It was after midnight that Frank heard the doorbell. He had almost fallen asleep on the couch waiting for his friend when the noise woke him up. Clumsily he got up, adjusted his clothes and went towards the main door (which happened to be jammed as luck would have been).Through awkward gesticulation and non-verbal mouthing, he pointed towards the back door. All his curses and tantrums took a back seat when he saw his friend Mark through the tinted glass. Hurriedly he opened the door and after doing the usual handshakes and hugs welcomed him into his living room. “Sorry for arriving so late Frank, got held up at work…” Mark said rather apologetically. “No worries man, I’m happy to have you here. So would a coffee suit you?” responded Frank happily.
“Coffee would be great, thanks!”
After making sure Mark hadn’t got an appetite for food, he trotted off to the kitchen. As he did so he felt a sudden drop in temperature and strange coldness brush aside him. He was quite appalled since the night wasn’t particularly windy and to his knowledge, all the doors and windows were shut. He looked around, and after seeing no one dismissed it as a figment of his imagination. As the cups were being filled he saw a movement from the corner of his eye and a vague sensation of being watched crept inside him, leaving him equivocally frightened.
“Here’s your coffee mate.”
“Ah! Thanks. I was just talking to your little sister here. Lovely girl!”
Albeit his first meeting with Mark had been just a month ago, he knew for a fact that joking around and pranks weren’t his thing. As he was figuring out the peculiarity of this statement and the soundness of his guest, he heard a voice “Doesn’t she like you? She went into the room as your footsteps neared.” Frank turned his head up and saw Mark looking enquiringly in the direction of his room. If Mark was joking, he was playing his part really well but if he wasn’t… a chill ran down his spine when he thought of the latter. “Let me play along and see how far this joke of his goes,” Frank thought to himself after dismissing the latter alternative.
“Uh-huh, she gets a bit cranky at night,” Frank said nonchalantly. “So, how are things with you are Katie?” said Frank, eager to change the subject. “Well, things have been better. But seriously Frank, Annie wasn’t looking in the best health and her voice was…” and after a moment of consideration, Mark finished “…kind of hollow”.
“Who the hell is Annie?”
“Y.Your sister. What’s the matter with you?”
“Hello? The one who I just met..Are you alright?” It wasn’t difficult to sense of fear in his tone.
“Would you stop!? I don’t have a sister. I thought you were joking!!” bellowed Frank.
All of a sudden Mark got up in frenzy, went up to the room and pushed the door open “Look there she…..” he seemed to be short of words when the room presented itself empty. “S..she just went t..there..” His frantic search of the room proved futile.
“Could someone be playing a prank on you?” asked Mark looking quite exasperated.
“ All the doors and windows are locked, and besides what child would come out at this hour?.”
“Is…s…swear I saw someone, she was about 5’2, had deep blue eyes, long golden hair that went up to her knees, had a w..white frock on?” said Mark, almost on the verge of crying.“Are you sure you didn’t dream all of this huh?” asked Frank, a bit terrified himself.
“NO! NO! NO! S…SHE WAS T…THERE A…AND THERE..” tears were flowing down his cheeks now and his finger was pointing shakily around the living room; ruling out the possibility of this being a sick joke. Frank joined him on the couch; making half-hearted attempts to console his friend for he was equally shaken and confounded…
Now that he came to think of it he did see a shadow from the corner of his eye while pouring out coffee….and that cold brush of wind…. that too felt surreal….and the thing Mark said about her voice… ‘kind of hollow…’
As they sat there helpless and afraid; whatever light was falling in this darkness went off. Both of them looked up and then to each other; the same trepidation reflected in both their countenances… “M..maybe the voltage w..went off.,” suggested Frank in such a feeble voice, as though speaking to himself. Though they both knew at some level that something other was at play.
These spooky insinuations made the living denizens of the room unequivocally terrified and at loss to say anything. The atmosphere was full of dread and despair; Frank and Mike both wanting this predicament of theirs to be a bad dream…
The silence was dreadful; neither of them had neither the courage nor the desire to speak.
Suddenly they heard a terrible scream echoing from the other room, the most horrible blood-curdling scream there ever was, agonizing and unearthly, forcing Frank and Mark to take shelter on the floor and cup their ears. After what seemed like an eternity, the screaming stopped and the lights were back on. Slowly they lifted their heads up, immediately regretting their decision; for staring at them was a pair of eyes that reeked of hunger and evil. Standing where Frank stood a while ago, she stood. Her features were just as Mark had described, only less human; for her face was rigid and looked ghastly, the white dress was splattered in blood and her limbs showed scars that exemplified her horrendous appearance.
Frank could feel his heart pounding in his chest; ready to burst anytime, his eyeballs squinted towards Mark whose face had turned white.
Within seconds of their seeing this apparition, their feet involuntarily moved backwards till they reached the back door. After one nod of an agreement at each other, they pushed opened the door and started running, but then suddenly Frank heard Mark scream, “ AHH!NO! NO! FRANK!!” Turning back Frank saw an invisible force tugging Mark towards the living room, and the slam of the door at his face did anything but made him lose hope. “Mark! Mark! I’ll get help don’t—“ A scream unmistakably of Mark came from inside the house and frank, refusing to believe that the worst had happened rushed towards the door banging it frantically with his fists. Tears rolled down his cheeks and he desperately shouted “NO! NO! MARK! PLEASE DON’T… PLEASE…DON’T…” He ran towards the town determined to get help by whatever means necessary…But fate was against him as he heard an explosive bang from his house. Frank collapsed on the ground, wishing it was all a bad dream.
“I’m sorry about your friend Mark, father. It must have been a terrible night,” said Sebastian, wiping his watery eyes from the back of his palm.
“Oh it was,” said Frank as he lay on his deathbed. His black hair as white as snow and his face a labyrinth of wrinkles.
“What if..s..she comes back?” asked Sebastian after a considerable amount of time.
“We had a priest to crucify the house and everything. You have nothing to worry about.” As soon as these words were out of his mouth, his eyes met that of his son, there was a moment of understanding and then Frank moved no more…
Sebastian was positively inconsolable after his father’s death and an office colleague, Alex offered to stay with him for the night. After seeing that Sebastian was in a better state, his friend went to the kitchen for a glass of water and returned the next moment.
“Didn’t know you had a sister, Seb.”
Alex had to rush to his friend’s aid as he almost collapsed on the ground. “You okay, Seb?”
“Did she tell you her name?”
“NAME!” cried Sebastian.