The Special Guests!

By Anuradha S. Bannore

Ravindra, a 25 year old young man lived all by himself in a remote village called Siyasar. His closest neighbour lived about two kms away from his place. He had been posted to this village for helping in its development. Many tried to dissuade him from taking up this job as Siyasar was known to be a residence of bandits but Ravindra was bent on going there. With great difficulty he managed to get a house which seemed to be ages old, unlived for many years. It was in a real dingy state. No one knew whose it was or why it had been abandoned. Anyway though not very happy with it Ravindra was contented with the idea that he had a place to live in. The house had a bedroom, a living room and a small kitchen with a small round table. There was a basement of one room too which looked and felt creepy because it was a very dark room with neither windows nor any doors opening outside—it was worse than a dungeon! It had a peculiar terrible stink. At first he decided to ask some people around about the history of the house but since so far he hadn’t got any answer to even one of his queries he decided to let it go.

Ravindra got it cleaned as it was full of cobwebs, dust, mice and worst of all a very foul stench. Every day he would get it cleaned and leave the door and windows open while he sat on the steps trying to guess who could have lived there and why did he leave it without anyone’s knowledge. It bothered him to think why it had just one door and two windows only. Its location was good, surrounded with tall trees all around and a lot of thick bushy shrubs which hid it from peoples view. Suddenly he thought could it have been a hide-out? What sort of people lived in such a house where though surrounded with fresh air-the door and windows seemed to have been hardly ever opened for wooden bars had been nailed across the windows. He shook himself away from his imagination and concentrated on how to make it a comfortable livable place.

That night he had to sleep with a lantern for light as the electrical connections had to be repaired. He carried it to his bedroom and set it on a stool next to his bed, lowered the burning wick and got into his bed. Being exhausted he lay on his bed and just when he was about to fall asleep long tormenting wails pierced through the dark silent night making him jump out of his bed. He quickly raised the wick of the lantern to see where it was coming from and who was there but to his amazement the wailing stopped and he could see no one. He thought his imagination was playing upon his mind. He very cautiously got back into his bed once again and lowered the burning wick. This time all was calm, so he felt confident that there was nothing /no one there . He dozed off within a few minutes. He had hardly slept when the lamenting wails woke him up with a start. He quickly stretched his arm to raise the wick for some more light when someone seemed to stop him. Ravindra started sweating with fear. Mustering courage, in a trembling voice he yelled out, ‘You coward why don’t you show yourself? Whoever you are come in front of me instead of creeping up on me like that?’ There was pin drop silence for a few minutes before a figure noisily conjured up. Soon it was followed by a lot of commotion and almost a dozen of them stood before him, all looking miserably pathetic. They looked as if they were in great pain. They had lash and slash marks all over their body. Some of them looked hideously frightening because of their wounds.’ Ravindra felt sick in the pit of his tummy. He couldn’t believe his eyes and kept rubbing them till one of the apparitions pleaded with him to set them free. He couldn’t understand who these men, women and children were. He was frightened to the core when a small child gently approached him and said, ’Uncle, please don’t be scared of us. We will not harm you. We just want you to release us from this painful starving life of hell.  That’s our only request and then we will go away to sleep peacefully for ever. We will be your friends and look after you. We have been leading a tormented life since years and we will never ever harm a good living soul’

Bewildered, Ravindra asked them, ‘What am I supposed to free all of you from and from whom?’

A woman started wailing which frightened him all the more. Someone yelled at the woman to keep quiet and not to frighten their good friend. Another interrupted and said, ‘We are the prisoners of a group of bandits who lived in this house. They had kidnapped all of us from different places and kept us in the dark basement where we didn’t have even basic facilities, we were tortured and starved for ransom. Our photos were sent to our parents or close relatives. These bandits were ruthless people. They used to hog and get drunk and then lash us. They were extremely cruel and poked us with red hot rods. They didn’t spare the children either. We have been living cooped up in this filthy stinking place since years and now we’d like to have our freedom which you can give us for you seem to be a good kind man.’

Ravindra agreed on one condition that they would never wail in the way they did and never come up and frighten his human guests. He promised to set food for them every night and renovate the basement but they had to behave themselves. A verbal deal was signed between them. Ravindra kept his promise and the apparitions became his good friends and were thankful for the food he provided and most of all for a beautiful room to live in. Very often these night guests would come up to sit and talk with him. The older ones helped him in taking decisions and giving good suggestions. They became a family. In a years time his Ghost friends recovered and achieved the much needed peace. Finally one New Moon night they wished him farewell and left the house much to Ravindra’s sorrow. He couldn’t sleep well after they left for he missed them terribly. He continued to set food for them thinking and hoping they would visit him but the peaceful souls had left forever for their heavenly abode it seems. In a matter of a few years Ravindra returned to his city but he maintained that house well and whenever he visited it which he always made it a point to do so he carried food with him and set it in the basement so that in case any one of them returned he wouldn’t starve but have a good meal.

Ravindra narrated this to his friends who laughed it out saying he had become a nut staying in that god forsaken place in spite of their warning. After that Ravindra never told anyone about his Ghost friends. He hoped and prayed for his special guests souls to rest in peace.

About the Author: Anuradha S. Bannore is a prolific writer and an alumni of Jabalpur University with M.A in English. She retired as a teacher and currently lives in Vadodara India. Following are her thoughts on some of the questions we asked her.

4 Comments

  1. a real eerie story with a twist
    well written and chilling to the end

  2. O K R Sivagnanam says:

    Imagination dealt to its logical end!

    Even the threatening ghosts will come to one’s fold, given the show of patience and shower of care and attention!

    Love is such an empowering quality without any parallels to compete with!

  3. Jaishree Misra says:

    I was spell bound !
    An atmosphere of fear and pathos created by a master story teller , which ends because of the compassionate response of the protagonist !
    Who can fathom the mysteries of this world ! Yet love conqueres even tormented spirits !

  4. Thanx everyone for appreciating my short story

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