Nisha10 mins 635 10 mins 635
3.30 a.m. Power cut. Dogs barking.
Arjun jolted from his troubled sleep, the pitch dark ambience and unnatural silence greeted him. He uncomfortably got up, stretched forward and pushed the windows wide open to see the full moon casting a ghostly pallor.
He was startled by an uncanny noise that seemed like the rattling of vessels. His wide eyes narrowed after seeing an empty bed.
Nisha, was his immediate thought.
With a naughty smile, he reached the kitchen and he was taken aback by a black cat with dark coal coloured fur and intense devilish eyes.
Stunned, he rushed back to his bedroom and to his astonishment noticed Nisha sleeping peacefully in her place. He went closer and closer. As he was about to wake her up, he heard the sound of the bell. DING DONG! Somebody was at the door.
As Arjun was about to unlock the main door, suddenly it struck him and his hands started quivering.
How come? Without power?
c. He browsed through the hall with the help of his mobile torch to look for any objects for self defense but found nothing.
Somehow convinced with his 5.5 inch mobile with metal frame, he opened the door and found nothing but creepy darkness and the loud noise of barking stray dogs. A touch of a chill puff of air sent shivers down his spine.
DING DONG! This time it came from inside.
Arjun jumped out of his skin hearing that call, again. He closed the door at once and turned around to locate the spot from where the sound appeared.
Bedroom? Arjun whispered.
“Wait! Nisha is sleeping there.” he found it difficult to interpret as many questions popped up at that instance.
Was she not there when I woke up…!?
Was she lying at the same old spot when I returned…!?
Was she lying peacefully as if nothing happened…!?
He struggled to control his scrolling mind with the thoughts that intertwined with the fear and uncertainty.
He swallowed and stepped carefully and cautiously towards the bedroom. Before he could pull back the loosely hanging velvet drapes, a bright light emerged from the room. Unable to hold it further, he pushed the curtains angrily.
He was stunned and stood rooted to the spot.
After a while, he screamed aloud.
“You? Seriously?” Arjun screamed.
He saw something unusual and stumbled over his words. His trembling fear had gone astray with the creepiness. And his head got filled with happiness.
“You just scared the shit out of me,” holding back his smile Arjun cried.
“Happy birthday my love,” whispered Nisha. She was holding a black forest cake; there was a candle on the cake in the shape of twenty eight.
Her lustrous eyes glowed along with the candle. Featuring long-drawn-out tresses, she stood in front of him wearing dark pink night wear. For a moment, Arjun forgot all the eerie incidents and started romanticizing her adorable beauty. The dark and gloomy mood has been transformed into an inviting yet appealing one.
"At times, I fail to notice how beautiful you are," Arjun said with his eyes glued on her.
"Alright, come on; let's cut the cake and stop looking at me like that," she blushed.
"While everyone celebrates their birthday at 12 o'clock, my Nisha makes it unusual. Yet it becomes memorable," he winked and cut the cake.
"That's Nisha!" she shrugged while munching the cake.
"Now tell me about that calling bell?" Arjun was curious.
Nisha laughed and said, "Sometimes you fail to remember that your wife is also a renowned physicist."
"Aha! All these years of your doctoral research in Architectural Acoustics were only to scare me off; is it?"
"Not exactly, but yes, it helped though"
"But, where have you been when I woke up?"
"That was part of my play and I never thought that you will fall for that," Nisha giggled.
"Yeah that's very funny!"
"Oh yeah? Funny it seems!" she grinned mischievously.
"You idiot!" he jumped over her in a flash.
They cuddled on the bed showing their passionate love. All of a sudden, Nisha screamed!
Divya saw through her glass window the night watchman of the apartment walking past her room.
"What happened? Why did you stop?" Divya asked anxiously.
"As if I wrote it! Why can't you come over here and help me out to find the patches of the story instead of lying down there listening like a queen.” Priya yelled at her still probing her wardrobe further looking for any other diary or paper.
Divya and Priya are IT professionals. They were hostel mates for over a year. Recently, they had moved into a fully-furnished rented apartment in South Chennai.
One day Divya found a 2002 diary in a wardrobe, while cleaning the living room. The neatly written longhand scripts made both of them curious. Priya offered to read it aloud.
As Priya snooped into her wardrobe looking for some more material that could continue the story, Divya shouted, “Why can’t you check my wardrobe instead of wasting time in yours? That’s where I found this diary!”
Priya was in a world of her own and she did not reply or even managed to show any reaction. She had literally popped herself into the wardrobe; almost half of her body was into it.
Infuriated by not getting acknowledged, Divya called at the top of her voice, “Priya!” But to her dismay no reaction came from the opposite side.
The power went off.
“Oh God!” sighed Divya.
All of a sudden she was engulfed by creepy darkness and silence. The slow tick-tock sound of the clock was louder than ever. Her breathing got heavier and heavier. And then she heard from the distance, the incessant howling of dogs.
“Priya! Where are you?” shouted Divya but there was no reply.
Worried, Divya took her mobile and unlocked it. The bright light emerging from her mobile pierced through the darkness, and helped her to look for Priya.
As Divya browsed through the living room, she was shocked to see Priya in the same posture with her head plunged inside the wardrobe. She shouted again, “Priya!”
She heard a soft groan from Priya that reverberated throughout the room intensifying the gloominess.
Divya slowly approached her and tried to pull her out of the wardrobe but Priya resisted stoutly. But Divya was determined enough to pull her out and went with a full force; Priya came out screaming, “Stop it, you idiot!”
“How could you?” Divya lashed out.
“Oh poor girl. Look at you!” Priya could not control herself as she busted out laughing at the terrified look of Divya.
Divya gave her an intent look but that could not stop Priya. Later, she gave up and joined Priya, banging her with the pillow.
As they were busy fighting, the bright light and popping noise from Divya's mobile interrupted them.
"Enough, go check your mobile. Nisha is waiting for you," Priya teased her with a mischievous smile.
"Shut up!" said Divya with a grin and verified her mobile, where she found nothing. Neither was there a message nor a missed call. She became mystified.
"What now?" Priya inquired after watching her baffled look.
"It’s blank! Nothing is there. Then, How come I heard a popping noise?" Divya was anxious.
"Maybe it's an alarm tone." said Priya.
"Nope, it's not. I could not understand why!"
"Oh, come on man, sometime it happens. Stupid devices, you know!" Priya tried to calm her up but could not succeed as Divya was pondering over it, holding the mobile.
Priya got hold of her hands and tried easing her. Again, they were interrupted with a louder noise this time.
Divya jumped out of her skin hearing that noise. It was something unexpected and left her body trembling.
Still Priya was holding her hands and tightened her grip, after realizing Divya was frightened.
"Relax yaar. It's just a bell. You are shivering badly." Priya was concerned.
"Just a bell? Are you out of your mind?" shouted Divya.
"May be or maybe not, I am upset at this."
"Priya, this is more than just a bell. Could you…"
"Enough, I got it." Priya intervened. "This is about darkness. You are afraid of darkness. Nothing else! I know already that you were left alone after a terrible earthquake, which swallowed your family over the night. You must get away with it now, at least for their sake!"
Tears rolled down the cheeks of Divya.
Priya continued, "Do you think your parents will feel happy watching you like this?"
"Why…? Of course you are alive and awesome. But this darkness should not engulf you and your capabilities. You know that. Don't you?"
"Yeah, kind of..."
"Kind of? Seriously Divya? Look at yourself. How vulnerable you are?"
"Alright it's all fine. I got you. Could you please listen to me once?
"I am all ears."
"Yes, I am afraid of darkness but now there is something else. The ringing noise from the door bell is bothering me.
"Yes ranged. So what?"
"Idiot! There is no power."
"So that's your problem. By the way Divya, you really think there is no power?"
"What do you mean?" Priya's statement raised her eyebrows.
Priya stood up to leave after loosening Divya’s grip and slowly disappeared into the darkness.
A soft voice resounded around the hall,
Darkness is your ally
Stop indulging it with folly
Embrace it tight
For its offering might!
“Could you just open the door, drama queen?” Divya screamed.
The power came back. It engulfed the darkness in a glimpse of an eye. Her face lit up in happiness watching the sudden turn-around in the living area. Before she could react, she heard the bell ring again.
“What the hell are you doing there Priya?”
“Oh my..! Alright, I am done” She lost it and hurried up to open the door.
Opening the door, she was taken aback to see a person standing outside the door. And this time it was intense. Her eyes were wide open. Her heart was pumping hard and fast; hard enough to explode in a minute as she could sense the pain. One of her hands was holding the door firmly and the other went trembling to the torso and started caressing it, in a way to raise her spirits.
“PRIYA…!?” She gave her a baffling look.
“What’s it? Why you took so long to open the door?” Priya slammed her. “Could you just let me in at least NOW?”
Divya let her in and remained silent. She was lost in her thoughts. Exhausted, Priya fell on the mattress, which held her like a soft cloud.
But in the meantime, Divya appeared fully perturbed.
Was I really talking with someone?
Was there a power-cut?
Or were all these things were my hallucination?
Oh God! What am I into?
She was busy pondering over these scaring and unanswerable questions.
“Aren’t you online?” Priya tried to interrupt but went in vain as there was no reply from Divya. “I pinged you in whatsapp. Didn’t you receive?”
“You what?” Divya caught her this time. “Whatsapp!”
“Just check your phone.”
Divya dashed to her phone, which showed a popped up notification against the name Priya.
“What the hell! There was nothing before.” She was furious.
“What nothing before?” Priya probed.
“Just shut up and sleep!” Divya yelled back.
Divya sat across the corner of the living area, trying to focus on what she had just experienced. Suddenly a shuffling-noise of papers caught her eye. The Diary!
She grabbed it and browsed through the legible longhand script. Everything was right except for the ending,
…they cuddled over the bed showing their passionate love.
But she heard an additional sentence, which was not there earlier.
…all of a sudden, Nisha screamed.
“So it was just to scare me off?” she paused for a moment. “But I am not actually scared.”
“Whoever you are, I’d say I don’t give a damn.” She sighed valiantly like never before and went to bed, switching off all the lamps for the first time.
Eventually, Divya realized that darkness is the absence of light and absences do not exist.
As she lay down next to Priya, the pages of the diary jumbled up again for a while before halting at the page, where the story stopped.
The final lines appeared,
…all of a sudden, Nisha smiled.