ujjain:where ghosts are real

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Ujjain:where ghosts meet your soul


There’s a town on Madhya Pradesh's west coast that you’ve never heard of,Ujjain. The people that grow up there never escape. The ones that arrive there, do so to die. You might mistake it for a nursing home gone wrong, heaven’s waiting room if you will.


So it shouldn’t be a surprise that after Jay managed to escape this place four years ago, he hadn’t returned. When he meets someone new in Mumbai and they ask the obligatory “where’re you from,” he gives them the name of the closest city. If it wasn’t for the death of his grandmother, he would have never come back.


Undoubtedly his life in the city wasn’t perfect. His job as a secretary to an unscrupulous attorney was not satisfying at all. He had hoped it would be a temporary job to pay the bills until a better organization discovered him, but he hadn’t been on stage in over a year, his confidence was shaken. Still on those nights when he laid in bed, fretting over a failed audition, one fact managed to soothe his bruised ego, “At least I’m not back home right now.”


He just arrived at his grandmother’s beach house, newly bequeathed upon him, when a familiar tone rang. He had been back in here for six hours, yet his phone had already exploded with messages from guys in high school who never looked his way. However he soon got driven away from this and smiled suspiciously. Being home stirred up a lot of emotions, but he couldn’t deny that he was enjoying his newfound big fish status.


Then he went on to examine the grains he had just purchased. Being spoiled by the sticky green buds they made him feel creepy and non edible. But it was all he could find, not knowing anyone else in town who dealt, so he would have to make do.


His phone buzzed again and he reached for it. He had been expecting this text. He eagerly read the message from his old friend, Aakash, "Leaving now, be there by 10, I have something really implausible to show you."


In the four years since he left, the town had added a shopping center and two libraries. Anyway, but what could Aakash have to show him?


When they met in school, Jay and Aakash were the best of friends, but later fought over the same girl’s affection. Jay was reflecting upon their humble beginnings when a car horn blared. Enthusiastically, he grabbed his things and ran outside.


* * *


Aakash brought Jay to their town’s community theatre, Surbhi. They had only seen two plays there, both times they left during intermission due to their loss of impatience to tolerate any of the two historical dramas, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.


Jay laughed, “They shut this place down?”


“There was a fundraiser(bid) to save it. My money, however, went towards claiming the space for myself."


Jay was astonished. “You didn’t!”


“I did, I couldn’t pass it up!” Aakash was dead serious; but he couldn’t look Jay in the eye. He was holding something back.


Jay knew what was coming next. “You can’t expect me to help you with this. Aakash, it’s a lost cause. It just shut down!”


Aakash’s reply was preloaded, “If we did it right, people would come. I know you hate your job, it’s the running theme of your blog.”


“I just have to stick it out a little longer,” Jay said defensively.


Aakash struck a nerve, he knew it. “It’s been four years. Do you want to spend the rest of your life as a cog in another man’s machine? This is something we can build together."


Jay couldn’t believe he was considering this. “I spent my whole life dreaming of getting out of here." It was the mysterious tale after all that haunted him. "How can I come back,” he asked himself. 


Aakash walked to the car, calling behind him, “Come on, you don’t have to decide now. And you still owe me that reunion.


Both of them returned,Jay to his very own beach house. While Aakash had sheltered himself in small hotel nearby.



That night, on the back porch of his beach house, Jay sat, looking out at the ocean. He could see a storm rolling in. He didn’t care. He looked to the ground beside him, where his laptop laid. He knew what he had to do. When he finished, he wrote the recepient’s address and mailed it to his very organisation chief. It would reach its recipient soon.


Aakash’s head perked up. He got out of his bed heading towards the bathroom, as soon as he entered his leg slipped on the soap, the geyser wire around his neck so tight that he couldn't even cry for succour.


Jay while reading his letter, I would remember these words for the rest of my life, “After four years of thankless dedication to your business, I’ve decided to move on," …his voice trailed, when all of a sudden his phone buzzed. He picked up the phone and..."your friend has committed suicide and I m extremely sorry that he is no more " and the call ended,neither did it show who had called, nor did the caller address himself at the end. 


Jay was trapped with an unknown fear of death when suddenly he received an email claiming "your resignation has been accepted." ..... 

Submitted: May 17, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Manjree Thakkar. All rights reserved.

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