The Somnambulist – A Short Story

I came across this weird piece of narration about a somnambulist that scours on some dark elements. The reason it is hard to write it off as a mere sleepwalking affair is owing to its unusual feel. You read this somnambulist story and tell me if you don’t feel some real vibes exhuming. There’s a high probability of something bizarre going on here. You would know why it wasn’t fair to title it as merely “The Somnambulist”.

Go ahead and enjoy the short story:

The Somnambulist Short Story

Kota is a place widely known for its animose coaching. It preps up students up early, letting them run for an elusive dream of getting into famous institutes across the country.

You get in there and your life’s set.

So they tell you. And the children have no clue of what they are supposed to do in life. They tack along what people ask of them or more importantly what their parents want from them. That’s how the life is for growing up teenagers in the country.

That very stereotype swallowed Vishal too as he showed up in the city with a bag full of books and a head full of hopes. His father accompanied him to take care of the admission rituals and then hooked him up to a decent PG room before leaving him for good.

In the Land of the Strange

It was a strange land for Vishal; strangers walked in huge numbers. Not a face he could nod to, not a face he could smile to. He was an introvert who would always have trouble making friends. But luckily friendship found him in the form of his PG mate.

The room he was allocated had a parallel room next to it. There was a hallway in between that opened to a roof. They were on the first floor where the roof was. At one corner of the roof was the washroom where a dim LED bulb would flicker at nights.

The lad introduced himself as Vinit at the time of his moving in. He was the same age as that of Vishal and had come to reap dreams just like any other child in that wretched fateful city. Since they would always bump into each other Vinit and Vishal got to talking. Those regular talks on the roof ended up carving friends out of strangers. Suddenly Kota wasn’t as punishing as it had once appeared to be.

Mornings and Nights

Mornings were relentless because Vishal had countless classes with each class lasting for more than an hour. It was as if he had entered a shittier version of his school that had a serious mission to accomplish, and if you couldn’t run as fast you would end up lagging behind. It did not have canteens, did not entertain lunch, did not sing “Good Mornings” to teachers, and did not have friends you knew all your life. Students there talked only about studies if they ever opened their mouths to speak.

It seemed like a rocket on a mission. Knowledge, the only way you could board it. And even though the rocket was a surefire thing for people’s idea of success, it didn’t guarantee the fact that all students who clung to it would finally make it.

The night time was nice because of a friend he had seen in Vinit. They talked about their journey so far, of friends they had left behind, of funny incidents from their past, of love lost, of an elusive twinkling journey that was paved ahead of them and that glimmer of hope and despair that their studies tagged along.

Tearing Down Gods

Every night as they retired to their rooms, Vishal would hear Vinit’s door knob locking from inside. It didn’t mean anything to him but it kind of gave him a sense of assurance that Vinit was in there. But its colossal importance was going to unravel in a few days.

One fine day, Vishal walked into Vinit’s room before getting ready for his classes. He found him sitting next to some torn photos. On closing in further, he realized those were images of Gods and Deities he had torn. Vishal being a religious guy felt a little bad as he said,

“You could have donated them somewhere. Why did you have to tear them?”

As a response to that Vinit said he wished to put a specific God in there and tried to dodge the bullet. He did not answer him properly. Miffed a little, Vishal went on to do his daily chores and in a matter of days forgot all about it.

The Night of Terror

A few days passed. They were out on the roof again discussing stuff about life. When it was time to retire, Vishal bade him night and came to his room. He was on his bed when he heard Vinit’s bolt lock from the inside. It was the same old distinctive noise that he had come to register unknowingly in his brain.

Vishal was fast asleep when he was disturbed by a noise coming from Vinit’s room. He woke up. The clock read 2 AM. He realized the sound to be a constant thudding sound. It seemed as if the edge of a bed was being lifted and dropped within seconds. Must be Vinit he thought. But why would he do such a thing?

The noise was incessant. It didn’t stop for a while.

Vishal was never afraid of ghosts. He never held back from venturing into the dark or staying alone, but that night he became scared. Too scared to even head out to check. He sprang to his feet only to make sure that his door was properly locked. That there was no way anything or anyone could enter his room.

On the Roof

The noise didn’t stop all this time. It was getting on his nerves now.

He thought maybe Vinit was in trouble or something and he spurted out without a second thought.

“Vinit! Are you alright?”

Just then he heard Vinit’s bolt unlock. Vishal was perspiring to the core. He once again checked the bolts on his door confirming it was properly locked.

As Vishal stood there listening at the door, it seemed to him as if someone ran across from Vinit’s room towards the roof. The sheer horror of it! Scared to the core Vishal was in his bed in no time. He sat there on the bed trying to figure out what to do. He was shivering now. His window was well shut and had a curtain on it. From the edges where the curtain met the window sill, he could make out the dim light of the washroom.

The thought of peeping crossed Vishal’s mind but the very idea of what he might find there had him decide otherwise. So he dug himself under his blanket, with ears wide open trying to listen to any kind of sound. But there was none.

Soon the weary day got the better of him, as Vishal slipped into drowsiness.

Break of the Dawn

It was the chirping of the birds that woke up Vishal the next day. The first thought that came to his mind was to check out the roof. He opened his door hurriedly and ran towards the roof. He found Vinit reading a newspaper there.

“Good Morning! Sleeping till late today?”

Vishal couldn’t even manage a word. Thousands of doubts and theories began crowding his mind. He made some small talk trying to avoid what had happened during the night. Suddenly Vinit said,

“You know I forgot to lock my door yesterday. I woke up and found the door wide open.”

Vishal couldn’t say a word. He wanted to tell everything to Vinit but he didn’t know how he would react or what he was in store for. So he let it slide.

Although he told his father about what had happened. Vishal’s father advised him to leave the house immediately and find another abode in the city. But Vishal didn’t take it so seriously. Besides finding a new rental was too much trouble. Despite that bad experience, he didn’t move.

After that night nothing unusual happened, or maybe it did. Vishal had become a sound sleeper. He might have missed it even if something would have happened.

The Final Discussion

One day deep down lost in a conversation, Vishal decided to break it to Vinit the happenings of the night to see how he would take it. Of course, the suspense was killing him too.

“The day you were telling me about the open door saying you had forgotten to lock it, you hadn’t. I distinctly remember you locking your door from the inside. There was this noise in the night that woke me up, and I heard someone open the door from the inside and then someone running off towards the roof.”

When Vishal said that, he was expecting Vinit to be surprised. But he wasn’t. It seemed it wasn’t the first time something unusual had happened to him.

“You see that road over there.”

Vinit pointed towards a road that ran few blocks ahead.

“I woke up there once in the middle of the night. I had no memory of how I had gotten there as I stood there confused. Dogs barked at me. I cried and trembled. Then made my way back into my room. But it was scary as hell. There was nobody around, but pitch darkness.”

As Vinit was telling him that, Vishal imagined himself in his shoes and waking up at a dark forlorn place like that. That was indeed something.

the somnambulist short story gif animation

He took a deep breath as he stood up to leave,

“I didn’t tear those photos on purpose Vishal. I would never do such a thing. When I woke up it was already like that.”

That was the last time they talked about it. It was unclear of what or why something was happening to him or if there was a ghost involved.

Time moved on as both merged into their own respective lives.

Did you like the somnambulist tale? You can read more creepy stories here.

Special Thanks to Sohit Dubey

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