A Ghostly Encounter
A Ghostly Encounter10 mins 109 10 mins 109
Gourab had to reach the pharmacy very fast. His mother was fighting a rare disease and was admitted to a hospital. The doctor had suggested a steroid-type lifesaver that was unavailable in their town. Precious time was passing and his mother's life was hanging in the balance. Then as fortune would have it, Gourab got the news that the medicine was available in a pharmacy in the town some two hundred kilometers away. His sister was married there and it was her husband who had given the news of the medicine's availability. Gourab's father was anxious that the medicine be brought soon and save his wife's life. Gourab decided to take his motorbike as the means of transport. Because then he would be the master of his time and not depend upon others. In fact, he had many a time visited his sister there taking his bike along when he had to go alone. Otherwise when the families would visit each other then they would hire a bigger and spacious vehicle. Gourab was into business and had a Grocery shop which he and his father managed. Now he had kept few employees as his father was aging and couldn't devote much time. Leaving the managing of the store on his employees and Gourab started his journey immediately upon taking his lunch. He had thought to be back with the medicine by a late night or if the situation didn't warrant immediate delivery then he could spend the night at his sister's place and reach the hospital by early next morning. What the doctor had suggested was that the drug should be in stock in case of emergency. Although now Gourab's mother had shown early signs of recovery and the medicine may not be needed at all. But who knows when an emergency may strike and be ready for any situation good sense demanded. Also, Gourab being a pragmatic businessman knew the importance of his presence at the store for at least half a day. In case of absolute emergency, Gourab knew his father was there to oversee the proceedings and his wife had also managed the family store in the past when her father-in-law was hospitalized for surgery and Gourab had been busy giving time at the hospital.
Gourab was going at a good speed and the way he was moving he knew that he could be back home around dinner if his nephew and niece didn't detain him.
Then in the distance what Gourab saw alarmed him. There was the formation of dark clouds but by the time if it started to rain Gourab should be within the town as per his calculations. But all his calculations failed and the cloud formation was the advent of a thunderstorm. The clouds were building fast and were in low-lying rain-bearing formation. The season was not for the weather to behave the way it was behaving now but recently the weather pattern had changed and was behaving in a fickle way. Very soon it became too dark to drive and visibility reduced to bare few steps ahead. The sunset was due to still a good half hour away but the clouds were so low and dark that it would be risky to forge ahead. Anytime the rains would come and then it would become imperative to take shelter. So better be prepared well in time. Gourab was on the high road and there were hardly any signs of houses and human dwellings near the highway. In the distant places near the horizon, little houses and habitation were visible but it wouldn't be possible to reach them before the rains came down pouring.
Gourab was still undecided of what he should do when he spotted a house not too far away from the main road. He left the highway and rode towards the house attracted like an insect towards the light. It had become very dark now due to the low-hanging black clouds. From the poor visibility, Gourab could make out the house to be one where no one had resided for many years. There was scrub and foliage everywhere. The undergrowth had become too big and had covered the full facade of the building. There had been a vehicular porch in the building's heydays for now it was fully covered with creepers. There was no one around. No signs of any dwellings, houses, or shops nearby the house either. From the very look of the area, it seemed that no one had visited the area in many years. Gourab had many a time passed down the highway but ever failed to notice this house. Also, he was not in distress then as he is now. Only emergent situations help make man discover new things. Gourab parked his motorbike in the shrub and creeper-covered porch and entered the house. It had become now totally dark. The rain had come down in torrents. It was not likely to end soon. So Gourab knew he had a long wait ahead of him, probably he may have to spend the night here in this God-forsaken house. As usual, there was no electricity. No doubt the supply must have been disconnected years ago due to nonpayment. With the help of the torchlight from his mobile phone, Gourab found layers of dust and dirt on the furniture in the room. The first room was probably an office cum drawing room where guests were welcomed. There were many other rooms inside of which some were bedrooms and there was more than one kitchen. Probably a big household with many members must have stayed here in the heydays of this building. The furniture was intact but all were covered with years of dirt and accumulated due to unuse. Gourab knew he didn't have too much of an option. There was no food with him. Luckily he had bought chocolates as gifts for his nephew and niece. That would help him as his dinner. He had drinking water with him so there was no tension for keeping himself hydrated. But how he could sleep here as all the beds were full of layers of dirt and muck.
The whole approach of the house was eerie. Was this a haunted house, after all, a thought struck Gourab? But he had been to this town so many times after his sister was married that he never had heard of such a place.
Once he had heard from his father that there was a house nearby the highway but now lying vacant and deserted. This house, people had found to be spooky and strange sights been seen was what his father had once said. But as it was none of his concerns so the thought had died down immediately after its hearing. Could this be the house that his father had said some years ago? He couldn't verify it now as his mobile phone had become 'dead' as there was no network connectivity. He even couldn't inform his whereabouts either back home or to his sister's family. He was totally lost for the night. Hope his mother's health was now good and didn't need the medication, Gourab prayed within himself. Eating the chocolates, Gourab now after having his stomach filled mentally prepared himself to retire for the night on the dirt-filled floor. Because spending the night on the dirty linen-covered beds was unthinkable. Sleeping on the floors had its own risks. But tired as he was, Gourab lay on the floor and soon was fast asleep. The ceiling fans still there in their places were just a piece of ornament. But Gourab felt a light breeze continuously blow over his head and body so he had no effort in falling asleep. He felt like someone was helping him cool off with the help of a hand fan. He couldn't be too sure as he was very drowsy. That night was probably the best sleep-filled night Gourab had. Because when he woke up the next morning early with the sun's rays streaming through the half-broken open windows, he was feeling very refreshed. He woke up to more surprises. Beside him on a piece of the newspaper were lying fads of clean new currency notes of denomination of Rupees five hundred. He looked around and finding no one, then summing up his courage and took to counting the notes. He found total of Rupees five lakhs. He tied the notes with a piece of string and got up to leave. Still, there was no interference from anyone.
So with mystery in his thoughts and with unanswered questions in his mind, Gourab quickly started his bike and left the place. He found the nearest tea stall and stopped to refresh himself. There he narrated his last night's experience minus the money part to the people gathered around the tea seller. Everyone listened with wonder and amazement. '' That house has been abandoned many years now, '' said the tea seller. '' The last occupant had become heavily indebted in his last years. But no one knows what happened to him because he has been untraced for many years,'' continued the tea seller in the midst of distributing tea among his customers.' ' No one knows if he died or became an absconder, because there had been no inquiry,' 'excitedly said the tea maker. The tea maker had some more interesting news to share. Some aggressive real estate agents had tried to capture the place but they had been unsuccessful in their attempts. Because this house, however peaceful during the day was a nightmarish place to be in the night. Many of the prospectors have been physically assaulted at night and no one could trace the tormentor. So slowly the realtors have lost interest and since then this house has been lying idle with the tag of being haunted. As the tea seller concluded his amazing tale, Gourab noted a man totally covered with a big shawl as if to hide his identity get up from his seat and leave. The tea seller said that this man sometimes visited his shop and had a few cups of tea and after paying left but always ensured to never reveal his identity. The people gathered around were also amazed to see Gourab come out of the house unscathed and being safe and sound.
However, Gourab didn't waste much more time and went to the pharmacist to get the medicine. In a way, Gourab was very grateful for this windfall gratification that would help him in his mother's medical treatment cost. The pharmacist also heard the story from Gourab and became very intrigued and curious. He also wanted to receive the surprise gratification which Gourab had received. Because he was greedy and didn't want to miss a chance to make a fast buck. He told Gourab that he would accompany him to the house and desired to spend the night there and win some unexpected moolah.
Gourab now left the town with the medicine and was homeward bound. He guided the pharmacist to the house where Gourab had spent the previous night.
The next morning, Gourab heard the news from his newspaper boy that someone had spent the night in a supposedly haunted house and was robbed of all his belongings and stripped of all his clothing. The next morning this man was found in a totally dazed and look of utmost fear. All the people have been saying that this person must have encountered a ghost or why he should be in such distress.
Gourab's father heard all his experience of the previous night. Then he recalled to Gourab that he had a friend called Rabin who had taken a lot of money from him for the treatment of his family who had been afflicted with a strange disease. His father continued saying that unfortunately, his friend Rabin couldn't save his family who all died one by one, and then what fate fell upon Rabin no one knew. '' Because he has been untraced since and with his absconding my money which I lent had also become lost forever, '' lamented his father. '' But has Rabin now returned to give back the money? '' questioned Gourab's father. Gourab had no answer. But he knew that his mother would finally get the treatment she needed.