Updated: Jul 9, 2021
Slice Buddy: Shalaka K. | Age: 27 | Profession: Food Safety Officer
"I am pleased to see my experience published in 'Life of a Slice.' I've been enjoying various experiences shared here, it's like reading short stories, and it's fun altogether " — Shalaka K.
It was dim and chilly when we came back to our hotel from our industrial visit tour. We were in Goa, residing in a four-storey building that was separated from the hustle and bustle of the city. Our college faculty and other students were lounging around, but I and my group—there were six of us—were tired from the day-long travelling and hence going to our room to rest.
Urjaa, a friend in my group, went ahead as she wanted to pee. She had the key to our room already. The rest of us were behind her, trudging up the stairs, recalling our day and the fun we had.
When we reached the second floor, we suddenly sensed a weird noise as if someone was standing behind us, chewing chunks of wood. Alarmed, we stopped in the middle of the stairway, talking not a single word. I looked around for any foul play happening, and heard invisible footsteps from behind, clacking against the floor, making a hard, dry sound—thud, thud, thud. And the very next moment, we heard a shrill, loud voice calling our names. A panic broke between me and my friends. It was Urjaa’s voice from the top floor. We hurried upstairs, gasping for air.
Urjaa was standing in front of our room’s door, with surprise spread all over her face. ‘I had put a lock before leaving, and now it has vanished.’ She stuttered, ‘the door is open… someone is inside.’
Every one of us was freaked out. The other friends made random conclusions, saying there might be a thief inside or even a ghost. ‘We should immediately inform our professor,’ told a friend.
Trying to maintain sanity, I suggested we should check inside the room before jumping to anything. ‘What if Urjaa did not lock the door in the first place?’ I reasoned with them. Nobody supported me, but I was adamant I’d go check inside.
The rest remained at the doorway, warning me to come back, to not take any risk, as I marched into the room, in the passage. It was dark inside and it clicked to me I did not turn on the living room lights. But now that I was in, I did not want to go back.
My heart began pounding when I was all alone in the passage. It was a dark, long passage, ending at our bedroom and a tiny storeroom next to it.
With consciousness, I walked towards the bedroom and pushed the door. The door opened with an unpleasant creak. My friends were still calling me back, pointing me it might be unsafe inside. They were not helping but amplifying my fear. I ignored them and stepped into the room.
It was eerily dark inside—not a sound and sight. My friends suddenly stopped calling me. I wonder what happened to them. But, again, I did not want to go back without a conclusion.
I went to switch on the lights. But there were no lights. I switched on other buttons. Neither of them worked. I was scared out of my wits, and before I could think of anything else, I felt a man whisper in my ears.
I was stunned and was about to give up, but I remembered what my father always tells me, ‘Face your fear, and you will rise above it!’
Hence, taking small steps forward, I reached the window. The window was long, stretched till the floor, and pulled over it were pitch black curtains. Taking a deep breath, I pushed the curtains aside. What I saw next made me petrified with fear— ‘a girl was standing opposite me, staring at me with terror in her eyes.’ I broke into a terrible screech.
The girls reciprocated from the doorway—they were still hanging there.
Yet, I did not run away. I realized something within seconds that shooed my fear entirely. THERE WAS NO ONE IN THE ROOM. The girl staring at me was me looking at my reflection in the window. I breathed a sigh of relief.
Finally, I walked outside the room with a sense of achievement—by being brave and all.
Three girls had already fled and the remaining two stood shivering, holding hands, and keeping their eyes shut. I had an idea, not a good one though. I tiptoed towards them, near their face and shouted ‘BOO!’
The girls screamed so loud that it deafened my ears. Before I could explain anything, they ran out of my sight, leaving me behind, laughing my lungs out.
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