Simmy got out of the taxi and paid the driver. In front of her was a small and beautiful house. It was constructed in Arabic style with lots of flowers and leaves carved on its entrance. The roof was dome shaped with a pearly white color. She was going to live in that house for at least a month.
Simmy is a wheatish complexioned woman in her late twenties. She was born and brought up in Hyderabad and loved her city. In the hope of becoming a photographer, she took her initial job as a photographer’s assistant. Her boss Nitin Chevlo is a famous photographer who charged a bomb for his customers. He was the go to person for all the people who wish to have a bright future.
One fine morning, he has decided to have a photos hoot in Agra. So, she came there to check and finalize the shooting locations. The photos hoot may go on for a week, but Simmy being the assistant have to check the whole area, select the locations, take permissions, fix the dates, inform the models, book the tickets for everyone and maintain the records of the shoots. In short, all the drudgery.
After examining the exteriors of the house, she looked around her luggage and felt pity for herself. There were 11 small and big bags which she has to unpack and arrange. At the same time, the caretaker came on a Royale Enfield Bullet 350. He is a tall and skinny guy with big eyes and small nose. He was looking funny and scary at the same time. He gave her the keys, said “good luck” and went away even without taking the advance.
She went inside the house and it was unbelievably drastic. The house which looked so pretty from outside was no longer pretty or shiny, rather it was a jungle of scrambled things. It was looking like a mini storage house with only one room which was clean enough to stay. She swore on her miser boss and pulled her luggage into that room.
Next morning, she came out and took a rickshaw to the most beautiful marble work of the world, TAJ MAHAL. She asked the rickshaw driver about the places around and started making a note of them. In the middle of the conversation, she told that she was residing at Garhi Bhodoriya and the rickshaw driver came to a halt. A fear crawled upon the driver’s face. He said “Madam, please vacate that place and find a new one. It is not at all safe”
“Why? “She asked.
“You are new to the place, maybe that’s why you do not know. In the last 10 years’ no one stayed in that place for more than 2 days and the people who stayed there stayed forever.”
“Not Nonsense madam, that place is haunted. 10 years back a family came to live there and they all have disappeared. No one saw them again nor were their bodies found. It is rumored that their ghosts still live there.”
“Look, I do not believe in all these things, I am educated and I know what to believe and what not. So, just do your work and take me to the place I want.”
“As you wish” he said and the rickshaw started again.
She had to walk for almost 2 kilometers till the entrance as it was a vehicle free zone. Finally, she has arrived at one of the wonders of the world. The narrow entrance to a wide-open area of Taj felt like entering into another world. Although the pollution of the city showed its effect, Taj looked beautiful in its off white color. She went around the monument appreciating its magnificent carvings. She had to admit to herself that even thought she had seen more intrinsic work on rocks, marble makes it look much better.
She went on to visit several other places like Agra fort, Mehtab Bagh and Tomb of Itimad – Ud – Daulah.
It was 10 P.M when she came back. The street light was flickering which gave a haunted look to the building. For a second, she thought what would happen if the rumors were true? She felt chills down her spine. She shuddered and entered inside. Tired, she crashed on the bed but could not sleep. Not because she was scared but she did not like the cosines of the room. So, she got up and started surfing the net for places to visit next. As they wanted an authentic photos hoot this time, she thought Mathura was a better option.
It was 1 A.M, cool breezes of wind hit her from the window. Simmy started feeling sleepy and got up to draw curtains. She felt that somebody was watching her through the windows. But within a blink, no one was there.
“I should better stop watching horror films for a while.” She thought to herself and went to sleep.
She was running into an unending corridor. She does not know how and why she was there. She stopped and turned back. There he was in a black hoodie, holding a huge knife in his hands. He ran towards her. She wanted to run but was probably too scared to move. He was approaching her swiftly. She knew she was going to die. All her hope disappeared and she was preparing herself to undergo the pain when the knife will slash her.
She heard her phone ring and woke up only to realize that she was having a nightmare.
Turning back, she picked up the phone. “Hi, did I disturb you?” said a man’s voice.
“Vishal, I was sleeping.” said Simmy. She met Vishal 2 years ago when he got a photo shoot done with her boss Nitin Chevlo. Vishal is now a prominent model, mostly in the advertising. He can sell anything from a perfume to mosquito repellents. She was attracted to him when she first heard him laugh. It was the heartiest and genuine laugh that she has heard in a long time. She approached him first and asked him out. Vishal who was quite outgoing liked her no-nonsense style. They went out and the rest is history.
“Who is vishal?” asked the voice.
Simmy checked the number and it was not her boyfriend Vishal.
“Who is this?” she asked.
“I am your well-wisher. Vacate that house by tomorrow and you will be alive, lest … I think you are smart enough to understand.” And the line got disconnected.
She was covered in sweat, she went and drank some water and then sat on the bed. Questions flooded into her mind, but she has no answer.
Next morning, she went to the police station and waited for the inspector. “Hello, I am inspector Trinath. What can I do for you?” Inspector Trinath is a tall and slim man in his thirties. He is from Rajasthan and has a typical Rajasthani accent. He has a long tattoo of the famous Trishul – Lord Shiva’s weapon on his right arm.
“Sir, I stay at Garhi Bhodoriya and I am receiving threatening calls to vacate it.” Simmy said. Series of whispers spread around the room.
“I’ve heard of that palace, but as I am recently transferred here, I never saw it. Could you please give me the number from which you have received the call?” Simmy gave him the details.
“We will trace the number soon, do not worry, please give a written complaint.” He gave his contact information and told her that she can contact him anytime.
“Constable Dilot, please leave Miss Simmy till her residence.” asked Trinath.
Dilot is and elderly constable at that station and worked only so that he can provide for himself and his wife Rajwanti. They had no children and have pretty much accepted the fact that they were going to be alone in life. They never considered adoption as they were weak financially too. This left them with a void that they can never fill. For them, this city and their home is the only world. Never did they think of leaving their place or job in search of something better.
The constable agreed to drop Simmy but his face showed fear. While going back Simmy asked him what was he so afraid of?
“Madam, please take your luggage and vacate that place today.”
“Why do you say that?” Simmy asked. Her tone reflected anger.
“Please do not misunderstand me. I am telling this for your sake, I have been working here since 2 decades and I still remember the incident which happened 10 years before. A family shifted to that house.”
“Yeah. I know and they disappeared” Simmy cut shorted his words.
Dilton gave a sad smile “But I do not think you know that the man who disappeared along with his family came the same day to the police station to file the complaint that you did”
Simmy eyes widened. She wanted to say something but she wanted to know more.
“They all disappeared… and even after the investigation, we did not find a single clue of what happened to them.”
“I think that he was just scared and ran away with his family.” Simmy said in a shivering voice. Meanwhile, they reached their destination.
“That man was a merchant who bought that house and stayed along with his wife and two kids. He wanted to establish his jewellery business here. He has started getting threatening calls and came down to the station to lodge a complaint. But, before we could investigate it, they were all gone.
Madam, you are brave. But sometimes cowardice is better than bravery. Take care of yourself.” said Dilton and walked away.
Simmy’s hand trembled when she was unlocking the door. She wished she never came there. She has decided that she would follow Dilton’s advice and started packing. Suddenly, she heard sounds of footsteps on stairs.
She came out of her bed room, but no one was there. “How can I hear those sounds when there are no stairs at all?” she was perplexed, then she heard a voice.
“RUN FOR YOUR LIFE… NOW!”
Simmy was frightened to death. She ran at once into her bedroom and closed all doors and windows. She took out her mobile and dialed the police.
“Hello, Inspector Trinath?” Words hardly came out of her mouth. “Someone is going to kill me, please come fast”.
“I will be there soon, please don’t panic.” Trinath said and rushed out of the station.
She sat on the corner of the room leaning against the wall. Her mouth went dry.
“Buzzz…” She heard a hum of machinery coming out from the room.
She could not believe what she was seeing. The side wall ejected and she could see a chamber inside it. On peeping, she could see a staircase underneath it. Again, the sound of footsteps was heard. Her heartbeat accelerated.
A tall and thin man came out with a pistol and said “How many times have I tried to save your life, but you are interested to protect yourself only by the law, aren’t you? Now pay the price.”
“You are the house caretaker!” Simmy exclaimed in disbelief.
“Yes, now die…” he was about to pull the trigger.
“Wait” Simmy shouted. She was thinking hard how to delay him.
“Do you think you can get away after killing me? You will end up in jail.” She said.
He gave a wicked smile and aimed the gun at her face.
“Please…do not kill me!” she cried, but she knew that it was not going to help. “God save me” she thought to herself and suddenly the lights went off. Taking the advantage, she ran out of the bedroom. She could hear the footsteps following her. She was about to open the main door and heard the pistol fire. She gave a small squeak and dodged. She crawled out of the door onto the road and started shouting “HELP…somebody HELP”
As she was running, Trinath stopped her by grabbing her hand. He saw that her face was covered in tears and reflected terror. “You are absolutely safe with me, please tell me what happened.” Said the inspector.
“Caretaker... of... of... house… wa… wants to murder me” she stammered.
As soon as she completed, he took her into the house. The lights came back. They searched the entire house but he ran away.
She explained him everything that happened and they went inside to have a look at the chamber and were astonished. It was a huge room with many computerized equipment and weapons. Simmy and Trinath exchanged looks. Trinath made a call and within no time, the police force reached the spot.
After a series of phone calls the CID and a computer hacker were also called in to deal with breaking the password and extracting the files in the computer to know their motive. “Simmy, you may stay with my friend Padma for the time being.” Said Trinath.
“Sure, thanks a lot.” she said.
“It is my duty” said Trinath and dropped her.
After a month, Simmy walked into the station with Vishal to meet Trinath. “Hello inspector, how are you?”
“Fine, please take a seat.”
“Trinath, please meet my boyfriend Vishal” she said.
“Hi, nice to meet you” Trinath said.
“Inspector, I am so glad that I could meet you. Thank you for all your support. When I heard about what happened with her, I flew here immediately.” said Vishal.
“No problem Vishal, we are here to help you anytime” said Trinath.
“So, any new improvements?” asked Simmy. She is now residing at a new house with Vishal and continuing her work. She visits the station occasionally to know about the case.
“Yes, there are many” said Trinath. “You know that the murderer ran away and we could not trace him, but the bodies of the family that disappeared long ago were found out near the basement. The communication links from the basement are connected to large terrorist organizations as suspected. The details of the organization are classified so I cannot give you any update on that.”
“Oh my god! This is awful. But how strange is this that it was not traced by anyone till now?” asked Simmy.
“Superstitions and fear! They destroy mankind. People surround their selves with these things. There were rumors spread that anyone who enters the house won’t survive. Some officers who were brave but superstitious never inspected the house and the ones which were not superstitious turned out to be cowards.”
Simmy smiled and said “Anyways, I came to say goodbye. My work here is finished and I am heading back tomorrow. So, all the best with the case.”
“Thanks a lot. Good luck with your job too.” said Trinath.
She saw Dilton while walking out and said “Dilton, you were wrong. I think I am not that brave, but cowardice is never better than bravery.” and walked away leaving a smile on