have heard something that day too.
He had never been happier since being trapped here but at the same time, he wanted to get to the crux of it. The one big question, which loomed in his mind was - Why was this happening? And he would need her help for that.
She would come back, he assured himself.
A few minutes later, he heard the key-ring jangle and the doorknob turned. She was back, with bags in each hand. She kept both the bags on the floor, near the entrance.
"Umm..." she trailed, "You there?"
"Yes." Arnav replied instantly.
She took out something from one of the bags, "You may have not noticed but there is no light in the house. It's completely dark, since you know... you broke all the tube lights and the bulbs."
She turned on the flashlight in her mobile and grabbed a stool. She placed it beneath a light holding and carefully stood on it. Slowly she unscrewed the broken piece of bulb, which was attached and fixed a new one in its place. With a thud, she got off the stool and flicked on the switch.
The room was bathed in yellow light. She repeated the process till all the lights were on. Arnav stood in a corner, not wanting to interfere. She seemed pretty freaked out by the notion of objects floating in the air.
Once she was done, she dusted her hands and said, "I've had a long day and I am going to sleep. Also," she pointed to the bedroom, "I would like if you didn't enter my bedroom without my permission when I am in the house. The drawing room and the balcony and the kitchen are open to you."
"Okay." Arnav responded.
"One more thing," she said, "I am not rolling in money. I barely get by. So I would appreciate it if you don't break any objects any more." She added a 'please' at the end.
"Okay," he repeated again.
"Okay," Khushi muttered. "Good night then..."
With that she closed the door to her bedroom behind her. Arnav stood in the brightly lit drawing room. There was no right or wrong way to go about this. This was new to him and to her. They'd both need time.
Time for what though? He wondered. He was as inept and ignorant about this situation as she was.
After so many months of despising humans, he was now living with one. Not only living but also minding the rules she had set. This was going to be interesting.
---------Edited by ErisedWitch45 - 2 years ago
Topic started by ErisedWitch45
Last replied by Eccentrica