Natasha Sharma

The meandering spirit: A chilling horror story

Monsoon. Even the word was so beautiful. She especially loved the ‘soon’ part of the word – as in “Ooh rains! please come soon. There was nothing, more glorious, more magical than watching the rains go pitter-patter down the window, when you have a cup of hot mint tea in one hand, and a fantastic book in the other. When you take breaks from reading, to just gaze outside at the rain. Where you are safe, dry and warm, inside the house, and the rains are falling outside. How each drop falls on the pane, making new friends, creating colonies, falling down, eventually into the window channels. Each drop forming a trail, some new and some old, ones. Watching these brave drops rushing towards their collective goal, a pool, was in so many ways, cathartic. We each have our purpose, we may separate, form our own path – but somewhere, somehow, we all converge to a common point, a common goal. She shrugged, shook herself of her thoughts, and went back to reading the book. The book, she was reading was quite interesting, it was also about the rain, about the monsoon, essentially. And a storm was brewing in it. Just then, a loud thunderstorm broke her concentration. She observed the lightning in the sky – separating it in quadrants. “I wonder why they say that lightning never strikes in one place, more than once. I am quite sure that is not mathematically possible, a statistic fallacy. Just because one part has been ‘lightened’ doesn’t mean it can’t be reused.”, she pondered, as the clouds outside became darker – more and more pregnant with the water, they were spouting down. “It promises to be a wonderful showdown”, she thought as she sipped her, fast cooling, mint tea, and went back to reading. After a few more thunderous spells, the power started to flicker. It came, and went. She was so engrossed in her book, that she barely noticed it – only raising her head when the lights finally went off. And plunged the room in to total darkness. “Darn, here goes! Where can the candles be?”, she wondered. “Maybe I can find some in the kitchen cabinet.” Picking up the cell phone, she noticed that there was no network reception – the signal was gone. “Hmm, I can’t even watch Netflix shows”, she grumbled as she used the phone as a flashlight to search for the elusive candles. Finally, she found a rather run-down looking candle, “Aha!’, there you are. Now all I have to do is find the matches. They should be somewhere, here in this drawer”, she spoke out, loudly as she started rummaging in the drawers. “Hmm. What is the use of a candle if I can’t light it?”, getting cranky, on not finding any matchbox. She couldn’t use the stove to light the candle as the stove appeared to be an auto-ignite electric model. “Well it seems it is you, me and the heroine in you”, she addressed her book. Thunder erupted outside with flashes of bright light. “I can watch the thunder, sitting by the window as I have nothing else to do”, as she seated herself, near the chair by the window. She kept her chin in her hands, as she leaned against the arm of the chair, watching the rain throw a tantrum. “The rains are like toddlers”, she thought. “They just want to make a fuss, and start throwing things around, and scream”. She laughed at her own silliness. Just then a new spell of lightning lit up the dark room. She saw the room clearly – the candle was still sitting on the kitchen counter, the drawers were still open, the old man on the sofa, watching her, and the book still on the arm of her chair. “Wait…wait. What! What am I seeing?” she thought, panicked. “There is no old man sitting on the sofa, watching me”. She got up and walked over to the sofa, there was no one. “I am getting crazy”, she thought to herself. “Imagining things and people that do not exist!” She went back to the chair, and continued to look out of the now-dark window. The rain was falling in thick sheets – visibility was very poor. “It must be torturous to drive in this weather. Imagine. Actually this is a perfect environment for a murder, too. Most of the fiction murder mystery books and movies, prefer this setting”. she thought, idly. “Lots of rain, thunder and lightning. Lonely woman. No one in the house. Power goes off. Then suddenly, someone attacks her. She screams. A knife is raised and strikes her body. She falls down. And then she is dead, blood flowing, red against the floor. The knife sticking out of her chest, her eyes open. Tongue protruding. No, I think the tongue protrudes when there is strangulation involved”, she corrected herself. She shook her head, smiling at herself. “I am really quite crazy, I mustn’t read murder books, any more. It makes my already-wild imagination, wilder. The rain is getting stronger – if that is even possible. It has graduated from blankets to buckets. I wonder, which one is the more powerful – bucket or blanket.”, she mused. “Well, there is definitely a lot of it, buckets or blankets.”, she spoke loudly. “The constant rain is making me feel cold, and I feel a chill coming over me. I wish I could have a cup of tea, I am feeling rather tired with all the hard work, that I had to do. Now Indra-ji, can you stop with the rains? Already. Please”, she looked up, imploringly. at the sky.

Just then there was a streak of lightning. It spread light throughout the room, evenly – all the corners were illuminated. There, near the main door, lay a woman on the floor, with a knife sticking out of her chest, her blood flowing, red, against the floor. Dead.

She blinked, the room, slowly, very slowly, starting to come into focus, a blink at a time. The sound of the rain hitting against the window pane, ominous to her ears. A strand of wispy hair lay awkwardly across her face, and she wanted to reposition it, she tried to blow it off, but it didn’t budge. She attempted to raise her hand, but couldn’t manage it, repeatedly, she failed to move either of her hands. On gazing down at her body, and she realised her hands and feet were shackled, the clang of the metal drowned by the pitter-patter of the rain. She mulled over it, till the penny dropped, inmates who have had a violent episode are restrained, to prevent harming themselves – more likely, to avert an injury to the staff. A nurse stepped into her vision, she had a syringe in her hand. She smiled, repugnantly, at the nurse. The nurse averted her eyes as she administered the injection to her patient. The patient creeped her out, and she avoided looking at her. She quietly shuffled out when it was down, and let the medicines take its course. She watched the nurse nervously exiting the room. She enjoyed making her uncomfortable, especially when the nurse wouldn’t meet her eyes, and tried to leave the room as quickly as possible. Her eyes started to feel heavy, and darkness engulfed her, embracing, devouring and being devoured by the darkness within her.

A face was peering into hers, when she suddenly opened her eyes, startling the doctor. The doctor recoiled, a smile crept across her face. She looked into the doctor’s eyes, evaluating him. She liked what she saw – he was healthy, and as a doctor he had unlimited access. She nodded with satisfaction. Just then, the storm intensified, thunder and lightning cracking up in the sky. The lights in the room began to flicker, before finally extinguishing, leaving the room as black as the night, outside. Before the generators could kick-in, her heart went into a cardiac arrest. “Code Blue, nurse. She’s going into a cardiopulmonary arrest.”, shouted the doctor. The code team scurried around, intent in their purpose to start the resuscitative efforts. The ECG went flat as the doctor, bent over the patient, tried to jumpstart her heart with a defibrillator. The nurse checked the pulse, finding none, shook her head at the doctor. The patient was dead. While looking at her body, the doctor felt a cold shiver go down his spine, an involuntary shudder. “She was quite a disturbing person, I can’t say, she will be missed.”, he thought, as he kept the equipment back in its place. A voice in his head piped up, “You don’t know how right you are, doctor. Unlike you, she wasn’t a great find. I goofed up in choosing her as my host. Her being locked in the asylum, restricted my movements. But you, doctor, you are mobile.”. The doctor screamed internally, a death knell, his possession complete. He looked at the dead patient, lying there like a rag doll, a diabolical smile spreading across his face. “Hello, freedom”, he whispered.  

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