It was 7.30 in the evening and I was busy scribbling notes in our college library. As it was Saturday and most of the students had left early to celebrate the weekend. The library was empty except for me and the librarian. I raised my head and saw the librarian dozing in the chair. Then I turned my head towards the locked shelf at the far end of the library. The librarian had strictly instructed that the books in that particular shelf was "not meant" for the students and hence would not be issued to them. As his snores filled up the library I too toed towards the shelf. I stood near and stared at the book that I wanted so badly. It was titled - "The Forbidden Book" and it's cover had pictures of spirits among which some were dark and some were white.
I threw a furtive glance at the librarian who was asleep soundly. I removed my hairpin and pushed into the lock on the shelf. I twisted it a few times and opened the lock. I grabbed the book in a split second and locked the shelf. I hurriedly hid the book among my things and tip toed out of the library. I ran towards my hostel as fast as my legs could carry me. I rushed inside my room and closed the door behind me.
"Who was chasing you?" Tanya - my roommate and best friend asked, "A dog or a man?"
I struggled to catch my breath and she laughed at her own joke.
"I have got something," I said as I caught my breath.
I pulled the book out of my bag.
"But it is...!"
"Shhh...." I said as I put a finger over my lips to signal her to remain silent. I was afraid that I would be thrown out of the college if someone comes to know that I have stolen it.
"But, what is it about?" Tanya asked suspiciously as she took the book from me.
"There are some hymns in the book that can beckon spirits."
"Rubbish!" She said as she flung the book into my hands.
"We are going to call them tonight after everyone is asleep."
"The spirits!" I said in a low whisper to add an eerie effect.
"Are you out of your mind?" She said in utter disbelief, "Let's have some dinner, I'm starving!"
As it was Sunday tomorrow, no one was in a hurry to go to bed. But as we had planned to celebrate our weekend with some occult guests, we took to bed early. Before going to bed I had set an alarm at 3 am but couldn't sleep out of excitement and kept twisting and turning. I jumped out of the bed as soon as the alarm went off and called out to Tanya. To my surprise, she also wasn't asleep and got up immediately.
We burnt a candle in the center of our room and sat facing each other. I read a few hymns from the book, closed my eyes and said, "Spirits please come."
There was no reaction. I tried several times but not even a single spirit cared to stop by.
"Why isn't this thing working?" I said glaring at the book.
"May be your darling spirits hate me!" She said chuckling.
"Fine!" I chanted the hymns again and said, "Spirit who loves Tanya, please do come."
Her smile vanished at once, she turned her head downwards with a sudden jerky movement and didn't talk for a while.
"What happened Tanya?" I asked jittered by her weird behaviour.
"It's too late now. We ought be in our beds long before."
She said in a strange heavy voice like the baritone of a man. I stared at her in absolute bewilderment. She got up and thumped herself on the bed. I kept pondering for a few minutes and then dismissed everything as one of her silly jokes.
The next morning, as I opened my eyes I was hell shocked to see Tanya dressed like a boy. She had cut her hair very short and was wearing a cap with it's flap turned towards right. The left half of her shirt was tucked inside her trousers while right half was hanging loose over it.
"What have you done to yourself, Tanya?"
"Don't you know me?" She said in the same baritone as the night before, "l am Ashish!"
"Look, this is really a very stupid joke. Stop all this nonsense right now!" I said as I stomped towards her.
She grabbed me by wrist and flung me on my bed. She walked up to me and put one of her feet upon the bed close to where I was lying and said, "I am going to take Tanya with me. Don't you dare to stand in my way!"
The intensity in her eyes left me paralyzed with shock. She walked up to the drawer and pulled a knife out of it. She cut her arms and blood gushed out of her veins. I let out a terrified scream as I saw the blood pooling on the floor. In a few minutes, she fainted and fell upon the floor. At this, I came to senses and ran out for help.