It was a cold winter night. I waited for my train to arrive. I got pretty scared, because there was no light and the dogs were howling.
"When will this train arrive?" I said, angrily, looking at my watch.
I was relieved, when the train finally arrived. I boarded the train, clutching on to my bag.
I was surprised to see that there was only one passenger.
"Maybe, that's the fate of late-night trains", I said to myself as I sat next to the other guy.
"Do you believe in ghosts?" the man questioned, looking straight in my face.
"No. Why do you ask?" I said, laughing.
I was closing the window, when I heard no reply from him. I turned and was shocked. The man had just disappeared!
"Where did this man go?" the thought went round and round inside my head.
My stop arrived and I was about to get down, when something sent a chill down my spine. I, suddenly realised that the man was a ghost, because he had disappeared like one. Actually, I didn't know who were called 'ghosts'. I never believed in them.
The station was dark. I was frightened. As I searched for my relatives, who had come to pick me up, I turned back every second to see if someone was behind me.
Before long, I spotted them. I raced to them. We got into the car. My Aunt and Uncle were sitting at the front. I, alone sat at the back. The window was wide open.
I took out my diary from my bag. I wrote ' I usually do not believe in ghosts. But, today I met one next to me, in the train. I was truly shocked. I am still not able to get over the fear...'.
I continued to write, when suddenly a hand put itself in, through the window. It was covered with blood. "Aw...", I shouted.
"What happened?" questioned my Aunt and Uncle together, worried.
"There...there's...a hand...in...here", I was scared out of my wits.
"But, there is nothing here", my Uncle assured me.
"It... was there..., the last minute", I tried convincing him, but in vain.
I reached home. I, still was not able to think anything other than that.
I went into my room and closed the window and drew the curtains. I didn't want any ghost to enter. Now, I actually believe in them.
The night went on peacefully, unlike I had thought. I had a good sleep and was up early in the morning.
I opened my laptop, as I wanted to research about ghosts. I searched for photos of ghosts. All I got back was a blank page.
"How strange! There's not even a single picture", I thought, "Something's not right".
I used my mobile phone and got a great deal of pictures.
"Maybe, my computer is not proper", I guessed.
But, the next glance at the screen made me shiver. A dark ghost was right before me. It made me think that the ghost was not just on the mobile screen, but also in front of me. Had it been before, I would have said that the artist's imagination was brilliant. But now, I don't have much courage in me to say so.
I opened my laptop to check if it had come back to normal. I was right, for it had. I once again searched for photos of ghosts. To my shock, the photos didn't open up. But the same didn't apply for other photos.
I feared that there was a ghost in the room. I couldn't stay in the haunted room, any more.
I rushed to my Cousin's room. "Priya, there's a ghost, there's a ghost in the room", I repeated anxiously.
"What's happened to you, Anjali? Is it what you learn in your school? Don't you know there isn't things such as ghost?" Priya mocked at me.
"If you get so scared, I can share my room with you. Don't worry".
"Hey Priya, that bungalow is so awesome. I've never seen it before. Have you?" "I see it daily. You didn't because you never entered my room".
"Oh! Who lives there?"
"An old magician. He does all sorts of magic".
"I am getting tempted to go there. Come, let's go", I said excitedly.
"Why on earth do you want to go there? Don't you have any other better work to do?" she spoke in a stern tone.
My wish didn't seem to be fulfilled. I, really wanted to go to the bungalow. It seemed to attract me, every time I looked at it. And there was also a secret desire in me to do magic and this seemed to be a perfect opportunity for me to learn them.
That night I slept, without bothering about anything else. Suddenly, someone appeared. I didn't know who. She chased me with a knife in her hand. I ran and ran and was desperately looking for help. But, no one was around. I felt tired and couldn't run any more. I fell down on the ground.
She held me in a tight grip and stabbed me in my stomach.
"No...", I shouted, as I woke up.
"Huff...just a dream", I was relieved, but was clueless on why such a dream occured to me.
I couldn't live any more. My life started becoming a living hell. Every night I had scary dreams. I just couldn't take it anymore.
That day, I made up my mind to visit the magician. I thought, at least, he could help me.
I slowly walked in, pushing the creaky door. The room was covered with dust. Spider webs had been formed all over the ceiling.
"It just looks beautiful from outside, but inside it is the worst place in the whole world", I thought, as I advanced.
The old magician was seated on the floor. His items, which he used to perform magic were scattered around him.
"Sir, please help me. I have come to seek your guidance", I said, respectfully bowing in front of him.
"What do you want from me, Child?" he questioned in a gentle voice.
"Sir, I was not believing in ghosts. But of late, I have scary dreams like someone chasing me with a knife and trying to kill me. Before that, when I came to this village, I met a ghost on the train and when I was in the car, a hand, covered with blood, put itself in through the window...", I explained my plight to him.
"Child, this seems like a serious issue. Come back tomorrow and I will figure out what has happened", he said concerned
"But Sir, please do it today. As I said, I get scary dreams everyday".
"Listen to me. This cannot be done today. It can only be solved tomorrow. Go away from here", he shouted at me.
"Sorry, Sir", I said, trying not to annoy him.
When I returned home, I do not know what happened to me. All of a sudden, the bungalow appeared before me. It was up in flames. I was shocked. The magician was burnt alive, inside. I felt numb and could not move.
But, the scene changed. I was again in front of my house gate.
The next day, I went to my cousin's room and stared at the bungalow from the window. It was half destroyed! It looked like it was because of a fire!
I went to my cousin.
"Priya, what has happened to the bungalow?" I was worried.
"Don't you know? Last night, an accidental fire took place. The magician has died", Priya sounded concerned.
Something struck me. A cold shiver passed through my spine.
"Then..., what I...saw...has turned...real", I froze.
I quickly made my way to the bungalow. I felt sorry for the magician, as he was no more. But, on the other side, I was clueless on who might help me.
I walked through the burnt building. The paint on the ceiling fell upon me. A silent recitation of a scary Ooo...played in my mind.
I continued on my way, until I stumbled upon an old book.
"Why did this not burn? Seems strange", I said, as I opened the book.
As soon as the book was opened, a thin beam of light touched the ceiling. I was astonished.
The first page of the book was blank. I turned to the next page.
It started like a delightful tale of two girls, who were close friends.
"So, this is just a storybook", I dismissed the thought that it was magical.
"Nidhi, I have registered for the quiz competition, which is going to be conducted next week", Kaveri bustled with excitement.
"Oh, really? Good luck. I hope that you win. What's the prize?" I questioned, feeling happy for her.
"You know, I'll get Rs.5000 if I win. That will be a great help to me to continue my education", Kaveri explained.
That day was the happiest in my life, when Kaveri won the quiz competition. She was so clever, indeed.
She was leaving to the city for her higher education. I accompanied her till the end of the village.
As I waved good bye to her, a sudden feeling of jealousy was invoked in my mind.
"Kaveri, wait", I called her.
"What is it?" Kaveri questioned, politely.
"I need...a small amount of...money. Can...you...lend...it?" I hesitated.
"I'll be more than happy to lend you my money, Nidhi. But, it is for my education and I have already applied to the college", Kaveri spoke timidly.
"I am in urgent need of money. It is more than important than your education", I protested.
No matter how many times I tried to convince her, she refused to heed my word. The inner rage in me came out. I turned red.
The place was full of trees. A stream of water was flowing beside them. Bats flew furiously.
I picked up a sharp edged stone. I aimed it at her and was about to hit her, when she requested, "Please don't do anything to me. I will give all my money to you".
I don't know what had come over me that minute. I did not spare her. I guess I wanted to take revenge for all the insults she had heaped on me, before.
I hit her head with the stone. Blood gushed out from her head and she fell, unconscious. I repeatedly hit her with the stone and she breathed her last. I fled with the money.
That was the saddest day in my life. I didn't know that I would kill my friend for the sake of money. How could I do that?
*** "That Nidhi isn't good. She must die", I was furious.
"You are right, my dear friend", a loud voice spoke.
"Who is that? Who is that?" I turned around in shock.
"Don't you know? I'm Kaveri, your friend", the voice spoke with an evil laugh.
"How can you be my friend? I do not know you. You are a character in this book, aren't you?" I shouted.
"Of course, I am your friend, because you were Nidhi in your previous birth", it laughed.
"What!" I couldn't listen to that.
Suddenly, a whitish figure appeared before me.
A stone fell down from nowhere on to my head. Blood flowed out of my head. I fell to the ground. As I was about to take my last breath, I could see that Kaveri, the ghost was liberated and no more, a ghost.