Prologue of Doorbell
Anshi woke up in her basement. She was lying there on the floor. Convinced she had been sleepwalking again, eyes still shut, she clambered towards her room. When she found her bed she dug herself into it. She was snoring in no time.
It was 7 AM in the morning when the doorbell rang.
That irritating resonating voice of the door was always more punishing than the easy-to-reach alarm on the nearby desk. Anshi just loved to sleep, and she hated it when someone woke her up.
A second ring and she was up on her feet, rather reluctantly.
Ting Tong. Ting Tong.
She knew it was the milkman. Eyes half shut she reached out for the door holding a utensil in her hand. But when she opened the door, there was nobody there. She shut it and returned back to her bed.
It was hardly a minute later when the doorbell rang again.
She reached for the door yet again, didn’t find anybody, so she peeked out into the corridor. Left then right. No one was there.
She went back to her bed again.
The Little Girl
When she was about to wake up, it was there yet again. The doorbell and its intrusive ting tong.
She walked up to the door this time convinced somebody was poking fun at her and opened the door mad as hell. She went left then right, then all the way up to the stairs to check. But there was no sign of anyone. She descended the stairs a little to find a small girl holding on tightly to the railing lost in her thoughts.
“Did you ring the doorbell?”
The poor girl stared at her blankly. Realizing she was too short to reach the doorbell, Anshi went back to her room again. But she didn’t go to sleep. She was convinced she would catch the culprit red-handed. So she grabbed a club and stood right at the door, waiting for the doorbell to ring again.
“This prank is going to cost you, you moron.”
She was losing all hope when the doorbell rang again, and she almost reflexively burst open the door shouting,
But to her surprise, there was no one around.
“How is it even ringing?”
Clouds of doubt and horror began filling her head up. She thought about calling her parents. They had gone to visit her aunt in Darjeeling. It was supposed to be their quite vacation time. She didn’t want to disturb them, of course, but this doorbell was giving her the chills.
She reached out for her phone. But there was no signal there. She went to the landline and picked up the receiver to call her father who was always on speed dial. But to her surprise even the phone was dead. She switched on the TV but found it static so switched it off again.
Then there that was again.
Loud as ever.
She was terrified now. She opened the door to no one. Then remained outside for some time then turned her attention to the shoddy doorbell. She pressed the button herself, and the loud reverberation consumed the whole floor. It seemed to be working fine. She pressed it again, and again. But the doorbell seemed pretty okay.
Confused she decided to call the watchman. So she ran down her apartment.
The watchman looked towards her but didn’t respond.
The watchman sprang from his seat and came running towards her.
On finding that it wasn’t Rajesh the usual guard, she asked
The watchman didn’t understand,
The bloke replied,
“I am the Watchman Ma’am.”
Confused a bit, she decided to let it go.
“Never mind. Could you send someone ASAP to check the doorbell of my flat? There seems to be a problem with it. It’s been ringing continuously.”
The watchman was quick to reply,
“I will get it checked Ma’am.”
She was about to turn when she decided to ask him about the TV.
“And what is wrong with the TV?”
The guy shrugged,
“No idea. Ma’am.”
She thought for a while then said,
“Give me your phone.”
The poor thing said,
“I don’t own a phone, Ma’am.”
She realized he might not have a phone and said,
“Alright. Just send someone ASAP.”
She turned awkwardly then, dreading the thought of going back to her room all alone. Making up her mind then, chose to go out for a walk instead.
In the park, she strolled for a while, before choosing to rest on a bench. She was trying to think about her awkward day, when suddenly she realized there was someone sitting on the bench with her. It was none other than her Professor from College.
“Sir? You? How did….How are you?”
The professor did not respond. He was staring ahead on the grassy patch of land. He seemed lost in his thoughts.
“You should be taking rest. How’s your heart condition?”
He did not respond.
“Are you alright?”
She put her hand on him gently. He looked at her for the first time. Tears broke from his eyes. He lifted his hand to place it on her head gently. She didn’t understand why he was crying, or why he seemed so bleak.
“Are you alright Sir? You seem a little….”
He dug his face into his hands and started crying loudly this time.
Uncomfortable she looked around to see if anyone saw him like that. She tried to console him.
But he stood up and started walking away from her. She tried calling him but he swaddled away,
He was gone.
She didn’t understand why her Professor reacted that way. Normally he was always in a cheerful mood. She had never seen him cry.
She retired to her apartment once again. But the Watchman wasn’t there. She figured he might have gone to call the electrician or something.
On the stairs she met that little girl once again. She was holding the railing, tears oozing out from her eyes.
Anshi walked up to her, and asked,
“What happened dear? Why are you crying?”
The little girl wiped her tears and asked,
“Have you seen my mommy?”
Anshi felt bad for her. The poor girl was looking for her mother.
She asked her what her name was and where she lived. The little girl pointed towards a house on the same floor. She introduced herself as Jia.
Anshi took Jia to the said door. Jia tried reaching for the doorbell then the door knob but couldn’t. She showed her that she was too short for it. Anshi rang the doorbell for her.
They waited for a minute but nobody opened the door. So Anshi turned the knob and the door clicked open. It wasn’t locked. They went inside to check but found nobody there. Jia ran for her Teddy Bear in her room.
Anshi asked Jia to accompany her since there was nobody there at her house. Jia refused saying, she preferred waiting in her own house to a stranger’s.
Back to her Room
Leaving Jia behind reluctantly Anshi went back to her room again. She jumped on her bed with her favourite book. She hadn’t even completed half of a page when there it was again.
Wondering if that was the electrician, she ran to open the door.
But there was nobody there.
She kept the door open this time, convinced if anybody showed up there to play the prank she would catch him/her red-handed. She sat right across the door, switching on the TV, flipping through the channels that showed static everywhere. Furious at what was going on, she hit the TV hard. The flower vase that was on top of the TV fell. She shut the door again.
And ran towards her room frustrated. The doorbell kept ringing in her head. She dug herself in her pillow and blanket, crying nevertheless.
It wasn’t moments after, she felt as if someone had jumped on her bed right next to where she was sleeping. She turned around immediately. But there was no one there.
Scared at the thought of a ghost in her house, she ran towards the next door she encountered. It was the basement. She ran down till she stumbled on something and fell. She turned around to look what was it. She was shocked beyond limit. She couldn’t manage a word as she tried to get away from it, scampering away in disbelief screaming insanely.
It was early in the morning around 4 AM when the Suris returned from their vacation. They didn’t want to disturb Anshi so they used their spare keys to enter the house. They saw Anshi’s room shut the way she would always prefer it, so they didn’t bother go check. Trying to get some sleep Mahesh and Shikha, went straight to their bed.
At about 7 AM in the morning, the doorbell rang. Shikha took the utensil from the kitchen because she knew it was the Milkman. The doorbell rang again.
She opened the door and found the grinning Milkman.
“How many times did I tell you ring just once. This is Anshi’s sleeping time.”
The Milkman replied,
“I forgot Madam. I will remember next time.”
“You always say that.”
She shut the door and came back to the bed. There was a ring again, and she woke up cursing how her husband wouldn’t even bother budge.
It was the newspaper guy asking for month’s due. She took care of it paying him, and then returned to the bed. Mahesh Suri’s sleep was already spoiled so he decided to go take a walk. It was a daily routine for him to go jogging in the nearby park.
Returning from Morning Walk
He returned an hour later as Shikha opened the door to greet him with the morning tea and the newspaper. Mahesh looked a tad upset. He told her that someone in the park told him about Mishra’s little girl. She had been missing for the past four days, and there’s still no news.
“I will go see him. It doesn’t feel right. Everybody in the building must have visited him.”
Shikha agreed, as Mahesh went out but immediately rang the door bell again. He was sweating profusely and wished to change. Soon after changing into a fresh pair of clothes, he was gone. Shikha became busy with her household chores. She was in the bathroom when she heard the doorbell ring.
Shikha became busy with her household chores. She was in the bathroom when she heard the doorbell ring.
Then it rang in a weird sense of urgency.
Ting Tong. Ting Tong.
“Coming!” she shouted as she opened the door.
But to her surprise, there was no one there.
She went inside knocked at Anshi’s door asking her to wake up saying it’s 10 AM. Then she went to cook some breakfast.
Mishra’s Missing Daughter
There was a doorbell ringing sound again. Shikha opened it to Mahesh. He told her about the plight of the Mishras. How they were really heartbroken.
As they were busy talking in the kitchen, they heard the noise of something breaking. Mahesh went into the drawing room, and realized their flower vase had fallen down somehow.
“In her room. Go wake her up! It’s already 10 AM. It’s all because of your pampering.”
Mahesh shook his head,
Mahesh knocked at Anshi’s door thrice before opening it. He found her in a pile of blankets and decided to wake her up by jumping on the bed.
But as soon as he did the blanket unfurled, and he realized Anshi wasn’t there.
He came out shouting Anshi’s name.
“Anshi’s not in her room.”
Shikha was now trembling too.
He went to check the bathrooms, toilets, then literally searched every room. But she was nowhere to be found. Shikha came out with Anshi’s phone.
“She can’t part with her phone.”
Shikha begins to cry.
“Where is she?”
Mashesh was quick to cut in,
“Don’t overreact! She must have gone to her friend’s.”
Just then he felt this urge to check the basement. When he opened it and came down the stairs he fell down crying on his knees. There was a body on the ground. It was that of Anshi’s.
Epilogue of Doorbell
Anshi saw her body and understood that she had been dead all this time. It was an epiphany that she wasn’t prepared for. In tears, she opened the basement door, gradually walked towards the main entrance. She sat down right underneath the doorbell with her face cupped in her hands, crying even more now.
She felt someone tugging at her. When she lifted her face she realized it was Jia.
“I think there is a ghost in my house.”
Jia was scared, holding her Teddy tight. Anshi looked at the poor child. She didn’t even know, that poor soul.
She hugged Jia tight, the latter still oblivious to what was going on.
Anshi then wiped her tears off, then stood up and pressed the doorbell to her house waiting for the door to open.
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