“Yeah! That’s the dare!”
“Oh! You think I am scared? I am not. Okay?”
Ananya was dead scared miffed by the very thought of stepping out into the corridor. Not only was she afraid of the darkness that percolated around the dimly lit bulb near the staircase, but she was also petrified by the very idea of being left out alone, and her friends were challenging her to take the whole damn trip all by herself.
Besides, there were already hushed talks of the convent being haunted. There were whispers of how there have been sightings during the night. There have been suicides over the years that were kept under the wraps, and it was rumored, quite covertly, that the dead tarried with the living. With all that still afresh in the backdrop, a bunch of hostelling girls was trying to provoke Ananya after seeing through her mask of pretense. They knew that she was a coward, and yet they wanted to have their quarter of fun with it. Some dare it was!
Making up the Mind
“Okay so let me get this straight.” Ananya was up on her feet showing a feigned enthusiasm for a horror story that awaited.
“I have to exit from here,” she pointed to the door, “and then take a left from the stairs and pass the corridor and then come from the back door here,” she pointed towards her left,” thus completing the circle right?”
“Yes!” everyone shouted in unison. The excitement of the adventure was killing them.
Silence pervaded. Ananya took a deep breath as if preparing herself for a feat she wasn’t ready for minutes ago. She looked at the wall clock that tick-tocked on her left. It read 2 AM. Boogeyman hour!
Why didn’t I sleep early today?
Other girls, the audience, were still sitting on their beds, with their eyes peeled open. Some of the girls even had their blankets on. It was both thrilling and unsettling at the same time. Some of them tried to picture doing it themselves but they couldn’t go all the way through for it was creepy as hell. All alone, by yourself, that too in the damn corridor, and that too so late. The mere knowledge of that gave them goosebumps.
They watched Ananya step out slowly with unsure steps. The dim light from the staircase showed only a silhouette of her as she walked on. She had only taken a few steps when suddenly she stopped moving. Everyone’s eyes were on her.
Her silhouette was standing still in the darkness ahead. The girls in the room looked at each other. Then at the silhouette again.
“Guys! Why is Ananya not moving?”
“I don’t know, she could have seen something?”
One of them half shouted her name to make her turn, but the silhouette didn’t budge.
“Was this a bad idea?”
“I don’t know, we should have never asked her to go.”
“Kanika, go check on her!”
“Why should I go? you sent her! You go!”
“Shweta, let’s go together.”
Everyone waited with their hearts in their mouths despite their little chit chat. Nobody moved. They were still busy looking at the silhouette when, out of the blue, Ananya returned from the back door saying,
“Guys! I did it.”
Shrieks of horror heaved up the room as the girls turned around to check on the silhouette again. But it was no longer there.
Ananya was confused as she tried to make out of the situation. She was worried about what was so wrong with her that the girls looked so disorientated.
Soon they filled her on the silhouette that they had seen of her, telling her about how it hung there when she had stepped out.
It was baffling to Ananya as she had found the journey quite okay, that even though her heart beat more than its regular pace, she was still able to do it unfazed.
Shweta went ahead and closed the door shut. The gang of girls tried to sleep that night, but no one could. That image of the silhouette wouldn’t disappear.
Special Thanks to Shadow
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