She is 40 now. But people still compliment her looks. As Shanthi drew one more puff of her cigarette, the girls looked at her with expectation in their eyes. She has been telling them stories about her life. She looked at the girls’ eager eyes devouring every bit of information she was giving them.
A Blast From The Past
She was 9 years old. Her father worked for a plantation owner in the beautiful hills of Munnar. He had generously given them a tiny shack to live. They were content. After all, they had a place to live, a job and school for the girls. Her dad was away mostly in the day, driving his boss around. Her mother took care of their house and the cooking in the owner’s bungalow. Shanthi and her sister went to school in the nearby village and once back home in the evening helped their mother with supper.
Their normal routine was broken one early morning when her mother found her golden bangles missing. Everyone searched the house; however, they could not find them. Her mother kept crying all the time talking about how many years of savings it took them to buy the bangles. That’s when their neighbor had an idea.
Kamatchi paati was an old widow who hailed from a small village in Kerala. She had moved to Munnar as a new bride with her husband. She was of much help when Shanthi’s parents weren’t at home and the children needed a place to stay. Kamatchi paati took Shanthi’s father aside and told him about a temple in the village, back home. If anyone from his family stays there, the person who stole the bangles will start to show signs of it. They will suffer, and eventually confess and give back.
Her family took the trip. And Shanthi was left there for two weeks.
“What happened then?” inquired one of the girls.
“Did you guys find the bangles?” quipped the other, disbelief in her tone.
Shanthi ignored the sarcasm and continued.
The Possessed Girl
Now, this temple is no ordinary temple. Instead, people flocked to it for a different reason than to worship. They brought the possessed and ceremonies were conducted to treat people affected by Black Magic.
During her two week stay, Shanthi remembered a young girl in her teens. Her parents brought her every day. She was beautiful, with long hair and a slender body. She had sharp features, kohl-lined eyes and tiny mouth that was now frothing with saliva as she was dancing to her own tune, with her hair whipping the sand on the ground, as the Nambudiris kept chanting some prayers.
Shanthi watched with shock and equal wonder at the sight. She heard people talking that the young girl was possessed and they have been coming here for days now.
Shanthi returned home soon. She did not think much about her experience.
Years went by. She moved to Chennai and met her boyfriend. They traveled to many places. She loved her lifestyle. She had a quaint place she called home in Chennai. It was a small one bedroom. The hall was big for two and they spent many nights watching movies in the bed that stayed in the hall. She didn’t care. It was her place.
Her boyfriend left for South Africa and Shanthi grew accustomed to the neighborhood. College kids always had excuses to hang around her place. She was the sister they never had.
Amal was one such guy. He had bad vision and his spectacles gave him the nerdy look. If someone passes by and waves at him he will most likely not wave back. Yes, his eyesight was that bad.
“Wait, wait. Is this the Amal who lived next door?” asked one of the girls who had some memories of spending her vacation at her aunt’s place and knew Amal.
Shanthi smiled yes and continued.
The Girl at the Door
That night in December people had gone to bed early. It was a chilly night and Shanthi fixed herself a nice sandwich. She left the lights on and was watching a movie.
The girls noticed Shanthi’s face changing and realized there was fear in her eyes. They watched her, as one would move to the edge of the seat at the cinema hall when the movie gets interesting.
Shanthi was enjoying her sandwich, sitting on the bed. The bed faced east, with the door on the left. The TV was at the other end of the hall, with portraits on the wall behind and some memories from the countries traveled. One can watch TV and still notice the door in their peripheral vision.
As Shanthi was watching the TV, she could feel the room grow cold, somehow feeling the door was not closed. She turned her attention to the door and froze. She saw the girl standing at the door. The same girl from 20 years ago. With her long hair that whipped the sand on the ground, now neatly plaited and in the front. Her face was of horror and eyes were deep and pitch black, with the cruelest smirk on her dry broken and bloody lips. Just standing and watching Shanthi.
A few days later, Amal visited Shanthi. He kept banging the door and Shanthi was silent. The banging stopped and Shanthi moved to the window on her third floor home and slightly moved the curtain away to see if he is gone. The Amal, who couldn’t see a person 10ft away, waved right back at her. He came in and spent a few hours with Shanthi and left.
It will soon come to be known that the next three days he was seen here and there, looking disheveled and talking to himself. Eventually killing himself.
Shanthi left Chennai and never went back. The only thing she took with her were a couple of gold bangles.
Special Thanks to Bathsheba Selvan
Bathsheba is a team leader in MANY in Chennai who loves reading books and hunting down horror stories online.
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