THE MYSTERY ROOM
By Brehma K
During the monsoon, I went to my grandparents’ house just to spend time with them. I haven’t seen them in a long time.
I flew to India on a Sunday morning and am very excited to finally meet them after such a long time.
I had spent my most beautiful times with them. I’ve lived with them since I was a child. My parents tried to surprise me on my fourteenth birthday, but the surprise I received was their death. Since their death, I've been living with them.
I boarded the plane at 5:30 p.m. and arrived in India shortly after 10 a.m. I decided to eat something from the outside because I was so hungry. I exited the airport within a few minutes. I waited there because it was raining outside and I didn’t have an umbrella with me. After half an hour, the rain stopped and I went outside to find a taxi so that I could find a place to eat. I walked along the airport road in search of a taxi. Immediately I felt like someone is following me. When I turned around, nobody was there so i moved down the street in search of a taxi. I started to feel like someone was following me again. When I looked behind me, I noticed a man staring at me and walking towards me.
He approached me and asked, “Madam, are you looking for a taxi?” I replied, “No, thank you.”
I know you’re looking for a taxi, Madam. I can assist you, madam. I need money right now.
He tried everything to persuade me to take his taxi, but I refused because I suspected something was wrong with him.
Why was he following me? Why is he pleading with me to take his taxi? Something is definitely wrong. I ignored him and continued walking.
I came across another taxi along the way. I took that taxi and instructed the driver to drop me off at a food court. I paid the taxi driver and entered the food court. I noticed an elderly lady entering the restroom while I was washing my face. Despite her age, she has the energy of a young lady. She was tall and fiery, with intense eyes that
belied her age. She returned my stare with an evil grin. I became terrified and ran back to the sitting area.
I ordered one masala dosa plate. I couldn’t wait for the food to arrive. I haven’t had an Indian dosa in a long time. The food arrived and I took the first bite of it, mmmmmm….it was delicious! I really enjoyed the food. Suddenly, that elderly lady I met in the washroom approached me.
She asked, “Dear, where are you going?”
I didn’t respond to her question.
She said, “If you’re going to Digalpur, I can help you.” I will not make you pay. I’ll drop you off there.
Wait ! What?
I was just Shocked !
I asked, how do you know my place ?
I know, dear; I am your grandmother's friend. I saw you from the airport itself. That's why I sent my driver to you. She pointed to a man sitting in the third row from my table.
I looked at him. He was that taxi driver I met in the airport.
I said, but he didn’t mention about you; he said he needed money and that I should take his taxi.
She gave a crooked smile to me and looked at him. He made a mistake, she said. So, dear, are you willing to come with me? She asked.
I was so nervous and terrified.
No thanks, I’ll take another taxi.
I paid the bill and left the food court.
I was looking for a different taxi. That elderly lady and her driver passed me and got into the car in front of me. She gave me a look. I smiled, but she did not smile back. That old lady opened the car door for me and said, “Get in.”
She said aloud, “Get in,” and I became terrified. I ignored them and walked quickly. They followed me.
Fortunately, a police vehicle drove by. I dashed towards that vehicle. They had vanished by that point.
I felt relieved.
It was strange. I’m not sure if she was really my grandmother’s friend. If she is, why did she flee when the police arrived?
I’ll ask Grandma about it anyway.
It took me so long to get home because the taxi driver wasn’t sure about the address I gave him.
After all of this trouble, I arrived home to know that my grandparents were not there. God….! Where have they gone? I’m completely exhausted.
I’ve already written about my arrival today.
Where they went at the exact time!
The gate was also locked. When the aunty next door saw me, she approached me and inquired what had happened. I asked her, “Is there anyone here?” No, what happened? She enquired.
I came to see them, they are my grandparents.
She was surprised and asked, “Are you Sanah, the granddaughter of Lathika and Ashok?Yeah…! I smiled.
Come in, dear, why are you standing there? They didn’t tell me that you were coming.
Haaa aunty, do you know where they went?
No, they didn’t tell me;
come inside and wait there; I'll bring something to eat. Come…come….! I walked into the house and sat down. The living room looked stunning. It was adorned with some lovely indoor plants. It has four single sofa chairs, a long sofa, and a television that is surrounded by some indoor creepers. There was also a small bookshelf to the side of it.
She brought me some biscuits and juice. Indira aunty was so curious, she asked a lot of questions to me. I sit there for a long time. It’s already evening, and my grandparents haven’t returned. Her husband returned home a few hours later. He said that he had a busy day at work. Indira aunty introduced me to her husband, he went to his room after a small talk with me.
I got home around 2:30 p.m., and it's now 5:53 p.m. I was terrified. My grandparents have not returned home.
I became concerned about what might happen to them.
"Why are they taking so long to return?" I asked Indira aunty.
They used to go like this every month, dear. If not today, they will return in a few days. You don’t have to worry about that. You are welcome to stay here until they arrive, Indira aunty said.
Aunty, thank you! But that's okay; if they don't come today, I'll break the lock and get inside the house, I said.
Oh....dear ! You don’t have to do so. You will not be treated as a guest here, Indira aunty convinced me to stay there but I didn’t want to stay there when I have the most adorable home of mine next to me.
I got inside by breaking the lock. I noticed the house was quite dusty. It appeared that the house had not been cleaned in a long time.
Surprisingly, every room on the first floor was locked. There are about eight chairs, a sofa and a small table in the living room.
It seemed like there was no cooking going on in the kitchen. When I went upstairs, I discovered that two rooms were also locked. Aside from the rooms, there was also
a balcony. The lock was quite rusty. I came back to the living room, cleaned it up. I sighed and sat down on the sofa to take some rest.
Someone knocked on the door. I open the door. It was Indira aunty. She brought me some food. That made me extremely happy. She helped me in cleaning some utensils and stayed until I finished eating.
The food was delicious and I was so sleepy after I ate that food. Indira aunty went back to her home and I slowly fell asleep.
I woke up. Yesterday was extremely hectic. I slept as if there was no tomorrow. I looked for a clock but found none. I took the timepiece from my bag. It’s 9:15.
I became excited. My grandparents, it has to be them. I dashed up to the door and open it. I was disappointed, It was Indira aunty. She brought breakfast to me. I was so grateful that she had brought me food.
I said, aunty you don’t have to worry about food the next time. I’m going to go get some groceries. I’m extremely grateful for your help.
It's all right dear, she smiled.
Suddenly I remembered that old lady and the taxi driver. I started to feel her intense stare. It made me uncomfortable. I panicked. After a minute I came back to my consciousness. I wish my grandparents would come earlier. So that I could sit peacefully.
I decided to clean the house again before going grocery shopping because it doesn’t seem clean even after I sweep. I sanitised the restroom and wiped down the floor. The entrance to the staircase had two beautiful vases that were dusty. I took it and began cleaning the first one. The vase fell from my grasp while I was cleaning the second one. I noticed an opening near the bottom of the vase. I took a look inside. I noticed a key in it.
I wondered why someone would put a key in it. I attempted to open the first room with it, but it did not open. I attempted to open the second room, but it also did not open.
When I tried the third room, it opened.
Someone is at the door. I quickly shut the third room and locked it. I put the key in the vase, paused for a moment, and then opened the door.
It was Indira aunty.
Aunty has come to check on me. We talked about random things. In the meantime, I asked her, “Aunty, do you know where my grandparents go every month?”
She replied, “No idea, dear, they didn’t tell us anything about that.” Don’t worry, they’ll be back soon, she reassured me. She sat with me for a long time before returning to her home.
After a while, I left to go grocery shopping.
When I got out of the house, I realized I didn’t have the lock because I had broken it. I went to Indira aunty to see if she had a spare lock. She had one and gave it to me. I used it to close the door. The bus stop was about 2 kilometers away, it took me nearly fifteen minutes to get there.
While I was waiting for the bus, a middle-aged woman approached me and asked, “Do you live in Meharville?”
Yes, I said.
Did you come here on foot?
Yeahh! I said. “Alone?” She inquired.
Of course, I replied.
I asked her if there was anything wrong with that.
That aunty inquired, “Are you new here?”
I replied, “Actually, aunty, I spent many years in Canada. My grandparents recently relocated here. I’m here for the first time to see them. So, yes, I’m new!”
Nobody ever told you not to walk alone, that aunty asked
Is there anything wrong? I was curious.
Please do not walk there alone, dear, aunty warned me.
What’s the problem aunty? What happened?
Ask your grandparents and they will tell you.
But, aunty, they aren’t here. Just tell me.
I’m sure you’re aware that there are only five villas. The villa was built about ten years ago. Every villa has its own family. They were close friends.
One day, a couple from one of the villas was walking by the road when they went missing. They left the house but never arrived at the bus stop, leading everyone to believe that something happened between the roads. A year later, one of the family’s scooter became stuck there. They were on their way back home. While the man was inspecting the vehicle, a screaming sound came from somewhere and snatched the child away from them. They filed a case against those who had gone missing, but it was not a success.
They were shocked and panicked. The man dashed into the woods, where the child was snatched. The lady dashed to the bus stop to seek help. She noticed some men. They followed her after she asked for help. She was a little far from the men who were following her. Suddenly a giant black creature came out of the wood and snatched her before the men could reach her.
The men became terrified and some fainted. Nobody would have believed it if they hadn’t been there. They reported the incident to the police.
The police officers arrived with extreme security. They searched the area for hours and found nothing. They also built a wild animal trap the following day. However, it was not a success. They concluded that it might be an animal attack
Finally, they advised the rest of the family to be very careful and leave the villas as soon as possible. They all left the villas after two or three days, and new owners bought it from them many years later. One of them could be your grandparents. We informed them of the incident, but they refused to leave because they claimed they had spent all of their money on the villas and had no other option.
Aunty said, “I think there’s only one family left.”
No…no…there are two families, I replied.
Is it ? She was skeptical. I assumed there was just one.
Anyway, take care, she said as she walked away.
After hearing the story, I became a little scared. I was confused. I was wondering why my grandparents had not informed me of this. I was scared to stay there. I decided to stay there until my grandparents arrived. I boarded a bus when it arrived. I got some groceries and took a rickshaw back to my house. Some people were hesitant to take me home. They could be scared.
I literally have no idea about what was happening. I was a little scared after I heard the story. I needed to ask Indira aunty about this. So I went straight there.
The door was open. I summoned Indira aunty. Indira aunty came in pace. Aahaa….Sanah ! Come in.
I asked, aunty are you busy?.
Oh …actually I need to take a bath. What happened? Do you need any help? She asked me.
Nothing aunty, I will come after sometimes, I said.
Or you can sit here until i come back after bathing, She said.
She switched on the TV and brought me some chips and juice and went to take a bath.
The TV show seemed boring to me.
I walked towards the indoor plants, it looked amazing. I walked towards the book shelf. There are only a few books. I was attracted to a book with red binding. When I took that, another book fell down. Some papers scattered from that book. I picked them all. Something has written in it. I read it,
" Dear Sanah,
I received your letter"
A nerve of fear passed through my veins. I felt like darkness seeped into my eyes. I felt dizzy, fragile, cold at the same time, my heart ached.
I read the balance,
" I hope that you are fine too. How is your work is everything fine?. It's been a few months since you never came back to India. No worries dear you take your time."
The letter was only that much. I placed the book back and searched the whole shelf. I didn't find anything. Out of that anger I unintentionally hit the shelf, it shook lightly, I saw a paper moved on the top of the shelf. I was curious, so I took it. I'm shattered! My heart was drenched in pain.
It was the letter I sent to my grandparents. It was already open.
I put it back. I failed to sit down relaxed. Anxiety and fear shook my nerves. I went back home without saying anything. I ran to my home and locked the door. I packed all my things to go back. A painful fear rushed into my heart continuously. Suddenly I remembered the key I got from the vase.
I reached towards the vase and took the key. I opened the third room. It was a bedroom. There was a table, a chair, a bed, and also a cup board.
There's nothing special in that room. There was a vase on top of the table. It was similar to the vase near the staircase. I took it, and searched it to see if it had any openings. It does not have any openings. I shook the vase. It has a tinkling sound. I was surprised. I tried my best to take that key out. I tried to open it like a bottle. It opened and there was also a key in it. It looked like a key to the cupboard, so I tried to open the cupboard with that key. It opened. The cupboard was empty but surprisingly it also has that same type of vase in it. I took it and opened it, it has another key in it.
I came out of the room and tried to open the other rooms but it didn't open. I took the stairs and tried to open the first room. It opened, it was an empty room. I tried to find a vase there. There was no vase. I opened the bathroom attached to it, and surprisingly there was a vase. I took it and opened it. It has another key. The key was of the second room below. In that room I found my grandparents' scooter.
I burst out into tears. I don't know what happened to them but I'm sure something has happened to them.
I cried a lot in front of the scooter. I fainted, I didn't have energy to take any steps forward.
Somehow I stood up and looked for the vase. I couldn't find a vase there. I decided to save my grandparents at any cost. I came out of that room. I found another vase near the staircase. To my expectation there was an opening, in that there was a key. It was the key to the second room above. I ran back upstairs and opened the room. It was filled with my grandparents' dresses, other furniture and all. I don't know what happened to them but I know something is wrong here. Indira aunty, she knows everything. I don't have time. I searched for the vase with the key. I couldn't find any vase because it was messy.
I decided to clean it. While i was cleaning i got my fingers cut by a ladder in it. The cut was bleeding. I came down and washed it until it stopped bleeding.
It was Indira aunty.
A painful nerve shook my heart. I ran and locked all the rooms, took some deep breaths and opened the door.
Hi aunty, I said.
Are you okay? You seem out of breath! Indira aunty asked.
I said, no nothing aunty, everything is fine.
She came to invite me for dinner tonight. She said they have guests and they are also friends of my grandparents so I must come to dinner.
Soon after she went I ran back to the room and searched for the key. I couldn't find any key.
I panicked and decided to avoid dinner with them.
In that short time I saw a car coming to Indira aunty's house. I went above to watch
them closer through the window near the balcony. I watched them. A middle aged couple got out of the car. I looked at Indira aunty. She wasn't that excited. The couple and Indira aunty were talking and laughing. When I began to leave , I realized there's one more person. I waited there. When that remaining person got out of the car, I felt like I was having a heart attack. I don't know what to do. I wanted to scream. It was that old lady I met at the airport.
I walked here and there restlessly. I swear I will not go to dinner. I'm sure they are going to kill me.
A rush of adrenaline rushed through my veins. My heart ached. My tongue got numbed. I just waited a second closed all the doors of rooms and came down stairs Again knocked.
I didn't open the door. I couldn't open it. I'm afraid. I don't know what will happen next. But above all I need to save my grandparents. So I took some deep breaths and walked towards the door. I opened the door.
Why dear, what happened? . Why did you take so long to open the door? I was knocking for so long. Are you okay ? Indira aunty asked.
Come…come and have dinner with us, everyone has come.
No aunty, not today, I have a severe headache. I will meet them tomorrow, I said. Oh it's okay dear, then you take a rest, aunty said and went back to her home.
Creepy thoughts seep into my head. So that old lady knew me earlier. Her evil smile has maybe a meaning. What if I'm the one who disappears next. Why is she with Indira aunty? I'm so confused. How can I save my grandparents? Where can I find them?
I was curious about what they are doing next. So I go upstairs and watch them through the window every time.
After a few while I saw that old lady got out of the house and looked into my house and she put on that evil smile. I fainted out of fear. I know I know I'm the one who is going to disappear. I have no one to seek help. What can I do next? I cried a lot. I wish I never came back to India. I just peep through the window. I saw the couple
was talking about something by looking into my house. I watched them for a long time, they were in a deep discussion.
I mustered up my courage and decided to go to the police station tomorrow at any cost. I have to save my grandparents. I'm taking this risk , I cannot wait anymore. I couldn't sleep peacefully that day. I was afraid what might be their next move. I took my time piece and set an alarm for 5 am and I slept.
I woke up the next morning and went upstairs to check on them. The lights are off and its sure they didn't wake up. I fastly got ready and got outside the house because I don't have a vehicle, I should walk to get to the bus stop . The road was empty and dark. I was very scared, but I needed to go. When I walked , that scary story about the wood always came to my mind. I tried to ignore it but I couldn't help. I feared whether I go disappear. Even the little sound from the wood made a heart attack. I cried out of fear. Somehow I overcame the scary road.
I waited there for the bus to come. After a long time a bus came and I took that. I got off the bus at the market and asked a fruit vendor where the police station was. He gave me directions and I took a rickshaw and asked him to drop me to the police station. I reached there and informed the police officer about all the incidents. When I told the whole story he understood the place. When they heard my side they got a little hope. They asked me to file a case and they sent me home with full assurance that they will help me. I went back to my house by a rikshaw.
I was very much hungry but couldn’t make anything to eat. I was physically and mentally exhausted. Two hours after I reached home I saw the car of that guests has drove past the road. A few minutes later someone knocked my door.
It was Indira aunty. I collected all my courage and opened the door. She wasn't that much excited. I also saw some bruises on her hands. As i opened the door she entered into the house and walk straight towards the vase near the staircase. She took the first vase and opened the vase. There's no key. She looked at me and again search the key inside the vase. There is no key. She walked towards me and asked, did you took the key?
Yeah, i said. She became shocked and asked, where is that?
I saw everything you were trying to hide from me, i burst out into tears.
She came towards me and consoled, don't cry…don't cry…i know.
Im also going through the same, look at my body, indira aunty's eyes filled with tears. He beat me….he is not my husband…he made me do all this to you….im so sorryyy.
Its okay aunty, I said.
I eagerly asked her what the real matter is. She said, i will tell you everything but we don't have time now.
Did you got all the keys?, Indira aunty asked.
No i got the key to the third room, i couldn't find key in that. She entered the room with me. We searched there again, accidentally my hand again hit in the ladder, I understood there's a sound change in that. Indira aunty came and tapped the ladder. We realised there is an opening in the ladder. After a lot hardwork we opened the ladder and found the key.
We instantly ran upstairs and unlocked the fifth room. In that room there was another vase, we opened it and we got another key but it seemed like a key of a table. We paused for a moment and rushed to the second room, there was a table. We opened the table, there was a box. It was locked too. We couldn't find a key to open that so we decided to break it. We used a hammer from the bedroom and opened it.
Indira aunty told me to bring all the keys and we together put all the keys into places and locked every room. We kept the key to fifth room with us. She told me to act normal and went her house fastly. Few minutes after she went, the car came back.
I was very tensed and scared. Suddenly i hear a knock from back side of my house. I went there. I got terrified.
Who is this ? I asked.
Don't worry we are here to rescue you, please open the door.
I realised it was the police.
I opened the door. They inquired the details and i told them every thing about the rooms, locks, missing of my grandparents, everything.
You don't have to worry ma'am, we are here to help you, they said. I felt a little relaxation after hearing that.
They were observing the suspected culprits. After a few hours they got out from their house. Suddenly a police man came to me and asked ran out of the house when they go upstairs, there is our vehicle near to the bus stop they will take care of you. Saying that they all hide out. I took some deep breaths and sat down. After a few minutes they came and knocked the door. I opened the door and welcomed them. They all sat down but all were not happy. That Indira aunty's husband gave a symbol to Indira aunty, she suddenly got up and said, i will take something to drink and she went to the kitchen. After a few minutes she came back with some drinks. She told me slowly to act sleepy after drinking it. I acted that way, seeing that they all rushed towards the vase and took the key. They opened the rooms one by one. When they went upstairs the police men went along with them. By that time i woke up and told Indira aunty to be silent and run with me. I hold her hand and run out of the house. By that time the police circled them and abducted. Indira aunty ran with me without any clues. When we reached the bus stop she saw the police vehicle and i said her everything. She hugged me tightly and cried. We entered the police vehicle and they took us to the police station. After all the procedures i gave the last key to them.
We didn't go back to the place after that.
After a few days i got to knew that the mystery in the last room was a tunnel which leads to the next side of the forest where they found an extended gang of that culprits. They were actually trying to scare off the people so that they can buy the land at low cost and make a resort there because it was a place near a forest which will attract the tourists. The scary creatures were specially trained human who abducts people by the plan of their head. All the people who went missing were killed by them and their organs were sold internationally to earn more money. They many wing which is spread all over the india. Each wings had different tactics to take over the land. The police proceded the further investigation with the given evidences.
Anyway the culprits had lost all their plans. Indira aunty and I got our villas back. But we lost our loved ones. I knew my grandparents are no more. I wish them eternal peace.
By Brehma K