The House with a Curse
It was almost 6 and darkness had started embracing the sky, by the time we reached Mumbai. The flight had taken more time than expected to reach Mumbai from Delhi. Our car had been waiting for us outside the airport, probably after mid-night we would reach Alibaug.
“When do you have to join work?” I asked Ravi as our car made way through the clamorous traffic.
“Tomorrow itself, also I need to inspect the area of dam construction, primary work has already started.”
“And what about our house? Is it close to the city?”
Ravi nodded in disapproval and said “It’s almost 10 km from the main city but don’t worry you will love it.
With disenchanted look “boring” I said.
When I opened my eyes, it was pitch black outside with rains piercing the windshield. The road was surrounded by wilderness on both sides.
“We will be there in an hour.”
I nodded feeling sleepy.
As my eyes opened, I gazed at that house, it stood there lonely on the barren field with standstill mountains enfolding it from three sides. The house felt alive, as if it was peering back at me, as if it was waiting for me, as if it could feel the chilling rains.
We made our way inside the house a female servant welcomed us.
I looked around examining the house. “Can you hear that?” I asked unannounced.
“Hear what?” he asked bewildered.
“I hear a reverberating thumping sound” I said scanning the premises.
“I do hear it, but it’s raining heavily outside it must be the rains hitting the pipes. You need sleep Maya” said Ravi trying to make sense.
“Hmm, maybe your right, I need sleep”.
It was almost afternoon, a shattering noise had awakened me, I sat up startled and briskly ran towards it only to realize our maid Sunanda had broken a glass.
Ravi was nowhere seen. Sunanda said pouring a cup of tea for me “Sir left for work early and has asked me to tell you that he will be back by four”.
“Do you live here? I don’t see your husband” I asked her as I sat on the rocking chair in the bedroom, noticing a mangalsutra around her neck.
“I don’t stay here I come in the morning and leave by evening. It was just yesterday I stayed back, and no one else works here it’s just me in fact no male ever enters this house. I was shocked to hear when I came to know someone is coming to live here.” said Sunanda without ceasing.
“Why is that” I asked with an ambiguous look.
“Well people say this house is cursed and if any male entered this house he would die. There had been couple of instances where people have lost their lives. Sunanda went on with her story the owner of this house fell in love with a beautiful schoolmistress who lived in the city, but when the owner’s wife came to know about their alleged affair, she killed her in this very house. She told the mistress before murdering her that her husband doesn’t want to see her again and wanted her dead. In fit of rage before dying, the mistress cursed this place that any male who enters this house will die. The mistress felt betrayed how could he denounce her. After this incident his wife also disappeared suddenly, and police never found her. Some people say she was killed by the spirit of the mistress. Within a year the owner also died of a heart-attach. He went crazy after the mistress dead. People say he often saw her in this house even after her death”.
“That’s a very nice story” I said with contempt.
I could make out that Sunanda looked a bit irked with my comment she picked up the cup and went back to the kitchen.
I made my way to the living room and I could hear that sound again as if someone was knocking on something, but when I reached veranda it disappeared. That’s weird I thought. Maybe it’s the piping system, we need to have it checked I thought.
Ravi had arrived from work and he looked fatigued.
Our maid announced she is leaving for the day and will be back early morning. I told Ravi about Sunanda’s mistress story and the curse, we both started laughing.
“This property is worth crores, people make up these kinds of stories to buy it for cheap, but government is also smart enough it’s not willing to sell it.”
“True” I said.
It was almost midnight when we decided to retire to bed. I felt drowsy and exhausted the whole day.
Good-night I said to Ravi who lay next to me. I rolled over and saw a shadow approaching the doorway, it was Ravi walking in, abruptly I rolled back and there was nothing, the other side looked undisturbed.
Disconcerted I got away from bed.
“Are you okay” asked confused Ravi.
Still fazed I said “Yes, I thought I saw. Leave it”
It was around 3 am, I woke up perturbed. Only my bed moved everything else around me was motionless. With courage I peered underneath my bed only to see pitch blackness, suddenly the lights disappeared, darkness progressed the entire room. I plugged in the switch and finally bright golden light filled the room. Suddenly the chair twitched all I could see was two pale legs running outside my room.
I woke up sweating realizing it was a dream. I gazed at the clock and it was 11 am. I still felt weary, wanted to sleep more.
I had my lunch and slept again. It was dark outside when I got up, I had slept the whole afternoon.
Ravi was back home and sipping in Old Monk. With snarling glare, he screamed “All you do is just sleep the whole day and here I am working my ass”.
“It was your decision to come here” I said and stormed out of the room.
It had been almost a month and things were getting worse day by day. I always felt fatigued as if the house was sucking energy out of me. I barely spoke to Ravi. Apart from that strange things kept happening. It always felt like someone was watching me, touching me and those uncanny dreams were consistent. The constant knocking in the living room was unbearable, we had the piping system checked, all looked good. We avoided being in that room.
Today Ravi had come home early he looked tensed. I asked him what was wrong?
“Maya, I have something to show you” said Ravi with dead eyes.
He lifted his t-shirt and I was horrified at what I saw. There was two hand marks on his back, it looked red, swollen clearly someone had attacked him.
Controlling my tears, I questioned “what is this?”
“I am sorry Maya, there are many things I didn’t tell you. From the time we have entered this house strange things are happening to me, there has never been a single night that I have slept peacefully.”
“The day we arrived here I had this weird dream. I was floating in darkness, felt completely blank, choking, there was complete silence around me and then I realized, I was stuffed inside a black bag and I was yelling.”
“The next morning when I called Sunanda I heard her respond from the kitchen, but suddenly she appeared from the front door. I don’t know who it was in the kitchen.”
“You know whenever I stare at our bedroom mirror, I hear a female voice telling me” Please don’t cover me I want to see you sleeping to death”.
“The other day I was lying on bed and I heard the creaking of rocking chair on the worn floor from attic. I was alone in the house”.
As Ravi narrated his occurrences chills of terror ran through my spine. We both believed the house was haunted and we somewhere believed it was the schoolmistress who was killed by his lover’s wife doing all this.
Glancing at the flickering light I looked at Ravi with a dreaded feeling “We need to leave”.
“We will leave soon” said Ravi.
I was woken up by a sudden scream of Sunanda still vibrating in the morning air. I ran towards the voice only to observe Ravi lying unconsciously on the floor with blood oozing from his head.
“He came tumbling down the stairs, we need to take him to the hospital”
“Help me pick him up, let’s go” I said.
The doctor said Ravi had lost a lot of blood, but he will be fine.
I had decided I will never let Ravi go back to that house again. It wanted him dead, maybe the curse is real. I told Sunanda to wait in hospital I had to go back to that house one last time to pick up few things.
As I stepped in the house it felt calm, as if resting after months of terror and commotion it had caused.
Ignoring everything I ran straight towards the bedroom to pack our bags. While packing suddenly I heard someone giggling I turned my eyes towards the door, and there it was, a pale figure with a big red stain near the stomach, it ran towards the kitchen, I followed it and it ran inside the door which was opposite to the sink. I didn’t know there was one more room in the kitchen.
With little efforts I opened the door, all I could see was junk all around but at one corner I saw an open trunk. I searched through the stuff and found a diary, it read Sanjay. I remembered this was the name of the owner, Sunanda had mentioned.
I started going through the diary, it had specific events of Sanjay life like about his friends, trips, marriage, his first hunting experience, unexpectedly I came across the mention about Nisha the schoolmistress. She was stunning with long hair, fair complexion beauty beyond words. Further there were episodes about their romance. He lusted her. Reading further I came to know Nisha blackmailed him if he didn’t marry her, she would expose him, tell his wife everything. All she wanted was Sanjay nothing else.
I kept reading and what I read appalled me. Sanjay had narrated how Nisha was killed.
He wrote “I lost my love forever today. All that I have is her purse and a note I found near the kitchen counter.
I am sorry I can’t be with you. I made a mistake by telling her about you, I am afraid she will kill you. I love you a lot but, I have to go away for both of us. Please forgive me- Sanjay
Suddenly the front door cracked open, I grabbed a knife from the kitchen counter and hid behind the door opposite to the sink.
“Anyone here” called the women who made her way towards the kitchen counter. She read the note and started sobbing.
Without any second thought I kicked the pantry door and thrust the knife into the women stomach.
“Welcome home wifey” I said with a smile, thrusting the knife deeply.
I closed the dairy, I was panic-stricken. “Sanjay killed his own wife, but portrayed that Nisha was dead. The story what villagers know is not true”.
“Then where is Nisha? Was Sanjay’s wife body ever found?” I asked myself.
Still trembling with disbelief, I read further, and I came to know he had buried his wife in this very house in the living area. My mouth went dry.
He had told Nisha to live in another town and they met frequently.
But the house was never the same. Sanjay mentioned about the strange events taking place. He would hear a woman weeping, pale bodied figure, creaking sound. He wrote at times it felt the house was laughing at his agony. The more he suffered the more it felt alive. And the most terrified one the constant knocking sound in the living room, it came from inside the wall where he had buried his wife opposite to the window.
I dropped the diary in horror and ran towards the living room. I took a hammer and started thrashing the wall where she was buried. After hours of labour it was visible a skeleton bathed in dust and rugged clothes. I saw a red spot near the belly on her shredded clothes. It was her, Sanjay’s wife.
I had called the police and handed them the diary as evidence. It was approaching midnight I was still shaken by today’s events. As the police took the skeleton away, I felt it gazed at me, eyes bloody red.
“Mam, we will need your statement” said the policeman bringing me back to reality.
“Sure” I said.
“She just wanted to be heard, wanted the truth to be revealed. All these years people thought she was the killer but, she was the victim in reality” I said looking at Ravi as we sat in the waiting area of Mumbai Airport.
“Let’s not talk about it, we have been through a lot these past few months, let Delhi be a fresh start again for us” he said holding my hand.
The morning breeze brushed through the window I still lay in bed cosy under the blanket. It was cold outside. As usual Ravi left the window open. I called him out, but he was nowhere to be seen. With great efforts I got out of the bed and searched him everywhere but could not find him. He must have gone out I thought.
Making my way back to the bedroom I saw something on the floor near the sink, I walked towards it directly. Angst-ridden I stared Ravi lay on the floor unconscious, his body ice cold.
My head was spinning how could this happen, suddenly it struck me Sunanda words echoed in my head no male enters this house if they do, they die.
The curse had followed.