A CALL FROM THE PAST

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Raqib ran towards the door, bumped against the wall, stood up some how, fumbled on the stairs and fell down directly to the ground. The ghost stood over him.

Submitted: September 20, 2014

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Submitted: September 20, 2014

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It was about five in the evening when Raqib, an IT engineer, wrapped up his job for the day. And  then his manager Rajesh came to him with a letter in his hand.

‘Raqib, I’m afraid this letter is for you. It has been left unattended for a week as the name and addresses are quite unclear,’ said Rajesh while handing over the latter. Raqib took it and started examining it. It was sent to some ‘MD RAKIB’ with the company’s address. It had arrived from his native Patna, Bihar. The sender had not mentioned his or her name.

‘I suppose, it’s for me, sir. Thank you,’ said Raqib. His seer curiosity and a fear of an unexpected occurrence seized over  him. He had lost his parents long ago. His granny was the only person who took care of the house with its tenants in Bihar. She had touched her ripe old age, though maintained a rather healthy appearance. Raqib’s fear grew as he opened the letter.

‘Dear Rakib,

It is to inform you about the unfortunate incident here. Your granny suffered a stroke last night and passed away. Though she was in good condition, but things were not unexpected in this age. We tried to reach you over the phone, but none of the available numbers worked. We got your company’s address from a corresponding letter. Hope we’d reach you on it. Considering the expected late delivery of the letter, we’ve planned the burial rituals next day. We are very sorry for these unfortunate happenings.

Your well-wisher,

MD KHURSHID.’

Raqib stood there shattered and devastated. He couldn’t think of anything, but cursed his fate. After gathering himself he spoke to Rajesh, his manager, about this incidence. Raqib shares a cordial relationship with Rajesh; he immediately sanctioned him fifteen-day leave.

Raqib caught a flight and reached Patna next day. It was the evening time when kids were playing in the playground next to his paternal house. It was an old-style mansion; a heavy iron lock hanged at the gates. He waited for a while to think about a caretaker. In a few minutes, a boy came and handed him the keys.

‘I saw you coming. There is the key,’ said the boy and went away.

Raqib entered the house; it was in its dilapidated condition. Tenants had left long back, but the cat stayed. Dust all around. He entered the room where his granny lived and would’ve died. Sadness prevailed as he recalled old days. He said ‘sorry’ to his granny for not being with her and taking care of her in her old age. He came out of the room and switched on the lights. He rested on the sofa unmoved for some time.

After taking a shower, he went to the kitchen. Everything was in place, though covered with dust. He prepared tea and took it to his father's room where his law books scattered unattended. He kept his tea on the table and had a look around. Suddenly, he burst into tears.

He found himself resting in the rocking chair when he woke up with the sound of the door-bell. It was about eight-fifty in the evening. There stood a bearded man with a kid who had brought him the key.

‘Salam, I’m Khurshid. It’s me who had written the letter,’ said the man.

‘Oh yes. Thank you very much. Unfortunately, I had got the letter after two weeks. Please, come in,’ Raqib invited them in. 

‘My son has brought you dinner, in case…’

‘Oh, thank you so much. Very kind of you.’

They made themselves comfortable on the sofa. And began sharing a chat.

‘You may not know me well, but your granny knew me quite well. We’re new settlers in the locality. The area is developing fast,’ said Khurshid.

‘That I can see. I remember you, a little. I guess you used to come and meet my father sometimes,’ said Raqib.

‘Yes, yes. I was his client. He also helped me buy my property then. What a warm man he was! Allah has made humankind weak and life is very unpredictable. Well, this is my son, Salman. He recognized you as soon as he saw you coming.’

‘Thank you very much for your benignity, and taking care of this place.’

‘It’s all right. Yeah, I forgot to mention that the tenants had left the house a few months ago and handed over their dues to me as your granny was in very poor condition. I will give it to you tomorrow. She was left all alone, I asked my maid to take care of her sometimes,’ said Khursid.

‘Thank you very much, you did a lot to us. And, why did the tenants leave suddenly? They were quite known to us. We hardly took any rent. In fact, I went to Bangalore handing over all the responsibilities here,’ inquired Raqib.

Khursid looked a little uncomfortable, and asked his son to leave as he didn’t want him to hear what he was about to explain. The kid left.

‘Yes Raqib, you are right. But they seemed to be in a hurry. They even paid their rent. The thing is... many unexpected things began to take place. It was all about your granny. She was in terrible condition and pain. She had stared missing her son badly. Things worsened when you also left the house. She used to cry a lot every evening and late night, midnight. She used to cry in immense pain. She was out of control. Her mental condition also was not sane. Whole day, she either cried or laughed. Tenants were troubled a lot; they started thinking that she was possessed or something. But I know, it was all about loneliness and old age, and this is the fact,’ said Khursid.

‘I know, it was my fault in fact, that I left her here all alone. What could I do? I was young and ambitious; wanted to achieve something in IT industry. I was so engrossed in myself that I didn’t come to see her for a year. Oh God, forgive me!’ Raqib was saddened.

‘Ah, come on, Raqib. You were right at your place. It’s the fate which plays with us. Don’t be sorry. I hope you’d stay here for some days, visit us some day. You would be all right. Come out of it,’ said Khursid.

‘Thank you very much, sir. Sometimes, I think of staying here forever. I’ve started missing my parents recently. I missed my granny also now. My fault, of course. I don’t understand,’ said Raqib.

‘It is all up to you, son. You can stay here as well. Take your time and think of it. After all, this is your parental home and you need to take care of it. Well, you must be tired. Allow me now. I should leave. It’s about ten.’ Khursid got up to leave.

 

It was eleven in the morning when Raqib woke up. It was a very calm and still day. Everything was very slow. He brushed his teeth, prepared tea and it was about lunch time. He reaches the Landline to make a call for Pizza delivery, a very weird noise coming out of the phone got hold of him. The noise- it was a pesky electrical noise, slowly turned into the sound of a weeping old lady. Raqib disconnected the phone and tried again. He spoke to the executive over the phone. He came back to his room, but he was very much obsessed with the weird noise he heard coming out of the phone- 'as though, some lady was crying. Calling for help. She was in tremendous pain. She was suffering a lot.' Raqib tried to connect that sound to his granny's grief and suffering. He got up and moved to the phone again to check if he gets the same noise again; he heard nothing.

It was seven in the evening when he woke up. He felt dizzy and confused. He couldn't understand if it was the morning or the evening time. He couldn't understand how he can sleep this much. He has been sleeping most of the time since he has come here. He realized he never slept like this before. He looked at the table, the delivered pizza was shattered there as if some animal had done so. He couldn't understand a thing. He was still feeling very tired, he needed some more sleep. He decided to move to the kitchen to make some coffee. He made a motion towards the  kitchen...no, he'd need some more sleep.

He woke up suddenly as though someone had called him. It was three o'clock, after midnight. 'I'm coming granny, I'm coming,' he said.

'You don't cry granny, I'm coming.' He went upstairs, he was getting the humming noise from there. 'What are you doing there, granny,' said he. 'I'm coming.'

He was on the stairs when he came to his senses. 'Oh, no, what am I doing? It was a bad dream. I've been sleeping a lot,' he said to himself. He turned to get down. But a little curiosity hit him. 'What could be up there?' he couldn't stop himself from moving upwards. A very mild humming sound was coming from the locked room. 'What is that? Who could be there?' the curiosity had turned into a horror. 'Some animal, might be,' thought he.

He unlocked the door and opened it. Nothing was there inside. The humming sound had stopped. He turned to move some chairs, he might get a trapped cat or bird. He found nothing.

'I'm here son, look up here.'

He saw his granny hanging downward- feet touching to the roof wall. 'I can fly,' said she.

Raqib ran towards the door, bumped against the wall, stood up some how, fumbled on the stairs and fell down directly to the ground. The ghost stood over him.


© Copyright 2019 Firaq Zafar. All rights reserved.

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