After that nerve wrecking attack over me,I preferred being indoors for the next couple of days.
But my mind was restless,bristling with thoughts.
I had some 10 days to go,and then I’ll be back to Mumbai.
And that meant that the mystery surrounding the so called “haunted house” will never be revealed out.
I clearly knew that Madhav and Viz will have a tough time without me.
The story that Mr. Raghav told me made my mind more restless.
Things like spirits and ghosts were indigestible for a science student like me.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist..
I started contradicting my thoughts.
Better I take in some fresh air.
I’ll accompany Madhav and Viz for today’s match.
As said,I accompanied them to the match, but I took Madhav’s Scooty and went ahead to Raman’s
thattukada(the local dhabha)for cherishing his tea,that is quite popular here.
As I enter the dhabha,the old men who were busy with their newspapers debating over politics gave me a look.
“You’re that guy from Bombay right? Madhav’s cousin? ”,asked one of them.
Being from Bombay still seemed a big thing there I guessed.
As I sat there,sipping the tea in a small glass,contemplating the turn of events that took place the previous 10 days or so,I saw an Audi passing through the road.
Highly unusual scene!
“Whose car is that?”,I couldn’t help, but ask.
“That’s Architect Mohan’s car. Rich man! He rarely visits his ancestral house here. He’s the leading architect in those township projects at Calicut,Kochi,Trivandrum et al.
Very busy man. Very rich too.”,Raman replied to my query as he served his customers.
“Even that house near the ground was built by his team. He was Ashok’s close aide that time.”,said one of the old men.
I understood which house he was exactly talking about.
I need his help.
Taking the directions to his house from Raman,I set out on Madhav’s scooty and reached the place in few minutes.
Mr. Mohan was a man in his late
fifties. He wore those geeky spectacles. Even in his house,he was in his formal neatly ironed check shirt and black pant.
He sat there on his chair, busy on his laptop,discussing something with his..secretary perhaps.
I went ahead towards them.
“How can we help you? Looking out for someone? ”,his Secretary asked me.
“I had to meet Mohan Sir actually..”
“Do you know him?”,the Secretary asked Mohan.
“Nah. Need any help boy?Come have a seat first”,Mohan smiled.
And in the next few minutes,I explained him that I need the plan of the house near the playground. As he is the architect,he most probably should have the plan. Chances were slim though.
“Why do you need the plan anyways?”,he quizzed me.
“My Dad wants to buy it. He needs the house plan to see the specifications.”,I lied effortlessly.
“.. lay inhabited since decades..”,I completed his sentence.
“Then why would you like to buy that property? The property now is owned by Ashok’s brother Shiv,but no one knows where exactly Shiv is, like Ashok.”
“He’s in Mangalore. We found him out somehow and he agreed to sell the plot. He sounded like a relieved man.”,I lied again.
“Woah! So determined huh!?”,Mohan was surprised.
“Well about the house plan, it will take some time..I don’t exactly remember where it is..but ya..rest assured,max. 1 hour. Since the structure is situated in this village and it was built when I was based here,it will certainly be in this house of mine. ”,he comforted me with his words.
His Secretary managed to find it out in half an hour precise,till which I managed to know some things about Ashok’s nature from Mohan.
That’s when my phone ringed.
“Where are you man!? Say fast! ”
“You guys wait for me at Raman’s. Will be there in five.”
“Ohk cool. ”
The secretary handed me over the house plan.
“When should I return this…”
“Nah..no need. Keep it with you. We have an extra one.”
“Thank you Sir! ”
“All the best!”,Mohan wished me.
I thanked them once again and left the place.
Five minutes later,as said,I was at Raman’s dhabha. Madhav and Viz stood there, ready to fire some questions at me.
“Where were you?”
“Have a look at this! ”,I flashed the house plan.
“What’s this?”,Madhav seemed confused.
Their eyes widened in surprise as they understood what I handed over to them.
“From where did you..?”
“Magic!”,I winked at them.
Back at Madhav’s place,I made them understand how I got my hands on the plan.
Before they asked why we need the plan,I spoke out:
“See guys,I have just 10 days more here and I want us to try one last time. We’ve been deceived twice beforehand, but we weren’t prepared to that level. But this time,we’ve the house plan. This will surely help us. You’ll know soon. ”
Madhav and Viz nodded in agreement.
“Time to plan..for one last time.”
THE NEXT DAY:
As planned the previous evening,we left out for site inspection of the “haunted house” .
The previous two times when we entered the house from front, it was evening and we failed miserably.
Afternoon was the perfect time according to me since no one would spot us going towards the house.
Most of the people prefer having an afternoon nap.
Hence,the roads were empty.
But we didn’t take the road route either. We took the comparatively tougher paddy field route and reached the wall at the rear end of the house.
“I hope no one spotted us.”,Madhav whispered.
“But we’ll be spotted now.”
Slowly we jumped over the wall and entered the rear verandah of the house.
There were lot of banana trees surrounding the area.
Who waters them constantly?
A few metres from the back door was an old well and behind the well there stood a warehouse.
We peeped inside the well,but it was empty. The well wasn’t so deep either.
My eyes were fixed on the windows instead.
Someone is watching us.
As I was about to look back to the well,my eyes fell on those mud stained footprints near the back door.
My worst fears came true.
We traced the footprints till it reached….the well..and then it disappeared all of a sudden. No further footsteps.
We were puzzled.
That simply meant that there’s something down there.
“But how could….”
I signaled Viz to lower his voice.
“But how could someone go inside so easily? ”,Viz whispered, following my instruction.
“See that!”,Madhav pointed out towards the warehouse whose door was slightly ajar.
With caution, Viz opened the door of the warehouse.
Lots of tools lay there, most of them in a very bad state.
Madhav pointed out to the ladder that was kept in one corner.
But it seemed as if the stairs had been used recently..
Once near the well,Viz volunteered to go inside.
Slowly, he went inside with the help of the ladder.
In a few moments, he reached the base of the well.
He looked around, hoping to find something unusual, but in vain.
Suddenly,he found something at the base of the well.
But it wasn’t clear to that extent.
He started digging out the ground with his fingers..and then he looked up.
His face was pale in horror.
“What did you find?”, Madhav asked.
But he didn’t reply.
He shivered badly as he climbed up the ladder.
As he climbed, he slipped suddenly and in the process,caught hold of one of the stones from the wall to maintain his balance..and that resulted in something weird.
We couldn’t believe our eyes as the side wall of the well opened into a dark room.
A SECRET CHAMBER.