The Old Strangers
The Old Strangers19 mins 268 19 mins 268
It was a November afternoon, when Rohan peered out of the window of his bed room, anxiously waiting for his friends to arrive at his house. It was pouring down heavily which had further dropped the temperature. He was a boy of 8th standard and his friends were to come to his house to complete their group project.
Finally, he heard the calling bell ring. He hurried down the stairs. He could see the old couple lounging on their sofa. He opened the door and finally his classmates were here.
“Finally, it’s good to see you all. Please come in,” Rohan said.
“Let’s start our project and hope that we will be standing first in our class,” said Aman.
“Of course we will.”
They started walking in. They were startled to find the old couple seated on the sofa as they did not recognize them. The old couple stared towards the children. The staring made the children feel a bit eerie. Finally, they climbed upstairs and were in Rohan’s room.
“I think some guests have come to your house,” Pratik told Rohan.
“Yeah, they are our neighbors. Their house is hundred meters away from ours. Theirs and ours are the only houses in this area. We have known them since we have shifted here six months back. They are Anglo Indians,” said Rohan.
“They appear to be very stern. Don’t they?” said Neha.
“I don’t like the old couple much. But my parents feel pity for them as they were left by their children and they think they are very kind and loving, but I don’t feel so.”
“There is no point waiting any more. We should immediately get on to work.”
“You are right.”
They had just started to work, when the door flung open and standing in front of them were Rohan’s parents along with the old couple.
“We have to go somewhere. I hope we will be back before midnight. Meanwhile Mr. and Mrs. Bond will be taking your care,” Rohan’s father said.
“Don’t worry Rohan, we will be back as soon as possible,” Rohan’s mother said.
“I hope Rohan that you will be obeying Mr. and Mrs. Bond. They are like your grandparents. I hope that you will behave responsibly and take good care of your friends.”
“Okay dad,” Rohan said in a low voice.
They resumed their work after Rohan’s parents left. They worked diligently for the next few hours and meanwhile, it was starting to get dark.
“Now it’s completely dark. Days during the winter season are really very short,” Aman spoke.
“It’s true. I think we should leave,” Ananya said.
“Today we really had a very successful day. Don’t forget guys that tomorrow we will be meeting in my home,” Pratik said.
“We do remember.”
They started to leave. They were just about to open the door of the room to walk out of it, when the lights went off. Nothing was visible in the dark and only their voices could be heard.
Aakash felt that something was there in his pocket. He reached out for it and found a little torch. He wondered how it had been there in his pocket but it was something which was needed at the moment. He lit the torch.
Finally, they could see each other. But the ray of light from the torch travelled straight into the distance and was not reflected by the walls. There was nothing in their surrounding except for the darkness and the light of the torch. They felt that they were in a large vacant and dark place and it wasn’t Rohan’s house. They started feeling creepy and an involuntary chill passed down their spine.
“What is happening? Where did the walls vanish?” Pratik exclaimed in fear.
“Mr. Bond. Mrs. Bond,” Rohan called out but there was no response.
“I think we should go and find our way out,” Aman said.
“I think you are right.”
They clutched onto each other and groped for the way out.
“Where are we going? We were just inside a house and now we are not finding our way out,” Pratik said half in fear and half in anger.
“We have been just walking in a dark vacant space!” Ananya exclaimed with frustration and fear.
She had just spoken when they found themselves enclosed in an unknown room. The room started illuminating gradually. Light penetrated through the window in the room. It wasn’t the dark vacant space anymore. The room had a big centre table in the middle and a large wooden cupboard in one of the corners. The room was devoid of lights and fan. The room was very chilly.
“Rohan, isn’t it a room of your house?”
“No. I don’t where we are,” Rohan said.
“What!” Aman said in astonishment.
“Oh God, what will become of us?” Neha said.
“I just want to return home,” Ankit said fuming with anger.
“We can do nothing at the moment,” Rohan said.
“Rohan, just stop playing this trick on us. I am sure you are responsible for what we have been suffering now.”
“That means you think I am responsible for all these.”
“Listen, I am not at all interested in playing mischievous tricks.”
“Guys, just stop arguing. Ankit, it won’t be right for us to blame Rohan. What we have been witnessing does not seem normal. Something is really strange,” Aman said trying to ease the situation.
Suddenly, they noticed that the room was getting darker and after a few seconds, it was completely dark. Their mouth ran dry and sweat poured down from their forehead. The next moment they were terror struck to find the faint figures of an old man and an old woman that silhouetted in the dark. They clutched onto each other trembling with fear.
The next moment, a few blood stained bony hands rose from their behind and dragged them to an isolated dark room. They soon lost their senses.
The next moment Rohan opened his eyes, he found himself on the road just outside the gate of his house. He saw his friends standing a few meters ahead of him. They were standing stiffly pointing their back towards him. He called out to them but they did not respond and began to walk. Rohan was puzzled at the weird behavior of his friends. He followed them but he soon lost them in the mist that had started to accumulate.
He rushed towards his house and banged open the door of his parent’s room. But to his surprise, he found them fast asleep on their bed. He was puzzled. Slowly he started walking towards his room and got on his bed. He could not believe what had happened.
‘Was it an illusion? No, it can’t be. I do remember that we were dragged into a room before we lost our senses. Why did my friends turn away from me? When did mom and dad come and where is Mr. and Mrs. Bond?’ Rohan thought to himself and he did not wink for a minute that night.
He felt extremely drowsy the next day. He encountered his friends in school.
“Good morning Rohan,” Pratik greeted.
“Good morning,” Rohan replied in a low voice. He was still concerned about the last night’s incident.
“You don’t seem well,” Neha told Rohan.
“Don’t you all remember what had happened the last night?”
“We were in your house for doing our group project. And that too in the evening, not in the night,” Aman told.
“But I am talking about what happened after that.”
“We have really not being understanding what you are talking about actually,” Ankit said.
“Don’t you all remember that the lights went off when you were about to leave my house. Then we found ourselves in an unknown room and after that we were dragged somewhere before we lost our consciousness. Don’t you remember anything?”
“Really it’s a terrifying nightmare.”
“It’s not a nightmare,” Rohan said fuming with anger.
“How can we believe you? Firstly, you are talking about something which is not actually possible and secondly, it’s not only about you. According to you, we were involved in it and if something of the kind had really happened, we would have surely remembered,” Ananya said.
“Okay, don’t believe me. I really don’t care,” Rohan said and walked away from them.
As Rohan returned back from school the afternoon, he was astonished to find his mother in a state of trauma. She seemed extremely terrified and sweat poured down from her forehead. She was shuddering and stood frozen on the floor.
“What’s the matter mom?” Rohan asked his mother, but there was no response.
“Mom, mom,” he called out but still but there was no response. He called out again and she responded this time.
“Yes Rohan. You are back from school.”
“Yes, but you don’t seem well.”
“I am okay.”
Rohan climbed upstairs to his room and did his homework. After that he left for Pratik’s home as they were to go to his house to accomplish their work for the day.
He rode on his bicycle as it was not much far away. After arriving at his apartment, Majestic View, he climbed to the sixth floor. He rang the bell of the flat 6B. The door opened and standing in front of him was Pratik.
“Please come in Rohan,” Pratik said.
As Rohan entered his premise, he saw his friends to be already present there.
“We are really sorry for being ignoring you in the morning,” Pratik and others apologized.
“It’s okay. I did not mind. It’s true that I was acting abnormally. It must have been my illusion,” Rohan said.
“Thank god, you did not mind much,” Aman said.
“Now let’s get on to work as soon as possible. We are running out of time,” Neha said.
“You are right.”
They soon got on to work. In the meantime, a light drizzle had already been in progress.
“I hope this drizzle won’t turn into a heavy downpour,” Ankit said.
“I hope this won’t be,” said Rohan.
By the time, that day’s quota of work was done, it was already six in the evening and the sun had fallen. But then a huge downpour and a violent thunderstorm broke out which made it impossible for them to leave.
“Children, it won’t be safe for you to leave now. I shall be calling your parents to take you home,” Pratik’s mother said.
“Mom is right. It would not be possible for you to leave now,” Pratik said.
“Okay, we shall wait,” Rohan and others agreed.
After having called the parents of each of them, Pratik’s mother walked to Rohan.
“Your mother told me that she is not here at the moment and your father would be coming to pick you up,” she said.
“I knew about it. Mom has been on a visit to grandpa and grandma.”
“Your father might be late. Till then I hope you won’t mind waiting here.”
“It would be my pleasure to be here.”
Time started ticking fast and soon it was 9 P.M. The last of them Ankit left at 8:30 and Rohan was the only one left.
“You should have our dinner with us. It’s getting late,” Pratik’s father told Rohan.
“No uncle, it’s okay. Anyway, I have my dinner at 10.”
“As you wish, but I suggest you should have your dinner before 9:30.”
“Sure uncle, I would give it a try,” Rohan had just said when the calling bell rang.
“May be, you father has come.”
The door opened and standing in front of them was Rohan’s father. He was dripping with wet and he seemed terrified and was shaking. They were startled as they found that there were cut marks all over his face and there were also other signs of wounds on his body. He held his broken spectacles in one of his hands.
“It is good to see that you are finally here. Rohan had been eagerly waiting for you to arrive. Now that you are here, come in and have something with us,” Pratik’s father said.
“Sorry, but I won’t. I would like to return home as soon as possible and I am really exhausted after a hectic day at office.”
“Okay, but I hope you didn’t indulge in a fight. Did you?”
“No I didn’t.”
“I wonder how you have been so severely wounded.”
“I won’t like to discuss about it with anyone,” Rohan’s father said in a harsh tone.
“Rohan come; we need to return home,” he called out to his son.
“Sure dad,” Rohan replied.
Before getting into the car, Rohan turned to them and bid them a goodbye.
“Bye Pratik. Bye uncle, bye aunty.”
“Bye Rohan,” they replied.
Finally he got into the car and it started.
“How had been your day dad?” Rohan asked his father when they were on their way.
“Good,” he replied in a stern voice.
“You don’t seem well today.”
“I am absolutely fine. Keep your mouth shut for a while,” he said furiously.
Rohan after did not speak anymore. He was perplexed because of the unusual behavior by his father. He had never seen his father behave in such a way before. He noticed that his father seemed terrified and sweat poured down from his forehead.
As they reached home, his father banged open the door and forced his way inside.
“Have patience Abhinav,” Rohan’s mother called out to her husband. But he did not respond and locked himself in his room.
“What has happened to your dad?” she asked Rohan.
“I don’t know. He had been behaving in such an abnormal way ever since he had come to Pratik’s house to pick me up.”
“Meanwhile, you have your dinner. You must have been hungry.”
After having his dinner, he halted for once in front of his father’s room.
“You should have your dinner dad,” he called out to his father.
“No I won’t. I am not feeling well.”
“As you wish.”
Rohan left him on his own and climbed upstairs to his room. A slight discomfort lingered in his mind. He was curious about what had been happening in their family.
As it got 11:30 at night, Rohan closed his books and got on his bed. But he could not sleep. He felt something odd about had been occurring. ‘I had a terrifying nightmare a few days back, and then it was mom who had behaved in a strange way and not it is dad. Something is not right,’ he thought.
But it was just the beginning of the terror that no one among them had expected. After that, each of them started hearing loud rapping on the doors of their rooms each night followed by scratching on the walls. They started losing their will to do anything and their health condition started deteriorating. Thinking about it as their own mental problem, none of them talked about it with each other until the night of 9th December. They were having their dinner together in the dining room when the topic was brought into conversation by Rohan’s father.
“Ankita and Rohan,” Rohan’s father called them.
“Recently I have been having weird nightmares and I hear strange sounds in my head. I have been often having hallucinations. It has been the case of every night since a month back. I should have talked about it to you all much earlier but I felt you will think that I have been having a mental disability,” Rohan’s father spoke.
“Really!” Rohan’s mother spoke in utter disbelief, “That means the same has been the case with you too.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“The same has been happening with me too.”
“It’s the same with me too,” Rohan spoke.
“This is really strange. I can’t believe it. It has been happening with all three of us.”
They lay quiet on the table and stared at each other in astonishment and dread. They discontinued the topic and walked to their respective rooms soon after dinner.
The next day was a Sunday and Rohan got up late at 9. He bathed and got ready.
“Mom please prepare the breakfast for dinner,” Rohan called out to his mother as he walked down the stairs.
“Your breakfast is already there on the table. And don’t always remain so dependent on us. You are now in 8th standard and you should be self reliant.”
Rohan sat down on the chair to have his breakfast.
“Have your dinner quickly Rohan,” Rohan was told by his mother.
“But why mom?”
“Mr. and Mrs. Bond have invited us in their house. They are celebrating their 40th anniversary.”
“I hope I won’t have to go there.”
“You have to.”
“I don’t like visiting others. I have a lot of other work to do. I can’t go.”
“They are our neighbors and they would be delighted if we go there. They have been deserted by their children and they have no one other than us; their neighbors. I won’t force you to stay there for very long, but at least, pay a visit to them. Your father will be here within a few minutes.”
“Okay,” Rohan said in a low voice and returned to his room after he had the last bite of his breakfast.
He walked with his parents to their house after he got ready. After a stroll of ten minutes, they had reached their destination and were standing in front of Mr. and Mrs. Bond’s house.
The house was an amalgam of British and Indian taste. It was a red two storey bungalow constructed with brick. It consisted of the ground and first floors. Trees and lush green vegetation encircled the house. But the place was deathly silent and an involuntary chill passed down their spine in the solitary atmosphere. They pushed their way through the gate into the courtyard. There had been a dense growth of shrubs and wild grass.
They stopped in front of the bolted wooden door which had transformed into a residence for the spiders with spider webs encircling the door. They rang the calling bell which was the only sound in this solitary environment. There was no response. They rang it again but the result was the same. Rohan’s father started losing his patience and pressed the calling button for a very long time, but the response was the same again. He pulled down the knob and banged at the door. Astonishingly, the door opened quite easily producing a creaking sound.
They were startled. Ahead of them the house seemed very dark with no light penetrating through the windows because of the curtains being pulled off. Panic gripped them. They started getting concerned about Mr. and Mrs. Bond and the worst thoughts rose in their mind. They walked into the house through the door. As they were within the house, a loud thumping sound emerged from somewhere and they shrieked.
“What was that?” Rohan’s mother screamed.
They turned around and found the door to be closed. Rohan’s father hastened towards the door and pulled it but it proved to be a vain attempt. The door was bolted. A shudder ran through their body. Now they were enclosed within the walls of the dark house.
“What!” Rohan’s father screamed in astonishment and dread, “How has the door closed by itself.” He turned around but to his horror, his wife and son were not there.
“Where are you? Where are you Rohan? Ankita?” he screamed and his own voice filled with dread echoed back. His mouth ran dry and sweat poured down from his forehead.
He walked towards the corridor calling out to his wife and son in horror. But each time he spoke, his own voice echoed horrifyingly across the deserted house. A creaking sound produced under his feet each time he walked. It was completely dark and he did not have the slightest feeling that it was daytime.
As he was walking mid-way through the dark corridor, he saw two dark figures silhouetting against the light penetrating through the window of the room in front of the dark corridor. A jolt passed down him and his mouth ran dry. His legs froze and a shudder ran through his body. He stumbled backward and fell on the ground. The black figures were approaching towards him, when they suddenly vanished in the air. Abhinav sighed, but after a moment, he felt something hard touch his neck. He took a look over his shoulder and was terrified to find two blood stained bony hands cupped around his neck. The grasp of the hands on the neck tightened inflicting a wave of pain in his neck. The hands then pulled him to a vacant dark room. He was thrown on the floor and the door closed with a thumping sound. He was now enclosed within the four walls of this room. He lost his consciousness.
As he regained consciousness, he found his wife and son standing in front of him.
“Where did you go?” his wife screamed at him hysterically, “You deserted us in the living room.”
“What the hell are you speaking?” he screamed, “It were you two who had vanished when we were in the living room.”
“Just stop it; your nonsense. We were there standing in the living room when you had tried to open the door and you vanished when we were turning towards the opposite direction. We were searching for you and we finally found you here. Where were you and what did you do all these time?”
“The same question should have been asked by me,” he said and turned towards Rohan, “What did actually happen Rohan?”
He remained quiet with his eyes transfixed on the room’s large oval shaped mirror. After a moment’s pause, he lifted his right arm and pointed his index finger towards the mirror. His parents looked in the same direction and their eyes beheld the most terrifying sight ever.
The blood stained bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Bond were hanging from the wall behind them. They eyes were protruding out of their sockets and stared terrifyingly at them. They tried to scream but their voice did not come out. Their mouth ran dry and sweat poured down from their forehead. Their legs froze and their bodies shuddered as the bodies got down from the wall moved towards them.
The same evening Ankit was cycling past Rohan’s house when he found police in the courtyard of the house. He was perplexed. He stopped his bicycle, got down from it and pushed his way inside the gate.
“What has happened here?” he asked one of the strangers standing among the crowd.
“The family’s beheaded bodies were recovered from their house,” the stranger replied in a low and terrified voice.
Ankit’s head reeled and he could not believe what he heard. He wiped his sweating face with his handkerchief.
‘I can’t believe it. How did this happen? I really can’t believe it.’
Just then, his eyes fell on Rohan’s diary which Rohan had left in the wooden chair in the courtyard a few days back. He picked it up. A small piece of paper protruded out of the diary which had got separated from the rest of the pages. Ankit took out the page to replace it, but he soon insisted on reading it.
Today it had turned out to be a dark day for me. I want to wipe out today’s memories for ever from my memory. Today dad had murdered an old couple because of being pressurized by someone. Mom and dad did not want to discuss about all these matters with me much and they only gave me a brief description. All they wanted me to do was to shut my mouth and wipe out the dreadful memory from my mind. I felt guilty for hiding the dark truth of the murder. As far as I know, none of us, including mom and dad did not know anything about the victims. Dad did not even have any idea about their looks and even they were wearing masks after having returned from a mask party before they breathed their last. All he knew was that they were Anglo-Indians. The corpses were buried beneath our house.
Ankit was shuddering and he was filled with dread after having read the diary. The diary slipped off his hand and fell on the ground. He leaned to pick the diary but instead found an old picture on the grass. He picked up the picture on which was a man and a woman. He recognized them to be Mr. and Mrs. Bond. He had seen them the last time he had come to Rohan’s house.
He turned the picture and was horrified to find what was written there. On the back of the picture written in bold with blood was (REVENGE TAKEN 24th December 2020).