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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Can a dead mother's unfulfilled love drive her daughter's romance?

Submitted: September 14, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 14, 2018





I still remember that day quite clearly. Somehow it would never go out of my memory, how hard I would try!

It was the end of February, and I had finished my dinner in the Men’s Hostel canteen and wanted to go out to the vast lawns just behind our imposing University building and have a smoke.

I wanted company, so I knocked on the door of my friend Rahul and waited. He came out, but he was barely able to keep his eyes open. It was just past nine p.m., Too early to hit the sack, but he had his early morning jogging plan and wanted enough sleep before that.

Forgetting him, I walked out of the building and after lighting my cigarette, turned right towards the huge lawn running into five acres, at least. The narrow road coming out of the hostel broadened to a double track route and wound through the campus lawn…. about a kilometer and a half in length lined on both sides by trees of several types interspersed by street lamps.

That night, as I looked ahead, the road seemed like a long black python whose body was lit up at regular intervals by the street lights…. those areas glistening in the dark because of recent sharp unseasonal showers.

Pulling at my cigarette I started walking ahead, I would stroll for an hour or so.

The night was cool, and the road ahead was totally deserted. My mind was in a contented state and my thoughts wandered around.

I must have had walked for twenty-five minutes, I hadn’t met anybody on the road when I felt that I should sit down for a while and light another smoke. There was a bench on the right side of the road,  a few yards inside on the lawns, which was one of the many placed on both sides throughout the length of the road.

As I sat down and lit my cigarette, a peculiar feeling overwhelmed me. I wasn’t able to guess what was the exact feeling… was I frightened? Or worried? Or unhappy? Or what? But I was sure that I felt uncomfortable!

The smoke suddenly felt nauseating. I threw the half-smoked cigarette on the grass and crushed it with my right shoe heel and looked around. I wasn't entirely sure what I was expecting.

A few minutes must have had gone by, but it seemed an eternity… when I perceived a very mild fragrance wafting in through a breeze blowing in from east… rustling the leaves of the trees near me. As I gazed ahead, I noticed that leaves of trees on the other side of the road were absolutely motionless.

By the time I could fully realize this…. a sight made me alert.

There was a woman walking on the road going towards the direction from where I had come. I watched her when she came under the glare of the lamp post and then she walked into the shadows and moved out of my sight. From the distance I  could make out that she was a woman of medium height, fair complexion, wearing a white dress with open hair. As I stared, within a few moments she appeared out of the shadows and was below the next lamp post. At that instant, she turned and faced me.

She had a distinctive appearance with a broad forehead, large eyes, sharp nose, and deeply painted red lips. The overall effect was of aquiline beauty. All these I absorbed within moments and before I could blink, she had gone into the shadows once more.

Suddenly, I had the urge to look at her again and so I got up and stepped forward to see her when she would come under the next lamp post.

But as I waited…. she never came out of the shadows again… she seemed to have vanished.

This was odd, and I walked onto the road and looked towards her direction. I traversed it on the other side and peeked about the lawns…. there was nobody! The emptiness of the area set my heart palpitating. Where exactly was she? Where the hell could she have gone? Standing there at that time of the night amidst such huge track of empty land, a sense of fear was overwhelming me.

I was no longer willing to be in that location. I virtually ran back towards the hostel. It was about 10.35 p.m. Slamming the door of my room close I sat down on my only chair. My hands were shaking,  and my mouth was dry.


Next day as I walked in my Botany class my mind was heavy with the experience of the last night and lack of sleep.

It was late in the afternoon and I was through with the classes. I walked into the college canteen to have a cup of coffee. It was around 4.10 p.m. and I had plans to return to my room very shortly.

As I was about to get up from my table after having my coffee that I noticed that a girl was sitting at the far end of the hall near the window. I could see her face sideways and at that moment she was simply one of many girl students occupying tables in the canteen. What caught my attention was when she turned momentarily, and I noticed her very red lips. It was like blood. In the college, I had not seen many girls wearing such vivid coloured lipstick, but that was not all…. what struck me odd was that her face resembled someone, and I couldn’t fathom that.

It took quite a few seconds, but it came in a flash and even in that cool afternoon… I shuddered involuntarily. 

Heaven should help me now!!

This girl looked a lot like the phantasm of that white attired woman whom I had seen last night on the road near the hostel… about whom I was so apprehensive throughout the night and about whom I hadn’t spoken to anyone till now thinking that I would be a laughing stock before my friends.

But here was a girl who was real, sitting in the broad daylight in the college canteen, seemingly a student, and she resembled that ghostly woman, a younger image!!

I gulped hard, my heart was palpitating, I drank some water from the glass kept on the table. Even so, my dread was not subsiding! Closing my eyes for a few moments I took a deep breath and tried to steady myself. There might be a natural explanation for all this. Some coincidence, perhaps…. it would be better to get this clarified now itself.

Getting up I approached the girl who was not aware of me coming as she was looking out of the window. As I was reaching her table, she turned to look at me. Seeing me she had an inquiring expression. On my part, seeing her from such close quarters confirmed my impression that she had a striking similarity with that woman of the last night.

I blinked and came to a standstill before her table.

She looked back at me for some moments and finding me not saying anything, spoke, “Yes, what do you want?”

She sounded very pleasant with a melodious voice.

I took hold of myself and said, “ I am Hardik… of third-year science stream… can I speak to you for a moment? “

She nodded, and I pulled a chair and sat down.

I was not sure how I should begin. Marshalling my thoughts, I said haltingly, “ It’s a bit odd, I am sure that I am barging in like this to talk to you…”  I paused and looked at her expectantly.

She frowned slightly, looked down at her hands and thereupon regarded me somberly.

 “Yes? Do you want to say something?” She said softly.

I nodded faintly and replied, “ I don’t know how or where to start…. but I must tell you that I had a strange experience last night on the road leading to Men’s hostel … I can’t believe that such an incident is possible…”

I tapered off and gulped.

By now, she seemed to have become interested and leaning forward said, “ Why are you telling me this? Anyway, do go on.”

So, I narrated the incident in detail…. a little surprised with myself as to why I should be so elaborate, with this unknown girl… but I had my compelling reason as I concluded my tale.

 “I have not told you about this experience because it seems to be paranormal… but the real reason I am speaking to you is because…” I paused for a moment and continued, “ ….that ghostly woman’s appearance is very similar to yours. Now, how… how… can that be?“

I watched her without any further words.

She gazed back at me and did the unthinkable. She started crying.

I was taken aback.

She controlled herself gradually and said in a trembling voice, “That person you saw last night was my mother… she is no more…” She stopped and looked out of the window towards the sky as if to seek some divine intervention.

Thence shutting her eyes, she became so still for so long that I felt a bit uncomfortable. I cleared my throat audibly making her open her eyes and turn towards me.

“ Sorry,” She said. “I got carried away…., I sense that my mother wants to tell me something.”

I said in a slightly tremulous tone, “ I don’t understand if she is dead, how did I see her last night?”

A trickle of sweat was now passing down my spine and it also erupted on my brows. It was of no consequence that I was in a public place, it was afternoon, and, in that environment, any sense of fear would be laughable, to say the least. 

My face must have had revealed my inner sentiments. That girl, to my surprise, took my hand and pressed it slightly.

“Don’t worry. But first… let me tell you that I am Sheila, a first-year student of commerce stream of this University. I stay about six kilometers outside the campus in a rented apartment. Can I suggest that we go to my apartment and talk about this?”

I took hold of myself and nodded, where-after she got up, paid at the counter and I followed her.

When we arrived at her place, a one-bedroom cum living room apartment on the first floor in a newly developed residential area next to the nearby forest, dark clouds were taking shape on the skyline and it seemed that the rain was nearby. The afternoon sun was, by that time, masked behind the clouds in such a way that it seemed that evening was setting in. A chilly wind had begun blowing in from the direction of the woods and the swishing noise of swaying trees was becoming increasingly audible.

Taking the first flight of stairs and on unlocking the door we entered the apartment. As she switched on the light of a standing lamp at a corner revealing a small, tastefully decorated living room with two small sofas, a centre table and assortment of comfortable stools, I glanced around in appreciation.

Requesting me to sit she went in the bedroom. A little later I could hear her in the kitchen.

Returning to the living room, she set down two steaming cups of coffee on the center table, went to a tiny side cupboard hidden behind one of the sofas and took out an album. She sat down on the other sofa and kept the album on her lap.

“ Please have your coffee Hardik”

It took some time to finish the coffee, during which we spoke about our college routines after which she suddenly lapsed into a silence.

By and by the rain started, and I could feel the water sprays coming through the swinging open window along with gusts of wind.

At last Sheila stirred.

She got up and sat down next to me. I could perceive the soft scent of her perfume. She opened the album and turned a page displaying a lady’s full profile photograph standing against the backdrop of a waterfall.

“ This is my mother’s photo taken close to seventeen years ago…”

Before I could closely see the picture, her choking voice made me look at her sharply. There were tears in her eyes now.

Wiping her eyes, she stated, “ This is her last picture…. after that we lost her… she committed suicide….”

This news was indeed a sad revelation to me.

Now, while looking at the photo I was realizing that the specter of the woman I had seen last night was undeniably Sheila’s mother and…. here I was with her daughter!

But the question was – Why all these were happening to us?

I gently closed the album and put my hand on hers and said, “ I can well appreciate your emotions, Sheila, but why should your mother show herself to me? To be frank with you I am downright fearful…. “

She shook her head, “ Don’t be scared Hardik. I know this cannot be explained… nobody will believe, but I and you, both have experienced the presence of my mother… this is a fact. Now, leaving aside the paranormal part of it, let’s try to understand why she has made us meet? That will also explain why she became visible to you. ”

I thought for some moments and said, “ Have you also seen her during these few days?”

 She nodded, “ I saw her the day before yesterday in this very room for a fleeting moment, but I was not scared. I had seen her thrice before this; first time about eight years after her death, later after the passing away of my father, and, before my admission to this college at which time I was going through many problems. Things became all right after I had sighted her. She gave me ethereal support.”

She turned to look out of the window, “I accept that her suicide and seeing her ghost form had initially shaken me and scared me really badly, but afterwards I realized that her presence was for my good, every time. ” 

As I was listening to her, my mind was trying to find a rationality to all this, but I had to know some more information.

“ Sheila, is it possible for you to tell me why your mother killed herself? Don’t tell me if you don’t want…” I hastened to add.

She hid her face, tried not to show her emotion. 

I gulped, understood that I had touched a raw nerve of her feelings, but she controlled herself and met my eyes.

“There was a man in her life… her friend and lover from her college days, but she couldn’t marry him for some forcible reasons. After marriage, my father, who never had loved her, I am sorry to say, made her very unhappy…. constantly harping on her past love affair and they had a terrible and stormy marriage. Alas, all that conduced to her committing suicide within four years into her marital life. I was already born by that time…” 

I knew that I was with her and supported her but still couldn’t make out why all these paranormal incidents were happenings now.

It was getting late in the evening and the rain was easing off. I had to return to my hostel for some studies as I had a chemistry assignment lined up for tomorrow.

Getting up I said, “ I must now leave Sheila, we will meet tomorrow in the canteen at around three o’clock.

She said nothing and suddenly clung to me for a few seconds. Her tender and soft body set my heart pumping. I too felt the need to hold her…. comfort and caress her. It was also strange that within these few hours two of us, completely unknown to each other, we're getting so much emotionally involved.

Next day, after the classes were over, I walked into the canteen and found Sheila sitting at a table for two at the extreme left corner of the hall. It was just after 4.35 p.m. and I was craving for a cup of coffee. When I pulled the chair and sat before her with a smile of greeting, my heart had started beating faintly and a mild sense of breathlessness was overcoming me.

She looked so pretty in her pink dress with her wavy hair cascading up to her shoulders, her large dark eyes accentuated by light eyeliners and her lips coloured deep red, as was her wont, that  I could only stare at her. She must have sensed my thoughts, so with a smile said,  “Good to see you Hardik. Don’t look as if you have seen me for the first time!” Then, placing her right hand on mine, “Let’s have coffee.”

It was about half an hour later that we walked out of the canteen and headed for the City Centre. She had some shopping to do and, on her request, I was more than willing to go with her. The weather was clear, and the late afternoon sun had brightened up the surroundings with golden light and the sky was unblemished blue. Last evening’s dark clouds, rains and the depressing environment seemed to be of the distant past.

We had taken a cab and with the cool wind flowing from its open windows which was sweeping her hair ceaselessly, I was in extreme bliss. Her happy countenance too showed that her feelings echoed with mine.  

At that point, it all happened!!

A bus coming from the opposite direction swerved dangerously to avoid a cyclist and hit our cab on the right side. It was a just a graze, but the impact was violent, the car was flung towards the sidewalk. It’s bonnet and both the right doors were ripped off with masses of twisted metal landing on the road with a clatter. The blow inside the cab was unthinkable and Sheila, who was sitting on the right back seat, was flung towards the driver’s seat and with a faint cry collapsed, …. blood started to ooze out of her forehead. Her inert body slid down into the gap between the seats.

Miraculously, I was unharmed sitting on the left back seat. Although I hit myself on the door sideways, my shoulders, which were strong enough due to my regular workouts, saved me.

Within minutes of the accident, as soon as I could collect my wits, I came out and picked up Sheila from her seat and carried her out of the badly damaged cab. The driver who was gravely hurt, but was conscious, was helped.

Soon an ambulance and a police car arrived.

Sheila had fractured her right shoulder and the wound on her forehead took considerable time to heal. Initially, I thought that she had suffered a head injury but thankfully it was not so, and she had started recovering.

About five weeks later, she was fit enough to come to her classes. I was with her continuously, supporting her and helping her to the path of recovery.

That day, we were again in the canteen, sipping our coffee. She was fine but appeared weak. She needed some rest before she could go home. I offered her to come to my room which was not too far away. It would be for the first time.

She could have gone to one of her friend’s room in the Women’s Hostel, but she preferred to come with me.

The reason was not difficult to understand. During this troubled time for her, as well as for me, our relationship had deepened and both of us wanted each other endlessly. The other day, when she was in deep pain in the hospital, she had held my hand for hours seeking comfort and support from me.

On entering my room, I made her sit on my only chair and was fetching her a glass of water when she got up and picked up the frame of my family photograph. Like her, I had also lost both my parents many years ago, and the photo was taken about seven years earlier.

She was staring at the photo with a frown for many moments, then turned to look at me.

“Hardik, they are your parents, aren’t they?”

 I nodded, she already knew that they were no more.

What happened next was totally unexpected.

I could see her face gradually turning pale and hands started to tremble. Shakily, she put down the photo, walked back and sat down heavily on my bed.

I moved swiftly toward her.

“ What is the problem, Sheila? Are you not feeling well?”

She said in a low wavering voice, pointing towards the photo, “ Your father….your father….”

Suddenly she burst into tears.

I held her in my arms and said soothingly,” Yes… what about him…? Why are you behaving like this? What has happened?”

She said “I recognize your father… I have seen his picture… Oh my God, this is unthinkable….”

Now it was my turn to be surprised, “ Why? How do you know him?”

She shook her head, “ I don’t know him… saw his photograph attached with a letter written to my mother by your father….many years ago! It was one of many love letters they had exchanged. “

She became very quiet.

After it seemed an eternity, she spoke, “ Your father and my mother were lovers during their college days… and…. and… she committed suicide because she couldn’t get him.Sadly, your father never came to her memorial.”

She looked down at her hand. Words failed her!

I was gazing at her, incredulously...this piece of news was a thunder out of the blue sky… I closed my eyes…I had to come out of this shock.

My brain went into a whirlwind, many thoughts flew around, but gradually I was fathoming the cause of this supernatural activity.

I turned towards Sheila and said, “Darling, please listen to me carefully. I have some views on whatever has been occurring these days. If I am wrong, tell me.”

Holding her hand firmly in my hand, I continued.

“Your mother’s manifestation has a meaning. She couldn’t get my father whom she must have loved dearly. She was forced to marry against her wishes. He too married elsewhere. During their lifetimes both of us were born out of our parent’s wedlocks. Your mother knew about my birth. Although she committed suicide she never forgot my father even after her death.”

I got up to drink water. 

“My father died much later. At present, while both our parents are gone, your mother’s spirit still stays in this universe. I believe, she has wanted her daughter and her lover’s son to come together. She knows that I am in this University for the last three years and you have joined recently, so both of us may come across each other. This was then the correct time to materialize before me. She also knows that her face and yours are quite alike, being mother and daughter, hence I will be able to recognize you. Our first meeting in the canteen could have been orchestrated by her. She must have also influenced your psyche unconsciously to expect me and accept me. ”

I stopped. What else could I say?

Sheila remained speechless, but her emotions were so clearly visible that I knew that she was with me.

“ Oh my God!! I completely agree!” 

A sense of relief flooded me.

What more was in store for us…….?

My reverie was interrupted when I heard that Sheila was continuing, “When you met me, I was willing to go with you because my mother had sent you. You were the link with her. How could I deny you to come to me?”

She paused and then said in a faint voice, “But accepting you and coming together is not enough. It’s more than that! I have fallen for you …  I adore you …. I want you….and….”

There was soft passion in her eyes and her lips were moist.

” …. you love me too, right?”

My spontaneous kiss was the answer she needed.

We held each other and soon she shuddered a bit and said, “ And my accident…. does it have anything to do with all this?”

I thought for some time, “ I believe so! You told me that whenever you needed support your mother showed up… she did this time also and sent me to you… to save you… be at your side. She knew that the accident would happen. “

Both of us continued to clutch each other… these self-revelations were strengthening our bond of love.

We were certain that wherever the soul of Sheila’s mother was, she would have felt happy and accomplished salvation.

Just then I sensed the aroma of a perfume wafting in through the breeze blowing from my open window; it was the same perfume I had discerned when I met her that night on the hostel road.

My God, was she here?

As I turned towards Sheila to tell this, a waft of another strong smell floated in…. a smell which I remembered when my father used to incessantly smoke Havana Cigar, many years ago!

Was the soul of my father here, as well?

Did my father love Sheila's mother as much or was there any conflict? I was getting an intuition. 

Before I could speak to her, I happened to glance at the mirror on the wall across the bed, there was no reflection of mine and Sheila .... the bed was empty.... but we were sitting on the bed!

Then the mirror cracked from side to side! 

Our reflections were visible from the unbroken parts! 

I understood that the conflict between the souls was over and our life would go on!
























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