INSIDE: (Final) Chapter 4 – Haunted

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Read Chapter 3 here: Sketchbook

Feeling extremely dormant, I tried bringing myself back to life. My firm attempt to open my burdensome eyelids led me to a murky vision that only started clearing upon kneading them profusely. My eyes hadn’t regained their full capacity, but I could hear the presence of two distressed souls near me. The darkness in the room was not willing to give away the secret of its grim location. Having regained composure in the last fifteen minutes and conceiving that the other two were in the same boat as me, I conjured enough courage to open my mouth and enquire about our whereabouts.

At first one of them was surprised to learn about my presence in the room, but slowly he too might have envisaged our conjoined fate and started acting empathetic to my situation. As per his awareness, we were currently forced dweller of his residence. Surprisingly, I had no anxiety, as if I had resigned to my fate on what the two perpetrators had to offer. Still, I was too impatient to know the identity of the robed men who were responsible for my state. Realizing that the motive behind the confinement of my fellow detainees was somehow agnate to mine, I started my inquisition about their tale leading up to captivity. Extremely coincidental, I began to recognize the familiar theme to my predicament in their anecdote. Still the identity of the two transgressors was a fleeting reflection, until one of them said the word Goth. As the tragic narrative started unfolding, it became vividly clear that the landlord and Goth were allies in practice of some necromancy cult. I recalled a bit from my conversation with the Goth, about the significance of this very month for dark art patrons, as the gateway to the spirit world is opened for brief stretch of couple of weeks.  My heart skipped a beat as my mind started connecting the coincidental dots between this yearly phenomenon and events like my visions, dreams and noise from the bedroom.

With the passing hour, I had started to uncover disturbingly uncanny parallels amongst our lives. We were all orphans with neither managing a successful adoption, making all three of us candidates of detachment. It was becoming evident that the extreme bargain of a rent offered by the landlord was owed to our history and socially quiescent life style. The two captives had arrived at this place a week back, possibly the same day as I started experiencing those episodes.

The dawn was upon us lost spirits and even though the situation was no short of horrid, I took comfort in the notion of early rays of sun bringing with it glimmer of hope. As more and more radiance started overpowering the aphotic nature of the room, a feeling of being teleported back to my bedroom started examining the captive’s account of us being in his apartment. No amount of coincidence or similar lifestyle could have brought our apartments to an exact mirror image. I chose to wait a few more minutes till the burnished room was to overthrow any doubts resulting from darkness impaired judgment.

Once my eyes gazed upon my sketchbook, I was long departed from the sphere of ambiguity. For a moment, I was lost in my notebook, as some subliminal aesthetic thoughts came rushing back to my consciousness.

Few minutes had disappeared and as I turned to give a first glance to my fellow prisoners in the presence of full light, I stopped dead on tracks. My mind couldn’t fathom the image of them being alive with such graphic laceration carved across their throats. I took a step back, trying to regain composure from this sudden stroke of gruesomeness. By now it was quite evident that it was my apartment that was hosting this unusual audience. I rounded up the courage to ask one of them again, how long had he been in this room and when was he held captive. A suffocating feeling seized my breath, as he expressed his captivity dated back three years and that he arrived at this apartment a week back, just like every year. A sudden thud on the door by the other captive brought a flashback of the noise that had petrified me in my half sleep. My reflection now maneuvered me back to my last exchange with the Goth and the Landlord. What followed after that strange chanting and that gesture on my forehead, was the cupping of my jaw to raise my head. A tear stumbled down my left eye, as I hesitantly brought by hand close to my throat. Feeling a certain contusion on my throat, my trembling fingers slowly started moving towards my visual range. As my fingers finally reached in front of my dreading sight, my upper eyelids clamped down to expel any discharge that could have blurred my vision. As I opened my eyes expecting the worse, the bloodied hand didn’t disappoint my premonition.

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