Tag Archives: Nightmare

Befuddled

Haunted Hut

 

(The story is narrated in first person, the protagonist may or may not be a real person, writer can not confirm that. The story is partly truth and partly fiction. But the truth and fiction can not be separated as they are lost in translation. Apologies in advance if that’s inconvenient or disturbing.)

I am walking aimlessly, clear blue sky above, the sun already sets down, the light of dusk is slowly dying, yet its visible around. I am walking on the grass, on the long and lush green grasses of the field, they are bowing down with winds towards north. I am trying to remember where I am, how I came here, I seem to have no memory of it, I am just walking and walking and all I can see around is trees and the green field meeting the sky at horizon at every direction.

And now I can see something ahead of me, it looks like an old hut, a broken, wrecked hut in the middle of the nowhere. I am advancing towards it while touching the long grasses with my both hands. Wait! There is something more, there’s a dog sitting right in front of the hut. As I came near to it, it got up on its feet, unusually black in color and it has only one eye, where the other eye supposed to be has a dark hole as if someone or something gouged out that eye.

It on its four legs and started to bark, as if it doesn’t want me to advance any further. I was little confused about the whole thing and then…. I saw it. A tall, lean figure emerged from the hut, and immediately a horrible smell of rotten meat hit me, the thing was wearing a gray and ash color long gown, its feet weren’t visible but it looked like floating little above from the ground. It was holding a long stick on it’s right hand and….. where the face supposed be, it was just a piece of yellowish flesh, no eyes, no ears, no nose or mouth.

The one eyed dog is barking madly. Though that human-like figure has no eyes, I can sense that it can see me, it started to move slowly towards my direction and hold out the stick towards me. My throat is dry, I want to run, but my feet are stuck to ground, the horrible smell is getting stronger and all my senses are slowly getting blurred and blocked. It has come near to me and almost touching me.

 “All is the fear and nothing is the love; As little is the wisdom, where the flight So runs against all reason” I remember the lines of Shakespeare.

I was sitting on my bed wide awake breathing heavily; my heart was thumping so hard that I could hear it. This was one of the worst nightmares I have ever experienced. I almost ran to kitchen and drank a half jug of water, the thirst was just not quenching and I was sweating profoundly. I started to feel dizzy in my head; I slowly sat on the floor, kept my head on the wall and slept or fell unconscious.

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I am sitting on the hospital bench for more than ½ an hour’s now. I came to this government hospital which is about 2 km away from my place. There is always a stark difference between private hospitals and nursing homes and government ones. Private hospitals are neat and clean, smiling receptionists and caring nurses around, doctors are available on call in different departments. Government hospitals are all about chaos, patients lay down on iron cots with filthy bed sheets, some are even laying on the floor, nurses are busy and irritated, hardly doctors are around, compounders are giving proxies for them, smell of phenail and other kinds. You actually can smell the fear, pain, agony and even death in here.

I approached towards one the nurses, “Sister, I am waiting for a while now. May I see a doctor?”

She looked at me with an irritated face, “Don’t you see there’s no physician available now, what’s the case? Why you’re here?

“I am sick, I need some medical attention, I have seen ghost last night and got up with high fever, I need a bed to lie down.” I answered in a feeble voice.

“Do you think it’s a place to crack stupid jokes? Or are you trying to get a bed here by telling some cock and bull story.” The voice came from behind.

I turned back, there was lady standing in white apron, a pale face with a pair of curious eyes, angry curled lips with hair tied behind. Don’t know why I felt she doesn’t belong here, though she was not wearing any makeup, I visualized her wearing black eyeliner with heavy eyelashes, with cherry pink lipstick and a little touch of makeup on her cheeks, wearing a red banarasi saree and smiling at me. She is not meant to be a doctor; she is meant to be poetry of a poet.

I straightened my back and changed my voice to a heavy one, “That’s right ma’am, I was just telling a story, actually I am the PA of the state health minister, came here to investigate the situations of this hospital. I am under the direct order of health ministry; there are so many complaints against this one.”

I felt the sense of urgency in all the hospital staff members, the nurse I was talking to a while ago, stood up, she was looking visibly scared. Only the lady doctor was unmoved, she shrunk her forehead lines and was about to ask something suspiciously. But right before that my head spun like the whole world got upside down and it got dark in front of eyes and I fell down on the floor, unconscious, for the second time.

As Shakespeare said, “The miserable have no other medicine, but only hope.”

 

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As I gained my senses, I saw the face of her looking at me curiously, “Are you feeling ok now?” Her concerned voice sounded so sweet to me.

I found myself on the hospital bed, same iron cot with smelly bed sheet but still comfortable, I closed my eyes again, I am not sure how everyone else took my little drama just before I fainted. “How long I was out?” I asked

“About a day now. Do you always lie and create dramas whenever you go? This is a hospital not stage of drama.” She smiled and spoke in a light tone.

“Well,“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.” I smiled back.

“You had fever and high blood pressure when you fell down; it was caused by some high stress or may be by elevated fear. I remember you are speaking of some ghost when you came in here.” She spoke again, with her sweet voice.

“You don’t fit in here; you don’t belong amongst all these diseases, pain and death. You belong in a heavily guarded high castle, attended and protected by the knight in shining armor.” As I spoke the words looking at her eyes, I could clearly see her face expression changing. She looked annoyed and irritated.

“Why you guys always have to be so clumsy and corny around females? I am just your doctor and you are my patient. I did not expect such cheap behavior, you looked like a well behaved, mild mannered gentleman, apparently I was wrong.” Saying so she stormed out of there.

After sometime a nurse came to inform me that I will be discharged by tomorrow afternoon. I passed my time chitchatting with the other inmates, various kind of people. The bed next to me is allotted to lady patient who has stomach cancer, last stage. She got 2 small kids, her husband does all kinds of petty works to make ends meet. Hardly got any money for her treatment, morning he comes to leave the children with their mother and comes back in the evening to get them home.

Met the janitor or hospital floor manager, he is not only janitor but a free advisor for all the hospital patients and their relatives, mostly how to get cheap treatment, he knows all the addresses godmen and so-called Ayurveda and herbs specialist self-appointed doctors in and out of the city.

So I asked him, “Do you know somebody who can cure cancer?”, “Of course I do”, he replied back with utmost confident. “There is a guy called Pagla baba (mad baba) he can cure anything.”

“How does he do that?”, I was curious. “Oh, you just have to take the patient to him and he will touch the patient and he/she will be alright in half a day.” The janitor replied enthusiastically.

“Oh, so did you try telling her husband about your Pagla baba?” I asked sarcastically.

“She can’t be cured; her time is up. We already took her to him. He said her time is already up. Pagla baba doesn’t help everybody, he even meets few people, sometimes don’t even meet anyone for days.” Janitor sadly shook his head.

I pulled my blanket on me and closed my eyes. This country is neck deep into superstition and no wonder all frauds and humbugs are taking advantages of it.

I murmured the lines from Hamlet “Thus conscience does make cowards of us all”

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“May I come in?” I hold the curtain of the cabin door and asked.

“Yes.” She replied. I am going to get discharged today it’s only my moral duty to bid adieu from the doctor who brought me back to health.

I sat in front of her, she was searching something in drawer, “Not here to apologise I guess.” She spoke without lifting her head.

“I came here to thank you.” I spoke in my sweetest possible voice. “That’s alright.” She replied, again without looking at me.

“And I am here to tell you the story how did I saw a ghost, got scared, fell sick and landed up here. If you have time of course, Dr. Aditi Majumdar.”

She frowned and leaned back on chair and then she laughed, “I see you know my name, I guess from the staff, ya sure, go ahead tell me your story in brief. I am not sure if I’ll believe you. By the way, here’s your purse and mobile phone, check if everything is alright, we thought of calling your parents or relatives but we couldn’t unlock your phone. We came to know your name from the credit card.”

“Much appreciated, I live alone in this city so it’s alright. If you don’t mind, could you order a cup of tea? It would be nice telling you the story with a hot smoky cup of tea.” I replied.

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At school I had a friend named Ashfaq, he was a tall lean fellow, soft spoken, nice and little timid. He considered me as his best friend as I once stood up against his bullies. Since then he always looked up to me as his friend in need. His sister Ruksar also studied in the same school, two standards below us. To her I was her another brother from a different mother.

Frankly, I considered Ashfaq a good friend, not of my best buddies, I had a different group. But Ashfaq always used consider me his friend, philosopher and guide, even on trivial matters he used to ask for my help and suggestions.

We’re in 11th standard, it was during the summer vacation, Ashfaq’s ancestral village was some 150km away, a remote one, it had population of hardly 700 to 800 people, Ashfaq’s dad Moideen uncle was the wealthiest and they had their own estate.

There was a place there which was considered haunted. A small hut away from the locality, it had a story. A fakir used to live there, an honest and god-fearing, they say one day Iblis (Satan or Devil) himself paid a visit and turned him into his slave. He started to kill the villagers to offer sacrifices. After few days intimated villagers attacked him and beat him to death. They left his dead body inside the hut and since then no one ever went back. Few who by mistake went nearby paid with their lives.

When Ashfaq told me the story I laughed, I could only laugh at the imaginations of illiterate villagers. Then I told him to go and pay a visit there and crush the very superstition hold his village to ransom.

He looked perplexed and scared, but nonetheless he told me he will try. After 3 days he called me at my home in the evening. “I have decided to go there, but I am little scared. Wish you were here; we both could visit that place.” He spoke in a hesitant tone. He was calling from his village.

Don’t know why and how I felt angry about it, I yelled at him over the phone “I can’t watch your back all the time Ashfaq, you need to stop being a coward. Either you go there and prove there’s no ghost or don’t show your face to me, ever.” I rammed down the receiver.

After two days the news came, villagers found Ashfaq’s body on the field, near the hut. He died of heart failure, when they found his body his eyes were wide open with an expression of intense fear on his face.

We all friends were present in his last ritual, his mother was sobbing, his dad was sitting there with a blank expression. Only Ruksar was standing in a corner, with dried tears, with immense hate in her eyes, staring at me. I did not know the reason. That’s the last time I ever saw her as I never went back to his house again. After coming back home, I took out my diary and wrote down one of my favourite quote, that was the only entry I made in my diary that day.

“Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that men should fear;

Seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.” ― William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

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“That’s a sad story.” Aditi shook her head. “But that has to do with your situation?”

“Last night I had a nightmare, that I am walking on a field filled long grasses and then I came across an old hut with a black one eyed dog sitting in front of it. Then a strange tall figure appeared, without a face, almost floating above the ground. And I woke up in my bed, shivering and sweating.” I replied calmly.

“It was just a nightmare, how you can say it’s anything ghostly or super natural?” Aditi frowned

“Have you ever experienced any dream or nightmare with a smell? Horrible smell of something rotten, smell of decomposed flesh?” I asked, indifferently.

“What are you going to do now?” She leaned on the desk with a curious look.

“I am going to Ashfaq’s ancestral village, to pay a visit to that place, although I don’t know if it’s still there, but something is telling me, it’s still there.” I stood up, she was still looking at me with puzzled eyes, I couldn’t but recite few lines from ‘Hamlet’s To be, or not to be’

“For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause—there’s the respect

That makes calamity of so long life.”

 

I walked out of her cabin slowly, leaving her behind, befuddled.

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I went back home and spent sleepless nights for next two days. Every time I closed my eyes my subconscious mind kept telling me not to fall asleep, as then I might have the same nightmare again. Part of me wanted to fall asleep, and part of me kept awake. My slumbering half-conscious self was loitering around the world of dreams and reality.

Suddenly I heard a voice.

“Do you really want to go there?” Ashfaq was standing a few feet away. The same 17 years old kid in the school uniform.

“Yes, I want to.” I replied. Though I know I might be imagining or hallucinating.

“Why? After all these years.” The calm voice of Ashfaq asked me again.

“I don’t know. But I must go, to set myself free.” I closed my eyes already, my mind was blank.

“Set yourself free? From what?”

I did not reply but with all my might I pushed myself out of bed. There was no one in my room. I pulled my easy chair to the balcony and fell on it, murmuring few lines of Henry IV by Shakespeare.

‘O sleep! O gentle sleep!

Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,

That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down

And steep my senses in forgetfulness?

Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,

Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,

And hush’d with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,

Than in the perfum’d chambers of the great,

Under the canopies of costly state,

And lull’d with sound of sweetest melody?’

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After 3 days I went back to the hospital. Dr Aditi Majumdar was not there, Instead I found the janitor, he was overjoyed seeing me and invited me for a tea to the roadside tea shop next to hospital.

Ashit (Janitor): How are you sir? You look so pale and tired. Did you sleep well?

Me: No, I haven’t slept a wink (Smiled sadly)

Ashit: What happened sir?

Me: I see ghosts. When I am asleep and when I am awake.

Ashit: Sir, I know you educated people don’t believe in all these, but I must request you to go see Pagla baba.

 

By his tone of urgency, I was certain he gets his commission from Pagla baba for making people go visit to him and pay his fees. Nonetheless, I decided to visit him. I have seen many godmen but never was too impressed by anyone. I smiled at Ashit and started to walk while recalling the lines..

‘There are no tricks in plain and simple faith.

But hollow men, like horses hot at hand,

Make gallant show and promise of their mettle. – Julius Caesar’

 

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I am sitting in front of Pagla baba now. It’s been almost 10 minutes that Pagla baba is at his laughing spree. Today morning I came at his den, which is 25 km away from the city. Frankly speaking I was disappointed when I saw this place. No much crowd of disciples and visitors, hardly 5 to 10 people are scattered outside a torn tent. One of them told me to wait and disappeared inside the tent, reappeared in 2 minutes and announced my arrival to baba.

My disappointment increased as I entered and saw an old man in his 60’s was sitting there, he is so lean and feeble that anyone can count his ribs, he is wearing a spectacle with one leg, the other leg was missing a replaced by a thread. As he looked at me started to laugh I could see few teeth were missing as well.

I patiently waited for 10 minutes and then asked him, “Why are you laughing?”

“I don’t know, I feel kinda funny.” The intensity of his laugh increased, now even his whole body is shaking. ‘He really is mad’, I thought.

“Of course I am; why do you think they call me Pagla baba?” I was completely stumped now, baba actually read my mind.

“Do you know why I am here?” I asked in a serious tone.

“You are looking for the cure of your nightmares.” Baba was still laughing.

I let out a long sigh, so Ashit, the janitor has spilled all the info to his baba, I thought.

Pagla baba stop laughing, “No, Ashit did not tell me anything.” He spoke with a smile.

Now I was certain somehow Pagla baba knows the art of thought reading, I heard of similar kind of power exist among humans. And why not, how ant’s movements start before rain? How dogs and other animals can anticipate earth quakes and other natural calamities? Even we humans have something call sixth sense and some people have it to an aggregative length.

“So do I get the cure?” I asked, in an unsure tone.

“Go back home today, meet me after 3 days.” Baba is calm now

I got up and turned back when I heard him again, “You forgot my fees.”

I turned back to him, “How much?”

“Six hundred and fifty-three.” He smiled.

I opened my pursue, I had the exact same amount. I handed it over and asked him, “Do you always charge as much some has in his pocket?”

“Not to everyone. But yes, you must pay, you must pay your debt.” Pagla baba started to laugh hysterically again. I bid him goodbye and hit the road.

‘He that dies pays all debts. – The Tempest by William Shakespeare’

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As I walked into my office, I headed straight to the cabin of my General Manager.

The GM looked at me and exclaimed. “What happened to you? you look like a complete mess, are you alright?

“I would like to resign.” I replied with a crisp voice and with a straight face.”

GM looked completely at sea, “What? Why?”

“I am starting a journey to somewhere and I have a strong feeling I won’t come back alive. I guess if I resign now you’ll have enough time to recruit someone.”

GM had a long and hard look at me. “is it another trick of yours to ask for a vacation?”

I smiled, kind of smile which could mean yes or no or both.

“I am giving you 15 days of leave on medical ground, I heard you were hospitalized, you don’t look too good either. Go see a doctor and get well soon.” He spoke in a harsh tone and looked down on the papers he is holding. I turned back and was about to leave.

“Listen.” GM spoke again, “Here’s the visiting card of a renowned physiatrist, he knows me, go see him once if you can.”

I took the card and left home thinking few lines of ‘King Lear’.

‘O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven!

I would not be mad.

Keep me in temper. I would not be mad.’

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As I was wandering around the city, my car stopped near a café, as I rolled down the window my eyes glued to a young couple sitting there, they were chatting, laughing and having a good time, while talking their heads were hitting each other and parting with another laugh, one happy couple who dares the world to be careless about.

It was Aditi and another young man, I felt a sharp tingling sensation of jealousy. I parked the car nearby and walked into the café, straight up to Aditi.

“Hey”, I greeted her,

“Oh hi”, Aditi replied with a surprised cheerful tone.

“After that day you never met me, never even called me, what did I do to deserve such? Did your feelings subside for me? In spoke in an artificial hurtful and complaining tone.

Aditi’s surprised eyes turned red into anger in few moments. The guy next to her also looked quite perplexed but nonetheless he decided to take the matter in his own hands

“Hi this is Vikalp, and you are?” he asked

“Aditi’s boyfriend.” I extended my right hand at him. He couldn’t shake it but spilled his cold coffee all over.

“Who is he?” The guy almost screamed at Aditi.

“A patient of mine.” Aditi munched her words in despicable anger and then pushed me in a corner.

“What is the meaning of all these?” Aditi hissed while holding a part of shirt.

“Who is he?” I asked in a smiling tone.

“He is my boyfriend. What are you even doing here?” Aditi hissed again.

“Really? That nincompoop?” My voice was filled bitter sarcasm.

She left my shirt and stepped back, “You have no rights to speak such about him, I demand you to leave now.” This time she spoke calmly.

“Aditi, come here.” The impatient tone from her behind was Vikalp’s

I grinned, “Why not let us put your love into a test, just ignore him and come with me, let’s go for a drive. “

“I don’t have time for your drama or games. Good bye.” She went back to her table and I started to walk back to my car. On my way I saw Aditi and Vikalp was throwing hands in the air and arguing over. I grinned again, did I just sow a seed of doubt between them?

‘Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt — William Shakespeare.’

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As I was about to sip into my morning tea, I heard my doorbell ringing without pause, “Someone is up real early, it’s 10 am.” I thought.

As I open the door a plain looking man in his mid-thirties was standing in front of me. “You have to come with me, right now.” The stranger spoke in an authoritative voice.

“Sure let’s go.” I put down my cup and about to start, in my pyjamas.

The stranger looked a little puzzled. “Like this?” he asked.

“You said right now.” I replied.

“And you don’t want to know who am I and where you’re going?” His surprised voice annoyed me.

“That you were supposed to tell me, but you don’t I won’t compel.” I answered.

“Let’s go.” As we came down I saw SUV is waiting down below with ‘Police’ written on it. I looked back at the stranger and he flashed his ID, “Piyush Arora, from crime branch.”

“Oh”, I exclaimed and stepped inside the vehicle.

After 30 mins the SUV stopped in front of a huge 3 stored house, this time I was surprised as I thought we were on the way to police station.

Inspector Piyush held me by my shoulder and almost dragged me in. On my way I managed to read the nameplate, Mohan Majumdar, DIG, Crime.

Inside there was a man in his fifties sitting on a sofa, wearing white kurta and pajama, he looked at both of us.

“Got him Sir.” Piyush Arora spoke in a such enthusiastic tone that even I started feel special about myself, after all crime branch it is, which was looking for me.

DIG crime looked at his inspector and tell him to get out with hand gesture.

“How do you know my daughter?” He asked in a cold voice as the inspector left.

I never actually had misfortune to meet any top cop, Mohan Majumdar was a short, half bald and very fair man, with a round face, just like Aditi.

“So you spy on your daughter?” I took my seat in front of him, on the opposite single sofa seat.

“Answer the question before I turn your bones into white powder.” DIG was fuming.

“talcum or cocaine?” I yawned

“Shut up. And answer me.” Mohan Majumdar roared.

“You shut up. You don’t know how close I am to our local MLA. You want to get into trouble?”

I roared back. In reality I don’t even the name of the MLA of my locality nor any other. But it’s like rule, you want to intimidate somebody, tell them about someone they fear. Like to common people it’s cops or goons, for cops its politicians, to politicians about votes and elections, etc etc.

As DIG Mohan Majumdar was looking at me suspiciously I continued.

“I know you have two daughters, the elder one went against your wish and chose a guy. Since then you are over protective about your younger daughter, spying on her when she’s out of home and she hates it. You don’t even like her current boyfriend, Vikalp or whatever his name is.”

I stopped as I could see him completely perplexed by now. I saw the photo frame on the table in a corner, Aditi with another girl, no doubt she looks older and alike her. I beat around the bush and I guessed I got few of them right on. No daughter like her father spying on her, especially on her private life.

I started to walk leaving him behind. “There will be eyes on you.” Mohan Majumdar barked. I thoroughly ignored him.

As I was walking though the hall to the main door I saw Aditi was coming down, she saw me stopped on the stairs, her face looked puffy and eyes swollen, dried tears on her cheeks carrying the evidence that she might fell asleep crying.

“Lovers quarrel.” I chuckled. She frowned and about to say something when I stopped her. “I was called upon, by your dad.”

“Why?” her disgusted tone hit me hard.

“To break you up from Vikalp and take you away.” A cruel smile waved up on my lips. I walked out slowly, do I even know what I am doing?

“Confusion now hath made his masterpiece.”― William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

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I got up from my good morning sleep next day hearing my doorbell ringing madly. As I opened the door I found Aditi Majumdar standing at my door step.

“Congratulation, you just turned my life into a living hell.”, She spoke with fire in her eyes and bitterest tone.

“Did I?” I was yawning and scratching my neck.

“I just want to know why are you doing all these, that day after you left I had the nastiest fight with Vikalp and then yesterday with my dad. Why did you lie to me? What exactly you want?” she had tears in her eyes.

“I am going to Pagla baba today, he told me to meet him after 3 days. Why don’t you come along, he might solve your problems too.” I yawned while speaking.

Aditi had a long and hard look at me for few seconds then she slapped me on my face so hard that sleepy eyes said good bye to my sleep.

I stepped off from the door as she stepped in while slapping, “Come on in, have some coffee.” And I closed the door behind her.

Aditi at her wit’s end now accepted the weird incidents happening around her and calmly came sat on the dining table. I pointed at the kitchen, “Water is on the oven and the coffee powder and milk are there, help yourself. Give me 10 minutes and we will be on our way to solve our problems.” I smiled.

 

As we were sitting in front of Pagla baba he already gave me a brown thread tied around my upper arm. “Where you’re going you will face grave danger; this might help you.” Pagla baba indicated at the thread, today he isn’t laughing instead he is calm and quiet.

Aditi was sitting there, befuddled. She didn’t know what to do. I looked at Pagla baba and grinned, “So this thing cost me 600 odd, not much of a worth ain’t it? By the way this is Dr. Aditi Majumdar and she too has great many issues which she thinks are caused by me.”

“They will go away, soon.” The old man smiled.

As we walked out of Pagla Baba’s hut I saw a dog sitting on the yard, a black dog, with one eye, sticking its tongue out and breathing heavily.

“Just like the one in your nightmares, isn’t it?” Pagla baba started to laugh hysterically again. “Start today, tonight is the new moon, I could warn you not to go but I know you won’t listen.

Aditi hold my hand pressed it so hard. “Can I come with you?” She asked in a scared tone.

‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. – Hamlet, Shakespere.’

 

******************************************************************************

And I am walking again, on these lash green grasses, just like I have seen it in my dream, in my nightmare, the only difference is Aditi is also walking beside me. This field wasn’t very hard to find, even today people don’t come this way much, villagers directed us in the right direction.

It’s only green and blue can be seen, the sun is on its way to bid goodbye and the dying lights making it look like a dreamland.

And I remember,

‘Two months after the death of Ashfaq, Ruksar called me, to visit her at their place. When I went there I found Ashfaq’s parents are away. Ruksar took me to the terrace.

“I heard your conversation with my brother that day. He was so scared to go there alone.”

I shrugged. Ruksar continued.

“My brother told me you people had a pact, you were supposed to be there with him in our village, you both were supposed to go there to unravel whatever you thought was unreal. But you did not keet your promise, and you pushed my brother to the edge.

He did not want to go, but he was too afraid to be called a coward, he was too desperate not lose his friendship with you. But you never cared. I begged Ashfaq not to go, yet he went, he couldn’t see his only friend turning his back at him.

I loved you both as my own brothers, but you had a different feeling for me. I knew it and now I know you aren’t worth it. But at least you will feel guilty of this.’

She stopped and took a deep breath, suddenly I spotted that she’s at the very edge of the terrace, before I could react she just let herself fall. No scream of pain but just a thud sound.

I stood there motionlessly and then walked out of that house slowly, there was no one in the street at 2 pm afternoon to spot a 17 years old boy walking off hurriedly. The city knew that evening, a grieving sister committed suicide.’

 

 

“Where is that brown thread?” Aditi asked suddenly as the old wrecked hut slowly started to emerge in front of us.

“I tore it and threw it somewhere here in these grasses.” I replied calmly.

 

Aditi looked at me with scared eyes and disbelieve, and then she ran towards the opposite direction.

The smell is getting stronger, the smell of rotten flesh. I could see the nameless, faceless figure is slowly emerging from the hut, with the big stick it’s holding. My vision and other senses are getting blurred, I am losing my power to even think.

“I FOUND IT!!” I heard Aditi screaming, as I turned my head I saw her running towards me, what I could see is she’s holding something in her right hand, something brown.

I looked back at that thing, floating and coming towards me, and I could see a black spot behind it, slowly getting bigger and bigger as if something is running towards me. I heard that black spot barking madly.

 

I knelt down and screamed, “I am sorry Ashfaq, I am sorry Ruksar. I am sorry.” And tears started to roll off from my eyes.

 

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Hallucination

hallucination_by_laerel2

 

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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.

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Rehan’s Story:

“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.

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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.

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Ayesha’s story:

“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.

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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.”

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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?

Rehan: “Upstairs..”

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.

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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.

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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.

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Dream

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“You are so beautiful….. So…. Beautiful. I am not worthy, worthy to have you.”

“I am just a dream Prasun, your dream. So I am yours, always yours.”

 

It’s almost 9 am, Prasun got up from his bed, he inhaled the aroma of fresh cooked breakfast and tea coming out of the kitchen. He freshened up and sat with the newspaper as his wife Malini served the breakfast on the table.

“You are late today, missed your morning walk as well. Are you alright.” Prasun heard Malini’s concerned voice.

“Oh ya, just tired, busy time at office.”

“Yeah. That’s why you slept early last night, never watched you sleeping so much.” Malini’s voice gets fainted as she walked back to kitchen.

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“I want to be with you, always. I love talking to you, holding your hand and walk though this gardens and boulevards.”

“I am your dream Prasun, you can be with me as long as you are sleeping, as long as you let me be in your mind.”

 

Prasun felt a sudden jerk on his shoulder, as he opened his eyes he saw Malini is holding and shaking his shoulders with both hands, she looked worried.

“Its 10:30 am Prasun, Don’t you have to go to office? Are you feeling alright? I am seeing it for a week now, you are sleeping for hours. Are you feeling weak or something? I think we should consult a physician.”

“Ahh, don’t make a fuss. Get me some tea, I am already late.” Prasun stepped towards the bathroom leaving his clearly anxious wife behind.

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“Malini, what if one fine day I don’t wake up from my sleep at all, how will you react?”

“Prasun, please don’t speak all these nonsense, Nothing of that sorts will ever happen. If anything happens to you, I won’t be alive without you.”

“I am not saying I’ll die, I am simply saying what if I never get up from my sleep. What If I just be asleep all the time?”

“I don’t understand.”

“There’s a girl, in my dream. I think I have fallen love with her. But I can see her, talk to her and be with her if I am asleep. You see, she’s a dream, so I need to be in my sleep to be with her.”

“(Horrified), you have gone crazy. We need a psychiatrist.”

“No, I need some sleep. I need her.”

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“Doctor, please do something, he is sleeping more than 18 hours a day, hasn’t go out of his bedroom for 3 days. He is not eating or even talking to me.”

“I am not able to understand the symptoms, try the medication for one more day, if there’s no improvement we have to shift him to a mental ward for further treatment.”

“Is he going insane? Doctor please help him.”

“I am trying all I can. Let’s monitor him till tomorrow.”

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“I have come to bid you goodbye.”

“What? Why? And why are you looking so miserable, tired and exhausted, black patches under your eyes.”

“It’s your wife, Malini.”

“What did she do to you?”

“She invaded into my dreams, she is threating me, tormenting me in my dreams.”

“Your dreams? You are a dream!! How a dream, can dream?”

“I am a dream Prasun, but in this dreamland of mine I am just like you, I eat, play, drink and sleep. And I dream too. Your wife is constantly entering in there and threating to ruin everything. I am unable to sleep, scared to see her. She turned to be a nightmare of mine. I am sorry, but I must leave you.”

“Please don’t go………….”

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Prasun woke up with a jolt. He drank half a bottle of water in a hurry and checked the table clock, its 3 AM in the morning. He turned and saw Malini was fast asleep next to him. ‘What a nightmare’ Prasun thought. He remembered clearly from the first day incident, crazy, he felt like he passed weeks in this dream.

Malini was mumbling something in his sleep. As prasun turned and bend over to listen, he heard!! “Keep your filthy hands off my Husband you BITCH!!”

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