The Haunted Farmhouse
The Haunted Farmhouse
Kiara brought the tray with biscuits and two cups of tea from the kitchen. A young lady in her mid-twenties was sitting on the sofa, jotting down her thoughts on paper. She was the journalist of a renowned paranormal magazine and she was here to get the cover story for this month’s edition of the magazine.
‘Kiara, are you comfortable to begin the interview?’ Reena (journalist) asked with a casual smile.
‘Yeah sure, please go ahead’, although Kiara didn’t wish to recollect the memories of the last few days.
‘Did you believe in paranormal activities before this incident?’ the smile on her face had vanished now.
‘Never!’ Though I believed in God since childhood but never believed in negative spirits’, Kiara said with a stern expression on her face.
‘Okay. But many people dismiss these things saying there is no scientific explanation to all this and such incidents are mere hallucinations. What’s your take on it?’
‘I myself wouldn’t have believed if we hadn’t taken that trip. Even though I would wish that it was only a bad dream, but I couldn’t escape from reality.’
‘Okay Kiara, can you narrate the entire incident in detail? What exactly happened that night?’ Reena asked taking the pen and paper in her hands, ready to note the details.
‘Well, it’s not the story of one night. It all started since the evening we left Mumbai to go to Lonavala, for celebrating our first marriage anniversary.’
‘Kiara, have you see the keys?’ Gaurav, as usual, had misplaced the car keys and was frantically searching it in every possible corner of the room, randomly misplacing other stuff.
‘Did you check the pocket of your trousers you were wearing yesterday?’ I couldn’t help but smile, seeing his expression.
‘Yeah, maybe you are right’, his face was suddenly lit up. ‘Your wife is always right.’ I opened my fist containing the keys. ‘I was going to put the trousers in the washing machine when I thought of checking the pockets first. No one else could handle such a careless husband the way I do’, I said in an apparent angry tone.
‘That’s why I love you darling. But in my defense, I would say that no other person could deal with a shopaholic woman like you.’ This was his counter-argument every time.
‘Okay baba sorry. Now should we move? It’s already getting dark. We planned to get to Lonavala before sunset.’
‘Don’t worry sweetheart. Lonavala is merely an 80 km drive from Mumbai. We will reach there in less than 2 hours. Just hold your excitement till we reach the farmhouse. Then we will have a lot of fun there.’ Gaurav said with a wink.
It was the evening of 9th Dec, one day prior to our first marriage anniversary. Me and Gaurav had decided to visit Lonavala for celebrating our anniversary, away from the hustle of Mumbai for a few days. Gaurav had booked an entire farmhouse for our stay, although I had insisted to prefer any normal guesthouse/hotel in a reasonable range. Anyways, when I look back to that evening, we were both very excited. Little did we know that this trip would turn out to be the most traumatic experience of our life.
I was immersed in the music when Gaurav suddenly stopped the car. I opened my eyes to see my surroundings. It was a deserted road, with dense bushes and trees on both sides. ‘What happened, Gaurav?’ I asked Gaurav, who was taking out the keys from the ignition knob.
‘Nature’s call’, Gaurav said with an innocent grin on his face.
I was checking my Whatsapp messages when I felt someone watching me from outside the window glasses. I looked up to find an old woman staring at me with folded hands. Her appearance was a bit scary and her clothes were too shabby. I got a bit scared but still pulled the glasses down by an inch.
‘Beta, can you please give me lift if you are going towards Lonavala. There is a small village- Karanjgaon, just a few kms before Lonavala. God will bless you if you can drop me there’, she said, her hands still folded.
I got a bit carried away listening to her plight but regained my logical senses the next moment. I had heard of incidents where such people had disguised their appearance to take lift from passers-by and later looted them and even murdered them. Although she appeared harmless on her own, she could probably have her other gang members waiting somewhere. Moreover, I was in no mood to spoil this romantic long drive by giving lift to a stranger. ‘Sorry amma! We are not going towards Lonavala’, I said and pulled up the glasses. She stared at me for a moment and then went away.
‘Let’s continue our journey’. Gaurav was back, diverting my attention from this old woman. I could just smile in return.
The weather outside was pleasant, the atmosphere inside was romantic, with the song- ‘Ek ladki ko dekha to aisa laga’ being played in the background and Gaurav was humming along. ‘Nothing could be better than this moment’, the thought crossed my mind when I saw a fragile figure standing midway on the road. When we reached a bit close, an old woman was standing there, waving her hands. As soon as I looked at her, my blood froze and I couldn’t swallow my breath.
‘How come she reach here before us’, the fear in me had started building up. ‘Gaurav, don’t stop. Just take off the car past her.’
‘Come on Kiara, she is an old lady who seems to have lost her way. We should definitely help her.’
Gaurav applied the brakes and pulled down the window glasses on his side.
‘But Gaurav, please listen…..’ my voice choked out in between.
‘What happened aunty? How can we help you.’
‘Beta, I live in a small village Karanjgaon, en route to Lonavala. Can you please drop me there?’ she said in that same helpless tone. ‘We are going towards Lonavala only. If your village falls in the route, will drop you there’, said Gaurav, unlocking the back door.
‘Thank you beta, God will bless you’, she said placing her hand on his forehead.
There was an eerie silence in the atmosphere after that old woman stepped inside our car. I don’t know if it was my psychological fear but something bad seemed to happen. I accidentally looked at the rearview mirror to find her staring at me. I can remember her glance even now. It was so terrifying that I held Gaurav’s hands tightly.
‘What happened darling? Your hands are burning. Do you have fever’, he touched my forehead. ‘Strange, only your hands seem to be on fire. Apparently, the fever has not yet reached your brain.’ I wondered how Gaurav could joke in this situation.
‘Show me your hand once.’ The old woman had spoken for the first time since she had taken the seat. Hesitatingly, I extended my hands towards her. As soon as there was a skin to skin contact, I felt I had put my hands inside a refrigerator.
She was holding my right hand and staring at it with keen interest as if she was trying to decipher some archaeological symbol carved on my hands. ‘There are tough times ahead. You will face the worst nightmare of your life’, she said looking directly into my eyes.
‘Wh-what do you mean by this?’ I looked at her expression trying to find some answers but she was silent now and looking out of the window.
After a few minutes of drive, the old lady asked us to stop the car. ‘Thank you beta, my village is nearby’, she said stepping out of the car. After she was gone, I looked at Gaurav who was smiling at me. ‘Don’t take her words seriously, she seemed to be a psychopath’, Gaurav tried to console me while my mind was preoccupied with unknown fears.
I woke up from my nap to find we have reached our destination. I saw the board ‘Blue Lagoon’ on the main entrance of our farmhouse. For a moment, I forgot all the tension and was lost in its beauty and luxurious architecture.
The outside had a rustic look, with a swimming pool in one corner and a small café type sitting on the other corner, surrounded by lush greenery on all sides. The interior was equally beautiful, with a blend of both rustic and modern design. Gaurav got a call from the owner of the place regarding the arrangements and I stepped inside the main bedroom to find it was beautifully decorated with rose petals strewn on the bedsheet and red colored balloons hanging all across the room. I knew it was all going to be worth it. After settling into the new atmosphere, I opened my purse to take out my mobile phone. As soon as I saw something strange inside, my eyes spread wide in horror and I screamed at the top of my voice. After two minutes, Gaurav came running inside, scared to hear me scream like this. ‘What happened Kiara, is everything okay?’ ‘Just look… look at this’, I pointed my finger towards the purse. With a bewildered look on his face, Gaurav took the purse in his hand and it took him a few seconds to realize why I had screamed.
We were sitting on the bed, looking at that weird thing and then looking at each other. Gaurav was as clueless and shocked as me. After a few moments of silence, I spoke up- ‘Do you think this has some connection with that old lady who took lift from us!’
It was a black doll that came out of my purse, out of nowhere. Her appearance was enough to scare anyone, leave alone me. The eyes of that doll were marked by two crosses, which gave it a more scary look. No one among us dared to even touch it for a few seconds. Finally, Gaurav picked up the doll and without saying a word, threw it out of the window. ‘Don’t panic darling. Today was just a bad day for both of us. Everything will be fine.’
‘But how do you explain all these events??’ The image of that doll flashed across my mind continuously. ‘We will find answers to all this. Let’s not spoil our first anniversary and this romantic trip.’ Gaurav said, hugging me tightly. ‘And now cheer up your mood for tonight’, he said with a naughty smile on his face.
It was the morning of 10th Dec, the day of our marriage anniversary. After having our breakfast, we left for sightseeing. The entire day was spent in admiring the beauty of Lonavala, clicking selfies, and later having a romantic dinner at one of the fancy restaurants. After returning back to the farmhouse around midnight, we were not in a mood to have any further conversation. ‘We will plan our day out, tomorrow morning. I am very tired at the moment. Good night baby’, Gaurav said switching off the table lamp.
I woke up to find Gaurav missing from his place. I feel a bit scared and get out of the bed to look for Gaurav. There was complete darkness all over. I switched on my mobile flashlight and kept running from one room to another, calling out his name. But no trace of Gaurav anywhere. Suddenly, a spiral staircase came in view of the mobile flashlight. We hadn’t explored the farmhouse properly since we came here, as we were busy exploring the places or spending time with each other in our room. ‘Maybe Gaurav has gone upstairs.’ I climbed up the stairs to find a long verandah. I felt that somehow my steps were automatically pulled towards the other end. There was a dead end on the left side. When I looked at the right side, there was a door in a semi-opened state. ‘Maybe Gaurav is here,’ I felt a ray of hope inside me. I went inside the room, flashing my mobile in all directions. The moonlight coming from the window illuminated a certain portion of the room where an almirah was kept. I flashed my mobile flashlight over the glass of almirah to find it empty, except a piece of folded paper kept there. Out of curiosity, I take out that piece of paper and start unfolding it when I feel someone has kept his hands on my shoulders. My blood froze and apparently, I couldn’t move.
I opened my eyes to the sight of the ceiling fan rotating at full speed. It took me a few seconds to realize that it was just a dream. ‘What a bizarre dream’, I thought. After drinking a glass of water, I tried to sleep again but couldn’t. ‘This was not a random dream, it signifies something which I am not able to understand.’
Gaurav seemed to be sleeping peacefully. I decided to follow my dream to see if there was a hidden meaning attached to it. As soon as I stepped out of the dream, all the lights flickered out and there was absolute darkness all over. I switched on my mobile flashlight and looked for that spiral staircase which would lead me upstairs. I hurriedly went up, crossed the verandah, and reached the door which was in the semi-open state. ‘Exact replica of the dream.’ I was literally shivering with fear.
The cupboard was easily located by the moonlight penetrating through the window. As expected, there was a single piece of paper kept inside. I took out that piece of paper to find if something is written.
‘The evil spirit will return to haunt this farmhouse every year on this date.’ There was only a single line written there. I flipped the paper to see if ‘this date’ is mentioned. And a few seconds later, I felt the ground slipping under my feet.
‘So what date was it?’ Reena had never heard any such bizarre experience in her 8 years career working as the journalist of a paranormal magazine.
‘The date was………11th December.’
‘Oh my god. Was there anything else written?’
After a long silence, Kiara spoke up, ‘A warning was written there, in different handwriting.’
I read and re-read that line. ‘I gave you that doll to protect you from the evil spirit. But it seems you have thrown it away. Now you will bear the consequences.’ Reading that, the image of that old lady began rolling over in my mind. I kept that piece of paper in the almirah and closed it. Suddenly, I felt someone has kept his hands on my shoulders. I froze in that position and closed my eyes, anticipating something bad to happen.
‘Kiara, are you alright?’
I turned back to find Gaurav looking at me with a worried expression on his face. I hugged him tightly and tears flowed down from my eyes. ‘Gaurav, something is weird at this place. I am feeling scared.’
‘What happened that led you to this room. Anyways, let’s go to our room and relax first. You don’t seem to be fine Kiara.’
‘Gaurav, I want to show you something. This paper, this almirah’, I felt my voice breaking. ‘There is nothing inside the almirah. It is completely vacant,’ said Gaurav, looking surprised.
‘Let me see Gaurav. It was here only, that date, that warning, that old lady…’ I was myself not aware of what I was speaking. But as I saw the almirah, I felt the line between reality and illusion was blurred for me. The almirah was empty now with no trace of any paper.
‘I swear Gaurav, there was this paper. It is a warning for both of us. Let’s get away from here.’
‘Don’t worry baby, it seems you had a bad dream. Let’s go back to our room. It’s already very late to midnight’, Gaurav consoled me as if it was quite a normal thing for him.
I couldn’t sleep properly that night. I was half asleep when the alarm started beeping at 7.00 am. After freshening up, we went out to visit a few other famous tourist spots in Lonavala, but I was not mentally involved today as my mind was preoccupied with yesterday night’s happenings. When we returned back, it was already sunset.
‘Gaurav, are you sure we should stay here tonight, or if we could shift to another hotel for tonight?’ I insisted.
‘Arey don’t worry. Moreover, we have our booking here until tomorrow. Just remember how much have we paid for it.’ He said in a casual tone. ‘If you feel uneasy tonight, just wake me up.’
After going to bed, being so tired, I didn’t realize when I fell into sleep.
I don’t remember what time was it when I wake up. After having a glass of water, I went up to the washroom. As soon as I saw the mirror, I screamed at the top of my voice but apparently, my voice was lost amidst the cloud of fears in my mind. That strange old lady was just standing behind me. I turned back instantly. She was out there, holding a black doll in her hand, exactly identical to the one Gaurav had thrown away.
‘Why did you throw away that doll? It can only protect you from any evil spirits. Take this, otherwise no one can save you’, her voice was as cold as her expressions.
I suddenly woke up to the sound of something falling down and breaking into pieces. It took me around one minute to realize that the table lamp had fallen, which was kept on the table beside my side of the bed; plunging the room into complete darkness. ‘A bad dream again!!’ When I turned to the other side to wake up my husband, I saw what my eyes couldn’t believe. Gaurav was missing and the same black doll was kept there.
Without wasting any time, I picked up the doll and came out of the room barefoot. ‘Gaurav, can you hear me?’ my voice was echoing through the farmhouse. I went upstairs to that same room and found the room to be in the semi-open state. Suddenly, my feet hit something rigid and when I flashed my mobile torch in that direction, I almost fainted. Gaurav was lying there unconscious. Before I could process anything further, someone grabbed me by my neck from behind.
I turned back out of reflex action and saw a shadow about 8 feet tall standing there. Only a pair of red eyes were visible since the room was pitch dark. ‘Why did you throw that doll? It can only protect you from any evil spirit’, the old lady’s voice from my dream echoed through my ears. That monster was right there in front of my eyes. But fear only prevails in your mind till the time you actually face it. I stood there staring at those red devilish eyes for a moment and flashed that black doll right in front of those eyes. The shadow pushed me away and my head banged against the cupboard behind me, after which I lost my senses.
When I regained my consciousness, it was still darkness prevalent all around the room. There was neither any trace of that mysterious shadow nor a single trace of the black doll. Gaurav was still lying there unconscious. With some difficulty, I managed to drag him back to the room. ‘Gaurav, please wake up… Are you listening?’ I said slapping him hard. But no sign of any consciousness. I cried that entire night, unable to do anything to regain his consciousness.
As the first ray of Sun splashed across the horizon, Gaurav opened his eyes. ‘Gaurav, are you fine? How are you feeling now? What happened to you last night?’ I asked so many questions in a single breath.
‘Where are we Kiara?’ Gaurav said looking around. ‘The last thing I remember was that we were packing our luggage to go to Lonavala for our first marriage anniversary. Which is this place? Why it seems I had slept for a long time!!’ Gaurav was surely not doing any prank with me this time, as he does usually.
‘I also have many questions in my mind. But let’s get away from here first. I hope you remember how to drive.’ I said, hopping out of the bed.
The noise of the fan and the tick-tick sound of the wall clock could be heard clearly in this silence which had clouded the room with its eeriness. Looking at her watch, Reena spoke up- ‘Can I meet your husband?’
‘He still doesn’t remember anything about the trip. By the way, he will be returning home only around 6.30 in the evening.’
‘No worries, can I have his contact number and his office address please, if you don’t mind’, the journalist said after thinking for a while.
Reena was standing outside Gaurav’s office at around 5.30 pm when she saw him coming out of the main gate. She glanced carefully at the photo in her phone gallery (which Kiara had sent her). After being sure the person was Gaurav himself, she went up to him and greeted him with a smile.
‘Hi Gaurav, I am Reena’, she gave a brief introduction about her purpose of visit and her interaction with Kiara. Gaurav’s expressions changed at every word spoken by Reena. He stood there, looking completely flabbergasted. ‘Can you please tell me about your experience of the Lonavala trip?’ Reena had already sensed something was out of place.
‘Actually……………… we never went to Lonavala.’
‘Sorry?’ Reena thought she had heard something wrong. ‘It was your first marriage anniversary on 10th Dec and you had planned to go to Lonavala for a four-day trip, with your wife. Please correct me if I am wrong.’
‘Yes, we had planned a trip to Lonavala to celebrate our anniversary but unluckily couldn’t go there. Kiara fainted suddenly in the house on the eve of 9th Dec, just when we were packing our bags. She had been suffering from ‘meningitis’ for a long time, which is a rare infection that affects the delicate membranes covering the brain. Kiara was already on medication but had to be hospitalized when she fainted all of a sudden. She was in coma for more than a week.’
Reena stared at him in the hope of finding a logical explanation to all this. She tried to find words to her thoughts but couldn’t speak a single word.
‘Sorry, I am getting an urgent call. Need to leave. It was nice meeting you’, Gaurav said, picking up his mobile phone. Reena stood there in silence, watching him walk towards his car.