Now that you know what a nervous wreck I’m, let me introduce you to the startling transformation my friends underwent in the aforesaid two minutes of high pitched activity. The regular snoring had ceased and the source of it was standing next to us with a face enveloped in curiosity but with an unmistakable tinge of fear in it and not a trace of drowsiness. He had been well and truly woken up.
The three guys with me, each sturdily built, normally excitable and enthusiastic, were now breathing a trifle too heavily with furtive glances towards yes, the cemetery. The two minutes had reduced the lot of us to a puddle of panic.
In a minute or two, we managed to bring ourselves out of the trance we were in and I was the first to speak, “What just happened?”
Obviously, no one had an answer. One of my mates went over to the window overlooking the burial place three storeys down, looked out for a brief second and closed the window whispering ominously, “The air is sinister.”
For once, no one argued with him. He had been saying that for some time but considering the twin screams we had just been subjected to, we weren’t exactly looking to convince him otherwise.
A friend suggested, “I felt like it came from somewhere above, not below.” We duly nodded our solemn heads. He was right. That was how it had seemed. I asked, “What shall we do”?
“What the hell will you do. Are you crazy? Just sit on your butt and and….” he trailed off. He was nervous too. I complied without comment or complaint. The guy had a point.
The third scream was much closer to us and in accompaniment to it, followed very closely, a deafening thud on our front door. The scream, more urgent this time and the thud, almost like a demanding knock for us to open the door, (to the other side)? We weren’t going to oblige.
I started to freak out, “What the hell man!”
A friend, a wise guy retorted, “Ghosts do not knock on doors and windows. They come right in.”
I was too aghast at his sagely remark to offer one of my own. I just stared open mouthed at the rest.
This was unprecedented. A few minutes past midnight on a cool winter night, we had lived through triple deadening screams and a singular deafening (knock?) on our door with our backs to the (resting?) dead. Freaked out as I was, I couldn’t resist the thought that finally something exciting was happening after a long time. True, I just wanted something slightly out of the ordinary, not paranormal in nature. But certainly, the adrenaline production which had taken a sabbatical, was now back in action and it was pulsating stuff.
Now, the five of us were in a dilemma. Two of us wanted to open the door. The rest, you guessed it, yours truly included, would have none of it.
Gingerly, I got up and proceeded to the balcony overlooking the entrance to our building. The rest followed. We looked down past the branches of the neem tree that hugs our building and saw two figures walking around. Being already on tender hooks, I jumped and tugged at my friend’s sleeve, “Look, look!!”
“You ass, that’s the watchman and his wife!”
Ok I thought, but what were they doing making rounds at the dead of night? I called out, “What are you doing there?”
Both of then looked up, then looked at each other mysteriously for a second but didn’t reply.
“I’m talking to you, what are you doing there?”
This time he replied, “I heard a noise and saw someone running just now. Woke me up”.
“We heard it too, it looked like someone knocked on our door.”
Within moments, the doorbell rang and the watchman with a couple of other residents was at the door. A friend of mine was trying to retell the incident from our perspective. Triple screams peppered with a demanding knock/thud.
I pulled the same guy’s sleeve a second time. He looked at me annoyed and said sharply, “What is it now?”
This time however, he did not call me names, he didn’t say anything in fact. He just looked at what I was pointing to, not offering anything except stunned silence. In a couple of seconds, the others sensed something was afoot and looked at what we were staring at. The eight of us looked, hooked completely. My heart wasn’t mine any more.