Dr. Akhil Mitra was half asleep on his easy chair when he heard the doorbell. He removed the book from his chest and looked at his wristwatch. it’s 9:30 PM in the night. He was little surprised as he wasn’t expecting anyone at this hour. His known circle is also quite small, only a few colleagues and students from his university.
Akhil got up and answered the door. A tall, lanky and fair man of his early 30’s was standing in front of him. Akhil measured his appearance in a glance, no he never met him earlier, yet he felt an uneasiness in his presence.
“You don’t know me, but I have heard a lot of you. I guess you are the right man to help me in this situation.”
“Please come in.” Akhil greeted the stranger inside.
“My name is Rehan. I am working as a assistant professor in a college in the city. I don’t know how and where to start, but my problem is a peculiar one and I am hoping so much that you might have some answers.”
Akhil is a well known psychologist in the city. He not only has his Ph.D. in this subject but also has a keen interest of reading and analyzing human characters. In last few years he has helped few patients with their psychological issues, but he became famous when he helped he local cops to solve a serial murder case and nabbing main culprit.
But he refrains from taking any case that comes his way, a lot of people lately annoying him with small and petty cases but he did not pay much attention to them. As he doesn’t charge anything for his service and does it purely for the sake of his own professional curiosity, people aren’t able to pressurize him much.
” I won’t take much time of yours. I will come straight to the point.
“I grew up in a broken family. After my mom and dad got divorced, I stayed with my dad and my elder brother was under the custody of my mom. At the age of 15 me and my dad travelled to Germany and got settled there. As I always love mathematics, I have done my masters in maths and started working in a university there, when I was around 29, my dad passed away. In a year I have heard the news that my mother and brother also expired in a car crash here. Sad and devastated I came back to India and perform the last rituals, after that I did not want to return back, so I stayed here and started working.
I fell in love with a student of mine, her name is Ayesha. Despite of our age gap we get along very well. So one fine day I met her parents and requested for her daughter’s hand. I thought they might have some issue because of this odd ‘teacher student couple’ but they took it rather well. We got married 6 months back.
Then few days before it started. Once when I was sleeping I heard some noise from the kitchen, as I got up I couldn’t find Ayesha next to me, scared and anxious I followed those sounds and went there in the kitchen. I saw Ayesha was sitting on a chair with a blank look in her face.
“What’s wrong?” I held her and asked.
“Did you not hear the little girl? Giggling and talking?” She said
“What girl? There’s no body here.”
“But I can hear her, a small girl of 8 or 9, with silver anklets, she walks around, play and giggle.” Ayesha spoke those words cheerfully and start laughing hysterically, her body started to shiver.
I somehow dragged her back to the bed, she was laughing continuously. She had high fever and her body was literally burning with high temperature. The whole night I stayed awake while she laughed and mumbled something. when the east sky started to became red at dawn, Ayesha slowly clamed down and she slept like a baby the whole day.
I thought it might be an odd incident but in last months this happened at least 4 times. Every time it was more violent and scary then the previous one. Ayesha is slowly losing herself, she also understood her situation which is having a huge negative affect on us. She wants us to be separated but I rather stay and help her get over it.
I know coming to you is quite unconventional and I should have consulted a professional physician, but I think this situation is unconventional and requires a unique person to get to the bottom of it. I have heard so much of you, I am hoping you will help.”
All these while Akhil was listening to Rehan with great concentration. Once he stopped, the lines of Akhil’s forehead got deeper.
“It sounds a very clear case of Hallucination and she sounds awfully like a delusional person. But I cant be absolutely sure unless I talk to her. I can come to your place tomorrow morning and talk to her if you have no objection.”
“Please sir, you can come at anytime, only we know how pathetically we need help. I shall wait for you.” Rehan looked much relived.
Next day around 10 AM Akhil reached at Rehan’s place. The door was answered by Ayesha. In his 50 years of life Akhil saw a lot of beautiful woman, but Ayesha stood out as a unique one. She is very pretty, not the gorgeous kind, but in a very soft and sweet way. Her frightened eyes made her even prettier, Akhil anticipated, she must be around 22.
“Welcome to my humble place sir, please have a sit.” Rehan came down from 1st floor immediately.”
Akhil did not want to waste anymore time so he came straight to the point.
“See Ayesha, Rehan came to me hoping I could help you. Now all the things he told me, I am assuming they are true, so if you agree with him you gotta let me know everything openly, even tinier details that happened to you in the past. Now tell me, is there any occurrence when you are small? Around 7 to 9 years old? Akhil Asked
“Rehan didn’t tell you?” Ayesha questioned back in a surprising tone.
Rehan looked a little uncomfortable. “Darling, I thought if you tell that to him by yourself it would be better.”
“Tell me what? Rehan and Ayesha, if you are hiding something from me, I won’t able to help you.”
“No sir, I won’t hide anything, let me tell you the story.” Ayesha started.
“I was born and brought in a small but happy family. My dad is quite well to do and being the only child I have got pampered a lot, I was their little princess. Though my parents are settled in this city my maternal grandfather and rest of his family was back in our ancestral village almost 120 km away from here. Every summer vacation I used visit my grandpa and grandma and my uncles. It wasn’t a big village but not very small either.
There was a place which was forbidden for any kids to go. An old well and a banyan tree next to it, situated next to the nearby jungle. Very few people used to go in that direction as wild animals and anti social elements were there in plenty. Also there was a legend that a spirit of a girl lives in that tree.
Years ago when the village was under the rule of a landlord, his youngest daughter was kidnapped by a group of dacoits, they held her for ransom and sent a chit to her father. The landlord declined to pay the ransom and attacked the dacoits with his men, few died in the hands of landlords army, few fled and few got caught, but the leader of the gang was never got caught. After 3 days landlord’s daughter’s body was found hanging from that banyan tree, her age was around 8 then. The police also arrested a man from the village in suspicion of being one of their spy, but because of no evidence he was released.
As I was a pampered a spoilt brat I hardly listened to any of my elders. One day evening playfully I visited that place and tried to climb the tree. As I was in the second branch I felt as if someone pulled my left leg and tried to bring me down, it was almost dark, I couldn’t see anything and the next thing I know I was at my grandfather’s place, lying on bed with everyone crying and anxious around. I was found unconscious under the tree at midnight. After that day I was never allowed to visit my grandpa’s village. during vacations they used come here in the city to meet us. Few days after the incident, the man who was caught earlier in suspicion of being one of the spy for the goons found dead right under the same tree near that old well.
After that incident I felt a change in me. I started to fall sick often, used to have high fever, started to have nightmares like I was held captive in a cave and few men are torturing me and I am screaming. Slowly I started to feel as if there is someone staying with me all the time, I could hear her giggling, hear the sound of her voice, sound of her anklets. Every time I had all those fevers I used to mumbled so many things and few came true. Like once in high fever I told my mom that Grandpa fell down in the bathroom and screaming for help, next day we came to know grandpa passed away as he fell in the bathroom and had a brain haemorrhage. I also predicted unconsciously that a cousin sister of mine will elope before her marriage and exactly so happened.
As I got older all those symptoms started to fade away, but the change came in a different way, I was not very pretty when I was younger, rather I was dusky and thin, as I grew I became so pretty even my own mother couldn’t fathom. They say the landlord’s murdered daughter was also very cute and lovely. Believe me sir, I loathe this beauty of mine, I feel like it’s not mine but its her’s who is living in body unwelcomed. I was happy that I met my husband who’s such a nice person, but I guess she is getting jealous of me now and that’s why she wants to snatch him from me. She is making me do all these, making me even hurt him. I don’t know what to do now, where to go.”
Akhil sat there and heard Ayesha’s story, also was making few notes in his notebook.
“Let me ask you few questions. Answer me carefully.” Akhil looked straight at Ayesha. “Do you remember anything after these hysterical attacks, clearly or vaguely?”
“No I don’t. There’s no memory of things I say or do in those phases.”
“Do you get violent? Did you try to harm anybody in past or present?”
“The other day Rehan was saying I was holding a kitchen knife and was looking at him and laughing. I don’t remember anything. Believe me, I want to die before I harm him. I am sick, so sick.” Ayesha broke down in tears.
Akhil turned to Rehan, “I see you have not given me a lots of details.”
Rehan seemed embarrassed, he spoke, “It was quite late at night and I was nervous, I guess I missed few details, also I thought it would be better if you hear from her directly.”
Akhil was in his deep thoughts, he got up on his feet and looked at them, they are troubled couples, yet holding onto each other. But something deep inside was telling Akhil, there is something odd, something evil is upon them.
“I gotta go now, it’s time to reach university. I have to analyse few things and I shall visit you in two days. Meanwhile I would prefer you consult a good doctor and try to keep her better. Don’t worry I will try my best to help you out of this situation.”
Akhil came out of their house. In the way he dialled the number of the OC of local police station. He needs to get the address of Ayesha’s parents.
Its been a week Akhil visited Rehan and Ayesha. Meanwhile he was collecting information. He also met Ayesha’s parents and spoke to them, in-between he fell sick and for last 2 days he couldn’t go to university as well. Being a bachelor he only has a servant who is taking care of his health.
It was a Wednesday and he was reading a newspaper when his servant announced a young lady is at the door requesting to see him. Akhil folded his newspaper and asked his servant to lead her in.
As the visitor came into his room he greeted her with a normal tone.
Akhil: “Come in Ayesha, I was expecting you.”
Ayesha: “I am sorry to come here without even calling you, I tried to call you the other day but your servant answered and told me you are sick.”
Akhil: “Yes I was, a little, but now I am alright. Tell me Ayesha, how are you? I am sorry I couldn’t make it there in a while but I made quite a progress. I was about to meet you people very soon.”
Ayesha looked uncomfortable. She looked at her feet and spoke, “I have had an attack yesterday, the same thing again. Rehan said I was completely out of control and attacked him with a iron rod. Somehow he managed to snatched that from my hand and controlled me. Day by day the situation is worsened. Please do something.”
Akhil looked worried, he leaned forward and asked, “Tell me, were you this violent even in your childhood when you used to have this attacks?”
Ayesha: “I never heard so from my parents, it’s normally high fever and murmuring all gibberish.”
Akhil leaned back on his easy chair with clasping hands and finger locked. The he looked straight at Ayesha, “Ayesha, I can explain you about your attacks and the little girl you always see or feel, but there is something more that meets the eye at this moment. I wish Rehan was here with you at this time.”
Ayehsa: “He is in college. You can tell me, anyway it’s my problem and I need to know what’s wrong with me.
“All right then”, Akhil said, “This might sound bad and hurtful.”
“After I came back from your place, I went and met your parents and then I also visited your grandparents village. There’s a dark chapter of your life hidden from you.
That evening as you described, it happened exactly so and more than that. You have been molested and physically abused. It was most probably done by the same person police arrested in suspicion. My assumption is, he was the actual leader of the dacoit gang in disguise of a villager. I have also found an FIR in the local police station of that incident, where they have arrested the man again in suspicion of your incident but had to let him go as there was no witness or evidences again.
He was crooked and sick man, a sadistic paedophile. When I dug up the autopsy report of landlord’s daughter ‘Durga’, I found she was also similarly tortured and molested before being killed.
As your Grandfather and your uncles loved very much, I assume they took their the matter in their own hands and killed him.
You came back to the city and slowly started to forget the entire chapter. But the mental trauma remains intact in your subconscious mind, causing the hysterical attacks and fevers continuously.
Now come to the part where you were able to predict the incidents before they happens.
The first incident you said could be explained in two ways. You were very closed to your grandpa and always used to think about him. It is only possible that the incident happened was just a co-incidence, as a lot of incidents are there of old people die in a bathroom accident.
It is also possible that you have a precognitive dream where people see things in their dream before or during the happening. It’s a part of ESP(Extrasensory Perception) that explains. Mostly the people who has a stronger subconscious mind often see them and those times your subconscious mind was controlling you.
The second incident I guess is simpler. Often when girls take such steps of eloping or running away the most of them take a confident who they often speak to, mostly sisters or cousins. I think you cousin actually told you that she’s going to run away and you blurted it out while murmuring in high temperature. It to is not very unlikely that a 8 to 9 years old child forget all these when she is dealing with such condition.
All these mental trauma and disturbance brought in the that small girl, laughing and giggling and with silver anklet. You have often heard about Durga and her appearance from the villagers, so your brian created that persona as described by them, whom you can only see or hear when you were under hysteria, in simple word you started hallucinating.
Also you said you grow beautiful after that incident, which is not quite true, the transformation came after you turned 14 or 15 I guess, in simple word when you hit your puberty. The transformation of a small girl to lady is quite astonishing. Few change a little, but few transform completely, almost like from moth to butterfly.”
Akhil stopped and took a long breath, he could see Ayesha was keeping her head low, looking at her lap and digging her nails. Then all of a sudden she looked back at Akhil. “How am I suppose stop these nightmares and hysterical attacks?”
“Something is triggering them, all these while the memory was faded, so was the attack but something is bringing them back, those unhappy memories. I am still working on them, meanwhile you need a good psychiatrist, and medication.”
Ayesha stood up on her feet, “I am sorry Dr. Mitra, I am not really agreeing with all your points, may be I am a victim of molestation, but I know for sure there is someone who’s with me, I can feel her presence. But anyway thanks for your help, I guess there’s nothing much you can do.”
Akhil: “One last question, how did you fall in love with Rehan, were you attracted to him in college?”
Ayesha: “I was a loner in my college, I hardly had any friends as people know I have mental instabilities, Rehan was kind to me and supported during those periods and like a good man he asked my hands to my parents. But now I have to go now. Goodbye.”
Akhil: “Take care of yourself Ayesha, and this is the phone number of a good friend of mine, he is a psychiatrist, if you get time, give him a call.”
Ayesha took the piece of paper and stormed out of Akhil’s house. At the same time Akhil’s cell phone rang, it was inspector ‘Dubey’, the local OC. Akhil picked up the phone.
Dubey: “I have information that you needed.”
That night around 11 pm Akhil’s cell phone rang.
Akhil: “Hello, Akhil speaking.”
Rehan (With a terrified tone): “It’s Rehan, Dr. Mitra please come to my house at once. Ayesha again had an attack and she is calling out your name.”
Akhil: “Did you call a doctor already?”
Rehan: “Yes, he is on the way, please you come soon, she needs you.”
Akhil rushed out of his house and drove to Rehan’s place as fast as he could. Once he reached it’s almost 11:30 PM, Rehan answered the door, he was looking exhausted.
Akhil: “Where is Ayesha?
Akhil ran up to the first floor. Ayesha was lying on bed, surprisingly she wasn’t covered with a blanket or even a shawl, Akhil rushed near her and checked her fever, it’s 106.6 F she was shivering and her body was burning with raising temperature. She held Akhil’s hand and whispered, “Please go, leave, you are in great danger, you are in great danger!!”
Akhil looked back and saw Rehan was standing on the door with both of his hands behind him.
Akhil: “Where is the doctor? Why didn’t you cover her with a blanket?”
Rehan: “She doesn’t need it any more.”
This time Akhil spoke in a clam voice, “I know who you are Rehan, why don’t you show your hands.”
There was a cruel smile on Rehan’s lips. He brought both of his hands forward, his hands were clasping a iron rod.
Akhil spoke again, “I had my doubts from the beginning as she started to have those attacks and nightmares again after all these time. I figured someone is artificially triggering them, it’s you isn’t it, who’s giving the doses of LSD drugs?”
Rehan shook his head a little, that crooked smile was hanging from the corner of his lips, he hissed, “Do you know why I am doing all these Dr. Akhil Mitra.”
This time Akhil shook his head and smiled sadly, “You are the younger brother of Rahan, the psychopath serial killer, I helped the cops to nab him, later he died in the police encounter trying to flee from the lockup.
You and your brother left the country with your maternal uncle, not with your father. You mother was murdered and your father committed suicide. You people stayed in Germany for a while but then your brother forced to return back to your grandparents as he was wanted by the cops as a murder suspect. He showed early signs of a psychopath.”
“Whoever he was, he was my brother.” Rehan shouted in desperate angry voice.
“He was a monster, he killed 3 innocent girls just for his amusement, but the insanity runs deep within your family isn’t it? You father was the one who strangulated your mother, later he committed suicide in the jail. Even your father’s father had mental disorder.
And you have done all these to trap me. You targeted a young woman with a history of mental condition, obviously considering her past her parents were anxious about her marriage and well being. you posed as a sympathetic teacher and then lover and convinced her and her parents. If you wanted to kill me why not just barge into my house and finish the whole thing, why you have to involve a innocent girl?
“She will be my perfect alibi, the whole neighbourhood knows she attacked me with this rod and even she thinks the same. I have given her a big overdose of the drug, if she won’t die by that, surely the fever will kill, to make sure I left her as it is on the bed. After I beat you to death, I will open those windows as well, the cold wave of November will do the rest. Tomorrow’s newspaper will publish, a mad woman hit her husband unconscious and killed the renowned psychologist Dr. Akhil Mitra and then died. Before the autopsy is done, I will fly out of this country. A perfect revenge, isn’t it Dr.?” Rehan hissed as he was swinging the rod.
Akhil understood he has to take a last chance, he suddenly ran at Rehan and pushed him as hard as possible, Rehan was thrown back at the wall and fell. Akhil sprinted through the door towards the stairs. Then felt a hard blow on the back of his head of a blunt instrument, as he fell on the floor he realized the liquid flowing from his head to the floor is his own blood. from the corner of his eyes he saw Rehan grabbing back the iron rod which he threw at him.
“If it is any consolation Dr. Mitra, after I beat you to pulp with this I have to hit myself as well couple of times to prove I was also assaulted by my beloved late wife, hahahaha.” Rehan was laughing like a true villain.
And then it happened, before losing his senses Dr Akhil Mitra saw a shadow, and then he heard the giggling sound, sweet soft sounds of silver anklet, a partial view of a little playful young girl laughing and running around. He heard Rehan’s frightened voice, “Who is there? who?” and then he heard the spine chilling scream of Rehan, and it was all dark of Akhil.
Akhil was lying in the hospital ward with a big bandage on his head, it was still hurting. Inspector Dubey was sitting in front of him sipping in his tea cup.
Dubey: “Dr. Mitra, please do us a favour, next time when you will venture out to catch a criminal, please inform us and take us along with you. We have got your call at 11Pm last night before you start, but our police jeep was out of order, I have call for another jeep and extra force from another police station.”
Akhil: “How’s the girl, Ayesha?
Dubey shook his head sadly, “She couldn’t make it, we reached 15 minutes too late, it was only her cold body on the bed, Rehan’s dead body near the stairs in the ground floor, his head and face was smashed. Clearly he tripped on those stairs when he tried to hit you again, your unconscious body was found on the first floor near the steps.
By the way, now you must take some rest, I will take my leave, get well soon.”
As Dubey left Akhil tried to recall what happened last night, he had a murderous headache but he ignored that.
“So I was hit on my head and the death was dangling in front of me, like all the other human being my brain started play trick on me, I started to hallucinating the same thing told to me Rehan and Ayesha over and over again.”
At the same he heard the same laughter in the ward and a voice uttered, “If you cant believe in my existence that’s ok, but at least say a thanks to me for saving your life, I have to give up mine to save yours.” The voice was awfully similar to Ayesha’s.
“It’s all in my head, it’s all in my head.” Akhil repeated the words twice with closing eyes.