It has been 3 months since I lost Prakash, my husband. I had to quit my job 11 years ago when I was told I couldn’t bear children, what with the despair and anguish I went through. I was hoping I could get a job to relieve myself of the loneliness that haunts me in this once-so-lively house of ours. After several trials, I sought the help of my brother-in-law, who spoke to his boss about me. That kind-hearted boss was willing to offer me a post in his firm and so asked me to see him at 16:00hrs today in his office.
I hailed an auto and reached my destination in time. Unable to recognize which building the office is in, I called Raghu, my BIL.
Myself: Raghu, I reached the Gandhi Road. Which exactly is your office building?
Raghu: The red one with a tall gate. Reach the 4th floor; I’ll join you in a couple of minutes there.
I hung up and entered the close by red building. The watchman was across the road gossiping with a gentleman sharing a cigarette with him. The cellar was empty but for a few vehicles. I walked towards the lift and waited for more than 5 minutes for it to come. I thought that the lift may be out of order and started climbing the stairs.
The place was unkempt and messy as though it had been uninhabited for several months. Becoming breathless, I stopped at the 2nd floor for a break. It was in rambles. The two portions in the floor were locked from outside and bore a ‘tolet’ board. Who would move in after seeing the state of the building! Anyhow, I went up the stairs and reached the 4th floor. To my utter surprise, there was no office there! Just a locked room.
To the other extreme end was a door. Assuming it would lead me to the office, I went there to find an unused toilet. On the cracked mirror inside, it was written ‘U r Dead’. There were pieces of shattered glass here and there on the floor and a few bloody footprints. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I immediately dialed Raghu’s number. Before he could answer, my phone went dead. Damn the battery!
These omens seemed ill enough for me and I ran towards the lift. It came to a screeching halt and I hopped in. No matter how many times I pressed the buttons, the lift didn’t move. I hurried out of the lift and took the stairs. I just got down to the 3rd floor when I heard a squeaky voice call my name. ‘Vaishnavi’ it echoed. I realized it came from the far end of the floor and went there to see who it was. I found no one.
Having lost my wits, I rushed downstairs. I could hear the voice getting closer. And I saw the shadow of the body to which that voice belonged. It was hanging upside down from the parapet wall and motioning me towards it. As I turned away to make an escape, the voice became shriller. Everything went blank and I passed out from the fear.
When I woke up after some time, I was in a leather couch in a plush room. Raghu and a lady were talking and laughing. On noticing that I regained consciousness, they came to me. I told him all that had happened back in the office building. The woman said “That red building you entered is not the red building of our office”. I instantly recognized her voice as the one from the building.
Grasping my confusion, she explained that Raghu sent her over to that building when I didn’t turn up at his office as expected. She was calling out my name and I panicked. Hoping I’d notice her, she bent over the parapet wall and waved her hands which caused all this misery to me! The bloody footprints that added to this horror must be those of some drunkard who went upstairs and tipped over his own bottle in the darkness. The artwork on the mirror must have been done by a kid.
When everything went in place, I met Raghu’s boss and he let me start off as his assistant. 🙂
PS: Not completely original. Unknown source.