family, movie

Why I Should Maybe Stop Watching Horror

And also movies where you have”suspenses”. 

Last Saturday, VJ let us engage in the Conversations about Cinema, and it was super fun. Everybody had stories to tell, but I forgot so many of my own. And that class brought back so much of them. 

I have often been scolded by my friends for spoiling the suspense, which I manage to guess. And there’s this thing I have for animation movies – because I feel they’re like dreams. Anything and everything can happen. 

I don’t remember when exactly I had first seen my horror movie. But then maybe, it doesn’t start with a movie at all? 

The earliest memory I have of anything ‘horror-ish’ is perhaps this weird serial I used to watch with my grandpa and cousins. This is something that happened only at my mom’s house. The room would be dark, lights off and all those trees would be peeking in through those old fashioned grilled windows. I don’t remember the name or the story at all; it has a couple and a yakshi I think. I don’t even remember how old I was – seven or eight? My grandpa used to watch, and we used to sit with him. Somehow, the idea of getting scared didn’t scare us, instead it might as well as have excited us. But one of my cousins was a little hesitant to look at the TV; she had the habit of peeking through the gaps in between the fingers of her hand – which covered her face – so that she would be terrified, but still not miss any part of it at the same time. The same cousin would, years later, sit with me to watch Paiyaa, fast forwarding through all the songs and the fight scenes – it’s a Tamil movie. 

Years later, my grandfather had passed away. The four of us were together in that house after years, for the rituals. And one night, we were in his bedroom discussing the movie ‘Mirrors‘. Well not really discussing, since we hadn’t watched the movie. I had just seen that one scene where the hero’s sister dies, and decided I’ll watch the movie in leisure – from the beginning- the next time. The eldest one, S, then continued to narrate the story. And I helped her scare the other two. And after this, I don’t remember why exactly  – we (S and I) had to step out of the room. It was dark out there, since our mothers were at some other corner of the house. We had to go to S’s room – she lived with her mother and grandpa – to take something. She was searching in the dark, so was I. But then she turned on the lights (on purpose) , and I was standing right in front of the dressing mirror. I had an exciting heart attack, after which we started giggling. We went back to the room and terrified the other two, reminding them that reflections were enough. 
I have perhaps become used to watching horror movies, and writing horror was a much later addition. I had watched Conjuring 2 in theatre, and that was the first horror movie I saw in a theatre. I had planned to go with my two BBFs – Bangalore Best Friends, S and P. 

The movie was, in many ways funny. And there were so many people commenting aloud – even us perhaps. But my classmates had perhaps praised it so much, that I had placed the movie high in expectations. So much that, no matter how scary the movie was, it would still not be scary enough for me. It was maybe unfair of me to do so. But then, it was a beautiful movie -mind blowing I would say. 
I have already written about how to write horror stories. Or rather how I write themI’ve always wondered what somebody expects from a horror movie. Many a times, almost half of the horror effect is lost when you’re watching it on TV. But you can still recreate it to an extent – lights off at midnight that leaves just you and the movie. Shefali says horror films bore her; and I sort of agree with her. It doesn’t bore me, but if you’ve already watched the movie, then you lose the advantage of the ‘surprise’ element. And also, there are movies with a lot of blood shed – killing people or butchering them, piranhas or sharks eating you. All these would never fall into my idea of horror. A little bit is perhaps inevitable, but usually such movies disgust me. 

I guess I’ve always been interested in the stories they tell, even if most of the time it is incomplete. And at times barely there. And this is not just for horror movies. We all keep watching a movie again and again and again. For instance, I don’t remember when exactly I had first seen Manichithrathazhu, but I know that every time after that I haven’t changed the channel if they’re playing the movie. My parents don’t let me see the movie in peace (or in pieces) as they start reciting dialogues as if the Bhoot has got them. And then, I join them. 

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horror fiction, short story

The Light

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Triiiiinnnggg Triiiiinnnggg.
Triiiiinnnggg Triiiiinnnggg.

2:09 a.m.? Seriously? Who’s calling me now?
It was my best friend, who was sleeping in the adjacent room. I picked it up.

“Is this some kind of joke? If it is… ” , I said.

“Don’t take the charger off, keep it on. Please. ” she said.

I withdrew my hand from the charger immediately. Her tone was serious and urgent.

“Is everything alright ?”I asked, getting up from my bed – my hands searching for the light switch.

She replied :
“Listen to me carefully, stay still. Don’t move and no matter what don’t turn on -”
Click.

the light.”

Triiiiinnnggg Triiiiinnnggg. Triiiiinnnggg Triiiiinnnggg. Triiiiinnnggg Triiiiinnnggg. Triiiiinnnggg Triiiiinnnggg.

You have one missed call.

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description, humour

The Perfect Horror

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You are obsessed with horror stories , and you want to write a decent one. But you have had a consistent history of turning your horror stories into humour. But at least, you have the Canterville ghost to support you. Only he shall be able to empathise with you, since he too had failed to scare the Otis family. But you decide to get serious. You take it to the next level.
You kick everybody out of your house, and make sure you lock only the main door ( and the balcony door) –  any door that is a connection to the outside world. The larger the house the better. You waste your time till 1 a.m. watching TV, preferably horror movies.
Then, you switch it off, get off the couch, check the door and find your pink blanket. Then you switch off every light, making sure only enough light passes through the window.  Enough light to make scary clawy shadows. ( if you’re living on the 17th floor, chances are there won’t be any claws. But you can still adjust with what you have.)
You walk to your bed, and you visualise yakshis and raktharaakshasis popping up from nowhere at your doorways. (You are allowed to imagine people you don’t like as the above mentioned.)You are on your bed, the blanket of darkness overwhelming the happy pink blanket. You imagine the worst things that can happen. Scare the shit out of yourself. You hear weird noises from upstairs. Better. You think you heard the door moan. Even better. You feel like there are evil spirits waiting for you to fall asleep so that they can have you as midnight snack. Excellent.

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Hide under your blanket, and write the story down. Then go to sleep – if you can. You are not done. Post it on your blog – categorise it, and add tags. Share it on the social media.
You show it to your mother, but she is not sure where the horror is. Your dad is in no mood for horror, and thus he has no idea what’s going on in the story. So he starts asking whys and whats. You call your best friend, who lives far away, and she can no longer speak – she is on her bed with a bad stomach ache. For she imagined you narrating the story, your voice echoing in her head. She could not take it, she almost died laughing. Only almost. You take it to your other best friend in the city. He is no longer on his chair, but already on the floor hugging himself – the minute he saw your name. For the same reasons mentioned earlier.

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You shall not lose hope. There are people who don’t know you at all. They will not hear your voice in their head. Only the voice of the story. So you wait. Till somebody likes it.

horror fiction

Framed

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She was standing in the middle  of the room, the girl right in front of her. The girl didn’t seem to have noticed her presence at all. The girl around her age, walked down the street. Drunk men followed her. She walked faster. They followed. She ran, and they ran behind her. She walked into a building, a house perhaps. She knew the place, but where exactly ? She was not sure. The drunk men passed by. The girl – relieved – turned around, looked at her, and frowned. She was confused, she turned to look behind her.
Beep. Beeeep. Beeeeeeeeeeep.
Her alarm pulled her back to reality with so much force that she almost hit the wall behind her. She realised the place was very similar to the building the girl had walked into.
She looked at the photographs again. Each of them told a story, it seemed to capture more than just fragments of life. No. It seemed to capture life itself.
It was too late by the time she noticed that she was alone. She had already walked into the adjacent room, which had only a single photograph, and a wooden board beside it. With something written on it. The other photographs were hung on the wall, but this was right at the centre. The photograph, unlike the others was quite blurred. There was just a shadow, and the picture made her very uncomfortable. She went over and read whatever was written.

Oh no! No, no, no!

She became pale and cold, like a corpse. The horrid things that happened in there, she wanted to stay no longer. A curse? She had no time to decide. She turned around to run away, but she hit the wall. Where did the door go?
She heard the knob turning – from above . She looked up, and there the door was. On the ceiling. The door
opened inwards slowly, as if somebody was behind it. And then it shut with great force, the door falling off the ceiling. She ducked out of the way just in time. She felt something wet and cold on her palms, she saw blood – spreading across the floor. Blood through the windows, ventilators. And somebody was crying out in pain, as if being cut into pieces alive. The blood was all over the floor, she got on the podium like furniture that carried the photograph and the curse. As her right hand grabbed the frame for support, it fell. And then , a hand over her left hand. Another around her waist, and there shadows everywhere.

Say Cheese.

He was only five, wandered into the place by accident. His mother walked in, held him by the hand and said, ” Come on now, let’s go. I’ve told you not to wander off like this.”
“But look  Mommy”, said he pointing at the picture on the floor.
A girl, scared or in pain perhaps? Too Blurred to make out, and someone was hovering over her.
“Let’s get out of here,” said his mother.

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horror fiction

Love Dale #2

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Ben had to ask around before he could finally find Love Dale. But as he neared the house, he saw another car, outside the gate. A bright red Ferrari, with a K near its number plate – and Ben could never forget this car. But what was Kyle doing here?

Ben had been casually browsing through radio stations when he heard Kyle admitting to proposing Hayley Smith, and that Mia was his ‘past’. He knew there was something fishy, and he never trusted the guy. But when he came to know that Mia had disappeared completely, without even facing the media, declaring it was all over, he knew something was wrong. And that was when he had called her up. And he had decided that he will give her a surprise visit.

But the fact that Kyle was here didn’t feel right – he definitely did not come to get her, or apologise to her. So he parked his car a few metres away and walked to the drive, without making any noise. He sneaked in and hid behind a tree, where he could see Kyle, and his companion. Kyle’s companion had a camera, and it was obvious that the guy was from some channel.

“This is the address, but the house looks empty.” Said Kyle.

“Yes, I think she has gone out. Anyways, just ring the bell.” Said his friend.

Kyle rang the bell, and after a while they heard some noise. A young girl opened the door, and said,” Browns residence, how can I help you?”

Kyle and his friend, both were quite taken aback at this. Even Ben doubted if he was in fact at the wrong house after all.

“Oh! I’m sorry, but I think there has been some sort of misunderstanding. I mistook this to be my friend’s address.” Said Kyle, and they left.

Ben was confused. Maybe it was the wrong house after all. I should probably call her up. He was about to leave, when he heard a noise – that of something falling into water. He rushed to the lake, but didn’t find anybody. He walked over to the ledge, to get a clearer view, when he saw something in the water.

When he realized what it was, he did not hesitate to jump into the lake.

The bright white light finally faded away, and now Mia could see the blue sky. And then she saw Ben’s worried face looking down at her. He helped to the bench near the lake, under the shade of a huge tree, and they sat quietly for some time.

Finally, Ben asked.” How did you end up in there?”

“It’s a long story.” Mia replied.

“Well, I’m in no hurry to go back.” He said.

“I don’t know Ben, what if you won’t believe me? You’ll most probably think I’ve gone crazy.” Mia said.

“Well, yes. I guess I might think you’ve gone crazy, believe me I already sort of do, after whatever just happened. But then, I’m your friend, and so whether I believe you not, I’m with you. Whatever it is.” He replied.

Mia took a deep breath in and let it out. “Where do I start…?”

After she was finished narrating each and every incident, she looked at Ben. He looked thoughtful. Thank god, I thought he will laugh at me. At least he is thinking about it.

“Well Mia, I’m not sure what this is, but we’ll find out. But before that I think we should get into some dry clothes.” He said.

He went over to his car, and brought it in and parked it near Mia’s car. Mia had opened the door and helped him with his luggage.

A few minutes later, Ben was on the sofa. Mia was making coffee in the kitchen. Ben didn’t know what was going on – whether all that she had said was true, or maybe she had really lost her mind. But he knew that she needed someone to be there for her, for support – and he didn’t want to make it worse for her. Mia handed over a cup to Ben and sat down beside him.

“So, how come you are here? That too all of a sudden like this?” Mia asked.

“Well, I wanted to give you a surprise, but then I was surprised to see Kyle over here.” he replied.

“Kyle?” asked Mia, astonished.

Ben did not notice the astonished look on her face, and he continued talking, “You know, I was thinking how he got your address, and I think it must be that agent who showed you this house.”

“But why?” she asked.

“Well, that letter you’d written to him, somebody leaked it, and it became breaking news. He came here with some reporter, which means he came here to do damage control – he didn’t come for you.” Ben replied.

“Ohh…I have been spending my day reading.”

“Well, even then, you’re lucky that the girl opened the door and –“

At this, Mia was totally confused, she interrupted him, “Wait! What girl? There is no girl here.”

“What do you mean? The girl who helps you out here? She definitely didn’t look like the owner of the house. And she opened up the door from inside.” Ben said. He was still not serious about this.

“Ben, I am all alone here, I had told you so over the phone that day. And I told you, I was about to go out, and I had locked the door.” Mia said in a grim tone.

“S…sooo… who was the girl I saw at your door?” Ben asked, his face pale.

“It must be her.”

Ben no longer had any doubts on whether Mia was imagining things. When Mia said she had locked the house and there was no girl – she was all alone- he didn’t know what to think. They called up Mia’s lawyer, to trace back its previous owners. By the time her lawyer would gather all the information, they thought- why not go to the library?

From what Mia saw that day, she was sure that it was around ten – fifteen years ago.

“Something bad happened here, and I’m sure it must have come in the newspapers. I know it is a little far-fetched, but let’s get out of this house for a while, it has started to freak me out.” Said Mia.

“Well, I’m not sure we will find anything in the library, but then we can give it a shot.” Ben replied.

They went to the library, and searched for around two hours – but they found nothing on the girl. Then finally they found something: a family was found dead in the lake. While it has not been clear what they were doing in Love Dale, but the house had been untouched. According to the investigation head, the driver lost control of the vehicle and it fell into the lake. Nothing more.

“How can this be? Nothing on that girl at all – it is almost as if she doesn’t exist.” Said Mia thoughtful.

“We don’t even have a name!” Said Ben.

“Wait a second, Ben – we do have a name. Remember what you told me? When Kyle came with his friend, the girl opened door and said something.” Said Mia.

“Browns residence!” They chorused.

Ben was about to type it in the search column, when Mia interrupted,” Wait a second Ben.”

The Browns, murder, Love Dale.

And what filled the screen was definitely not what they had expected.

Family found dead under mysterious circumstances – read the headline. There was picture with it, and Mia recognized the man from her vision that day. Near him stood, his wife, not much younger than him. And then there were two kids- a boy and a girl. The caption read: The Browns: Dr.James Brown, wife Ashley Brown, and children Daniel and Daisy.

But no sight of that girl. She was not part of that family. Maybe she worked there?

The Browns were found dead at their home, Love Dale, early morning on 17th February, by the newspaper boy. The police are not sure as to what happened, but they are trying their best to nab the murderer. Immediate neighbours claim they heard no noise whatsoever. The incident is believed to have taken place at midnight.

Dr.Brown’s body was found near the lake, while Mrs. Brown was found dead in the kitchen. The children, Daniel (17) and Daisy (11) were found dead in their bedroom. The incident has left the local police baffled, as nothing has been stolen.

“Do you think she did all this?” asked Ben

“I don’t know Ben, I thought she was the victim, but maybe I was wrong. Maybe she did. But we cannot be sure. Hey, look at this”, she said, pointing at a follow up of the murder.

The Browns did not have any domestic help at their house, and the milkman and the newspaper boy were the only two people who went to Love Dale regularly.

“Dr. Brown and his wife was quite well known and also respected by everyone in this neighbourhood. And the children were a quiet bunch. The whole neighbourhood is shocked as to who would do this to the family.” Says Mrs. Greggory, neighbour and friend of the Browns.

 The next article was even more surprising.

According to the post-mortem report, the killer hit the children with a blunt object, and they died within minutes due to their head injuries. The report also stated that Mrs. Brown was stabbed multiple times. The police have discovered the knife used to kill Mrs. Brown and the blunt object with which the children were murdered. The police could find only Dr.Brown’s fingerprints.

“How can this be? The whole family was there, and this girl is invisible? No one knows her, no records of such a girl at all? I don’t know what happened to her, but what if it happened before the Browns shifted into the house?” asked Ben.

“No Ben, that can’t be, because from what I saw that day, it is evident that she lived inside that very house, and the man talked to her. Whatever happened, happened after they moved in and before this.” She said.

“But –“started Ben

“Wait a minute Ben. I just remembered something. The man had said – if you want to be a part of this family. That means she was not a part of their family at all!  “She said.

“But then, who is she? How did she end up there with them?” asked Ben.

“I don’t know.”

They had dinner, and returned to the house. Mia didn’t have any plan in particular, but she knew that only the girl could tell her something. She was not even sure anymore, if the girl was in fact the victim or the culprit.

They had just entered the house, when Mia’s lawyer called.

“Well?” asked Ben.

“The Browns bought the house from the original owners. And around seven years ago, a businessman bought it, but he died months later. He stayed in the house only once – he was here on business. He sold the house to a doctor and his wife. The doctor killed himself, and the wife was under psychiatric treatment. The house then went to the bank. That’s it.” She said.

Mia slept in her room while Ben was given the guest room. Ben was fast asleep when the rain woke him up. He got up to close the window, when he thought he saw someone, among the trees near the lake. He looked carefully, but couldn’t see clearly. He took his flashlight and went out. He checked both the cars – locked and untouched. He aimed his flashlight at the trees – nobody. He went over to the lake, but didn’t see anybody. He turned around and stood face to face with the girl. Startled he fell back, but when he looked up again, she was gone. His flashlight fell down beside him, throwing light on something floating in the lake. He picked up the flashlight and aimed at it.

“Oh my God!” was all he could say, as he saw the body of Dr. Brown in the lake, his face twisted. He got up and went towards it- it was still there.

The night’s deadly silence was broken by Mia’s scream. He ran into the house, and searched for her in her room, and the drawing room but could not find her. Finally, he found her, in the kitchen – unconscious. The kitchen’ floor had a hole, and she had fallen into some sort of basement.

Mia woke up to the sound of the grandfather clock striking two, again. She walked to Ben’s room, but panicked when she saw blood flowing out from the room. With all her courage, she opened the door, but instead of her guestroom she saw two beds, drawings, books, and two children – a boy and a girl – lying dead in a pool of blood.

She ran away from there into kitchen, and drank some cold water. She had just put the water back, when she saw a lady leaning over the sink. As she went closer, she realized the lady had blood all over – probably dead. She knew this was all because of that girl.

“Where are you?” she said taking a step backwards.

“Why don’t you just show yourself?” she asked.

She heard a noise behind her, that of a door opening. And then, two small pale hands grabbed and pulled her into the floor. She screamed.

She saw the girl again, in the kitchen. She was weaker, and there marks all over her body. She was badly hurt, but was still made to do all the work all alone. Then the kids came in, angry.

“Where the hell is our juice?” Daisy screamed at her.

“But- but I am busy cooking lunch” she replied.

At this, the boy became even more furious, and caught hold of her hand, almost crushing her wrist.

“You better have my juice ready in ten minutes” Daniel said before leaving.

She walked into the drawing room where Mrs. Brown was talking into the phone. It was quite dark – all the windows were closed. Suddenly it became darker and darker, and suddenly she found herself in a room she didn’t quite recognize.

She saw a grandfather clock to her right, and a cot in front her. The room was small, with no windows or ventilation. Then she saw the girl climb down a ladder, entering through what looked like a trapdoor. She laid down on the bed and started weeping. She fell asleep a few minutes later. Mia looked at the clock – it was three in the morning.

And then everything just dissolved into blank space, and she was wide awake.  She realised she was in that same room. The trapdoor in the kitchen opened to this tiny space where that girl lived. Ben helped her get up, and they started looking around. The room was intact and dusty – nobody knew about the trapdoor.

She saw a small suitcase near the bed, it had the owner’s name in it – Lily. Mia opened the suitcase – a few clothes, a small teddy and a diary.  She had closer look at the diary – Little Angels Orphanage.

“Ben, come look at this.” Mia called out.

Ben and Mia were on their way to orphanage – Ben was driving and Mia was reading Lily’s diary.

“This is really bad Ben. She was adopted when she was eleven. For a year they stayed in the same town. Things were smooth – except for the kids. The kids were not happy with her entering the family. Then they moved into Love Dale, when things started to change. The Browns did not let her into the family – Dr. Brown said she had to prove herself. Do her chores, and fulfil her responsibilities. Slowly, anything and everything became her chore. Her sole responsibility.” Mia told Ben.

“But then how come no one came to know she existed?” asked Ben.

“They locked her up in the room whenever there was a visitor. Once she made some noise by mistake, and they bet her up bad for that. They even starved her. They even tied her up and gagged her, whenever there were important guests were coming over. Poor thing. I don’t think she got any time to write her diary after this last entry.” Said Mia.

There was nothing much left of the Little Angels orphanage. The two storeyed building looked older than it should and was in desperate need of complete renovation. There spotted an old lady speaking a young man. As she saw Ben and Mia, she excused herself and approached them.

“Yes, how may I help you?” she asked.

A few minutes later they were sitting in the lady’s office. She was the head matron.

“We lost quite some amount of data in a fire a few years ago. But I managed to find this picture we had taken on a Christmas before Lily was adopted. ” She said, handing over the photo to them.

“Lily was well behaved, and a quiet girl. She kept to herself most of the time. So, we were happy that she got a good family – the Browns. She was also very intelligent and wanted to study and become a doctor. I used to visit her, but then a year after she had been adopted, they moved into this beautiful house they had bought. Lily was very excited about it. But since then, I haven’t heard from her.” Said the head matron.

As Mia unlocked the front door, she and Ben were taken aback – it was not the same Love Dale they had left. Everything was so different. Old fashioned.

“Is it just me, or..???” asked Mia.

“Nope” replied Ben.

The house looked empty. They walked into the kitchen, where they saw Lily, and Daniel, down in her room. Daniel was clearly trying to take advantage of Lily’s situation, and misbehave with her.

“I have to finish my chores. Please leave me alone” she said trying to break free from Daniel.

But the grip only seemed to tighten. She tried to walk away, but he wouldn’t let her. Then suddenly it turned into a struggle between the two. She slapped him and ran away, to the ladder, only to see a furious Dr. Brown at the other end.

“How dare you!!” he shouted.

He climbed down the ladder and started beating her with his belt. She cried out loud but Dr. Brown was not ready to listen to her. She tripped over something, hit her head on the wall and fell down – blood all over the floor. Silence.

A few minutes later, Mrs. Brown, and Daniel were waiting in the kitchen when Dr. Brown came out of Lily’s room. It was raining heavily.

“Is she dead?” asked Mrs. Brown.

“No, not yet. There is little chance that she will make it. But for that we will have to hospitalise her. Otherwise she will definitely die. By the way, where is Daisy?” Said Dr. Brown.

“She’s asleep in her room.” Said Daniel.

“Well, anyways we can’t hide her here forever. We had to get rid of her one day or the other. Hospitalising her would be risky wouldn’t it?” said Mrs. Brown.

“Yes, it is. She will try to escape like before, and if she succeeds, then the respect and the status we enjoy in the society will be gone. And we will be in jail. It is better to get rid of her. But how?” said Dr. Brown.

They were standing beside the lake. Dr. and Mrs. Brown were standing on the ledge. They put Lily in a big heavy trunk, and added a few stones to it. And then, they dumped it into the water. They stood there watching the trunk sink. Ben and Mia also walked over to the ledge and watched in horror.

The clock struck two, startling all four of them. Dr. and Mrs. Brown walked into the house.

Suddenly Lily’s head popped out from the water.

“Oh my God, Lily.  I am so sorry. How could anyone be so cruel to a little girl? “Said Mia.

“For two years they tortured me, until they finally dumped me into this lake – alive. I couldn’t even run away, with the doors closed all the time, and the windows had grills. It was horrible.” She whispered in the rain.

“Is there anything we can do?” Asked Mia.

At this she looked up at them and smiled – and their hearts skipped a beat.

She caught hold of their feet, and dragged them into the water with her.

Mr. Brown woke up to the sound of somebody sobbing. He went over to the kids room following the sound. He went near Daisy’s bed, and put his arm on her shoulder. But when she turned around, he saw Lily. 

“Leave us alone !” He shouted, hitting her with whatever he could get hold of. 

Then he turned around only to her again. He hit her again. Harder. He closed his eyes and shook his head hard. He opened his eyes and saw his children dead in a pool of blood.

“Nooooooo…. What have I done!” He said.

He searched the house for his wife, and saw her dead in the kitchen. He pulled out the knife – she had been stabbed . He held her tight and cried. 

“Your turn” He heard her say. 

He ran out of the house, towards the road – and maybe get some help. He ran and ran. But he never made it.

horror fiction

Love Dale

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Mia sat down and took a deep breath in – she had been unpacking stuff all day. She had always wanted to buy a house by a lake, with a lot of trees around, but it all didn’t turn out like she thought it would. She had thought she could move into a big house, among the trees, near a lake and live with her fiancé, but all of that came crashing down. She had almost finalised a house, not far from where she had been staying, but she ended up taking a house far away – as far away as possible from him. But then, life hardly gave her any choice – she would just go wherever life would take her.

She was hardly seven when her parents died in a car accident. She was in the car with them, but death spared her. So at the age of seven she had become all alone. Of course she had an uncle and an aunt, but they were not ready to take her in, so she ended up in an orphanage. She did have to face a lot of difficulties but then she had a family there. Ben was her best friend, her partner in crime and life support system, but they had to part ways at the age of 18. He was very brilliant, and had received a scholarship from one of the best engineering colleges. He always loved machines, and Mia always encouraged him. He went away to pursue his higher studies, and Mia did her college. She had to work part time to make ends meet. She got only a partial scholarship, as she was not really that brilliant academically. But she loved to write and was pretty good at it. The two promised to stay in contact – and they did. As life passed by, the frequency of contacting decreased. And finally, Mia got to live her dreams – she became a songwriter.

Her debut song was a big hit, and that is how she had met Kyle – her fiancé, or rather ex- fiancé. He was a singer, and the duo was quite a big hit. She would write, and he would sing. It was this dream, where everything was so perfect. And Mia was absolutely in love with him – the happiest girl one could find. But like every dream that vanishes when you wake up, she too was forced to wake up one day.

The events of that heart-breaking day were still fresh in her mind. Things had not remained the same between them and she was disturbed because of this. She was listening to the radio – a live interview with Kyle. This was when the radio jockey asked him – “There are rumours that you have been engaged to Hayley, Harold Smith’s only daughter.”

To which he replied – “Yes, it is true. I proposed to her yesterday during dinner, and we plan to get married soon.”

At this, Mia was completely heartbroken and shocked. She didn’t know if she was more angry or sad. He always had some engagement whenever she wanted to go out or spend some time with him. But she never thought that he would dump her to marry Hayley. Of course Harold Smith was one of the biggest producers, and there was no better way he could secure his future – financially. But she had no idea that this was coming.

“But weren’t you dating Ms. Mia, the songwriter?”

“Well, yes. That is my past. But things did not work out like we thought, so we thought it was best to part ways.”

Kyle had never mentioned anything like this – though Mia did doubt he was hiding something from her. But she was absolutely not alright with whatever he had just done. He was in fact double dating her. He should have told her this long ago, why all this suspense and drama? Coward.

She thought and thought, and realised that all this while, Kyle had just used her, for publicity- and also her songs. She was disgusted at this thought and decided she didn’t want to see his face ever again. He was not even worth it.

She made call, and waited for an answer.

“Hello.”

Pause.

“Yes, about that house – I decided I don’t want to buy that. Do you have a similar house, or any house somewhere far away from here?”

Pause.

“Ok, that’ll do. No no, I don’t want to waste time going over there just to see the house. Just send the papers to my lawyer and if there are no legal complications – then I will buy it. I want it as soon as possible.”

Pause.

“Yes, you can send me a few pictures of the house. That would do. Yes, thank you.”

Mia went into the kitchen and prepared herself a cup of coffee. She went over to her balcony, and enjoyed the some fresh air. Her new house was so much more peaceful.

She had bought a house a week after the breakup, and moved in a week after that. She did not bother to tell Kyle about any of this, instead she wrote down one small letter wishing him goodbye:

Kyle,

You came into my life, just like that, without telling me – and now you are out of it, the same way. You have given me a lot of happy memories, but to think they were all lies – like that fake smile of yours. I sincerely hope one day I will be over my disgust with you and that I can put all of this behind me and maybe work with you – but you better have the guts to look me in the eyes.  Goodbye.

                                                                                                                        Not yours anymore,

                                                                                                                                                Mia

 

After finishing her coffee, she did some more unpacking, had dinner and decided to call it a day. She locked up all the doors and windows and climbed into her bed. It was a cold night, but a peaceful one – except for the trees, dancing with the wind.

She had not told anybody where she was running off to, there was no one she was so close to. She would have told Ben about it, but then they had fought over Kyle. He had hinted that he doesn’t trust Kyle, and like every girl who is madly in love, she over-reacted. And it hurt him, so he said he will not to interfere in her life ever again, and she had said that she was perfectly fine with it. But now she feels that was the biggest mistake ever. He was the only family she had, and now she was all alone in this house.

Love dale was a two-storeyed house that had a very antique look to it, which Mia really liked. It was 27 years old, but was still in a good shape – and after the recent paint job, it looked younger. The floors were all wooden, and there were trees all around. There was a lake a few metres away to the left of the house, and there was a long drive way from the main road, which isolated it from the world outside. Inside those gates were a different world altogether, and that is what Mia wanted.

Mia felt the cold breeze brush against her face, and water being sprinkled on her face, like Ben would do to wake her up when they were kids. She smiled in her sleep, but opened her eyes all of a sudden, and sat upright in her bed. It was just a dream. She covered her face with her hands, and realised that there was water on her face, which is when she noticed the open window. It was drizzling outside.

Once it had stopped drizzling, Mia stepped out for a walk. She went over to the lake and stood on the edge of the wooden ledge. She had been there only a while, when she noticed a small girl on the farther end of the lake.

“Hey”, she called out, gently.

But the girl just ran away, but before she could go behind the girl, the phone rang. By the time she turned around to look at the girl, she was gone.

“Hello?” she said.

“Hey, it’s me, Ben. Remember me?” said the voice.

“Of course I remember you, what kind of a stupid question is that?” she replied.

Silence.

“Just say it already – I told you so.” she said

“Well, though I DID tell you, I didn’t call you to settle scores. I called you to apologise. I shouldn’t have stopped talking to you and left you alone with that idiot.” He said.

They talked on for about an hour, catching up with all the lost time. Mia, finally felt she was not all alone, and that she can maybe after all get over this. Ben was her only family, and family never leaves you alone. They’re with you, always, no matter what

She spent the day reading a book, and just enjoying the change of atmosphere, far away from all the buzz. She was done unpacking the house, and had a quiet dinner, and went off to bed sometime after that.

Mia was near the lake, and she saw the girl again. The girl was kneeling, picking flowers. She looked around fifteen or seventeen years old. As she extended her hand out, she saw rusty coloured marks on her pale wrists. Mia went near the girl, but she still could not see the face, as it was covered by a hood. But Mia noticed her hair, a long tangled mess which reached her elbows. She extended the hand out to the girl, and she took Mia’s hand.

Mia woke up, sleepy, but she could feel somebody holding her hand, in the dark. As if someone was lying right next to her, holding hands. She suddenly jumped out of the bed, terrified and turned on the bed lamp. There was nobody. Must have been a dream- there is nobody else here. She was about to get into bed again, when the clock struck two. It rang twice, like the big grandfather clocks and its echo lasted for a few seconds. She was sitting on her bed, and reached out to switch off the bed lamp, when she froze.

The house does not have any grandfather clocks.

She took her phone, turned on the flashlight and slowly made her way to the drawing room. Step by step, she went into the drawing room and turned on the light – but there was no power. Then she heard a noise – that of someone walking around with chains. The noise grew louder and louder, as if that someone was walking towards her. Then it stopped, and she could hear heavy breathing behind her. She did not want to risk looking behind her, so she took a step forward, but tripped and fell down. Her leg was chained to something. She grabbed her phone, which was lying nearby on the floor, and traced the chain. On the other end of the chain she saw a pale leg, and water around the leg. Her scream broke the silence of the night.

The legs started walking towards her, and she started crawling backwards, still screaming. The water ran towards her, and touched her leg. She shivered – it was ice cold. She hit a wall, and couldn’t move backwards. The legs stopped suddenly, and she couldn’t take her eyes off the pair.

Suddenly somebody grabbed her from behind and pulled her in.  She was drowning, and it looked like the lake near her house. The water pulled her down, deeper into the lake, no matter how hard she tried resurface.

Mia frowned as the sunlight hit her hard on the face. She sat up on the bed, and held her head tightly, as if it was about to explode. She took a deep breath in and let it out. All this was just a dream. She moved the blanket and was about to get out of bed, when she noticed it. The mark on her left leg, the same leg that had been chained the night before. How can that be?

She thought of going somewhere else, where there were people around. Here there were no neighbours. The next house was around a kilometre away. There was no one around to help her if she needed immediate help, and after her weird encounter in the night, she didn’t feel very secure all alone in there. She wanted to tell Ben about all this– though she was not sure if he would believe her. But he did not pick up her call at all.

Later that evening, it felt weird for her to stay alone in the house. So she decided to go out shopping. She changed, locked the house up and went up the driveway to open the gates. Suddenly she heard a scream – It was a girl. It came from somewhere near the lake, and she ran towards it worried that someone might be hurt.

When she reached the lake, it was silent and there was no one around. She walked over to the edge of the wooden ledge, and was about to call out, if in case somebody was really hurt, when somebody pushed her from the behind. She fell into the water, and something was pulling her deeper into the lake. This time is was real.

She was struggling to overcome this force that would not let her go up, when she saw the girl. It was the same girl she had seen picking flowers. The girl was pretty with her long hair dancing in the water. But she had scars all over – her wrists, hands, neck and even one on her face. But her eyes longed for something. Suddenly Mia noticed the girl’s legs. She could not believe her eyes – her leg was chained. Yes, it was the same leg she had seen yesterday. But how can that be?

Mia felt her senses going to sleep, her surroundings were fading away. She reached out to the girl. But something pulled her away. She could feel something pulling her up before everything went black.

Maybe I’m just hallucinating. Maybe this is how I’m going to die.

Mia was inside the house, but it looked very different. There were old fashioned beds, decorations – the furniture was not hers. Then she saw that girl, moping the place. A tall thin man came up the stairs, and started shouting at her.

“Is this how you clean the house? Such shabby work!” he shouted.

“But Father,” the girl started, but the man raised his hand.

“Enough! I don’t want to hear a word. And, my family has a status, a reputation in this town, so I won’t let anybody ruin that. Especially not you. So if you want to be part of this family, then you better do everything I say.” He said.

Saying so, he left and the girl stood there weeping. She was shabbily dressed and looked very weak. Mia turned around to look at the man, but all she could see was bright light – all around her.

horror fiction

The Silhouette (1)

Where is this place? Eeewww… Creepy.. No streetlights? Gosh! It’s so dark … Why did I even come here….

Natalie found herself standing in a dark, narrow street… She couldn’t see much, but she got this eerie feeling that creepy crawly things were running around her feet. She tried to ignore them and walked towards a small pool of light in front of her. It was then she saw the broken streetlight. She sighed.

Better than no light at all I guess… 

She suddenly froze with terror, for at moment, she saw a silhouette among the shadows.

“Who’s there?”, she stammered.

“Who.. who’s.. Who’s there?” She managed you say again, gathering up the little strength she had left.

Suddenly she felt something slimy grip her feet, coil around it, tighter and tighter by the second.

“Aaaaaaaaaàaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” she screamed.

Natalie looked at her bedside table, the clock showed 02:30 am. She got up, washed her face and went to get herself a glass of water.

She switched on the kitchen light took a glass, kept it on the slab. She was deep in thought as she took a bottle out of the fridge.

These nightmares are getting worse, day by day. What is happening? Oh God! 

Suddenly, she saw a reflection on a steel utensil. Taken aback, she jumped backwards, and hit the fridge. Then she calmed down as she realized that it was her own reflection.

Or was it? 

She shook her head out, trying to kick out all such thoughts. She took a deep breath in,  closed her eyes and stood there for a few seconds.

Next day at school, Natalie was walking to her class.

“Hi Nat !”, said Joe, her best friend.

Natalie dumped her bag in class and walked with Joe to the football ground. This was their favorite hangout spot and class hadn’t started yet. She was about to tell him about her nightmares, but suddenly a boy came up and distracted Joe’s attention.

As Natalie was waiting for Joe, she stood there looking at her shadow. And she noticed another shadow, nearby. It was nearing her shadow, and caught hold of her wrist. The grip was so tight, she could feel it. She tried to break free, but the grip only tightened.

“Nat! Nat!”, Joe’s voice brought her back to Earth.

“Yeah…. I… That sha… my..I …”, stammered Natalie

“Are you alright? You look ill.”, asked Joe.

“I don’t know Joe.. I really don’t”, said Natalie, a tear escaping her eye.

That day, in the washroom she overheard something rather odd.

“Hey.. Have you seen that weird lady near our school campus? I heard she can speak to ghosts”, said a girl.

“All bullshit! You got to be kidding me. Sometimes she just disappears. And then, the next day she’s there again. Very odd she is.”, said the other girl.

Ghosts? Can it be true? Wait… Ghosts? What am I thinking? Oh God. 

“Calm down, Nat”, said Joe.

“I can’t Joe! I just can’t. You have no idea how freaky this is…. As if .. as if someone’s stalking me.. I think I’ll go insane!”, replied Natalie.

“I’m sorry, Nat. I know it’s freaking you out but I’m trying to help you!”, said Joe.

“I know…. I know”, said Natalie, disturbed.

Two days later, Natalie was going back home from school, when she noticed that woman – dressed like a gypsy.

She does look odd. I think I should just stay away from her….. 

“Wait there, girl”, said the woman.

“The answer you seek is in your past” she said.

Natalie stopped short. She turned around and looked at the woman in utter bewilderment.

“Nat, let’s go. Come on, don’t listen to her.” Said Joe

But Natalie just looked at woman. But what she said next, really gave her a big shock.

She just ran away from there, tears streaming down her eyes. She did not even remember any longer what the woman had said. The only thing she heard was a name : just a name.

But how could she know? HOW?? 

She could hear Joe’s voice in the background.

“Natalie! Nat! Stop! What happened? Who’s Nick?”

Who’s Nick? Oh NICK! NICK! NICK!