Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Haunting

At the stroke of midnight, she sallied forth.

White saree -- Check

Lit candle -- Check

Hair untied -- Check

The street was deserted, and she was feeling more than a little nervous.

It was not her first time haunting. But the last three times, she had failed to do her bit, and had become the laughing stock of the community. At least this time, she hoped to make a good impression.

This was after all what was expected of her. If the others came to know of the uneasiness that tormented her non-existent heart, they'd laugh louder. There'd be no getting away from the embarrassment.

She had watched the others at work. But in the other life, the one before this state, she had been a well-brought up girl from a good family. Laughing raucously in people's faces, opening the mouth wide to reveal fangs that dripped with blood -- these were not things she approved of. Or enjoyed doing. She longed for release but it was not to be, Merciful release had eluded her so far.

Suddenly the stillness of the night was pierced by some loud and off-key singing. A dark figure, emerging from the distance, zigzagged his way across the street. The figure came closer and she recognised him. He worked in some office downtown, What he earned during the week he blew up on the weekend. He had a wife and three children back home, who dreaded his return home.

Startled, she could barely get her teeth to stop chattering. She quickly ducked behind a tree, only to remember seconds after hiding that she was invisible. Still, it was a wise move. Drunkards can often see what the sober cannot. and she didn't want to frighten this hapless unfortunate needlessly.

She knew the signs and could predict the way they would lead him. Before long, he'd be borrowing, begging, even stealing to fuel his drinking habit. He needed something to jolt him, frighten him out of his wits so he'd never touch the stuff again.

Should she do it? She thought of that other life. It had been lived only for herself. She alone was the intended beneficiary of every single act she had committed, of every word she had spoken.

She wondered now. Was that why Death had not brought peace? Was it because she had been selfish and had thought only of herself? Would it help if she did one good deed for someone else?

She hesitated, but for a moment.. Then appeared in front of the man, laughing that raucous laugh she so hated.

The man beheld the spirit, fear and disbelief fighting for control over his face, and then he began to run. For a man who a few seconds alone had struggled to walk, he managed to canter along quite briskly. 

She learned later that he never drank again. The haunting had sobered him up with lasting effect.

The news increased her standing within the community. Not that it mattered anymore. She had decided to devote the rest of her life, this in-between life, to doing more such stuff.

She smiled to herself. This was going to be fun.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda


  1. WOW! This is so different. A social-service 'spirit'. (pun intended)

  2. So much fun for us too, you readers, getting to read such a wonderfully written story. I am so glad for the nature of her work ;)

  3. Thank you, Kalpana. If only all spirits were like this!

  4. I am too, Shail. Most other spirits frighten the living daylights out of me, as the phrase goes.



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