CHAPTER 6: THE STORY UNFOLDS.

….

HE WAS ABOUT TO START WHEN SUDDENLY, THE LIGHTS WENT OFF AND WE HEARD A LOUD CRASHING OF GLASS AGAINST THE FLOOR.

And then there was a faint light near the window.

THE VERY CANDLE THAT WE SAW AT THE HAUNTED HOUSE MADE US TREMBLE.

….

The light from the candle slowly spread and we saw it was lit none other than Mr. Raghav himself.

But what about the sound of the crashing glass?!

He came and sat back where he previously sat with the same calm demeanour, as if nothing has happened.

I was about to ask him, when he cut me short.
“Don’t think this sudden power cut was something mysterious or it has some involvement with those spirits. ”

“Then what do we make of it?”,asked a puzzled Viz.

“Look at your watch boy, it’s 7:30”,he smiled.

“Kerala State Electricity Board ”,we sigh.

And that meant half an hour more in this darkness,which was reduced to a certain extent,thanks to that candle which was placed near the window,it’s flame swaying to and fro,as if it might extinguish any moment.

“This… this same candle we..”,I fell short of words.

“What’s with that candle? ”

“..we saw inside that house..”,I completed my sentence.

“Well..everyone uses these candles,even the spirits use the same I didn’t know!”,he laughed making a mockery of my statement.

Let it go.

“And what about that crashing sound?”,we ask him out of curiosity (restlessness to be precise!).

“What crashing sound are you boys talking about?”,he asked,his voice a bit cold.

Little drops of perspiration started forming on my head.
This can’t be!

“You mean you didn’t hear any crashing sound!?”,Madhav shook in disbelief.

“Please now don’t tell me that you boys heard that! ”,his eyes were wide in shock.

“We did hear that sound Sir!”,we exclaimed together.

Viz even stood up and pointed fingers to the direction from where the sound came.

“Sit down Vishnu..Relax! No one will harm you here..Now please take your seat.. Stop being so hyper!”,he advised Viz.

And Viz did follow his words,and sat on his chair,albeit confused.

After some moments of thought, he spoke out, “This just means that the spirits have been invoked by you three. They have given you an indication ; and most importantly, a chance to back out. ”

We listened in rapt attention,but we couldn’t digest the last words by him.

“We are not gonna back out Sir. We are damn sure about this!”,I made our intentions clear.

He was definitely not pleased by that.

“Ohk then! Your choice anyways! My job is to just say you what happened that night..I didn’t want to say but I have no other option too..So..let me start now..”

We nodded in approval.

                      •••••••
20 to 25 years ago

It was an Amavasya night.
Time 2 am:

Complete Darkness.

I and my son,(who was here on his vacay) were deep in sleep when I heard a speeding car come to a sudden halt near the gate of my house.
Startled,I woke up and peeked through the window.

The Red Maruti 800 made it clear that it was none other than my dear friend Ashok.

We both were friends since childhood. Same school,and then same workplace. Later he started his own company based in Trivandrum and then he got busy with it. He just visits his residence twice a month. At the most thrice. And when he comes here,we spend quality time,discussing his business,how his fortunes changed in such a short span of time,how life was good in a city like Trivandrum,our good old days,about his son who was abroad and stuff like that.

But 2am?
Something is wrong.

I opened the door to see him soaked in sweat,his hands shivering. His eyes were red in anger.

He was in his trademark white safari suit as usual, but with some dark red drops on it..

BLOOD!

“What happened Ashok? Where did this blood come from.. and why are you shivering like this? ”

He didn’t speak anything.
He just came,hugged me and started sobbing.

“I shot down my family Raghav! I just couldn’t control my anger!”,he sobbed like those children whom you can’t control while you snatch their favourite toy from them.

But this was serious.

“Why!?”

“You very well know that I had a doubt on my wife Anuja being in an extra marital affair with the house maid Stephen and it turned to be true….”

“But..”

“You know my temper. I couldn’t control my anger and just took out the gun and shot her! But….”

And he started crying uncontrollably.

“But what Ashok..say!”,I prodded him to continue.

“My daughter Amrita came in between and..”

“Gosh!”

“That made Anuja mad and she tried to attack me with a knife..
I tried stopping her from doing so.. But accidentally….”

“Ashok! Why man? Why did you do this! You’re going to be in neck deep trouble now! ”

“That’s why I’m fleeing now! Away from here!”

“Where?”

“Let that be a secret for time being. One day I’ll return for sure..”

His eyes were red.
REGRET.

“But..”

“Just keep mum on this. Don’t reveal anything. Be a silent spectator. If those police officials come to question you, just dodge them. You’re shrewd enough to do that mate. ”

I couldn’t say anything, but just nod.

And then he left,to never return back.

Leaving back his property of his lavish house,which now is manifested by the spirits of his wife and beloved daughter,who people say are still waiting to see Ashok back..
                    •••••••

We were quite intrigued by the real story behind the haunted house.

Above that the darkness and the candle light only added to the spookiness!

”No one knows where he currently is.”, Mr. Raghav continued.

“Is he alive or dead?”,Madhav asked.

“No idea!”,Mr. Raghav waved his hands.

“And what about Stephen?”,Viz asked.

“He too fled away,most probably to his village in Tamil Nadu. But the
police couldn’t trace him out.”

“And is the case against Ashok still going on or is it closed?”,I enquired.

“The Kerala police along with a
some help from other states carried out an extensive search for about 3-4 years..but in vain. Hence, they had no other option,but to close the case.”

“Ohk..”

“I hope this piece of info will help you boys out on your mission.
But dont spread this like fire.
It will diverge to form new versions of this and the truth will be blurred out.”

“As you say Sir.”

Good you came today, for tomorrow I’m going back to my doctor in Kochi,and I’ll be back after 10-12 days..”

“Lucky”,Viz muttered.

“Your luck will be tested from now on my boy..for you have invoked the spirits..you know that..”,he pointed to the candle which was flickering vigorously.

And that’s when the electricity was restored.

”8pm..we have to go now..its getting late Sir.”

“Ya..you may leave..take care while going back..there aren’t streetlights in this area,and you very well know the roads. ”

“Yes Sir.”

He accompanied us till the gate of his house.

“I’m still not clear what you guys are up to, still all the best! Be cautious and  keep your eyes open every time!”,he wished us.

“Thanks a lot Sir for that information. We will strike soon! ”,Viz thumped his fist in air.

He didn’t speak anything, but just waved his hands signaling bye.

“Bye Sir..Thanks again. Meet you soon! ”

“Good Bye.”

On the way back, there wasn’t a single streetlight since it was located at the outskirts of the village. To add to it,there were repeated turns every 10 seconds or so, making things difficult for Madhav-our driver- to handle.

He was negotiating one such turn when we were almost thrashed by a speeding truck from the other end.

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