The night was pitch black and stormy with the wind howling in an eerie fashion. The lone house on the hill stood still drenched in the rain like a helpless animal. Even as I watched, the faint lights in the house flickered in tune with the flashes of lightning outside. And suddenly I heard footsteps from behind. A whiff of air blew on my earlobe which was enough to scare me out of my wits. And then… ROOMMAAAAA……………..ROOMMAAAA.
I woke up gasping for breath, completely gripped with fear. I rubbed the gooseflesh of my arms. Gosh! It’s that house again. Why do I keep seeing the same scene over and over again? I massaged my temples to help me get back to my senses. Just then a sweet aroma of baked cookies filled the room. I mercilessly sucked in the lemony essence. Heaven! It took me miles away to my second home – my maternal grandma’s home. I had my mouth watering at the mere thought of those homemade savories. Grandma has been a pivotal part of life’s most precious childhood memories. And I missed her. Terribly.
Even to this day, I can see my Grandma – a gray haired woman seated on an old rocking chair by the window lovingly watching the world outside. Her wrinkles so intricately woven served as a reminder of the paths trodden by her since birth. I can still see the sparkle in her eyes and that shy smile on her thin lips. My palms miss the warm touch of her shaky, wrinkled palms. Grandma was truly my heroine and I totally doted on her. She too was equally devoted to her grandchildren, especially Roma D’Souza (That’s me!). We’ve always shared a honeyed relationship and she has made me what I am today. She was a woman who always walked head high up with dignity and pride even when the world around was falling apart. Her unconditional love and a smile from her could make anyone’s day better. Her hugs and kisses could fix a broken heart like a quick fix adhesive. She has always helped me wipe my tears and conquer my fears. And how could one forget her relishing meals and freshly baked cookies and cupcakes? She was keen in preparing delicious tidbits for us with an extra drop of love. At times, even she looked like those giant gingerbread man cookies with a mingling aroma of warm spices and sweetness. And you would crave to devour her instantly.
Grandma’s home was a lovely reminder of summer holidays, cousins, laughter, family time and many wonderful reminiscences. She had a small, cozy brick house located at the bottom of a hill with a lovely pond in front of it. The house had plush green foliage surrounding it which included home grown vegetables and fruits as well. To complete the picture perfect scenery, there was a huge oak tree on one side of the house with a rope swing which has always been my favorite spot. Her home had the finest taste of furniture which diligently served the purpose of rendering a welcoming sense to the home.
Day time with her would be spent playing in the pond, nature walking and picking up vegetables which would be on the dining table the same day, but in a different form. Night time was always about countless story-telling sessions till we fell asleep. And man! She definitely had the world’s best stories to narrate. She was especially fond of scaring us children to our bones with those spooky tales from traditional folklore. And then nights would be a nightmare. One particular story narrated by her was about that little house on the hill which always raised my intrigue ever since I heard about it. It was a small house of gray stones that silently stood on the hill like many others – forgotten, neglected. Grandma had once said a caretaker and her three children were its inhabitants who had mysteriously disappeared. We even visited the house once and it was anything but inviting – cobwebs, roaches, peeling wall plaster, de-centered wall paintings, creaking floors, rust, ripped curtains etc. And it was that night I had seen flickering lights in the deserted house and a strange voice calling out my name like an animal in pain.
Ten years have gone by. Grandma is no more. But for sure her memories keep coming back to haunt me quite often. Just like the house on the hill. Phew! But I am glad the haunted house and the spooky voices stick to being just my nightmares.
Or… maybe I was wrong!!!
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Dear readers, I am Pooja Warrier, at least thats what my birth certificate says ! Since I failed miserably in finding a magical gemstone, I am an HR Generalist who works to earn a dime . As a creative writer, I have published a couple of articles on The ArmChair Journal and also coauthored some anthologies. Roles I juggle on the personal front : an unruly daughter, a pestering wife, a nagging mother and an overprotective elder sister. I admit having a somewhat unhealthy obsession with dancing, sketching and drawing. Would that be enough?
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