Aww arnav is such a gentleman ghost
Chapter 3 - Guest
The ring of the doorbell woke Khushi up with a start. She was semi-sitting, semi-lying on the sofa. She had slept on it the entire night the effect of which could now be felt on her aching neck and shoulder.
She opened the door, yawing, to find an apprehensive Payal who was trying her best to smile.
"Good morning, Payal," Khushi rubbed her eyes.
"Morning? It's 1 pm, Khushi," Payal corrected her.
Khushi's eyes opened wide, "O my God! I am so sorry. I forgot to set the alarm. I wasn't planning on sleeping."
"I take it you haven't cooked anything. It's okay. I can come some other day," Payal spoke from the doorway, looking relieved.
Khushi put her hand on her hips, "No, we are doing this today. You'll see there is nothing to fear. Come in."
Payal gulped, putting one foot in. Khushi gestured with her hand to come in. Payal put her other foot in and closed the door behind her.
"... nothing to fear." These words caught Arnav's attention. So this other girl Payal was scared to come in the flat. He knew that she was the landlady's daughter. Ever since he found himself stuck in the house, Payal had never entered it. He had never done anything to her, nothing that he could recall but she was wary from the start. She would always stand at the entrance.
Earlier her mother would come in but after some time even the landlady stopped coming, especially after hearing unsettling tales from her previous tenants. Once the landlady, whom he knew was Garima, had got a priest to perform an exorcism. This was when the two college boys were residing in the flat, much before the couple came.
Arnav had rolled his eyes as the priest sprinkled water in every corner of the house and muttered some incantation. The next day, the boys had complained again. Garima decided to get another priest. This kept happening a few times over a period of weeks, even after the boys had given up and left.
Arnav didn't like the intrusion of the random priest who'd sprinkle water all over his space, sometimes light a fire even; hence he was careful with his actions. - too much of shenanigans and who knew maybe one day someone would actually get rid of him. Not that he didn't want to get out of this prison; he was just worried what the next place would be like what if it was worse than this?
He kept his activities pertaining to scaring away the tenants limited just a little dose everyday so that they'd depart and not so much that Garima would call upon specialists.
Khushi went in the washroom to freshen up and Arnav noticed that Payal was uneasy. She kept looking here and there. This girl was so easy to scare Arnav thought - Only if Khushi was like that. It struck him that it was the first time he had used her name. He did find out moments ago when Payal was talking to her.
He could hear the faint voice of Khushi singing in the bathroom. It looked like she had gotten over the glass-breaking episode of last night. For some reason, it made him feel better.
The girls cooked and ate well into the evening. With each passing minute Payal seemed to relax more.
Arnav waited patiently for dusk. The darkness outside helped set the mood for a good scaring. He was happy that Payal was with Khushi. Fear was contagious. On her own Khushi didn't seem to notice the unusual activity around her. With a jittery Payal, he had a much better chance.
Once, earlier in the evening, the wind had rattled a tree branch making Payal immediately jump at the noise. Arnav had rolled his eyes at Payal and Khushi had explained, "It's just the wind."
As the sky outside grew darker, Arnav flexed his fingers. The stage was set for his performance to begin.
It was the usual course of action. He dropped a plate first. The sound of ceramic breaking made both the girls pause their conversation and swivel their heads in the direction of the kitchen.
Payal's relaxed mode was gone in an instant. Khushi, however, sighed, "This has been happening so often, maybe the kitchen shelf is imbalanced. I'll have to check it out next weekend."
So, Khushi did notice, Arnav thought to himself, she just didn't correlate it with a haunting. This was a good start.
Next, he concentrated on the lights. Not just 1 bulb, rather all of them. He focused his energy on the lights and narrowed his eyes. The lights begin to flicker.
The girls looked above, eyes moving from one light source to another as the tube-lights and the bulbs of the kitchen, drawing room and bedroom blinked unsteadily.
Payal jumped to her feet, "What..." her voice was a hoarse whisper, dripping with fear, "what is happening?"
Arnav wanted the same reaction from Khushi. Eagerly he waited for his target to feel what Payal was feeling.
Khushi did look confused. She shrugged her shoulder, "Problem in the wiring, maybe," she reasoned, "It's a bit weird but this house is old." She turned to face Payal, "Would you relax? I'll call the electrician. Next weekend."
That was it for Arnav! This girl was relentless. She had a logical explanation for everything. He was enraged. So much so that he inadvertently caused the ceiling fan to detach from the holding. It came crashing down at the center table with a loud bang.
Payal shrieked and ran out of the flat. Khushi followed her. Arnav couldn't see if she was afraid too. Arnav hoped this would be it. He was growing tired of this child's play.
Payal was hysterical. She ran down the flight of stairs but not into her house on the ground floor, rather into the street. Khushi tried to calm her down, as she ran after her.
Payal stopped at a deserted alley, leant against the wall and closed her eyes. Khushi caught up to her in a few seconds, panting.
"You are crazy if you don't see it," Payal exclaimed, once she calmed down. "I told you that house is haunted."
"Lights flickering and a plate dropping is not a ghost. There is an explanation for all of it. The kitchen shelf must have a loose screw causing utensils to fall."" She reasoned, "Your house is ancient. There is bound to be electric failures. And when was that ceiling fan installed? I am guessing ages back." She countered her. "I'll check it and show you the problem in the shelf and the wiring." She added, "next weekend. I don't have time during weekdays."
Payal looked at her, flabbergasted, "I am not setting foot in that house ever again. And if you care for your safety, you won't too.
This was not going as per Khushi's plan at all. Payal was more frightened than she was earlier. Coming to her flat had made the situation worse. How could Payal see anything supernatural in these common problems? Why was Payal so certain that there was a ghost?
"You don't agree with me, do you?" Payal narrowed her eyes. "You don't believe me?"
Khushi bit her lower lip, "I just don't see it."
"I tried," Payal shook her head, "The first day and today. If you want to turn a blind eye, I can't help it." She straightened her kurta and walked back to her house.
Great way to make new friends, Khushi thought bitterly as she watched Payal's retreating back.
At a quarter to 11pm, Arnav heard keys jangle and the main door open. Khushi was back. She was carrying a box, which she placed on the sofa. It was a new ceiling fan.
Arnav was stunned. He, although unintentionally, dropped a fan and nothing? Not even an inkling that something was unnatural? He had scared the college guys and the couple with less dramatic antics.
Dropping utensils and flicking lights would not do in her case. He had to up his game. She was starting to feel like a bigger difficulty than he had anticipated.
Khushi was discarding the broken fan with a heart, which was heavy and a pocket, which was getting lighter each day. She was buying something or the other ever since she moved here. Her budget was limited and she had to replenish her savings. How was she to do that if she had to keep restocking on bulbs and fans and utensils almost every other day?
There was clang sound from the kitchen. Khushi raised her head and saw that the kitchen tap had broke. Water sprayed from the faucet in all direction soaking the surrounding area wet. Before she could walk over to examine, at that instant the same happened with the bathroom taps and shower.
Khushi looked from the kitchen to the bathroom, her eyes narrowed in confusion. A malfunctioning tap was not bizarre, but all taps in the house malfunctioning at the exact moment...
Pausing her unsettling thoughts, she rushed to the kitchen first, picking up a scarf from the pile of clothes lying on a chair. The jets of water from the tap were soaking the nearby chairs. She pressed her hand on the exposed pipe, as her face and clothes all drenched wet.
She tried to tie the scarf to stop the water but in vain. She'd have to call a plumber. Even the water from the bathroom had started seeping to the floor of the drawing room.
She dashed to her phone and was about to dial Payal's number to ask for a plumber when the lights in the house flickered again. This time Khushi was rattled. Before she could process what was happening, the lights burst all at once.
Khushi hunched downward and covered her ears with her palms at the splitting noise. The floor was covered in shards of glass and the house was plunged in complete blackness.
A shiver went through her spine. She was scared now, so scared that she couldn't process what was happening only that it was not normal. The water, the lights, what Payal had warned her about, what she thought were minor faults with the house were not faults, it was something else. Something inexplicable, something her logical mind couldn't reason.
Cold sweat broke out on her forehead, running down her face and her breathing became ragged. Something was wrong... something was in the house... with her...
She had to get out of the house. She willed herself to move forward but her feet wouldn't respond. It felt like the fear in her heart had rendered her feet immovable.
All of a sudden, the windowpanes began to shake in their frames making a rattling noise coupled with the hiss of the water spraying from the taps.
Khushi could feel hot tears slide down her cheeks. Fear had held her shell-shocked and as much as she wanted to rush to the door, she was immobile.
Finally gathering her nerves, she stumbled in the dark to the door, her fingers trying desperately to locate the doorknob.
Behind her, in the midst of all the noise, in the dark, she could feel a presence. Khushi thought her heart would stop. She forced herself not to turn back, instead gathering all her energy on the door-knob.
She found the cold metal but her fingers were frozen. She felt the presence behind her move closer to her, one step at the time. The air behind her became heavier and cooler.
Khushi felt a pain in her chest. She couldn't breathe. She opened her mouth to gasp for air but her legs gave out and she fell to the floor, unconscious.
Arnav immediately stopped what he was doing and rushed to a fallen Khushi. She lay on the floor, knocked out.
"Oh no," Arnav muttered as he looked at her. Here face was bereft of any color, her heart was beating but abnormally.
What had he done! He never hurt anyone. That was against his code of conduct. All he wanted was for her to leave, not injure her. In his impulsiveness, he had taken it too far.
What was he to do now?
He quickly vanished from the spot where Khushi lay and materialized on the balcony. "Help! he yelled at the passers by downstairs, but in vain. There was a watchman taking a round of the neighborhood but, like always, no one could hear him.
"Someone please." His voice was desperate. It was of no use. He banged the railing in frustration. He couldn't leave this Godforsaken place and neither could anyone hear or see him.
He went inside and knelt in front of the girl. She needed help and he was so powerless to do anything.
Please let her be fine, he prayed, please.
---------Edited by ErisedWitch45 - 2 years ago
Topic started by ErisedWitch45
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