The Cold Spirit
The Cold Spirit
It was the same routine every single night. Or at least for the last 78 nights. Drink warm milk with a teaspoon of sugar. Brush my teeth. Make sure the curtains are closed all the way to the very end (no gaps, thank you!). Moisturise. My pillow fluffed just the right amount. Set a redundant alarm for 6am. Close my eyes. Go to sleep.
All for what? I open my eyes to see it is 3:13am, every single night!
Every night in that moment, all I hear is silence. The silence is so loud, I barely hear my pounding heart. An eerie feeling creeps over me as I see through the (now open) curtains, the ice glazes over the windows from the sudden cold. A smell wafts through. One that is so familiar. I know what it is, I have definitely smelt it before, yet I cannot name it. All these days, I have never been able to remember it. I have tried day after day, night after night, still zilch. What now....?"
I never believed in spirits, so the question of fear didn’t arise. That is why I bought this independent house for a song when it remained unsold for a long time. It was believed to be haunted by the spirits of the owner who committed suicide. When I bought the house it was an investment of sorts. But when I retired, I refurbished the house and moved in. It has been six long months since I had moved in. What I have described above has been happening since a month.
The owner who committed suicide was a class mate of mine from school. But we were never friends. I don’t have much memory of him and never bothered to find out what he did after schooling. So, question of him trying to taunt me was not on the cards.
All this I had briefed the planchette expert Sithamata who was recommended to me by a friend. For the ignorant planchette is derived from the French word little plank. The use of planchettes to produce mysterious written messages gave rise to the belief that the devices foster communication with spirits as a form of mediumship. Scientists explain the motion is due to ideomotor but paranormal advocates believe the planchette is moved by the presence of spirits or some form of subtle energy. Ideomotor is nothing but a psychological phenomenon when subject unconsciously makes movement.
Sithamata looked quite severe and had lots of airs about her. I didn’t like her at all. But I had invited her out of curiosity to discuss this on the recommendation of a friend. I made her a cup of hot herbal tea which she appreciated. Once she finished the tea, she went around the house muttering something to herself with a planchette in her hand. Then she said that some spirit was definitely there. She would have to spend a few nights in the house and try out calling the spirit using her planchette. Then she went into some thinking and closed her eyes, all the time muttering something. She suddenly opened her eyes and said coming Friday for two-three days would be ideal. She would come alone and maker her own meals. There is no charge involved as she was quite well off. Use of planchette is something she loved doing and helps her understand the spirits in general.
On the appointed day after dark, she had come. She asked me to go to sleep the usual time. I said no and asked her if it was okay to observe the process. She said it was ok but I have to be quiet and do nothing to disturb her or the spirits. It was after 2 am when the process started. She spread a sheet of picture poster with lots of images of spirits, dwarfs, angels and devils. At the centre was a wheel yet again with numbers and symbols that look quite archaic. As usual I had closed the curtains as I had told her that I had wondered who opened the curtains at about 3;13 am when I woke up each day to the odour.
As I watched nothing happened except that the curtains were never moved and I never got the familiar odour. Then I went to sleep and got up late. The planchette expert had already woken up and was sipping her herbal tea. She said that she would repeat the process. Sometimes she remarked the spirits were shy to appear all at once. The following two nights she again repeated the process and yet again nothing happened. The curtains were never moved and I get the familiar odour. Disappointed she left and accepted that perhaps there was no spirit or the spirit decided to vacate the house.
The following night I awoke. The time was 3:13 am and I got the familiar odour. That was when I decided to investigate further about the suicide. I went to the police station the next day and told about the situation. The sub-inspector seeing my plight had told the constable to open the strong room and see if it was possible to locate the file. The suicide had taken place twenty years ago. With much difficulty the constable had located the file and he came out fully covered with dust and had a bout of sneezing. He further dusted the file, cleaned it and the SI asked him to hand over the file. I began reading the file.
The death was reported by the maid on the morning of 26th April, 2001. She had a key and got into the house and made a cup of coffee for the master and knocked at his door. He never responded and she got inside the bedroom to find him dead. She then phoned the police station as the master had written a few emergency numbers for her use in emergency. The police had investigated along with the forensic team and found new evidence of any murder. There was no suicide note either. According to the maid the master always had a severe look and he hardly smiled. He hardly interfered with her work and when asked about the next meal would pass a remark.
What caught my attention was the following. The post-mortem reported said that the death had occurred in between 230 and 330 am. The police observation had also remarked that the curtain was moved and a window behind was closed. It was if the soul wanted to leave through the window. That night I had left the curtain moved and left the window open. I never woke up at 3;13 am from then onwards.