I was on my way to my birthplace after a long time. I made a list of places where I wanted to visit. The topmost word was ‘Home’. “Flight attendants, prepare for the landing.” The Captain announced. Looking out of the window, the view seemed like a stretched quilt of golden, brown and green squares held together by the thick green stitching of the hedgerows. It rose and fell like giant waves on a gentle ocean and was dotted with animals. Occasionally there was a wood that separated the fields, or a farmhouse or barn. I took a cab and headed home. The sun was a radiant, all-watching eye, its light creeping into every corner, bathing the whole world in a warm glow. The car cruised down a twisting road, grassy, forest green hills looming over the mountainous drive. Somewhere in between praising the nature to myself, I dozed off.
“Madam, we have reached.” Someone was calling me but I was so sleepy that I turned a deaf ear. The voice called me again, nearly shouted, and I woke up with a jerk. Ivy and ferns grew through the crevices of the old winding stone path, which led directly to the colossal structure. The mansion loomed proudly behind creaky tall iron gates from where I used to swing to and fro. We had reached home. I paid the driver and got off the cab. I went inside, headed straight to my room and opened the door. The dust that was inside the room was now all over me. The once frilly net curtains at the window are thick with over a decade of grime. The light that struggles through fails to reflect from the once white carpet that is more like a forest floor in both colour and texture. The walls could be any shade at all, I can’t tell. My thoughts were interrupted by a sound from the closet. I tried opening it but my efforts went in vain. It didn’t even budge. The sound stopped and so did my efforts. I was more tired than curious. Cautiously, I removed the bedspread and dozed off within seconds.
The raucous sound that lightly danced in the closet was enough to send my back straight as a cold sweat washed over my face; my heart trying to escape through my throat the first chance it could get. The sound was getting louder as time passed by. I was reminded of the movie ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’. Will I land into a whole new land through it? I laughed off my thoughts. With the closet nearly rocking by now, my thoughts came to a halt. I rose up and tried opening it but the outcome remained same, it didn’t open. I banged it very hard. In hunger and frustration, I left the house.
Reminiscing about the time when me and my friends used to hide in that closet while playing hide and seek, I went searching for nearby eateries. When I found nothing, I knocked on my neighbour’s door. A not so overly old lady greeted me by the door. Occasional strands of her once golden hair could still be seen though the lifeless grey mane limply framed her aging face. Her forehead was wrinkled by many peaks and trenches. Her entire face seemed drained of any signs of joy and amusement. I told her about the closet and to my astonishment she closed the door on my face. I could hear her shouting to her husband, “I told you that house has a ghost.” I facepalmed and headed back to my home. Slowly I made a move towards the door of my room and took a glance into it. The closet was ajar. I went in and saw a few disfigured humans with nameplates of my friends and a human toy lay brutally tortured at a corner with my nameplate. At the other corner, I saw a creature heading towards the human toy. It was almost devoid of skin. Without eyelids the milky blue eyes stared at the toy while the lipless mouth hung open. It’s presence felt like every warm feeling and thought was sucked out of me leaving me icy cold. It took a sharp knife and stabbed the toy mercilessly. The creature was brutally making cuts and jabs. My throat burned as I tried to speak or shout. I ran out of the house and locked the door with a relief. I heard footsteps. I wrapped my arms around me and let out a sick whimper. I wasn’t brave enough to look. A voice spoke, “Aren’t you leaving too soon? My collection is not yet complete.”