Terror Street – The Story Begins

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

I never believed in life after death. I never believed that people could come back even after their mortal body disappeared from the earth. I never believed that evil existed. Until now…

Terror Street – The Story Begins


Chapter 1


I never believed in life after death. I never believed that people could come back even after their mortal body disappeared from the earth. I never believed that evil existed. Until now…


It all started since the day I moved in my new house. The two story (or storied) cottage type house had been sitting peacefully at the corner of the street waiting for its owner. The white painted exterior, the front yard adorned with unknown violet flowers and the white picket fence had been the dream which every writer nurtured in the seclusion of their hearts. I felt lucky because, I found the house before anyone else did.


In a downpour which threatened to wash off everything, I moved into the house. Horizon roared with unknown fright. Yet, I did not notice. Frankly I did not want to notice anything other than the beauty of the cottage.


The best thing about the house was the veranda that enveloped the backside of the second story. It was shaped like the deck of a ship. Standing there one could look out to a street that went on without any ending. Bushes and wild trees stood guarding this street from both the sides. I could not see any transport or passers-by.


Might be the storm, I decided before getting back inside to get things organized. The rest of the day I busied myself with unpacking. There were too many reasons to be excited about. First, the house which I planned to call Haven, then there was the plot of horror novel which I planned to start writing as soon as possible, maybe from tonight.


In my haste I forgot about dinner. It felt like home and I wanted to cherish the feeling. After I settled the library in the second floor, finally my stomach rebelled. It demanded food with such intensity that I had to step outside in search of something eat, as there was nothing in the house. 


I could hear the clock striking nine when I locked my front door. Though the rain and storm had subsided, thick cloud still veiled the sky, keeping stars and moon concealed from the view of the world. Ignoring a growing sense of unease, I set my foot on the street.


Rows of houses stood in silence. As I passed them, it struck me for the first time maybe that the houses were vacant. No a flicker of light intruded out of any window or cracks of blinds. Only some yellowish lights kept the street illuminated. With each step ahead my unease grew. I strained my ears for sounds of life. Something, anything would have tamed the butterfly down my stomach. But, even though I walked for fifteen minutes, I heard nothing, not even a sneeze from any of the houses. They stood, dark like the evil lord of the epic fantasy movies, watching me passing by. Or, was it my hyper active imagination playing tricks? You know the writer’s imagination everyone talks about. Well, maybe that played with my mind right now. Maybe. I just hoped I could put the blame on my imagination and not on the reality.


As I reached the end of the lane, it popped in my mind that I would have to spend the night in the house that stood at the end of a lane which seemed from outside totally inhabited. Should I…should I what? I asked myself. There was no way I could go back now that I have paid full amount for the house. Of course, the real estate agency might find a solution, if I said I did not want to live here or maybe I could sue them for misleading me and selling me a damaged house.


With the thought in mind, I finally circled the lane and saw light shining from a tiny hut which appeared to be like a hotel of some kind. With exhilaration a desert explorer would have shown at the sight of water, I proceeded. With each step that I took forward, it seemed to me that the light backed away from me. Hunger forgotten now, all I wanted was to see a human face. Someone I could talk to. I needed to feel life, I needed to see life. 


Before long, I found myself running towards the hut at the end of the lane. But, it remained as distant as the stars behind the clouds. After what it seemed to me like a lifetime, my vision started to blur. My stomach growled, I could taste the sourness in my mouth. This time I stopped, my stomach ached and finally I threw up on the street. Before, I lost my consciousness I saw the lights of the street going out and darkness falling over to engulf everything.


Chirping of birds intruded into my consciousness. It was as if someone called for me to come back.


Come back from where, I knew not. What I knew or someone or maybe it was something deeper than the human understanding urged me to open my eyes, to pull myself together. Even with the eyes closed, I went through the previous night. I saw myself looking at the empty houses, running towards the only light that flickered from a moving hut. The terror that flooded within my heart made me drag the lids of my eyes open.


The first sight that greeted me was a blur through which nothing came to view. Like a veil it kept the world away from me. Or was it the reality it kept away from me? I had no way of contemplating. With my hands I scrubbed my eyes with all the ferocity one could muster and apply on a sensitive body part like eye. 


It worked and my vision cleared up. I could see the surrounding I was lying in. My breath which was shallow to begin with, stopped now that I could see where I was. Instead of the street where I fell last night, I lay in my study, which I decorated just before stepping out of the house. On a wooden stool that I placed near a massive wrought iron book case was a plate with the remains of food. Near the stool, on the floor was a glass. I could see the golden line of whiskey at the bottom. Lingering smell of alcohol and an empty bottle of Johnnie Walker brought a series of questions layered with doubt.


Did I drink so much that I hallucinated? If so, it would not be the first time my heart went for a voyage that did not take place in the reality. But, nothing had been this vivid before. I did not smell the smell or felt the wind brushing past my flesh before.


Anyone who knows creativity would know that the journey usually starts from visions. In other words writers or painters usually put the images they see in their minds on paper. Psychology might call it hallucination, if the psychologists come to know how real the visions the artists and writers encounter. Sometimes, the practice of putting them down on paper or canvas is a way of escaping a world that threatens to engulf the existence of the human realm and transform it into something else.


It was the truth which I had kept hidden from everyone. No one knew the secret behind my writing success. The horror genre came out of the heart that saw things, heard things and felt things that were obscure to the world.


Was last night yet another bout of hallucination? Did I see it all in my mind? Or, did it really happen? My eyes sought the French window which opened to the balcony. Sun light flooded in to illuminate each corner of my study. In the day light fear evaporated. But, my heart would not rest. It said that night would come again. Somehow I knew with the darkness the street would change too. Unfortunately, I would have to wait for the sun to set. But, before that I needed to see whether I was the only one living here? If I would have to bang on every door to talk to someone, I would do that.


Chapter 2


The street that churned my stomach last night and made me lose my consciousness, appeared to be like just another street coming to life with the appearance of sun. The growl of stomach, the sourness in mouth and the fear of unknown entities lurking behind the walls of those houses seemed to be a fragment of a crazy writer’s imagination.


I walked with careful steps, looking at each one of the houses. Through the windows, now, I could see people moving about. I could feel them breathing. I could hear chatters of adults and cries of the infants. A normal street and row of normal houses, relieved I wanted to laugh. Me and my imagination, I felt like grabbing someone by the arm and narrate the experience of the previous night. Or, maybe I could do better. The idea popped like they always did. I would write it down, the first chapter of my horror novel.


In my haste I turned without noticing and walked into someone. Startled I stepped back to say sorry. But, the words of apology vanished as I looked at the person standing before me with a smile. She had long flowing hair down her waist, fair face that glowed, eyes that intense enough to hold the world captivated forever, stunning was the word that came to my mind.


‘Sorry,’ I said. ‘It was not intentional.’


‘No, problem,’ she said. ‘You just moved in.’


It was not a question, it was a mere statement. She knew that I moved in. Somewhere down the place where human heart beat, I felt delight. ‘Yes, I just moved in.’


‘I am Esther Summers.’ She extended her hand. ‘I live there.’ She pointed to a house, painted light blue, shrubs and rose bushes surrounded the front yard. I liked it here. I liked the front yards that enveloped the houses and kept them alive.


‘Priyam Rathor.’ I introduced myself, taking her hand in mine.


In her eyes something flickered which could be called recognition. ‘The horror story writer?’ she asked.


‘Yeah, the same one.’


‘I love your books (or stories?),’ she said with such delight that it delighted me to be able to write those craps. ‘Can I drop by sometimes?’ she asked. ‘You know to talk about writing. I would like to be a writer myself.’ Without wasting time she added.


I would love to have her as my student, I thought. She smiled a knowing smile as the thought manifested. ‘Sure, why not,’ I said.


Last night had become a distant memory which I did not want to remember now. I abandoned my search for life as it seemed to me that I found what I was looking for. With exhilaration I walked back to my house without paying any heed to the fact that I did not see Esther enter the house she had claimed to live in.


Back inside the house, I remembered that I needed to buy food. Unwilling to cook myself that morning I went out. This time I decided to take my car instead of walking down the street. The clouds of previous night had cleared up. Midday sun shone in the middle of the sky. Thankful for the warmth that made me feel comfortable, I drove past the house where Esther had said she lived. Was she married? I wondered. My heart rebelled at the thought. I hoped she was not married or had a boyfriend. In my mind Esther’s face formed. Her eyes, her smile and her face, now that I think of it, all seemed too familiar. Had I seen her before? I wondered. Maybe she had crossed my path sometime in the past.


Unlikely, I decided. Hers was a face people would not forget easily. I would not forget it no matter what. Shooing the nag that threatened to rise down the heart, I drove towards the town for the shopping spree.


Four large bulky bags accompanied me on the way back. I took everything I could think of. Coming days would be busy. The novel that I planned to write would take up all my time and I did not know when I would be able to come out of the house next. Standing in front of the store I had no way of knowing that inside that house I would be trapped for days and would be left to die.


Back at the house, I felt a strong nag inside my heart. I had seen Esther somewhere. Her face, her smile, especially her eyes seemed too familiar. I could just close my eyes and see her standing there smiling at me. With each passing moment the conviction grew that I had seen her somewhere. But, where? I asked myself. Hers was not a face which I would forget. Hell hers was not a face which anyone would forget. I shook the feeling for the time being. I would have to get back to writing. It had already been a couple of days that I had lost n shifting. My publisher would have a heart attack if he came to know that I planned to pantsing this time. Yes, I had planned to write sans an outline and see where the story went.


In the excitement I forgot Esther and her smile. Even her deep dark eyes did not intrude in my thought. The initial glow of writing a story had that effect on every writer. They glow, they gloat, they boast about the story they are about write and then after they start writing they come to realize that writing is all about fingers and keyboards and the undying desire to see a story through.


I was experiencing the initial glow of beginning a novel. I knew before I reached the middle I would be surviving on vodka and grass. These two elements together had created numerous masterpieces and ruined the creators in the process too. The poison that we drink willingly, our hemlock, I mused philosophically.


When the clock struck nine I finally looked up from my laptop screen. Darkness had already taken over the earth. Silence had embraced everything in the proximity. Profound and pure, anyone would fear to contaminate the hush.


I straightened from my chair, though leather backed, it still sent a sharp sense of ache down my backbone. I stretched and let out gasp of surprise as the pain increased. I needed to sweat it out, I thought as I made my way out of the study.


It was nine thirty when I stood in the balcony staring out at the street that disappeared into oblivion. Full moon illuminated only the top of the trees beneath them was only gloom that whispered secrets to people who had learnt to understand the language of the night.


Before my eyes, the shadows of the trees moved. I blinked in surprise. My hand gripped the glass of whiskey tightly and everything stilled again. Too much drink, I scolded myself. To stay away from the booze, I needed to put the glass away. Thinking so I turned to go inside the house.


My heart slammed against my ribs as I came eye to eye with Esther. Her eyes were red, hair that caught sun light in the morning, now lay in disarray. Her lips turned up in a smile. I drew a breath at the sight of her smile. It did not belong to a human. What I saw before me was not a human being…that moment I remembered where I had seen her.


Years ago, there lived a woman in our colony. People said she drank blood and had cast spell on kids. She was strangely fond of me. She told me all sorts of stories where demons lurked and people got killed for flesh. They scared me, but they evoked a fascination in me which emerged out as the tales that I told later on.


Like a movie being played before my eyes, it all came back. I saw her sitting before fire and strange looking dolls. I saw her placing her hand on my head and chanting things that I could not understand.


‘You are my apprentice,’ said Esther in whispered tone. ‘You owe me your success. You owe me your name. You owe me your life.’


I stared at her breathless. Even the slightest movement of drawing breath seemed like a forbidden task. She had not told me breath I thought.


‘Yes, you belong to me now,’ she said still in whisper. ‘You will tell the tales that I want you to tell. You will live as I want you to live. This house is your world now. You are not permitted to leave. You are not permitted to look out. You are not permitted to meet people.’


Her smile grew and this time I chanced upon drawing a breath, slight oxygen to keep my heart beating. She did not seem to notice it. She looked lost in some other world.


‘I have followed you,’ she said. ‘I kept my watch on you. I kept tracking you.’ Her eyes softened. ‘You think you have bought this house?’ she asked, giggling. ‘No my love, you did not buy it. I made you do so.’ Satisfied that she had made her point, she backed away. ‘I kept calling you through my energy. I kept dragging you here. And you…’ She raised her eye browse, ‘You came answering my call.’


And then I felt the chill, as if I have been sucked into a cold icy morgue. I could almost see myself lying on a cold table covered with a cold white sheet. Only my face was not covered. I was alive, but I could not move. I was alive, but I could not speak. I was alive, but I could not breathe. And after that, I could never see the open sky and could not step out of the house. I have been made a captive. My soul does not belong to me anymore. It belongs to that ever young witch, Esther.


Today, I still live in that house. I still write. I write stories where witches win. I write manual of black magic. In the past years, I have created hundreds of books on spells and Wiccan secrets. My life belongs to Esther now. She calls the shots.


Every day I fantasize about running away, but, fear keeps me inside the house. Every day I think of leaving everything behind and walking out of the house forever. But, sometimes leaving is not that easy and one needs a lot of courage to just walk out on everything that they call their own. I am so much taken over by the witch that I can’t even cross the threshold of the house. The threshold becomes a wall whenever I think of running away.


Someday I might muster the strength to do what I visualize every day. But, that is not today, may be some day.




Submitted: August 01, 2017

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