House of Horrors

Nisha pushed the door gently. With a creaking, heaving noise, it opened a crack. It was pitch dark inside and there was a musty smell hanging in the air, which reminded her of old, unwashed blankets.

“Boring!” declared Nisha on a lazy Saturday. “Weekends in this sleepy little town are a drag,” admitted her sister Nandini, or Nandu as she was called.

“School should work on Saturdays also,” said Nisha.

“Let’s hike to the hills, okay?” Nandu suggested.

“I’m game!” said Nisha, happily.

 “What will we need? Let’s take one small backpack. We’ll pack a few sandwiches, some juice, and maybe some nuts.”

“Some sunscreen as well,” added Nisha.

The sisters took off in the direction of the hills. They laughed and chatted on the way, discussing their school, teachers, and the lack of anything to do in their small town. They reached the hills in a few hours.

“Phew! That was some hike!” panted Nandu. “Let’s sit for a while.”

“Catch your breath, sis, no problem.”

“Let’s go to the other side of the hill after a break. We’ve never gone there,” said Nisha.
“All right, in the meantime, hand me a snack,” said Nandu.

In a while, the two girls were walking around the hills. As they walked ahead, they noticed an old mansion. “What is this? I wonder whose house it is,” Nandu said.

“Shall we peep inside?” Nisha asked.

“What if someone is in? We would be trespassing!”

“I doubt there is anyone in there, and if we do find someone, we could apologise and walk away,” said Nisha.

“Hmmmm, all right,” said Nandu, hesitantly.

The mansion was very old. Its windows were hanging open on their hinges and creepers were growing out of cracks in the walls. As the two of them approached the wooden gate, they discovered that it yielded to their push, opening inwards with a loud groan.

“That sounds like a very unwelcoming gate,” remarked Nandu.

“Come on,” said Nisha, brushing aside her sister’s fears.

They walked up the path leading to the front door.

“Wait! Let’s look through the window before we barge in,” said Nandu.

So they moved towards the window, and looked in. It was very dark.

“Hellooo! Anybody there?” yelled Nandu. Her voice bounced off the walls and echoed many times over!

Nisha shivered, “That was creepy.”

Nandu said, “Shall we try the back door, if there is one?”

Nisha agreed and they made their way around the house, trying to find another door. They noticed wild vegetation growing in the small area around the house. They had to manoeuvre their way carefully to the backyard. They discovered a flight of steps, leading to the back door of the mansion. There was a big rusted lock on the bolt, but the bolt was hanging loose from the door. They looked at each other.

Nandu said, “Well, now that we have come this far, let’s go in, shall we?”

Nisha nodded, so they approached the door tentatively.

Nisha pushed the door gently. With a creaking, heaving noise, the door opened a crack. She pushed it a little more and it opened a little more. Nandu joined her, and with their combined effort, they managed to open the door. It was pitch dark inside and there was a musty smell hanging in the air, which reminded Nisha of old, unwashed blankets.
“How do we find our way around?” Nandu wondered aloud.

“Let’s wait here for a while and our eyes will get used to the dark. Do you think we will find a light?” said Nisha.

“I don’t think so. The electricity would have been cut ages ago,” said Nandu.
In a while, their eyes were able to make out shapes in the gloom, and they found themselves inside what looked like a kitchen.

“Hold my hand, will you? I am scared,” said Nandu.

Together, they gingerly walked ahead, trying to figure things out.
“Is this place haunted? I think I heard some noise,” said Nandu.
“As if this isn’t freaky enough!” said Nisha, half-angry and half-scared.
“No, I am serious. I heard a creaking noise. Maybe we should go back,” Nandu insisted.
“I am not going back now, chicken!” Nisha declared, bravely. They walked ahead. They could make out an open door, and walked past it.

“Can you see a sofa? This must be the living room,” Nandu said.
“Let’s check out the room with the window. There will be some light in there,” said Nisha, leading the way.

Suddenly, she froze in her tracks. Nandu almost walked into her. “What happened?” she asked.

“There is someone here,” Nisha said, fear in her voice, “I hear breathing.”
At this, Nandu said, “I think we should leave. We’ve had too much adventure in one day.”
Nisha agreed and they turned to leave. This time they both heard a distinct rustle.
“That sounds like a gown or robe sweeping the floor and it’s coming to get us,” shrieked Nisha.

“What are we waiting for? Run!” screamed Nandu, and reached for her sister’s hand.
“It slapped me, Nandu,” shrieked Nisha, “with a weird feather duster or something!”
“Eeeeks!” screeched Nandu and promptly scrambled out, followed by a white-faced Nisha.

As they turned around for a quick glance to check if the creature was following them, they spotted a brown barn owl, flying out of the window, hooting indignantly at being disturbed!

They stopped in their tracks, trying to put all the pieces together. Nisha started giggling and after a dramatic pause, Nandu joined her. In seconds, the two sisters were howling with laughter.

“Well, there goes boredom out of the window,” gasped Nisha, wiping the tears from her eyes.

“You bet!” smiled Nandu. “The poor owl must have hit you with its wing while flying out!”
“Let’s go home, Nandu,” Nisha smiled at her sister, “The next time we are bored, we can come back here, and we’ll explore the rest of the house.”

Nandu added, “The next time, we’ll bring a torch too!”

They made their way home, chuckling about their trip to the “haunted house”.

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