The Haunted Past
The Haunted Past18 mins 1.9K 18 mins 1.9K
“Ghosts are those memories that are too strong to be forgotten for good, echoing across the years and refusing to be obliterated by time.”
“All eyes on the signal…!” the radio pilot’s voice crackled in the earpiece. Christie, who had secured the 1st position in the qualifying round, was on the front of the track. Her best friend, Roxanne, was on the 4th position. Christine and Roxanne, the best buddies in the Automobile Engineering college, had participated in this intercollegiate racing competition for Girls. Both were excellent drivers, having raced with each other many times in their respective cars, dodging and drifting perfectly at very high speeds on all the market streets and highways in the city.
Roxanne checked her seat belt and glanced towards Christie’s car, painted in simple colours except black, the color which she never liked. Christie looked in her rear view mirror and saw Roxanne staring at her. She gestured with her thumbs up towards her friend in the back, the thing which she did every time before they raced.
“Idiot….” Roxanne smiled as she realised the starting five lights were on. Roxanne glanced at her friends who were seated in the front row in the audience and she could clearly see the tension on Elvis’s face.
At once the signals went off. The crowd cheered as Roxanne pressed the accelerator hard, releasing the throttle. It was a long straight, with a sharp hairpin bend at the end. Roxanne desperately changed gears fast and approached the bend. Christie was almost next to her, trying to gain lead ahead.
As soon as Roxanne completed the turn, suddenly she heard a huge explosion. Christie’s car engine had caught fire. Unable to handle the heat, Christie lost control of her car. She hit Roxanne hard and drifted straight towards the safety wall. Roxanne’s car took the impact and swirled full 180°, before coming to a stop. She saw Christie desperately trying to get out with an anxious look on her face. She then looked ahead and saw Roxanne staring at her.
“Help me….!” Christie screamed as there was another explosion.
Roxanne suddenly woke up. Sweating and shivering, she sat up on her bed. It was 2:15 AM, exactly the time when her best buddy Christie had died in the hospital after sustaining injuries on the race track. It was almost 4 years now after this incident, but the occasional nightmares kept coming.
Her attention then shifted to her side table. It was filled with photo frames of her self, her daughter Tanya and Elvis together. After college, Roxanne and Elvis married each other and they had a cute little daughter Tanya, who was just two years old. She checked her husband Elvis who sleeping calmly besides her. Tiptoeing softly, she walked up to the kitchen. It was raining heavily outside with eventual thunders.
"Your daughter's behaviour is changing." The headmistress had told Roxanne and Elvis, who had been called in the parent's meeting. "She is behaving weird, lost in her own thoughts and unaware of her surroundings. We've been observing this since past some days. Is everything alright?" The headmistress complained. Roxanne was aware of this fact, for she had herself witnessed her daughter going into trance many times.
The couple then decided to come to this cottage on the outskirts of the city as spending time in the forests could help the little girl recover nicely. It was a wonderful isolated single cottage in a dense forest, with a single approachable road and a stream flowing just next to it, creating a perfect relaxing place.
As she went to the kitchen, she checked her daughter Tanya who was sleeping soundly in the adjoining room.
She opened the refrigerator and drank cold water. She then thought of her daughter, how she was changing and how to.....
Roxanne almost dropped the glass. Tanya was standing behind her, her tiny hands holding her favourite Teddy along her chest.
"Tanya.....? What are you doing her darling?" Roxanne, almost shocked, said as she clearly remembered Tanya sleeping soundly in her room.
"I couldn't sleep...!" she said as she held her teddy closer.
“Everything will be alright soon, darling....!" Roxanne said as she took her daughter back to her room and gently made her go back to sleep.
The next day, they were in their car going on a drive in the forest. It was raining in this area, with fog all around and dense dark trees.
Elvis was seated next to the driver's seat. Roxanne was driving the car, observing the scenario around. As she drove, she just glanced in the rearview mirror to check on Tanya.
She saw Christie, her friend who had died in the car crash years ago seated next to her daughter.
"Noooooooo.....!"Roxanne screamed. Elvis glanced at his wife. But Roxanne was looking behind to check if Christie was really seated on the rear seat.
There was no one seated next to her daughter.
" Watch out....! " Elvis screamed. Roxanne abruptly turned her head ahead and saw a tree in front. She turned sharp right, but the vehicle turned on the wet road and skided to a stop.
For a moment, no one spoke. Elvis heard Tanya sobbing behind. But Roxanne was still lost in her thoughts.
The next day, Roxanne was in her room. Tanya was playing around with her toys. Roxanne was searching for top child psychologists in the city. She wanted to help her daughter come out of what she was going through.
Suddenly, she heard Tanya giggling loudly and clapping her hands. For the first time since many months, Tanya was laughing and cheering loudly. Roxanne was happy that her daughter finally laughed. She came and saw that she was looking outside the window and clapping her hands.
"Little one.... What did you see outside...?" Roxanne said as she started her cell phone camera to shoot the happiness of her daughter.
"Mamaa.... Did you see...? Christie aunty is standing at the window.... She's making funny faces at me..!"
Roxanne almost dropped her cell phone. Her daughter's answer sent chills in her body. She peeped out her window to see if her daughter was right.
There was no one outside.
How come she knows about her? Roxanne thought.
Tanya still continued to laugh and clap. Roxanne was still standing at the window, trying to handle her shivering and also was looking out if someone else was paying any prank.
"Mama, please move aside.... Aunty wants to play with me....!" Tanya screamed happily as Roxanne continued to be panicked.
"Are you sure?" Elvis asked his wife that night as they were having dinner together.
“Of course…! She was happily calling out her name and clapping her hands…!” Roxanne complained as she remembered the incident of the morning.
“Maybe it was just her thoughts…! She may be remembering her from the photographs..!” Elvis cleared her doubts, stating that Roxanne had shown Christie’s photos to her multiple times.
After preparing the dishes, Roxanne cleaned the kitchen and started walking towards her room. It was raining heavily again, with thundershowers. She switched off the lights and as she crossed Tanya’s room, she heard her soft murmurs.
She pushed open the door and saw Tanya reading poetry from the children’s book.
“What are you reading, little one…?” Sitting down next to her daughter, Roxanne asked.
“I’m reading out poems to Christie aunty….See she is sitting in the front…..smiling at you…!”
Roxanne turned around in terror to look if anyone else was in her room.
There was no one around.
The chair in front was empty.
“Tanya…whats the matter? Are you feeling alright?” Roxanne asked her, worried about the way her daughter was behaving.
“Yess Mama….” Tanya said as she smiled, “Christie aunty is telling you to go and sleep. She wants to play with me…!”
As she came back to her room, she was feeling tensed about her daughter. Is she going insane? Why has she started seeing Christie everytime? I need to do something.
As she laid on the bed, she promised herself that she’ll soon check a psychologist for her daughter.
“Help me….!” Christie screamed as there was another explosion.
Roxanne suddenly woke up. Sweating and shivering, she sat up on her bed. She checked the time. It was 2:15 AM, again the same time when Christie had died in the hospital after sustaining injuries. She herself never knew when she went to sleep engrossed in thoughts of her daughter.
“But Elvis, please try and understand…!” Roxanne tried to convince her husband the next day while having breakfast regarding their daughter.
“She is behaving so very much weird nowadays…” she then told him about the night’s events. After hearing it, Elvis thought for a moment.
“I think we should better consult a doctor soon….! Else there are chances we could lose our daughter….” Elvis said as he took his hunting bag.
The whole day, Roxanne kept wondering how her daughter could behave this way. Since yesterday she suddenly started seeing her dead friend everywhere. I better consult a doctor soon, she decided to herself.
That night, all three of them were having dinner. Roxanne and Elvis served themselves. Tanya too filled up her plate. As they started having, Tanya picked up her plate and started walking to her room.
“Where are you going little one?” Roxanne asked, unable to understand her daughter’s behaviour.
“Christie aunty is waiting for me upstairs…We’re having dinner together..!”
Both Elvis and Roxanne were shocked as they heard this. Roxanne also observed that her daughter had changed her hairstyle, similar to what Christie used to keep.
The next day, after Elvis went to office, Roxanne made Tanya go to sleep. Alone in the house,she then decided to arrange her daughter’s room.
She went upstairs and started arranging all of her toys, neatly placing them one above the other.
She then discovered one black box that was kept above the closet. Surprised, she climbed up on the stool and got it down as Tanya hated black color and always kept every color in her room except black. She got down the box and saw that it was taped from all sides. As she cut out the tape and saw the contents inside, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. As she went through all the things inside one by one, she was shocked. She never knew this part of the story which was kept hidden from her all along the time.
“Roxanne, please try to understand me…” Elvis said as he placed his hand on his weeping wife’s shoulder,” I wanted to…”
“Don’t you touch me…!” Roxanne screamed as she brushed away his hand. “Christie and you were having an affair….? Today I found in that sealed box many of your images where you both were kissing and hugging each other. We three were very close friends…I always knew that you and Christie were good buddies …but still I choose to marry you because I thought you loved me….! But you were playing with someone else all these years before our marriage and I never even knew….!” Wiping away her tears, she said, “I think you killed Christie….because you can’t just let her go away and she was not ready to listen…”
“Please stop this…” Elvis stopped her, “I did……”
His sentence was cut short by Tanya who was standing at the door.
“I saw Christie aunty coming here...!”
“Little one….” Roxanne came near her and said, “There is no Christie aunty here. Let’s go to sleep.” As Roxanne took her hand, Tanya glanced at her and said,
“Mama, why is Christie aunty’s face burned? Her fingers are also missing…. She can’t talk properly….”
Tanya and Elvis, both of them starred in horror at their daughter, as she never knew what had happened to her mom’s friend.
“She says she likes me a lot…! She is missing me…..and she likes my dad Elvis very much..!”
“You heard what Tanya said back there?” Roxanne asked Elvis as they slept.
“She said she can actually see Christie around. And most importantly, she likes you.”
That night, Roxanne couldn’t sleep at all. She glanced at Elvis, who was sleeping soundly. It was raining heavily outside. Since the past 2-3 days, she was unable to sleep at night. Every time, the thoughts of betrayal, fear, and panic kept creeping on her.
As she took gulps of water, she heard giggling sound from Tanya’s room. As usual, she knew what it was. As she came out of her room and peeped inside Tanya’s room, she was shocked.
Tanya was sleeping soundly, holding her teddy close to her chest.
Did I hear someone laughing, Roxanne wondered. She then started to go back. As she took some steps ahead, she sensed someone was behind her.
“Little one…” she said as she turned around, “you should be in your….”
She stared ahead in horror.
Christie was standing in front, her face burnt, one eye missing, her fingers mutilated and she was looking straight at Roxanne with her one eye.
Almost terrified, Roxanne couldn’t utter a word from her mouth. Gasping for breath and sweating profusely, she felt her entire body shivering.
She turned and saw Elvis standing behind her. Frightened and stammering, she pointed her finger in the direction where she had seen Christie.
Elvis looked in that direction and shrugged his shoulders.
Roxanne studied his expression and looked behind.
Christie was no longer standing there.
Roxanne just turned and ignored Elvis. Still shivering, she came back to her bed and tried to sleep.
The next day, Elvis was observing his wife as she served breakfast. Her face was pale, with dark circles below her eyes. She couldn’t talk properly, was dropping things quite frequently. Tanya was still asleep in her room.
Yesterday night, as he was about to sleep, Roxanne had blamed him.
“You killed my friend. That’s the reason she’s possessing our daughter…” she said with wet eyes, “Why did you even marry me….when you actually loved her…?”
As Elvis was having breakfast, Roxanne came and sat in front of him.
“Let’s pack up and go back. I’m not feeling well the day I came here. Let’s go back. We’ll decide what to do next…” she said without looking at him.
Elvis felt what she said was right. He also had the same feeling. As he got up, he then thought about what will be the future of their relationship after Roxanne came to know about his hidden affair with Christie. He had always tried to…
Elvis thoughts were cut in between as he heard Roxanne’s scream. He then looked out and saw Tanya walking on the bridge above the stream outside their house.
Roxanne just stormed out of the back door. Running barefoot, she approached the front yard and ran towards the bridge. As she came to the front yard, probably the first time since they came here, she saw the forest around.
The trees covered with mist.
The only house in the property away from all the main roads.
The hills in the distance.
The stream flowing over the stones.
The wooden bridge with wood railings for crossing the stream.
At once she realised that they were in Christie’s house, a property that she had purchased some years ago. Recently it was renovated, therefore Roxanne couldn’t remember how it looked previously.
Without thinking about why Elvis brought her here, she crossed the bridge and ran to the other side. Tanya was seated on a rock observing the valley. The whole area was covered with fog. Roxanne came and stood next to her daughter, who was sitting silently.
Before she could speak anything, Tanya suddenly turned and faced Roxanne.
“You could have saved me from dying ….Roxy…”
Roxanne starred at her daughter in terror.
Tanya’s face was half burned, one eye missing. Her face and her voice were exactly like Christie and, most importantly, she had called her by a name which only Christie used.
Roxanne couldn’t believe what she saw. Elvis was standing next to her, looking equally shocked. Roxanne could still see Christie’s face instead of her daughter’s. She couldn’t bear the horrible face of her once alive friend.
“Go away…..!” Roxanne screamed at the top of her voice, “Get away from my daughter…..Go away…..Please……leave my daughter alone…..”
“Mama…!” Tanya suddenly called out.
Roxanne opened her eyes and saw her daughter, looking up and staring at her, holding her teddy in her hand.
Roxanne at once pulled her daughter towards her and hugged her tightly. She then looked at Elvis and said, “Now I know why you brought us here…! You wanted to have our daughter possessed by my friend’s spirit so that you can get rid of her and then ultimately me…! Why did you….”
“I brought you here because every other resort were full…! I had to find a quiet place for our daughter…!” Elvis yelled back.
Wiping away her tears, Roxanne said, “Let’s leave this fucking place right now….! I don’t wanna stay here a single minute…!”
By the time they came back, it had started raining heavily. The thundershowers were so strong, they couldn't see what was outside. They came back and started packing their things. None of them was speaking a single word with each other. Not ready to leave her alone, Roxanne sat beside her daughter, who was fast asleep.
By the time they finished packing, it was raining quite heavily. They then decided to stop until evening. By dusk, they decided to leave. It got darkened a bit more in the forest, and the electricity was not working.
Roxanne who was feeling deluged took her bag and came down. Elvis also brought his bag down. As they approached the garage, Elvis realised something’s wrong.
“Where’s Tanya?” He said this as he remembered seeing her coming out of her room.
“Tanya….!” Roxanne called out.
“NOOOOOOO…!” suddenly they heard an ear-piercing scream. Both of them ran upstairs. As they entered inside, it was dark all around and they felt a sudden drop in the temperature.
They pushed open the door and went inside.
Tanya was sleeping on the bed, breathing heavily. She was holding her teddy next to her, but she looked as if she was gasping for breath.
Elvis immediately dialed the emergency helpline.
“Little one…what happ..”
Roxanne's words were cut short, as both of them saw Tanya slowly rising up from the bed horizontally towards the ceiling with her hands on the sides. It was as if someone was lifting her up with some power.
Both Elvis and Roxanne froze.
Tanya rose up until halfway till the ceiling, and then slowly started turning vertical. She was about six feet from the floor of the bedroom. As she became erect, Roxanne and Elvis saw that her face was no longer hers.
It was Christie.
Roxanne covered her eyes in fear.
“Won’t you look at me…Roxy…?” The person inside Tanya mocked at Roxanne.
Roxanne slowly removed her hands from her eyes and saw that it was Christie’s smiling face. She was about to say something when suddenly, Tanya’s expression changed and her face was replaced with the burned face, her one eye missing, entire left part of her skin burned, her fingers deformed.
Roxanne stared in horror.
Tanya slowly started coming closer to her. She was floating in the air, making no sound at all, slowly approaching Roxanne.
Elvis just couldn't believe what he was looking at. He was witnessing a paranormal activity right in front of him.
Roxanne stared in horror as Tanya who was now possessed by Christie came near her. She was looking terrible, with one eye staring right at her. As Tanya came near her, Roxanne smelt burnt metal and the heat of it. She could clearly feel as if all the area around her is on fire. As Tanya finally came near to her, Roxanne clearly smelt burnt skin. She saw the severed face of her friend, the charred skin and the horrible features.
“Roxy…..” Christie’s voice came through Tanya’s mouth, “Why didn't you save me?”
Roxanne was stunned by the question. She was unable to answer it.
“WHY DIDN'T YOU SAVE ME…..?” Tanya, now possessed by Christie, screamed so loudly Roxanne felt her eardrums burst. She then thought about the race day.
She saw Christie desperately trying to get out of the burning car with an anxious look on her face. Totally panicked, she then looked ahead and saw Roxanne staring at her.
“Help me….!” Christie screamed as there was another explosion. Her car’s bonnet exploded sending out burning metal shards all around. The race was immediately stopped. Christie was still trying to get out, but her safety harness was stuck somewhere inside. Roxanne was starring directly at her. Her car was not too far off from Christie’s, but she stayed in her car. She could have easily gone and saved her. But…..
“WHY DIDN'T YOU SAVE ME…..?” Tanya screamed again in Christie’s voice, this time so loudly that the entire room vibrated.
“Because I hated youuu…!”
The entire room fell silent for some time. Elvis couldn't believe what he was hearing. He was shocked by his wife’s confession.
“I hated you…Bitch…!” Roxanne hissed as she uttered the word. “Every time you had won, you always made fun of me…! You even tried to pull Elvis towards you…! You were so much pathetic, that after every achievement, you mocked me…! You made me a joker in front of everyone….! I hated you since the day I met you…! In all the college degrees, in all the functions, you were ahead of me. And when I lost, you were the first one to tease me…! I started feeling jealous of you. The jealousy inside built up so hard that I wanted to finish you off, but I couldn't get any chance. The race event was a perfect opportunity for me…! When your car caught fire, I could have saved you…but I decided to let you burn….!”
Tanya, possessed by Christie, listened patiently. Without moving, she kept looking at Roxanne.
“Christie…I am sorry…!” Elvis suddenly spoke up. “Please leave our daughter…! She has nothing to do with all this…! She is innocent…please….” Elvis folded his hands and pleaded.
Tanya never let her eyes go off from Roxanne.
“I won’t spare you, Roxy…!” Tanya screamed. “I’ll be back…!”
Suddenly there was a huge gush of wind. Tanya who was now floating about six feet in the air, suddenly fell down. Her head banged hard on the bedroom floor. The little one fell unconscious.
“Tanya…!” Roxanne screamed as she ran towards her.
The emergency team arrived soon after. Tanya was immediately taken to the emergency ward. Her condition was critical. Her skull was ruptured, causing damage to her brain. She was in a coma. Doctors and neurosurgeons were trying hard to help her survive. Roxanne was seated next to her, observing her heartbeat and response to the treatment. Every minute, her daughter's health was deteriorating fast.
“I can’t guarantee her life, Roxanne,” the neurosurgeon said. “She is only two years old. She may not survive now…”
Roxanne was almost heartbroken as she heard this.
Suddenly the alarms started blaring. The digital cardiogram was almost horizontal. A stream of doctors rushed to help, but it was too late. Tanya had already left the world.
“Nooooo…..!” Roxanne screamed. Doctors checked her and claimed her dead.
Suddenly, the cardiogram jumped. The electronic meters came to life. The digital cardiogram again showed a normal heart rate. Tanya’s fingers flickered. She opened her eyes and slowly and looked at Roxanne. The doctors checked her and were surprised that she was alive and slowly recovering.
“Thank God, Tanya…..” Roxanne said as she and Elvis both hugged their daughter.
“Your OK…Little one…!” Roxanne convinced her daughter.
As she hugged her daughter, Tanya placed her hand on her mother's shoulder and whispered in her ear,
“Hi, Roxy……I am Back…!”