It was 2 pm in the afternoon. Akshay woke up with heavy head. Mother said to him, "Son, get fresh soon and have your meal."
Akshay had come home at 7 am in the morning from office after finishing his night shift.
The cab had dropped him at door. With domination of sleep in his head, he had come upstairs and slept immediately, only to wake up in the afternoon.
Still in sleepy mind after waking up, he heard only two words said by his mother, "fresh, and meal". He saw out of the window of his house. It was dark and cloudy. He could see half view from window because a tree had obstructed the remaining view. 6 hours from now, a cab again was going to pick him up for today's night shift.
He was not an employee of call center but was a networking support guy. Networking required 24X7 support hence there were shifts. However, the neighbors always thought he worked in call center. But he did not try to explain the difference between call center job and networking support to them.
"Oh!" he thought, "Why my head is paining more than usual today?"
Akshay became fresh and sitting on chair he switched on TV. Meanwhile, his mother had started cooking fresh and hot meal for him. A TV channel "Mega news" was showing everything other than news. He started looking for the TV remote.
The TV channel anchor was screaming, "See the ghostly photographs! See the real ghost! Real spook! It’s on your TV screen! Soon you will start believing in ghosts!
If you don't believe in spooks, this program is for you.
If you believe in spooks, this program is definitely for you!
After a small commercial break we will show you how a spooky figure went on rampage in a bungalow. Don't go away. Keep watching! People who experienced the spooky incidents will tell you their stories!"
Keep watching! Nasty News - Get the illusive views behind the real news!"
"Oh God! What a torture in the name of news! Mamma...where is the remote???" Akshay screamed louder that the ghostly anchor on TV.
However while making food in kitchen, his mother was looking down from the kitchen window to a vegetable vendor. Seeing that his mother ignored his "remote" request, he found it by himself and changed the channel to "Business Bites - making money merrily!"
He kept waiting for the name of share to come on the scrolling bar at the bottom in which he had invested money.
Mother came in front of him blocking his view of TV and said, “Listen Aks, the food is ready on the table. Have it. By then, I will go down and take some vegetables for next few days. Are you going to take tiffin for tonight? If yes, I will bring vegetable accordingly"
"Oh Mummy! Please move away from the screen otherwise I will miss my share price. And yes, I will have my dinner outside. Do not make my food for tonight, okay!"
Nodding to his say, she went down and Akshay got his plate quickly from kitchen and sat in front of TV again on chair waiting for his share.
The price of "Sabrina Industries Pvt Ltd" was Rs- 800. Since many days, its price was neither going up nor going down.
He looked out from the hall window and noticed that rain had started. There was lightning in the sky.
Suddenly his eyes got fixed against his will on the tree outside the window without his eyelids moving. He saw two shapes which resembled "zeroes" on the tree. In sudden lightning, he could see the two zeroes very clearly. In one of the zero-shape, he saw a human skull laughing out of misery. His eyes were fixed automatically on the tree looking at the zero shapes. One more skull appeared in another zero shape.
Facial expressions of the second skull started changing from sad, depressed, gloomy and disappointed and finally macabre.
One more sudden lightning and...
An unclear human face having curly hairs appeared for few seconds on the tree....
The two zeroes came together and made shape of the number 8...
Human face was in misery!
Curly hair face disappeared...
Number 8 gone!
The fixed eyes got relieved....
Before he could think of what and why he was seeing on tree, his thoughts got frozen till he finished his viewing. His vision was frozen automatically. Only thing he could realize that something inhuman was there on the tree.
"Tsamina mina, eh eh
Waka waka, eh eh
Tsamina mina zangalewa
This time for Africa!"
The ringtone of his mobile brought him to the real world. His forced trance was broken!
"Hello!" said Akshay in a shattered voice.
"Aks, why your voice looks so frightening? Have i disturbed you from sleep?"
"No no! Nothing like that. Tell me!" trying to hide the impact on him of what he just had seen, he continued speaking.
Rohit was talking on phone, "Hey! Come to my room. We will chat, listen to music and will wander in this big city. I am free today. And Madhura is also free as her both room partners are out of town."
"Hey!” Akshay said, "You spoke my mind. Here I come after my meal!”
Now it was raining but moderately.
Finishing his meal, wearing his favorite dark black T-Shirt, blue jeans, raincoat, helmet and locking the door he went down. His mother seemed to have purchased vegetables and was talking to some woman in nearby house.
He started his bike and threw keys to his mother saying, "Mummy, I am going to Rohit, catch the door keys!" Keys landed on terrace near his mother. She said, "Okay! Come home by 7 pm"
His mother's voice reached him cutting through the rain drops. It was still dark in the sky. Now rain was less.
He was now on a secluded and deserted road outside the city. The more he increased the speed of bike, the speed indicator needle was moving more to the left side. He couldn't believe his eyes. How the needle can move backwards? How is it possible? After some time it was normally at the right side. Why was it moving in left direction earlier?
First at home he saw the mysterious skulls on tree and a familiar looking curly haired face and now here he was seeing something unusual. Thinking about it, he just saw again in the speedometer and got shocked thoroughly. He was not even able to scream by what he saw in speedometer glass. He saw his own image in it but inside helmet there was a skull instead of his face. And the helmet looked like made of two bony hands around each other holding the skull tight. He remembered the Hollywood movie - Ghost Rider. In the side mirror also he saw the same scene.
Two skeleton hands around each other were holding the skull forming shape of ears at both sides of it with index finger and thumbs....
He got so horrified that, on an impulse removed his helmet in hurry and threw it away in nearby bushes along the roads. He lost his balance, his bike got slipped due to wet roads and he fell off the bike. He got up quickly with little abrasion on legs. Inside bushes the skull was still there inside the helmet.. this time burning and laughing at him.
A dark rainy day!
Cloudy and rainy atmosphere!
A deserted road!
A deserted road!
A burning skull inside dark bushes laughing at Akahay!
And Akshay looking at the skull horrified...
A passerby biker who when saw this unusual scene, was so terrified that he increased the speed of his bike to 80 and fled off the place fast. The biker could not bear the scene in his mind. He remembered someone had told him in past about this road that it was possessed and controlled by many dissatisfied spirits of dead people who confuse and create hallucinations for the bikers travelling on the road. He had started chanting the Hanuman Chalisa and stopped only when he reached home. He didn't even bother stop at red signals.
Skull also stopped..laughing and burning!
Now skull was also not there inside the helmet.
Helmet was still there in bushes.
It was still. Calm. Quiet.
Recovering from the experience, Akshay started his bike leaving helmet in the bushes and rode fast towards Rohit's home which was still 2 kms away. He thought of sharing these experiences with Akshay for sure. He reached Rohit's home. Madhura was already there sitting on Sofa chatting on WhatsApp. She was wearing tight red T shirt and a mini skirt. Rohit was wearing a half sleeved T shirt and a short. All the three were friends since college days. They used to meet regularly and would share their life experiences among each other. They were doing job in the same city.
"Rohit, coffee please!" Madhura demanded.
"Okay guys! Sit and relax! I will make a strong coffee for us!" Rohit said and went to kitchen.
Akshay switched on the sound system and started playing the song, "It’s my life!"
Over a coffee, they chatted on different subjects of their interest. Akshay was yet hesitating and apprehensive to share his spooky experience. He couldn't gather the courage to share it with the fear of being ridiculed. He kept silent. Songs gave him relief. His mind calmed. Later the trio decided to eat dinner in hotel. In Madura's car, they went to 3D hotel - Deluxe Dinner Digest. Finally with the starters and the beer on the table and some initial sips Akshay became comfortable to speak about his experiences.
In short, Akshay told both of them what happened at home and on road.
Rohit said: "Listen my friend! Why should we talk about dead people when we all are alive? Enjoy the life. See at the girl. Madhura. She works hard to earn money, enjoys her weekends and now she is going to USA with Ankit next year. We broke up one year back and found our respective companions later on and still we are friends, you know! Platonic friendship! We both are enjoying our life without bothering about dead people!"
Rohit winked at Madhura. She gave suggestive look to Akshay.
Akshay: "Hey! Come on Rohit! You are saying as if I always talk about ghosts! I am just telling what I experienced today afternoon at home and on road."
Rohit: "Nonsense! It must be due to lack of sleep. And due to the false fear you left your helmet also in bushes. ..."
Madhura said, "Frankly speaking, I would say that science also has answer to this. We call it hallucination. If too many thoughts clutter our mind, it cannot bear it. And clashes of thoughts happen! Over thinking creates illusions!"
Rohit said, "Or I will put it in another way. When similar type of thoughts dominate our mind, then hallucination starts!"
Akshay replied, "Thanks for your analysis. However, I did not have any such dominating thoughts since afternoon, still I experienced it. So how will you explain this?"
Madhura said, "In that case, our subconscious mind provides thoughts to our conscious mind. Now, please! Don't stretch the discussion too far. Do not spoil the dinner enjoyment. See at the stage..."
Akshay looked at the stage. A female singer in sensuous voice was singing in dimmed lights. Akshay got involved in the songs. He for some time forgot the incidents of the afternoon. The trio went to the stage and had fun dancing with the singer on stage. "Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe, Kitna Bhi Humko Diwana!" Worries were forgotten for a while. Mind became calm. Cool. Thoughtless. The dinner was memorable. The dance was also unforgettable. The trio came back to Rohit's room.
Akshay said to both of them, "Hey guys! Leaving for now. Had a great time with you. Bye. Keep in touch"
Rain was stopped but it was dark. It was 7 pm. He increased the speed of bike. In mind he was thinking about the song he heard in the hotel and the gorgeous singer. After some time he was going through the same spot where he had experienced the illusion. His curiosity made him stop there, park the bike on the footpath along the road. He tried to look for the abandoned helmet inside the bushes but it was not there! He started thinking whether someone has taken it or it got vanished?
"Forget and go home," his mind told him. So, he looked back and started going towards his bike.
The helmet was waiting for him on his bike seat.
How is it possible?
No. It’s not true.
Helmet is not there.
It shouldn't be there.
No! Akshay thought.
But, helmet was there. Suddenly appeared out of nowhere! Attached on right side of handle.
Shall I take it or not?
If not, will it follow me?
Better I take it with me!
Shall I call Rohit and Madhura to tell them this?
No! Leave it. They will not believe!
He felt strong urge to take the helmet with him. And he took it.
He wore the helmet.
Saw his face in speedometer.
No! There was no skull.
Neither was the helmet shaped with bony hands!
He waited. But only thing he saw in the speedometer and the side mirror was his own handsome face. No skull was there. He rode to home... His mother was waiting for him...!!
The clock was showing 8 pm. He chose not to tell anything to his mother because after his father's mysterious death and the stories associated with it, his mother was already tense. With regular conversation with her, he became ready for his night shift because the cab would come to pick him up at the nearest pickup point from his home. The Hanuman temple!
He always chose cab rather than bike for office travel in night. He stood near the temple waiting for the cab. He looked at the Hanuman idol. He felt good. He felt a sense of power. A sense of security. He chanted Hanuman Mantra in mind.
While he was waiting for his cab, at home his helmet became uneasy. It started shaking and vibrating. It was kept on top side of a cupboard. Akshay's mother was wondering if any cat or a rat was making noise on cupboard. She ignored the vibrations. Helmet was still uneasy. It seemed that it wanted to do something! go somewhere! After some time vibrations stopped... for some time..It must be waiting for right time probably.
Cab came. He took his seat. Cab started. He opened mobile. Put headphones on and started a song. Opened WhatsApp.
A message from Rohit: "Hey Dude! Are you okay? (Smiley). I thought you won't go to office after being scared with your "imaginary" incidents! (Multiple smileys)"
He wrote: "No! I am okay! Bye!"
Internet switched off.
Cab reached office. He reached at his desk. Switched on his computer. Put his phone near computer on desk. He logged in and started going through his emails and the tickets on his name to resolve.
"Tsamina mina, eh eh
Waka waka, eh eh
Tsamina mina zangalewa
This time for Africa!"
His cellphone rang. It was Ranjit. His colleague.
He said, “I am not well today. I am not coming to office tonight. Also dropped an email to boss. I request you to handle my work tonight on my behalf. Please!
Akshay said, "Okay! Take care! Any specific work instructions for me on behalf of you?"
Ranjit said, "There are three TTs in my name to resolve. Please follow them up. Thanks man!"
Akshay said, "Okay! Bye!"
However, after finishing his conversation he realized that there was no one from his project on that night in office. Only Ranjit and he were supposed to be in night shift, but he didn't come. So, Akshay was alone? Yes! He was alone! On the whole 7th floor of the building of his company... Except for the security guards outside the glass doors of 7th floor!
"So what's the big deal?" He thought, "In past also, once I was alone like tonight! But, why today I am more scared? Because of afternoon's experiences? I should not think too much. Let me start my work!"
He started working. Till 1:30 am in night, he finished most of his important tasks. Including those of Ranjit's. Addressed all the pending calls. Now, the remaining work was to monitor existing running processes and addressing new TTs if arrive and taking new calls if come.
At Akshay's home, while his mother was fast asleep, the helmet without making noise jumped down slowly on bed. It jumped slowly on ground...Slowly went to main door. It made noise of knocking on door. His mother woke up to see who came at night. She opened the door but no one was there. She locked the door and went to sleep. The helmet secretly slipped out of door and rolled down on steps of staircase trying to make as less noise as it can make...
In office, Akshay started feeling dizzy. Sleepy. There was a silence filled in the air. All desks were empty. The strips at windows were slightly moving and making little noise. Somewhere he felt that someone was clicking on mouse...repeatedly! Really? No! Who will click? There was no one on the floor except him. Also, near washroom lane, a jumbo Xerox machine cum printer was kept. He felt as if the Xerox machine was on and it was taking printouts.
Who can print? Nonsense! He thought! I am all alone on this floor. I think I have started imagining things...I need some tea! Otherwise I will go mad.
He looked at the 3 wall clocks. One clock was tuned to India time (IST). Another two were showing UK and US time.
Indian clock showed 2:40 am. The minute hand was on 8. Somehow his eyes got fixed on the clock. He forgot to rise to get tea from the beverage machine. He kept staring at the clock. There was no covering glass on the clock. The minute hand came out of clock and fell down on the floor. The number 8 inside clock was suddenly seen made of a thick rope. The digit 8 was formed by rope. The rope moved in such a way that it became digit 0. Inside the zero he saw the curly hair face. Same face. Yes! The same one he had seen in the afternoon on the tree. At home. From window. In the Rain. In the lightning. His eyes were still fixed on the clock.
The numbers 9 and 6 scrolled to the middle of the clock. 6 came near 9 and flipped itself vertically. Now six and nine were in front of each other as if one is the mirror image of another. The number 7 started shaking like an earthquake and started moving here and there inside the round area of the clock like a restless lion does in a cage. The whole clock had become uneasy and restless. Something was dangerous and inauspicious about the clock...It was shaking...
With a chat alert sound "tding" on his computer, his trance got broken and then he was able to remove his eyes from the clock and the clock was okay. No rope. No moving numbers. No fallen minute hand. Everything was in its own place. The covering glass was in its place. The clock was showing 3 am...
Before he could think of what he saw, one more chat alert sound "tding" made him aware of the computer and he looked at the monitor and unlocked the computer and saw that there were chat message from someone appeared...
He opened the message. It was Raju. His friend from US. He felt a great sigh of relief! In such a secluded night with unusual experiences, even a remote chat with a friend gives a feeling of finding water in a desert.
In the chat window were two messages -
Raju: "Hi, Aks!"
Raju: "Hey, Are you there?"
Akshay typed: "Hi... Hey one minute! Let me take cup of tea. I will be right back!"
He went to beverage machine nearby. He pressed the cardamom tea button which gave him a full mug of tea. With the smell of tea vapours, for a while he forgot what he saw in the clock...
He came back at desk and thought, "Now with this tea, I will have control on my sleep and will have a friendly chat with Raju. At least couple of hours will be passed!"
Raju had studied with him in the same engineering college. After that both of them did not meet for 7 years. Akshay had heard from other friends and learned from Facebook that Raju had immediately left for USA after finishing his engineering. With the help of some of his well-settled relatives in US, he got settled there. They used to chat via facebook sometimes. They shared same interests and hobbies. Both of them had liking for riding different bikes. During their engineering, both used to talk life's analogy with bikes. His presence on facebook was very limited. Same was the case with WhatsApp and other social sites. His was yet unmarried. He wanted to earn huge sum before getting married. He used to say so during engineering days.
Akshay started chatting-
Akshay: "What's going on there? How are you?"
Raju: "Not good. Really not good friend! I am gone..."
Akshay: "Gone? Where? What happened?"
Raju: "Out financial firm - "Hutchman Silver" got bankrupted. I am not able to get any job elsewhere due to a scam in our firm. Our firm got defamed everywhere."
Akshay: "Oh. Can I help you in some way? You didn't tell me anything about it before? I learnt this from an online international newspaper but I didn't know you are working with this firm. You never updated your facebook profile related to your work life. "
Raju: "Yes. Unfortunate and true!"
Akshay: "My cousin lives in USA. His name is Jay. Can I ask him to help you?
Raju: "No, it’s too late now. Too late!!"
Akshay: "Hey! Comon! It’s never too late to do anything."
Raju: "I know. But it’s really too late. All my money invested in share market got lost. In both Indian and US market. I have loans and debts!"
Akshay: "Yes. One of the share in which I invested is also not earning profit for me. I remember one year back you had suggested me to invest in that share while chatting. Its due to recession worldwide! But I didn't invest huge amount in it. Thank God! But anyway what can I do for you?"
Raju: "It’s too late now."
Akshay: "Why are you speaking negative again and again? We can control and resolve any problem at any time. Its never too late."
Raju: "(Smiley) No. Not possible now. The problem has taken its course. Help me by opening an attachment file I sent to you in email. Print it and give it to my parents. Whatever money secretly I had saved, I would like to give to my parents. All bank accounts and passwords are there in the attached file..."
Akshay: "Ok. I will help you on the email but comon! Don't talk negative. Come to India. We will find a job for you!"
Raju: "No. Not possible now. My parents doesn't know anything about my losing the job and my firm's bankruptcy."
Akshay: "But, what about your relatives in US? Do they know?
Raju: "No! I have kept them also in dark!"
Akshay: "What? Why did you do this?
Raju: "I was confused. Bewildered. I had taken loans. Banks were chasing me for missed EMIs. Due to extreme willpower to make more money in less time, I had taken biggest financial risks! I did not tell anything about this to anyone at home. But it’s not all my mistake. Some of my colleagues here deceived me. But I had no proof against them!"
Akshay: "Oh! Sad! Let me help you!"
Raju was silent for some time. Akshay was thinking about ways to help him. Meanwhile he checked his regular tasks of office. He tried calling Raju via chat but he did not pick up. Instead a smiley came.
Raju: "Hey Akshay! Comon. Leave the thought of helping me. You can help people who are alive. Not the ones who are dead. I am dead now. I forced my spirit out of my body. I was not willing to wait to release my spirit till natural death takes it away"
Akshay: "What? You are dead? Are you playing some kind of prank?"
Raju: "No prank. I am real. Real spirit. Just recently freed from my body. Today itself! Afternoon! But, don't go away. Stay here. Chat with me!"
Akshay thought of moving away from desk but something forced him to stay.
Raju typed: "Remember Akshay, it’s not easy to take control of material and physical things when you become dead. It took me lots of efforts to take control of the computer to type. Before my suicide using a rope, only one thought was coming in my mind.. I was thinking my bike of life was moving fast with my financial risks but actually it was moving backwards..."
Akshay remembered the afternoon experience of bike's speedometer showing reverse speed....
Raju continued typing: “All my decisions boomeranged me like the number 7..."
Akshay remembered the visuals of clock when number 7 was feeling uneasy....
Raju continued typing: "There was no way before me to get out of all financial crisis... Like we drive a bike endlessly like a path of number 8.."
Akshay magnified his profile picture in chatting and horrified. He had curly hairs. His face has got changed a lot since college days. He remembered the curly face he saw on tree inside the zero shape....
Raju continued typing: "Since afternoon, I am no more...in this material world!"
Akshay remembered the visuals started since afternoon with his head becoming unusually heavy! He remembered why number 8 and 0 were coming before his eyes repeatedly. Because the share price was 800. He remembered the skull face inside helmet. He stopped typing and decided to let Raju type...waiting for what he types next!
Raju continued typing: "I thought of calling and telling all this to you but my mind was charged with lots of negative thoughts and I could not call you! Bank officials were ringing the bell of my door today afternoon... I couldn't gather any courage to open the door...I decided to leave the world...But, you know Akshay, after death, it is very different here. A very different world...With strong willpower to take revenge on those who deceived me, I quickly searched for the ways to take control of material world.. Finally I could login and open the chat...I chose only you because I know you will never manipulate anything and will help me to convery my message to my family.. But I tell you. The world after death is very dangerous and very gloomy...”
Raju kept on typing...
Meanwhile Akshay opened the email sent by Raju. The email contained password for attachment. The document password was 8769. The same numbers he saw in clock moving.
Akshay thought, "So he wanted to contact me throughout the day. Hence I was experiencing all such hallucinations..."
He looked at screen. Raju was typing...
Raju: "Good. I know you opened my email.Thanks for opening the email. Please do what I said. One suggestion - Sell the shares of "Sabrina Industries Pvt Ltd" you are holding at Rs- 800. It's price will become Rs- 100 after 4 days. Sell it. Ask me how do i know?
Akshay horrified, typed, "How do you know?"
Raju: "Once you become dead, you get access to supernatural powers...You can see future!... Anyways, now wear the helmet which is lying near you!"
What? Akshay got horrified. The helmet was really lying near Akshay at his desk....How Raju knows the helmet appeared on desk? First of all, how the hell did helmet come to my desk? Something is wrong.. I should not have talked to Raju.. I am being trapped...
The evil spirit took control of my thoughts!
Thoughts were inside my head!
Helmet was attached to my head!!
So, did the helmet become victim of the evil??
Akshay may have thought correctly but it was too late!!
Raju typed: "Now take the print and wear the helmet!"
Akshay got charged and possessed by something sinister and against his will, he gave the print command and his hands moved towards the helmet...
Suddenly, Raju's sound started echoing inside the office multiple times.
"Now wear the helmet, Akshay! I say wear the helmet!"
All the keyboards in different cubicles started typing automatically.The mixed sound was very strange and scary and unbearable.
Akshay wore the helmet. It was 3:30 am. Being charged by something, he went to printer. Collected the print and kept it in his pocket and started moving towards exit door made of glass.
A voice came from inside the helmet, "Break the glass!"
With the helmet banging on the door, Akshay broke the thick glass door. Crashhh!!
The security guard saw him breaking the glass and questioned him, "Where are you going? Why did you break glass? Why are you wearing helmet?"
The voice of Raju inside helmet said in Akshay's ears, "Hit the security guard and press the ground floor button of the lift!"
Akshay hit him on head with helmet. He fell down. Before the guard could recover from the attack and stop him, Akshay pressed the button, lift came and he went inside the lift.
When he reached the main road, the helmet voice said to Akshay, "Wait for some biker to come."
A biker was seen coming on road after few minutes. The voice inside helmet said, "Hit him and take his bike!"
Akshay stood in the biker's way. The biker stopped after he saw someone standing in his way.
"Who are you? Why are you blocking my way? Get away!" The biker asked. He was the same person who saw Akshay yesterday afternoon looking at burning skull in the bushes. He got surprised to see Akshay again...
After some time -
On the deserted dark city roads at 4 am, a biker wearing helmet with skull-like face was seen driving the Royal Wigfield with 80's speed...!! The voice inside helmet was saying, "Relatives of those who deceived me live in India. I will take revenge!!
(Dear reader! Thanks for reading. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Kindly leave your comment below and if you like this post, please recommend others to read it. Waiting for your comments!- firstname.lastname@example.org)