As the summer holidays progressed Ratna and I became more and more impatient to visit our Grandmother’s place in the village Vijayawada. We’ve always looked forward to our visits there for her place was a haven for adventurers like us. She would allow us to go on our daily adventures in daylight and help us with our nightly adventures with her special made-up bedtime stories.
But was it made up though? The two of us would debate all night after a nightly adventure session on whether the adventure was real or not. No one really knew. The best part about Grandma's stories was that it was pretty hard to distinguish between what was real and what was not. It all just sounded surreal! Like for instance, Grandma had once mentioned about this grey cat who she calls Belle in one of her stories. She called her Belle, not because she was pretty(far from it, the right side of her face has been clawed from a fight with another cat) but simply because of the adorable bell she wore around her which always goes "cling" "cling" "cling" whenever she passes by. She had told us the rumour that the cat was born a human but was cast under a spell by a witch residing in the village. The interesting part about this story my sister and I found was that none of the villagers disagreed with it when asked about. But whenever we tried to poke our noses further into it by asking them where we could find the witch, they would always keep mum, either they didn’t know themselves or worse- fear.
On our way to grandmom’s place, we decided that this time, our adventure would be to find out the truth behind the Witches Tale.
Grandma was pleased as always to see us and opened her home with hugs, kisses and her special homemade delicacies. After lunch, while the grownups were chatting about, Ratna and I decided to sneak out and go in search of our tale. We had gone further and wider, spoke to local vendors, but in the end, we ended up straight where we had begun.
Our parents had left us in the evening in the care of our Grandmother with a strict warning not to wander off on any so-called adventures. But as soon as they left grandma had already baked us a cakeful adventure to begin our stay at her place. The cake was soo delicious that it was the perfect set up to start on our nightly adventure. Grandma tucked both of us in, switched off the lights, lay next to us and started to snore!
“Grandma” we both shouted and shook her up to see if she really did sleep off. With a kind laugh and each a kiss, she hugged us both up and started to recite her next tale. This time it was about a girl who killed the sage toad. Though the story began on with an interest, I could tell my sister was getting agitated went it went along, to a point that even I started, all-cause we really had the witched tale in our head. Grandma started to notice this and asked “Ok, what happened? You two seem very disinterested in the story. You want to go to sleep?”
“Noo!” both of us scream in response. “It’s just that we were hoping you told a little about the witch in the village?” Ratna asked.
“Ohh that’s all? I started to think you two must have outgrown my stories” Grandma replied.
I got in and told her that we went around searching for the witch today, that we went further and wider before and asked a lot of ppl, but no one would tell us. And as soon as I told this my sister shot an eye at me.
My grandma told us that the village is a very dangerous place for little girls like us to roam around and that she wouldn’t like it if they continued this search for the witch in the village. We pleaded but to no avail, she was stern as never before. This concluded our first nightly adventure.
The next few days followed with little thought whatsoever on the witches tale. Just when I was starting to lose all interest, my sister came from the other room grabbed my hand and asked me to follow. Once we reached outside the house, she told me that grandma had told her to go and buy groceries and we could use that in search of our next clue to find the witch. I was still a little hesitant after grandma telling us not to venture forward with the idea of seeking out the witch, but with a punch on the shoulder from my sister, I suddenly got excited again.
As the elder sister, the captain of her class, and I’m guessing my parents favourite, Ratna under my eyes, was a very confident girl who took on new challenges and would get bored easily sitting around idly. She needed this adventure to explore not only the village but to explore her mind as well on all the possibilities that could happen when encountering a witch.
As for me, the second born and the shier one of the two, I loved following my sister’s footsteps, be it for a fight, for a dance or even for a nightmare of an adventure like this. If follow her anywhere.
After asking around a bit more, we were informed that a haunted house was there in the village, and both of us thought if we’re ever going to find a witch, it’s going to be there! We took directions from locals and reached where some claimed to be the “Haunted House”. And let me tell you, my sister is the brave type, but she had to put a brave face to enter that compound. As soon as she took the first step we heard a cat screech and I felt a chill running through my spine. I called her back from behind begging her to do this another time. She put a smile for me and assured nothing will happen. And with that, she turned her way towards the door and the sun turned away from us for the moon to come.
I stayed frozen for some reason. My feet wouldn’t listen to me. They started shaking miserably. I kept a watch on everything still. Paralyzed with an inner fear that something terribly vicious lay in front of us. My sister knocked on the front door twice and after a minute, just when she was about to turn back, the door had opened and all I could see inside was black, like pitch black. My sister looked back one last time towards me and even though we were about 30 feet apart, I could see the fear in her eyes. Thunder had struck with flashes of lightning between us. The last thing I saw before it started to pour was her smile assuring me that everything is ok, and she then went inside.
As I trembled with what I had witnessed, impulsive thoughts ran all over my head. Where did she go- Grandma- Who was it behind the door- Her smile before disappearing- Darkness. One thought after the other. The cat screeched again which brought me back from my thoughts. I needed to take action. Another lightning flashed with thunder that always followed. I shook my head and asked myself why I didn’t follow her then and there itself. Suddenly, to my meagre surprise, my legs started moving towards the opened door. The fear of something happening to my sister in that haunted housed outweighed the fear of what lay inside it. Right outside the door, I still couldn’t see anything inside it. Still pitch black. I stepped inside.
“Cling” “Cling” “Cling” the bells rang from somewhere as I entered the room. Before me stood the living room. It looked as though no one had mopped or cleaned the place in ages. There was no light, but from the flashes of lightning outside, I could make out the dust that’s spread all over the room. There was not many furniture in the room except for a forgotten sofa, a radio set on top of a shelf and an old lamp. I looked around for the lamp switch and switched it on, immediately regretting it for the room seem much more creepier with the lights on. There was a black and white painting of two girls with their faces smudged off.
“Cling” “Cling” “Cling” the bells rang again. I searched from where the bells came from but couldn’t find it. I saw a lightning flash in the close distance through a broken window. It was really close that made me wait for the thunder. Was my sister expecting me to follow like how the thunder always follows the lighting? I thought with mixture of fear and sadness. There was a staircase that led upstairs. I wanted to call out to my sister, but my fear of the unknown wouldn’t allow me to do so. Every cell in my body told me not to climb up the stair, but I pushed forward to get my sister out of this horrid place. With each step, the staircase creaked. I tried as much as I could to muffle the creek and the whole house was filled with a silence that it sucked whatever creek it could get. On reaching the top, on left, there was door that was slightly opened. I slowly opened the door to see what was inside.
There she was. My sister. Still smiling. Everything was the same. Just that she was sitting on the lap of this woman with white hair. Her face was covered by the absence of light. There was nothing in this room but darkness and the chair she sat on. I could feel my sister was not herself. Then I recognised it- The smile she’s putting is very different from the smile she always has. This one seems very sinister.
“Ratna. Come. let’s go” I managed to speak.
“Ratna” I called out again.
Then I began to notice the eyes of the women glow green in the darkness. It looked like two emeralds glowing.
“Come here” the women said and my body moved towards without my permission. As I got closer. I noticed a dead toad in one of her hands. The women was squeezing it.
“Would you like to play with us” I could see her smile now with crooked teeth. Her face was now revealed. Her white hair, wrinkly skin, emerald eyes and crooked teeth.
My body responded with a nod, again without my permission. I was smiling too. The same sinister smile that my sister had on. This was when I realized- I’m not in control of my body!
“ You see… this toad gives me some occult powers from the other world” She said as if reading my thoughts… my vision began to slightly fade…. My heart started pounding… I was feeling suffocated, breaths becoming harder, like the life being sucked out of me! I tried to fight it but nothing was happening… I slowly drifting away into the darkness… the last thing I head before I fully went black was “Cling” Cling” Cling”
The next thing I saw when I opened my eyes was my sister again. She was tucked in, sleeping. I got up and touched her forehead. It was her, and she was real.
“Here. Drink this” My grandmother came in with some soup. Couldn’t tell you how happy I was to see her. Tears formed in my eyes as I took the bowl of soup from her. “Didn’t I tell you not to go looking for trouble” She said while wiping a tear-off from my face.
“Grandma. How did you find us?” I asked, and as soon as I asked, I heard the sound of the bells again “Cling” “Cling” “Cling”. A cat with her left face scratched off hopped onto the bed with us whisked her whiskers. My Grandma smiled at Belle and petted her. “She told me”.
Still confused I tried to ask her few more questions to which she replied
“Enough of your adventures for now. Better take rest or ill tell everything that happened to your parents… drink and sleep!” and then she got up and left the room.
The cat stayed behind and stared into my eyes. She then got off the bed and ran away. I sat there with soup in my hands, still warm from grandma’s affection. Ratna was sleeping like nothing in the world but life could wake her up. The cat came back, hopped on to the bed kicked a crumpled piece of paper towards me. It was an old newspaper article. It read...
Sisters Of Vijayawada Village Gone Missing
After a bizarre turn of events, two sisters from Vijayawada village have gone missing. Sisters Belle and Bella residing in the English Orphanage have gone missing after a terrible fight between them. Belle suffered grave injuries on her face from a kitchen knife. When asked, lead orphanage nurse Ratna stopp…
“That’s Grandma!” my mind processed and then got back to the article.
When asked, lead orphanage nurse Ratna stopped the fight and told us that the fight started because Bella killed Belle’s pet toad with a kitchen knife. The current whereabouts of the sisters are unknown. If any information that could lead to finding them, please contact…….
I stared at Belle & she stared back.
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