I know what you did
I know what you did8 mins 318 8 mins 318
The car was speeding down the road, with Kartik driving recklessly. I don't know what disturbed me more- the speeding car, the loud music blasting from the stereo or the destination where we were headed. Probably all three of them. My four friends riding with me- Kartik, Dhairya, Ira and Paridhi, seemed unfazed. Needless to say, I was coerced into taking this vacation. I regretted not having put up a stronger fight.
It was Kartik's brilliant idea to spend April Fools Day in an abandoned mansion, deemed to be haunted since many decades. I didn't like him much, his notoriety irked me. But he seemingly had all our other friends wrapped around his fingers. Hence here we were, barely a half hour remaining before we reached. With every passing minute my heart started beating faster, the dangerous omen lurking over my head.
2 HOURS LATER:
We had all freshened up, filled our stomachs and were now seated in the hall, huddled closely on the floor. Through the window you could see that night had fallen, the storm and thunder threatening the possibility of heavy rain. The area was deserted, and a creepy silence hung in the air. It seemed like the nature also supported Kartik's decision of telling horror stories- something he had been dying to do since we arrived. It was the perfect setting, and I was just praying continuously, waiting for the night to end.
"This house belonged to a beautiful family- a husband and wife and their two cute children. For the outside world, their family personified perfection. Everyone wanted to be like them. But little did they know that this family was rotting inside. The mother was nothing like what the society considered her to be, and years of pretense had started taking their toll on her. Maya was slowly losing her mind, torn between her two contrasting personalities.
One day, something in her snapped. She decided that she had had enough of the society's expectations. More than that, she was fed up with her family for wanting to change her, to mould her into someone that she wasn't. Today was the day that she was going to break free from her shackles, and show her true side to everyone. First, she took her kids and locked them in the basement, turning her attention to the root of all her problems- her husband.
It was a dark and silent night, eerily similar to tonight. She tip-toed quietly to their room, where her husband was sound asleep, blissfully unaware of the horror that was about to befall him. She pulled him from the bed at once, his eyes flying open. He turned around, his brown eyes meeting his wife's grey eyes- they looked shiny and bright, with a murderous glint in them. He started putting all the pieces together, remembering her weird behaviour from the past few days. He tried to hold onto the bed, screaming and thrashing around. She dragged him all the way to the kitchen and burned him alive.
That's when the repercussions of her deed hit her. She instantly regretted her action, realizing what an animal she had become. She knew she had committed a crime, one she deserved to be punished for. As if in a trance, she grabbed a rope, walked towards the fan in the hall, the one right above us, and hung herself. She was so engrossed in her thoughts and feelings that she forgot about the children she had locked up in the basement. The children cried for days, but no help came for them. By the time the authorities discovered the bodies, even the children had passed away. Since then, anyone who visited this place never made it out alive. And with them what also died was the story of what happens behind these closed doors."
It felt like hours passed and no one spoke a word. The story had brought a chill down everyone's spines, and no one knew how to react. All of us were frozen in fear, a feeling of doom enveloping the air. The silence was suddenly broken by a huge burst of laughter. I wasn't even shocked when I realised the source of it- Kartik. He laughed it off, saying that he had made up the story on the spot. But judging by the looks on everyone's face, I knew that no one believed him. But I hoped that the story wasn't true, because I didn't want to find out what would happen if it was.
After playing some games, we decided to call it a night. Since the mansion was huge, we all had personal rooms. While it had seemed like a relief earlier, now I wasn't so sure. I lay in bed, tossing and turning incessantly, sleep evading me. I walked out of the room, deciding to check if anyone else was awake. But looks like the horror story was forgotten as everyone was fast asleep. Realizing that maybe I was overthinking it, I decided to go back and double my efforts to go to sleep.
My hands were on the handle and just as I was about to open the door, I heard the sound of someone sobbing. It seemed soft as first, getting louder and louder with each passing second. Against my better judgment, I decided to go investigate. I was following the sound, my legs taking me towards the source. I found myself standing outside the basement door, about to reach for the handle. Suddenly the story came back to my mind and I quickly spun around, trying to get away from there.
I reached my room and sat down on my bed, my hand resting on my heart. Even in this cold weather I could feel beads of sweat forming on my forehead. I felt horrible running away from those desperate pleas of help, but self-preservation was my first instinct. I briefly contemplated waking someone up and narrating my story. But I knew they would never believe me. So I decided to give sleep another chance, not wanting to be awake to experience the other horrors that lay ahead.
I was awoken by someone tugging at my leg, screaming for someone to help. His screams were piercing through the silence. I didn't want to look, but I knew he was being dragged across the corridor. His nails were making an annoying sound as they were scraping on the floor. I was unable to move, my body feeling limp. While my body was not responding, my brain was working quickly and efficiently. How was it that no one else was awake? How could they sleep through it all- the children's loud wails and the man's screams? I was beginning to get very suspicious- something did not seem right.
I stood up, almost instantly falling back down. The incidents of tonight had taken a physiological as well as psychological toll on me. My body was trembling, my knees buckling and goosebumps covered my arms. Ignoring all these effects, I started walking out, ready to confront my friends, especially Kartik. If no one saw the occurrences in this house and if no one knew the real story of this house, then how did Kartik? And how is everything happening exactly as it happened in the story?
Then I remembered the date. 1st April. Now I knew why my friends were so desperate for me to come along. They planned this. With all these thoughts hovering in my mind, I walked out and saw a sight that made me want to throw up. A body hung from the fan. I could feel myself shaking violently, my heart beating so loudly that I felt it would come out of my chest. The room started spinning, and I could feel my body slowly sink to the floor.
We were all sitting in my room, laughing at how scared Avni would be. From playing children's wailing sounds in the basement, to hanging a dummy from the fan- we had planned it all. I knew she would be really angry, but it was April Fools Day after all. Today everything is justified.
"Guys, let's go to Avni now. I really want to see her face," Ira said.
We started walking out, and I could already imagine the look on her face. I am sure I would even get a few punches thrown my way, but I would take it. I just want to see her reaction- i am sure it would be priceless. But the sight infront of me made me freeze. There she lay, lifeless on the ground. The others rushed to her, trying to wake her up. But her face was as white as a sheet. It was evident that whatever she saw scared her so much that she couldn't process it.
Guilt was etched on all our faces. We had no clue how traumatic the whole experience must have been for her. We hid her body and all destroyed all the other evidence. Then we ran away, not wanting to get caught.
A YEAR LATER:
A year had passed since that dreadful day, with each day magnifying my guilt. The others couldn't bear it, they had all moved away. None of us stayed in contact after that, as if trying to assuage our guilt. That day it wasn't just one life that was destroyed, it was five. Yes we were living, but we were just hollow shells of our earlier selves. Suddenly I heard the doorbell go off. I saw that it was a mail man, with a parcel for me. When I opened it, I got the biggest shock of my life. Inside lay the recording of the children's cries, which I was sure I had destroyed. I played it, the haunting sound echoing all over the house. It had to be someone's idea of a sick joke, it was 1st April after all.
A note fell out of the box. I knew that handwriting, it was Avni's.
"Did you miss me?"