***This post is part of the Indifiction Workshop and is written based on the plot given by Jayashree Srivastan. You can also find the below post in the Indifcition website here.***
Phew, Munna did manage to break the lock at last. I never thought he was going to do it. He had said that he will break the lock in 5 minutes flat and given his track record of past few years, I, like a fool, believed him. Silly me. Just because he had managed to break locks of numerous homes and lockers in seconds didn’t make him a master, no matter how much he liked to think so.
Oh God, how much of a wimp this Munna is! He actually believes those stupid rumors about this room being haunted by ghosts. Ha! Who would want to live on this God-forsaken earth even after their death? Only a moron like Munna would think of such people.
As I pushed the door with all my might, I heard the sound that I was expected: loud creak of the doors that were being opened after a long, long time. I just hope my guts are right and I manage to find enough treasure to live the rest of my life in luxury: cars, swimming pools, and clubs. Alas, who wants to keep on planning petty heists throughout his lifetime? As soon as I entered the room, I felt cool. Great, at least this room was not an inferno as the sweltering atmosphere out there was.
“Raja? Where are you? I am not able to see you. It’s so dark here.”
“Of course it’s dark. It’s not your bloody home where your wife is waiting for you with hot dinner. Lit your candle. You will be able to see well. My eyes have already adjusted to this darkness.”
As I stepped forward, I could make out a rectangular shape of a huge chest. Yes, this was it. I am 100% sure that alas we have struck gold. Literally. As I started pulling at the lock of the chest, Munna started screaming behind me. “Who’s there? Come forward in the light? Who’s there?”
I knew Munna was not going to give up. So I ignored him and started breaking the lock on my own. I didn’t want to entrust this task to Munna or he would take an entire night to do it. How hard can it be? I can just hammer away the lock, can’t I? “Munna, throw some light over here. I need to break this lock with the hammer.”
“R-Raja, I think we should leave. Something weird is going around here. I don’t feel safe here.”
“Why? What happened? Did you see anything that you shouldn’t?”
“No, nothing like that but it’s just that it’s spooky over here. Especially, that painting a king over there. It seems like he’s grinning at us. His eyes don’t look right to me.”
I turned around to see the painting. Oh yes, quite a majestic painting. Although I have no idea which king he was as I never paid attention to the particularities of the rumor, I was mesmerized. What jewels! Just look at his fine clothes! Is that emerald in his turban and rubies and pearls in his necklace? Oh, how I wish to find that treasure in this chest!
“Okay. Enough of this silliness; just throw some light over here. I need to break this lock. And be fast. I don’t want to spend an entire night opening this chest. We will need time to carry the treasure we find back to home before the night is out, and it’s already midnight.”
With just two blows, the lock opened. Ah, this lock is weaker than the one at the door. Shaking my head at the stupidity of the so-called king to use such weak locks, I pulled open the chest. I simply couldn’t believe my eyes for what I saw. My wish just got fulfilled. There is that turban with big emerald smack in the middle. And ah, there’s that august ruby and pearl necklace above the crown. Yes, we are rich. Finally I was going to shake off the dust of this filthy village and live in style at some big city, where everybody minded their own business.
“Yes Raja, you were right! We are rich now! Yay!” Saying this, Munna threw himself over the open chest and started digging all the jewels and wearing them.
“Hey, what are you doing?” I simply couldn’t understand what was Munna doing hugging all those coins and necklaces instead of starting to pack them. Couldn’t he understand the importance of time?
“Well, I am just enjoying little bit of our good fortune before I start packing away. See this beautiful cup. I think these are real sapphires in gold setting. What do you think?”
“Just shut up and get those bags you left over there. We need to start packing if we want to reach home before sunrise.”
“Oh, okay. I will get those bags.”
Just as I was caressing a particular bracelet, I heard Munna scream. “Raja, get away! Get away from there. There’s this lady in red sari floating over you.”
I looked up but couldn’t see anything but darkness. The fear in Munna’s voice made my blood run cold. Even though I didn’t believe in ghosts and all those rumors, I could hear something different in Munna’s voice. I immediately took out the lighter from my pocket and threw the light toward the ceiling. Still I couldn’t see anything.
“Raja, stop scaring me. Get your ass over here. We need to start.”
“Munna, I am not kidding. She’s just standing over you in red sari with loose hair. Please, please come over here. Blood is dripping from her mouth and she has a small sword on her hand. Please, please listen to me. Please. I promise I am not going crazy. I too want that treasure but only if I manage to live.” Saying this, Munna started crying loudly like a baby. Oh my god, this is so creepy!
Suddenly my eyes fell on a sword lying on the top of the turban. Where did this sword come from? It wasn’t there five minutes back, or was it? Out of curiosity, I lifted it. Hmm. Even though it’s light in weight, it’s feels sharp and strong enough to pass through a thick tree trunk without any problem.
“Raja, throw that sword away. It’s dripping with blood. Your hands have started getting bloody too. Please throw that away and come here. We need to leave.”
Now, where’s the blood? Why can’t I see it? Why is only Munna able to see it? It’s not as if I don’t believe Munna but this is beyond madness. When we are finally having riches beyond imagination within our grasp, Munna is losing his sanity. I took the sword and started walking toward Munna. I wanted to show him how clean and beautiful the sword was.
“Munna, please calm down. See this sword is clean. There’s nothing wrong with it. Let’s get those bags and get to work.”
“No, no, don’t come near me. How can you not see the blood dripping from the sword unto your hands? See that female is still standing over there and laughing maniacally over you.” Again I looked back with the hope to see something. I was getting tired of Munna’s hysterics. Either I wanted to see the ghosts that Munna somehow managed to see without being high or drunk, or I wanted to get down to business. But again I was disappointed. There was nothing but darkness.
“Enough is enough. Munna, pull yourself together or we are done. I don’t want to spend my time with a lunatic.”
“That’s it! You don’t want to believe me because now you want to have everything for yourself. How can you be so callous to me? Me!!! Your childhood friend who supported through thick and think! I should have listened to my wife. I shouldn’t have come here. Well, I don’t want your bloody money. I am going back. I don’t want to become rich. I am happy being a petty thief.”
Saying this, Munna started running away but before he could go out, the doors crashed closed with a bang. Both Munna and I were stunned. How did the doors get closed? There’s not even wind strong enough to do that. Suddenly I started feeling cold. Something odd was going on; I couldn’t decipher what was wrong but I knew one thing: I was getting goose bumps. Before I could react, Munna again started yelling and sobbing.
“I told you! I told you! I told you so many times not to come here. But no, you didn’t have to listen to me. Oh God! Oh God, what are we going to do now! See that woman is coming near you again. Raja, for God’s sake, come here! Don’t stand over there. She will kill you; she’s already eyeing you as if you are a piece of chicken. Please, please listen to me. Come here.”
I too started believing that there’s something creepy going on here and we should have left this place alone. Clutching sword in my right hand, I started moving toward Munna. Maybe we can use this sword to pry open the doors and get out. Maybe we could come back during daytime and try to steal these jewels then.
“No, no, don’t come near me with that bloody sword. It’s not safe in your hands. It seems like that sword has a life of its own. Throw it. Throw it away before it kills you. Just throw that away.”
I again looked at the sword intently. I still couldn’t see any trace of blood on it. “Munna, we need this sword to pry open the doors. Do you want to spend your entire night over here? I am ready to let go of this treasure and go home with you.”
“Yes! Yes, I want to get out but keep that sword away. This sword is controlled by that witch. It will kill you and me. If you continue to keep this sword in your hands, we might never escape alive. Throw it, throw it away.”
As I couldn’t find anything wrong with the sword, I decided to ignore Munna. Alas, what was more important? Reassuring Munna or getting out? As I moved forward, Munna started backing away from me, screaming “No! No! Please Raja, don’t do this! Don’t kill me! Please, please, for God’s sake, please throw away the sword.”
Exasperated by Munna’s illogical pleadings, I just sped up to reach the doors. Sooner the doors are open, sooner we can get out. Just as I reached the doors, Munna suddenly threw himself over me to knock away the sword from my hand. But I didn’t want to throw it. It was our lifeline. It was going to help us open those stupid doors. Why can’t he simply get it? Why does he always have to get his own way? Why can’t he just trust me for once? Was that too much to ask from your childhood friend? Determined to get the doors open with this sword, I firmed my hold over the sword. Munna gripped my wrist and started squeezing it to loosen my grip. “Munna, leave it. I need the sword. I…I sa-said leave it.” Now this hustle was on the verge of turning into a full-on fight, which I didn’t want to get into.
Suddenly I lost my footing and we both fell. I on the bottom with Munna on the top, screaming and writhing. I saw Munna’s eyes getting rolled at the same time felt something wet on my hands. I was horrified when I realized what it was. Blood. Munna’s blood. When we fell on the floor, Munna fell on the sword that somehow got wedged between our bodies. How could this happen? My hand was on the side. How did it come between our bodies? Oh God! I just killed my friend. I actually killed my childhood friend, with whom I used to play, with whom I planned heists. Oh God! This was just so wrong. I started feeling sick. I wanted to puke. Everything was roiling in my stomach. I couldn’t breathe. I need space. I need to get out. I need to get cleaned. Now my hands, shirt and pants were wet. Wet with blood. Warm blood. Munna’s blood. Oh God, my best friend’s blood was on me. I have to get out. Right now before I lose my mind. I need to think. And think fast. Pushing Munna’s body on side, I scrambled up. I still had that sword in my hand. I wanted to throw it away but I simply couldn’t make my hand let go of it.
Who’s laughing? Who could laugh at this time? I got to the burning candle that was lying on the floor couple of feet away. Just as I straightened up with the candle, I saw a female clad in red sari with loose hair. Oh God, she is what Munna was talking about. Oh God! Munna was right. Blood is really dripping out of her grinning mouth.
“Hahahahaha…..Hahahaha……” She was laughing like a lunatic and flying in the air. Oh God, I need to get out. I need to get out right now.
I quickly turned toward the doors and tried to pull it open. But they didn’t budge. Taking a deep breath, I again pulled the doors with all my might. They didn’t even shake. Exhausted, I gave up. Turning around, I leaned back on the doors with the sword raised over me, ready to strike that witch if she comes up to me. But she didn’t come near me. She kept on laughing like a lunatic and flying in the air. Her sari and hair was billowing like a small girl swinging in the garden. It was a bloodcurdling sight that I never imagined to witness. For the first time in my life, I started praying. I started to beg forgiveness for the robberies that I had done in this lifetime. I started promising God that I will reform if I manage to get out alive. I closed my eyes. I didn’t want to see that witch playing in the air. I closed my eyes tight and started praying with ghoulish laughter ringing in my ears. Suddenly the laughter stopped. I got hopeful. Maybe the witch got tired and she went away. Still, I didn’t want to open my eyes but I knew I had to.
Taking a deep breath, I slowly opened my eyes and nearly missed a heartbeat. That witch was standing just couple of inches from me with an evil gleam in her eyes. The red pupils of her eyes were as large as the size of her eyes. Looking at me, she was licking her bloody lips. It seemed that blood constant emitted out of her mouth and she kept on licking it over and over. I wanted to move away from her but I couldn’t with the doors at my back and her in the front. She again started laughing, sending chills through my spine. It seemed like she was playing a cat and mouse game with me. She was toying with me, and I, being a helpless mouse, couldn’t do anything. Suddenly I realized I still had a sword in my hand. Sharp and lightweight sword that was easy to manage. Easy to run through her, wasn’t it?
As if she realized my thoughts, she got blissful expressions on her face. She still moved closer to me. I felt her touch – cold touch, a touch that felt like thousands of worms crawling all over my body. Just as I lifted my sword and swung it, she hugged me tightly. She started kissing me. She opened her mouth on mine and started sucking. Blood started coming out of my mouth. I could feel her long tongue gliding around my mouth, dueling with my tongue. She was sucking my mouth as a newborn babe does from a mother’s breast. My shirt was getting wetter. I started feeling weak. Pain started setting in. I was losing blood through the ribs where the sword was lodged, and through the mouth where the witch was sucking.
I wanted to hit her. I wanted to kill her. I wanted her to suffer the way I was suffering. But she kept on kissing me, kept on sucking me until I couldn’t feel anything. Then there was darkness. Pitch black darkness that was beckoning me like a mother. And with a smile, I surrendered. Surrendered to that kiss of death.