Story Collection - MSPM39

Story 35/39: Two’s a company

“Hey.”

Mick looked up. A girl in her 20s was looking at her with a faint smile.

“Hey,” he said with a return smile. It wasn’t often that a girl would come to a guy directly in a bar.

“Is this seat empty?” The girl asked.

“Yeah,” he said with an inner glee. Then he remembered and his heart sank. Even if she liked him, there wasn’t much he could do about it.

Mick had died a couple of weeks ago. His soul had decided to stay around the body and while he couldn’t enter the body and revive himself, he was able to hold it and use it to enact, almost like a zombie. The first two days after that had been great and he decided that he will continue to live on like this. Then, his body started to show signs of deterioration. He realized that his body’s functions that were protecting him from bacteria and other microorganisms had stopped functioning. His heart wasn’t pumping blood and he was definitely not going to last. He decided to complete some final tasks – taking care of his parents’ finances, ensuring that his brother was off his ground, finishing his will, etc. before he leaves his body. It had taken two weeks to get everything done and each passing day had been harder than the last. At this point, he was just a hollow shell with skin preserved through chemicals. Mick had decided that tonight was the last night and thus, he decided to come to a bar. Alcohol isn’t going to do any good to his already dead body and would destroy a multitude of cells that will never regenerate. But he wanted to drink once more before he died.

The girl sat down in front of him and gave him a smile. She had a glass filled with ice and plain vodka or tequila if he had to guess. He could never judge a drink and with transparent drinks, he was just lost.

“I haven’t seen you here before,” the girl said. She was wearing a tall skirt, almost like a gown.

“Yeah. I don’t come to bars and pubs often,” Mick said. In truth, he had not come to a bar in a couple of years. The alcohol was cheaper to buy in a market and he preferred organizing parties at his home.

“Oh. I love parties and pubs,” the girl said with a visible change in her mood. Mick scolded herself for blowing his chance and then scolded himself for forgetting that he had no chance.

‘Mick! you died because of alcohol poisoning you idiot. If anything, you should tell this girl to reduce her drinking.’ Mick thought in his mind, remembering how he checked the first day on how he died. The only logical conclusion was either bad alcohol poisoning or overdosing on alcohol, which basically meant alcohol poisoning. The night before, they had partied harder than anything he had ever seen. Of course, if his death was discovered, the next morning would have been a damp one but that didn’t happen and all his friends left the place happy. Hungover, but happy.

“Good for you,” Mick said and focused on his drink. It was a mix of every drink possible. It tasted horrible but he wanted to drink everything once more. He had taken a pint of beer on the side as well just so that he could wash this horrible concoction with ease. Thankfully, he could feel all the sensations in his body albeit he had to focus on them now. For example, he could lose a limb and not feel it if he didn’t focus but he could feel his body being eaten alive by flesh-eating bacteria on his right thigh, right now. He tried to kill them twice daily so that his body could remain in shape but by night, they often restarted within twelve or so hours.

The girl sat there quietly for a couple of minutes, probably waiting for Mick to say something but he didn’t bother so she started again.

“Please tell me you aren’t the quiet type.”

Mick smiled. He realized that death had definitely changed him. From the shutter box that he was called earlier, he was now deemed a quiet type.

“And why is that?” Mick asked. Her curiosity in him had piqued his curiosity in her.

“I think you would be a really interesting guy to talk with,” the girl said.

“Really! And why is that?” Mick asked.

The girl giggled for straight fifteen seconds before answering.

“Because in all my life, I have never seen a guy whose ear fell off and he didn’t notice,” she said and bent down to pick an ear. She held it to Mick who immediately recognized it as his own, a feeling confirmed by his hand which couldn’t find his right ear on his head.

He looked at her scandalized. ‘It doesn’t matter. I’m dead anyway. It doesn’t matter.’ He repeated in his mind but his soul was panicking at this point. He didn’t even know that souls could panic.

“Don’t worry. I’m not letting your secret out,” the girl said with a genuine smile.

“Thank you!” Mick said and hid the ear in his pocket.

“When did you die?” The girl asked.

“How did you know?”

“When?”

“Two weeks ago.”

“You are holding up quite well for a two weeks old dead body.”

“Not really! This is frankly the end of the road for me.”

The girl laughed.

“I was joking, you idiot. You are in terrible shape.”

“What?” Mick said looking at her confused.

“First thing. Stop drinking alcohol you idiot. That is bad for a dead body.”

“This is my last day. I’m planning on leaving tonight. I can drink whatever I want.”

The girl rolled her eyes.

“Were you this idiot when you were alive or has death decreased your IQ points?”

“Huh!”

“How did you die?”

Mick looked down, ashamed.

“How?”

“Alcohol poisoning.”

The girl’s eyes widened.

“Urghhh. If you weren’t the only dead guy around,” she said loudly, “and so frigging cute,” she whispered.

“Come with me.”

“Where?”

“To teach you a few things about life after death.”

“Like what? And who are you?”

“Like when you are out partying, drink water mixed with ice, which is also water. No one would know,” she said showing him her glass.

His eyes reflected the shock he was feeling.

“You… you… you…”

“Don’t act as if you have seen a ghost. Or at least the first ghost.”

“Since when?”

“Three months.”

“Woah!”

“Yeah. If you take proper care, you can have a normal life. At least for more than two weeks.”

“Okay,” Mick said hopefully.

“What’s your name? I’m …”

“Wait! Don’t tell me your real name. Let’s keep this interesting. Tell me a random name you can think of right now.”

“Uh. Okay. My name is Pongsathorn. And yours?”

“Selina.”

“So, Selina. Now what?” Mick asked as they came out of the bar.

“Now, I teach you how to live when you’re dead,” Selina said with a grin and a twinkle in her eye.

Story Collection - MSPM39

Story 14/39: Spookmate

“Thank you,” Raja said and picked the keys. The woman in front of him smiled, tears almost glistening her eyes, her enthusiasm almost childlike, and her joy vivid.

“I should be the one thanking you,” the woman, Jill said and left.

Raja looked at the papers. He was now the owner of a 4-bedroom house that had a garden as well. That too, at half the regular price. He was feeling giddy.

“I should go and meet the neighbors.”

Raja met the neighbors outside the house. Almost everyone around the neighborhood was surrounding it.

“Hi, my name is Raja. I’m your new neighbor.”

Everyone nodded with concern clear on their faces. One lady, in her fifties, with a crisp voice and a no-nonsense attitude spoke first.

“Are you an idiot? You bought the house knowing that there are ghosts living in it.”

Raja smiled.

“I don’t believe in ghosts.”

“What you believe doesn’t change reality, son?” The lady’s husband spoke.

Raja looked at him, for the first time in his life, speechless.

“Umm. True. But I don’t think the house is haunted.” He finally said.

“When are you moving in?” Another lady asked.

“The house needs a bit of cleaning. Once that is done, I will move. Probably by the weekend.”

“Welcome. I hope you are right about the house.” A teenager said and surprised Raja. Teenagers usually don’t care about these things as much but this boy was definitely a believer that the house was haunted.

Four days later, Raja was spending his first night at his newly bought house. He had been invited to the dinner at his neighbor’s place and there he got to know the whole story.

A few years ago, a couple lived in the house. The couple was a happy one and everyone loved them in the neighborhood. Then one day, the police came to their house and found that the wife had killed her husband and her best friend. They were found in the basement. No one knows what exactly happened but ever since then, the house has been haunted and whosoever has lived in the house has either gone mad in a few weeks or has left the house.

Raja found the story more interesting than horrifying. The family gave various hypotheses on what might have gone wrong, the most prominent one being an affair between the best friend and the husband. No one knew the truth as the wife never talked to anyone and was never seen again.

Raja slept like a baby. He didn’t care about what the stories said. The truth was that he had a great house and it would take more than a tall tale to sway him. A glass mirror with blood stains was a good start to sway him.

In the morning, he looked at the bathroom mirror with amusement, curiosity, and fear. It was written in blood, human or animal, he didn’t know.

‘It wasn’t an affair. And you don’t have to be afraid,’ the message said.

Raja knew that someone had done that as a prank to him. He was impressed by the dedication of the prankster. He went to work and came back home late at night, falling on his bed like a tree falling after being sawed. The next morning, the mirror was again red.

‘You forgot to have dinner yesterday.’

Raja smiled and spoke out loud.

“I had dinner at the office but thank you for remembering.”

Almost a whole week passed with generic messages falling on the mirrors each morning. Raja looked for any other signs of a deranged person around, just in case, there was some crazy person lurking around who might go ballistic one day and tries to kill someone.

‘All the best for your meeting,’ the message said and for the first time, his heart choked. He hadn’t told anyone about the meeting and has been working almost secretly on it for the past week. The usual smiled drained from his face as he looked around his house for the cameras. He didn’t find any device that might be lurking around.

Raja became increasingly paranoid living in the house. It has been over ten days and the messages have been streaming through each morning.

Over the next weekend, Raja went out with friends and came back home drunk.

“What is your name ghost person?” Raja whispered and dozed off on his own couch.

The next morning he saw the message on the mirror with a name on it.

‘My name is Samantha. I was killed by my best friend. I live here.”

“Alright, Samantha. Tell me what happened. And why should I believe you? You might be simply a prank played by the neighbors.” This time, the message started changing in front of his eyes.

“Do you think a joke can do this?”

Raja screamed. It was a high-pitch scream Raja didn’t know he was capable of making. The words on the mirror changed – “STOP! I’m not going to hurt you.”

“What do you want then?” Raja asked.

“I don’t know. I thought once my revenge was complete, I will vanish but that didn’t happen. Since then, I lurk around the house. I can’t leave the house and I can’t seem to break free of my shackles to go from this state. I don’t know what to do,” the message said.

Raja was still panicking but his curiosity overtook it.

“Can you write on any mirror or surface inside the house or just the bathroom mirror.”

“Anywhere.”

“Awesome!” Raja said and pulled a whiteboard and kept it in his living room. He started asking questions and Samantha continued responding in her style. Raja and Samantha spent the whole day chatting, with Samantha telling him how and she actually died.

“Crazy lady, your best friend.”

“I found out about it too late.”

The next morning, there was a small note in the bathroom mirror and a giant ‘Good morning’ on the whiteboard. Raja smiled. He didn’t know what was happening but he promised Samantha that he would figure on it.

A year passed him trying to figure out how to help a ghost or a spirit go from Earth to wherever they belong. Each method was a hoax. By now, Raja had gotten used to Samantha and her tiny messages on the boards and mirrors. Every room now contained a whiteboard so that they could communicate without any issues. Sometimes, she was like an Alexa or Siri who could actually talk to you, other times, a personal therapist that Raja didn’t have to pay for and who would hear him out but mostly, she was his best friend now.

At the year mark, Samantha and Raja wished each other anniversary and finally decided to pursue other goals.

“Maybe your purpose isn’t to go away but to stay here, with me,” Raja said. Samantha drew a smiley face on the whiteboard.

“I can do that.”

Inspired from Reddit’s WritingPrompts – [WP] Your neighbors were concerned when you moved into the local haunted house. You were worried at first too, but the messages written in blood on the mirrors are… oddly supportive. [Link]

Story Collection - MSPM39

Story 6/39: Best Friends? Forever?

Laura’s mouth was open but her tongue was stuck inside. She wanted to scream but she couldn’t muster the strength or courage to voice her feelings. She wanted to run away but she was sitting in a restaurant with over fifty guests along with her three closest friends. And Samantha! She looked at Laura with an occasional smile and was laughing and giggling as if there was nothing wrong with her. As if Laura hadn’t killed her four days ago!

“Come on Laura, take the bite of this. It’s delicious,” Samantha said passing her a small plate. Laura looked at the plate as if it was decorated with spiders and filled with cooked lizards with a garnish of toad eggs.

I’m losing my mind, thought Laura and pinched herself. This was just a dream, she repeated and pinched herself again.

“It’s not a dream,” whispered Samantha in her ear and put the plate in front of her anyway.

The dinner lasted for two hours – the longest and scariest two hours of Laura’s life. She couldn’t look at Samantha, nor could she take her eyes off of her.

Samantha – her best friend of ten years, her confidante in her every good deed and bad, her maid of honor, and her victim.

As soon as the dinner was over, Laura called her husband Shep who came and picked her up.

“Let’s go to the ground. We have to check!”

“What? Why?”

In response, Laura showed Shep the photo that was taken at the restaurant. He almost totaled the car.

“WHAT? She can’t be Samantha! Who’s she?”

“She’s Samantha. At least she said she’s Samantha. And she definitely knows.”

“But then going there would be even more dangerous.”

“I know but do we have a choice?”

Shep nodded and turned the car towards the large swathe of ground outside the city. They reached an unmarked but a little lumpy spot and started digging. The dirt was still soft.

“How did she look? Did she have any injury or anything that showed or signaled?”

“She was wearing a long dress so I couldn’t gauge her wound.” Laura had stabbed Samantha at least three times, each time at the same spot before Shep had stopped her.

They continued to dig but couldn’t find anything there. The grave was empty.

“How?” Laura said looking at Shep with fear in her eyes. Shep gripped the torch with all the strength he could muster. He had to be strong for her.

Samantha was looking at the whole scene from a distance. She could feel the dampness of her blood at the spot of her dress, on the left side of her stomach, where Laura had stabbed her – once, twice, thrice. She pressed against it with her hand to feel pain but there was none.

By the time Samantha had died, Laura and Shep had already started to bury her in the ground. Samantha’s soul had taken some time to understand that she could inhabit her own body like a zombie or a bodysnatcher and by that time, she was four feet under the ground. She looked at her chipped nails which weren’t healing anymore. She was dead. She knew as much.

Samantha could have called 911 and Laura and Shep would be in jail for a long time but that didn’t feel like justice to her. She lost everything because her best friend turned out to be a killer. Laura didn’t spare her best friend and Samantha couldn’t spare Laura either.

Laura and Shep reached home by the middle of the night. Exhausted. If they hadn’t been so tired, they might have noticed the black car that they had passed a block earlier, standing alone without its master.

Inside the house, Laura reached the bedroom first. Shep went to the bathroom. Samantha was sitting in one corner of the bedroom with the lights turned off. If not tired, Laura might have remembered that Shep never shuts off the lights. That’s the one thing that pisses her about her otherwise perfect husband.

Laura dropped on the mattress and immediately felt the wetness of the bedsheets. She almost leaped from her bed and went for the lights. There were ten lights in the bedroom, for different moods and situations. Right now, only two seemed to be working – a deep yellow light which barely flickered and a red tinge light which brightened up parts of the room and kept the others dark. In this light, the red blood shined even deeper and felt even more vicious.

“SHEP!” Laura shouted and ran outside the room. A faint smile hovered on Samantha’s lips – the first true smile since she died.

Shep came out of the bathroom and saw Laura holding her hand as it was a bomb and realized why this was the case. Laura’s fingers had blood stains on them. In fact, her whole backside was smothered with red marks.

At that moment, the lights of the whole house vanished. Samantha had spent the past three days inside their house, hidden from them, tweaking and changing everything from the wifi password to how the lights behaved to which parts of the house will break. She didn’t want to kill her best friend. She wanted to destroy her. And then kill her, if needed.

Samantha came out of the door, wearing six inches of heels which gave the illusion of her hovering from the ground. Her dress hid her heels and her movements and also carried deceptive number of weapons. Her makeup was now worn and showed the mascara flowing through her cheeks. She decided to keep that look for the effect. Before either of the two could react, threw a knife at Shep which hit him on the side of his chest. Samantha was no professional knife thrower and the knife didn’t go deep but Shep fell down with surprise.

“I’m sorry Sammy,” Laura said, her eyes shining with tears.

Samantha continued walking towards the couple. She took out another knife from her pocket and threw it again at Laura this time. Laura was better prepared and even with her tears, she moved away. Laura ran towards her drawer to get her gun out but the gun wasn’t there. Samantha could caress the gun in her pocket but had decided to use it the last.

Samantha was almost an arm’s distance away from Shep and tried to stab him again. He dragged himself away from her and then stood up and ran towards the main door. Laura followed him. The door was locked and it was going to take them at least thirty seconds to open it, Samantha had seen that happen countless times when she had been here before when she thought this was a safe place.

Samantha reached the door before they could open it and slashed Shep’s arm. She could have gone for his neck but then he might have died. Samantha couldn’t see that happen so fast.

Both ran towards the back door but it was already locked and sealed. Samantha had reached the house at least an hour early and had prepared for everything. Their only choice was to try and open the basement emergency exit door and run from there. The door that was sealed from outside. Laura and Shep ran towards the basement, with Laura crying and apologizing to Samantha all the while.

Samantha slowly descended through the basement stairs. By then, Shep and Laura had realized that the only way out was through Samantha.

“I’m sorry I killed you Sammy. You know I loved you but you had hurt my brother.” Laura said, her sentences breaking in between.

“You killed me because it didn’t work out between me and your brother?”

“You could have been my family, my true sister. But you chose not to, you decided to not be my sister.” Laura said, her voice returning, along with a mania in her voice.

“You rejected me. How could you reject me, Sammy? You said you loved me but you still didn’t want to be my sister.” Laura screamed and ran towards Samantha. She threw herself at Samantha, swinging her arms wildly, almost tearing up Samantha’s face. In that moment, Shep didn’t know who was crazier – the love of his life, who was trying to kill her best friend again; the dead best friend, who had come back from the dead to take revenge; or him, who was still a part of this craziness.

Samantha was able to throw Laura away once her manic energy dissipated. Shep threw a broken chair at Samantha with little conviction. Samantha’s face was torn on the right side. The four-day-old dead body was showing the signs of decay and was barely holding together. She decided to end this.

Samantha took the gun out and pointed it towards Laura. Laura was getting back to her senses but had lost any sense of safety and fear.

“Do it. You broke my heart anyway.” Laura said with loathing. Samantha smirked. How did she not see this woman as crazy from the first day? How is Shep not seeing it right now?

“Let me do it again, then,” Samantha said and changed her target. She shot Shep twice in his chest and once in his stomach.

Laura screamed and dashed towards Shep. Samantha called 911 and threw the gun towards Laura.

“Help! Help! Laura has gone mad. She’s killed her husband and will kill me as well. I’m in the basement. Help!”

Samantha narrated the address in the same panic-stricken voice and then looked at Laura crying over Shep.

“The cops are coming,” Samantha said to Laura who ignored her. For the next five minutes, no one moved.

Samantha could see Shep’s soul leaving the body. Unlike hers, he didn’t stop or reoccupy his body for vengeance. He simply looked at her with sad eyes and floated away. She heard the cops coming in the house and when they reached the basement stairs, she felt her grip on the body slipping. She was done!

“Bye Laura, enjoy the hell,” Samantha said and vanished. Her body dropped to the ground as the cops reached the basement containing two dead bodies and one sobbing, manic woman.

Inspired from Reddit WritingPrompts – [WP] Your a technical support agent for magic wands and spells. [Link]

Story Collection - MSPM39

Story 3/39: At dot 10:45

Dhrishni picked herself up from her bed and reached the floor and dozed off again. The next time she woke up, two hours had passed. 

“Shit! How did I end up on the floor?” Dhrishni said, waking up, trying to find her phone. Her eyes widened looking at the time. “He’s gonna kill me.” She muttered and ran towards the bathroom. 

Thirty minutes later, she was standing in front of the park, looking at the empty bench. She was late by over an hour. She had messaged him, called him, but he hadn’t replied or picked up her phone. It was supposed to be their third date – the date. She looked at her phone once more, hopefully, and was disappointed again. She looked up and a man was sitting on the bench. 

The man was looking at his watch, which looked like it had come out of the oldest history books. He looked in his 30s and was wearing a suit that was better than any suit she had seen in public and his polished shoes told her that he was either waiting for someone special or was going to make the biggest deal of his life. Dhrishni realizes that she had been looking at the man for a bit too long and hurriedly turned to a tree trying to find it interesting. She turned back for a glance and the man was gone. 

“Where? How? So fast!” She looked around but couldn’t find the man. 

“Come on. You are saying that the man vanished in front of you.”

“Yes, that’s what I’m saying,” Dhrishni said, her voice getting louder every time. She had been trying to explain what she saw in the park to her roommate but she was not ready to believe her. 

“You must have looked at the tree a bit too long,” Anamika said, sticking her tongue out at Dhrishni. 

Dhrishni rolled her eyes. “Leave it.” 

“By the way, what about James?” 

Dhrishni had completely forgotten about James. She looked at her phone and there was no reply from him. 

“I have already sent three messages apologizing. That’s my limit.” 

“I still can’t believe you overslept. On the floor.” 

“Yeah… Yeah…” Dhrishni said, her mind drifting towards the man on the bench. 

She went to the park the next day and the man was present at the same time as yesterday and as soon as Dhrishni looked somewhere else, he vanished. Soon, this became a daily ritual for her. She was both thrilled and scared by this. She didn’t believe in ghosts but this man defied logic. She wanted to approach this man but didn’t know how he would respond and if he was truly a ghost, did she really want to get involved in this. 

This continued for almost a month and Dhrishni continued to get bolder. One day, at 10:44, she sat on the bench, exactly where the man sits. She held her breath and clutched her purse sharply all the while looking at the watch. The watch turned to 10:45 and her heart burst with excitement. 

Nothing happened. She kept looking at the watch and the time changed to 10:50 but nothing happened. She got up and left dejected. The next day, she saw the man sitting at the bench at 10:45 sharp. 

Unable to contain herself, she ran towards the man. He looked up at her and a surprised look washed over his face. 

Unfortunately, Dhrishni couldn’t help but blink and the man was gone again. 

“He can see me. But he was surprised that I could see him.” Dhrishni said to herself and went back to her apartment. 

Anamika’s mouth was open as she heard the whole story.

“You’re kidding me!” 

Dhrishni shook her head. 

“Now what?” 

“Now, I will go again. I have to find out the truth.”

“Can I come?” Anamika asked.

“Sure.” 

Both the girls went to the park and waited. At 10:45, the man appeared, this time, directly looking at Dhrishni. She flustered. If Anamika had not pulled her, she would have been rooted on the ground by his look alone. 

Anamika’s face was ashen as she pulled Dhrishni away from the man. 

“What happened?” Anamika asked once the man had vanished. 

“You said it was a man.”

“Yeah.”

“I thought it was some random guy. It was HIM.”

“Who?” 

In response, Anamika showed Dhrishni the news about a man who had drowned a month ago in the nearby pond. A shiver ran through Dhrishni’s body. 

“I don’t understand.”

“He’s a ghost. I don’t know how you can see him. I don’t know how I can see him. But he’s definitely a ghost.” Anamika reached the conclusion without missing a step. 

Dhrishni wanted to contradict Anamika but she had nothing. The past month was proof big enough of that. 

“What do you want to do now?” Anamika asked.

“Nothing. I don’t want to go there ever again.” 

The fact that she had been visiting a dead man scared her. Even though she had the inkling of something unnatural happening, the proof had made it more real and her brain couldn’t handle that. 

Next morning, Dhrishni got out of her bed and decided to spend the whole day sitting on her couch, watching television. No more adventures. At 10:45, her heart automatically skipped a beat and she wondered if the man had come on the bench. She turned towards the remote to change the channel and the man was sitting on the couch, staring at her. Dhrishni screamed!

Anamika came running out of her room. The man had vanished. 

“He was here. The dead man was here.” Dhrishni said, gasping, her voice reaching high tones every now and then. 

“Where?” Anamika asked, looking around the room. 

“On the couch. He came to our house.” 

“Who? What happened?” 

Dhrishni turned towards the voice and a woman was standing in front of her. 

“Who are you?” Dhrishni squealed. 

“She’s my friend – Samaira. We were working on a project.” 

“What happened? Has someone broken in the house?”

Dhrishni looked at Anamika for comfort. 

Anamika nodded. 

Dhrishni narrated the whole story to Samaira who heard it all without interrupting her at any point. 

After Dhrishni was finished, Samaira got up and picked her bag. 

“I should go,” Samaira said. 

“She thinks I’m crazy,” Dhrishni said.

“If I had not seen what you had seen, I would have thought the same,” Anamika said. 

For the next week, every day, the man would come on the couch at 10:45 and vanish. Dhrishni and Anamika were surprised by how comfortable they had become in just a week with the supernatural phenomenon. They discussed changing apartments but finding a new one was a bigger hassle than living with a ghost. 

“Hopefully, someday, we will know what’s going on here,” Dhrishni said to Anamika at 10:46 as the ghost came and went while they were sitting on the couch watching a movie. 

Inspired from reddit prompt – [WP] Every day, at 10:45, he sits there. The same man, the same suit. Waiting. If you look again, he’s gone. Then one day, you sit in his spot and wait. [Link]

Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

Messages on the Mirror

Anurag woke up with a smile on his face. This was his first morning in his new apartment. Pristinely furnished and in a high-class society, Anurag had finally made it big. This house was not just a proof of that, but a monument to the hard work and dedication he had shown for the past fifteen years. He deserved the white marble flooring and the king size bed, all for himself.

He knew that this situation would not remain so for long. His girlfriend was out of town for a week on a project and as soon as she would come, this house would start to change as per her wishes. Anurag didn’t mind that but he wanted to enjoy the blandness that this house currently held. The house was newly built and had no previous owners to ruin it. The false ceiling was carved as per his wishes (or rather her wishes) and this house was the result of a search of almost two years.

Anurag and Esha had decided to shift together but a last minute snafu in her project forced her to go to client site. Unfortunately, Anurag’s rent agreement had lapsed so he had to move alone. In fact, Anurag had to shift Esha’s stuff as well. It was all still in the boxes and Anurag didn’t dare open them and arrange them in the wrong order. In fact, he had barely touched his own things. Esha had a whole image in her mind as to how their home should be and Anurag wasn’t allowed to tarnish that image. He could give inputs but this wasn’t a democracy. Esha had cleared that much.

Anurag hugged the blanket some more and decided to skip the office today. He had anyways taken three days of leave for shifting and today was the day two of that leave. He would go tomorrow, he knew that but today, he would simply enjoy the magnificent house. Anurag dozed off in the embrace of the blanket.

Unfortunately, the alarm didn’t know Anurag’s change of plans and it started to buzz at full volume.

“Huh! What?” Anurag said looking at his mobile phone. The alarm was going off in full volume. Anurag swiped the alarm to off and went back to sleep. In a few minutes, the alarm again started to shriek.

“Damn snooze!” Anurag said and shut the alarm. Anurag couldn’t believe that he had snoozed the alarm instead of switching it off. ‘First time in my life’, Anurag thought bitterly.

Mind wide awake, he got up from the bed and started to get ready. He went in the bathroom and a chill ran through his body. He was amazed that he didn’t squeal at the sight. His mirror had a message written in red color.

‘Remember!’

On close inspection, he realised that it wasn’t simply color but blood. His faced whitened. He left the house immediately and only after he was in his car did he take a deep breath.

“Remember! Remember what? Who was that message for? Me?” Anurag blurted out in the car and his heart started to beat normally again. It must have been a trick of the other building people, he realised. Breaking his thought process, his phone rang.

“H.. Hi..” Anurag said, scared.

“What happened to you?” Esha said from the other side.

“Nothing. Just a nightmare.” Anurag said.

“Sheesh! One day I leave you alone and you are having nightmares.” Esha said jokingly.

“Yeah. Something should be there to balance you.” Anurag retaliated.

“I hate you.” Esha said.

“Good.” Anurag said smiling. His heartbeat was back to humming. Esha had that effect on him.

“Please tell me that you have wished mom today.” Esha said.

“Wish her what?” Anurag said and it hit him. “Oh shit! I forgot. I will wish her right now. You wished her?”

“Last night. You really think I will do anything to get in the bad book of my future mom-in-law.” Esha said.

“Why didn’t you remind me last night?” Anurag groaned.

“She told me not to remind you, at all.” Esha said matter-of-factly.

“Of course, she did.”

“Now, wish her. I will talk to you later.” Esha said.

“Ok. Love you.”

“Love you.”

Anurag called her mom and apologised for not calling her last night and made elaborate promises to celebrate the birthday lavishly. He then went back to his house, morning incident forgotten and started to get ready. The day was long and he wanted to get the birthday right, even if wishing didn’t go as expected.

Anurag came back tired and completely worn out. He fell on the bed and kept snoring till the morning alarm woke him up. He went to the bathroom groggy eyed and remembered the last day and immediately checked the bathroom mirror.

“No message.” Anurag said to himself relief flooding his body. He decided to go to the office and started to get ready. While he was trying to get his tie straightened he saw a red speck on his cheek. He got closer to the mirror to check the speck and realised that it was on the mirror.

As soon had Anurag realised it, the speck began to move and a message started to form on the mirror.

‘Remember! Page 47’

Anurag screamed and ran from the house. It was blood. He was sure of it. He was at his office before he realised that he had broken all speed records today and had reached in almost half the time as usual.

The whole day, he kept thinking about the message on the wall and jumped whenever someone said the word remember.

“Anurag. Will you please take over the meeting today. I really want to get the client.” His boss said to him.

“I don’t know about the client Jai.” Anurag said to his boss.

“You will pick it up.” Jai said.

“In half an hour!” Anurag said.

“Please Anurag. If you wouldn’t have come to the office today, I was in half mind to cancel this meeting and run away. Please handle it. Only you can do it.” Jai pleaded.

Anurag said yes and started reading about the client. It was a 100 page report created by an associate which he was able to skim through 30 odd pages before the meeting began.

“It’s all good Anurag but I just want to know what is the crux of all this. You know I am not from a technical background. Simplify and give me a number.” Veer said to Anurag impatiently. Jai looked at Anurag like a damsel in distress looking at her hero.

“I don’t like giving a number before explaining how we reach there.” Anurag said while doing what he had learn throughout his studies till MBA. He jumped on the report and started to turn the pages while completely clueless as to say what. The associate was not present in the meeting else he would have been able to give that answer. Anurag turned a few pages here and there and saw a number.

He went through the page and with a triumph on his face started to speak.

“However, if I have to give you a number, it would be this.” Anurag said writing a number on the white board. Veer smiled looking at the number and spoke with happiness.

“I like this number. You get me that number and my business is yours for years to come.” Veer said and concluded the meeting.

“How did you do that?” Jai asked impressed.

“I knew where to look.” Anurag said with a calm demeanour while his innards lurched. “I will have to go now Jai. Got the unpacking to do.”

“Of course. You have done enough for the week today.” Jai said happily.

“Mind if I take this report.”

“Yeah. No problem.” Jai said.

Anurag opened the page he had quoted the figure from — page 47 — and kept staring at it. He knew it can’t be a coincident.

He went back to his house and saw nothing written on the glass.

“Who is here?” Anurag shouted. He knew he couldn’t call anyone for help. He was alone in this and he had to find proof if he wanted to get any attention on this.

He went to bed and promptly had nightmares. The morning was as the past two — uneventful until the glass started to have red markings in blood.

“Remember! Gym fees.” The message said. This was extremely clear. Anurag’s gym fees was due today and he had completely forgotten about it. He picked up a lipstick from Esha’s bag and wrote a ‘Thanks!’ on the glass.

The whole day went by with Anurag fixated on the glass. When he went home, the lipstick was gone and so was the message in blood. He went to the bathroom and another message was present there.

‘Remember! Joe’s gift.’ The message reminded him of the birthday that was coming this weekend. He had to buy a present for Joe and he immediately jumped on an ecommerce site to check the gift. It would require two days to deliver — exactly the time needed if he orders it right now. The mirror saved him again. Anurag wrote a thanks on the mirror with the lipstick again.

For the next two days, this continued. The frequency of messages increased to two — one in the morning and one in the evening. These messages reminded him of the most important thing that he had to do today. He also learned that there was a pattern to these messages. The morning message was an action he had to do sometime in the day. He didn’t know when but realised it when the time came. The evening message was an immediate action. He had to do that immediately. He still had to decipher them some because they were mostly in broken English. Whoever the ghost was, Anurag was sure that it wasn’t an English scholar.

Within 5 days, he had not only learned to like the messages but had become reliant on them. Every day, he would get the message and he would write a ‘Thanks!’ under it. He didn’t know how he will explain this to Esha. Will the messages remain only for him or will they be for Esha as well? Will they stop altogether when Esha comes? Anurag didn’t know and as the time for Esha’s return came closer, this worried him.

Anurag woke up and realised that Esha would be home tonight. He smiled. Keeping aside his worries regarding the mirror, he was excited for Esha’s return. He had missed her terribly. He woke up with the same excitement that he had on the first day in this house. Anurag got ready slowly and decided to buy a present for Esha before meeting her in the evening.

The scribbling on the mirror started. ‘Remember! Book flight Esha.’

“Aww.. Of course, I remember Esha’s flight today. Thanks for it though. I hope you continue to help me once she is here.” Anurag said and wrote ‘Thanks!’ under it.

He worked with an enhanced vigour in the office and came back bringing a necklace she had wanted. A couple of times during the day, the word ‘book’ nagged him but he ignored it. His excitement overflowed every other emotion. On his return, he found another message scribbled on the mirror.

‘Remember! Call Esha.’ Anurag’s heart skipped a beat and he immediately called Esha. The phone rang without any response. What worried him more than the fact that she didn’t pick the call was that the call went through. She should have been on the flight by now. He called again but to no avail. The phone kept ringing.

Anurag looked at the mirror at the words written in blood with horror.

“What happened to her?” Anurag shouted. The mirror stayed silent. Anurag remembered the words from the morning and flipped open the computer. He saw the latest flight and started packing his bags.

“I don’t have time to book a flight. I have to go now.” Anurag muttered at the mirror, his eyes brimming and his heart pounding in his chest. The mirror remained impassive but his phone vibrated. Esha’s name flashed and he jumped on it.

“Esha! Esha!”

“Hey love.” Esha said in a tired voice.

“What happened Esha? Why are you not on the flight? I was so worried.” Words poured out of Anurag.

“I am sorry to get you worried. I fainted at the office and they had to take me to the hospital. I woke up some time back and saw your call just now.” Esha said. Anurag felt that Esha was hiding something. Her voice had a strain of incomplete information on her.

“Esha! Something is wrong. Tell me the truth. I am coming right now.” Anurag said, panic creeping in his voice.

“There is nothing wrong Anurag. I am completely fine. In fact, better than fine. But, I do want you to come. Book the flight for tomorrow morning. I am going to be at the hospital in the night anyways.” Esha said.

“Esha. I am coming right now.” Anurag said strongly.

“Oh gosh! I am pregnant Anurag.” Esha said excitedly. “Now don’t be a doofus and book a flight for tomorrow morning. Your face should be the first one I see when I wake up. I will message you the details.” Esha continued.

Anurag was stunned.

“Really!” He said.

“Yup. We are going to have a baby. I love you so much.” Esha said speaking very fast. Now, that she had spoken it out loud, she couldn’t hold her emotions.

“I love you too.” Anurag said and put the phone down. He looked at the mirror again. The words were still glimmering on the glass. He stood up and picked Esha’s lipstick.

‘Thanks!’ He wrote and said at the same time. The words shimmered and vanished.

“Book flight Esha.” Anurag said and smiled. He opened the laptop to check the morning flight.