Two girls chatting on a sunny winter afternoon,
“Oh! Dear, isn’t it a perfect romantic day?” The tall girl, who was wearing a red top and a black jacket, admiring the full-bloomed roses around her, asked her friend.
“Romantic and splendid!” chimed the shorter but fairer girl whose long hair had been tied up in a high ponytail.
“What do you think about love? Don’t you really want to fall in love someday?”
“Why, yes!” The second girl answered, “If I find someone really worthwhile.”
“What if the proposal is not from a body of blood and flesh but from someone unseen? Let’s say…umm… from a ghost?”
A pale shadow painted the listener’s face.
“A GHOST?” She pondered for a moment and then replied, “In fact, I will, provided he should be smart and handsome.”
They both laughed. In her heart, the fairer girl was frightened for an unknown reason.
On a chilly blustering day, when the main thoroughfare was almost deserted, a trim and taut nymph made her way out of the thick fog that had embraced the surrounding area with much effectiveness. Her high ponytail swung in the air.
Dreamily engrossed in her thoughts of passion, thoughts as natural as for a 19 something lass, she walked carelessly.
She was just about to accept the marriage proposition from a prince charming; though in her dreams, when her chain of thoughts broke as she heard heavy boots clattering on the rough concrete road just behind her back.
She accelerated her pace. The heavy steps rang louder and clearer.So close he was that she could sense the warm breath behind her neck. She started running. He matched his rhythm with her beats.
She ran faster until she reached the safest place, her house. Her heart filled with joy. She shut the door tight as soon as she entered the house.
Those ten minutes of hell!
She peered through the window into the endless white outside. Her face turned pale.
“You will call it a hallucination, Reena.” Her voice quivered and she narrated the whole incident over phone to her friend.
“I peered through the window and saw him, an outline of a man. A man who faded gradually and finally disappeared in the air!” Her eyes still opened wide in horror.
For a moment silence overtook the conversation between the two.
“Disappeared? Nonsense!” Sneered Reena, “You must be dreaming, Myra.”
“Reena.” Her voice broke into hiccups.
“I am scared.”
Two voices echoed in the dark.
“You said that you WOULD accept my love proposition.”
“But you said it.”
“You can’t ditch me now.”
“LET ME GO!”
“I am yours and you are mine.”
“I possess you.”
“GO AWAY! GO AWAY!”
One voice was quite familiar to them; it was of their little girl, soft, girly but terrified. They had never heard the second before that day, a manly voice, a mixture of groan and hush. However, they didn’t understand so as to why their little girl was speaking in two different tones and for two different personalities.
Their eyes rose towards the forth person in the room, seeking comfort. He shook his head. Their heads hung low in despair. He walked out of the room. They followed him.
“My child!” The mother sobbed.
“What has happened to her doctor?” The father inquired, his eyes being moist too. “She has attempted suicide more than ten times in three months.” He pointed towards the window, “By jumping from that window. And now this!”
“She doesn’t do it deliberately but she is forced to do so.” He continued.
“Forced?” They cried in unison, their eyes opened wide in disbelief.
“I am afraid” The doctor hesitated for a while before completing his sentence. “Mr. And Mrs. Shah, that this is a chronic case of hallucination. I see symptoms of schizophrenia in her”
They stood there still, half-confused and half-shocked. Their face flushed red with anger and horror. Their chest felt tight. Their hands and legs trembled. Mrs. Shah walked slowly back into the room and glanced at her.
Her dear daughter no more resembled a living human being, her body reduced to bones and dark cups encircled the pale eyes. Her lips were as white as dead. Her face felt like a lifeless mask.
“Myra! Myra! Myra!” She called her name over and over, trying to awake her senses back. “Look at me! Look at your mother, dear!”
She kept staring blankly at the window. Her mouth still half-opened but the words choked her throat.
“You are mine.”
“I AM NOT!”
“But I do look handsome and I am smart”
“YOU ARE DEAD!”
“You ought to keep your words.”
“THE WORDS WERE SAID IN FUN!”
“I am the only one for you.”
“I will be your pleasure”
“YOU ARE THE CAUSE OF MY SUFFERING!”
“I want you.”
“I HATE YOU!”
Neither of them accepted defeat. The unwanted duel and the heavy medication put her into a very deep sleep. The dead lingered.
That night in her dreams,
The dark star studded sheet lay before her, the nebulae, the comets, and the planets stretched far and wide. Her body floated high up in the sky. Oh! How light she felt. How relaxed! The galaxies swirled around her while she penetrated deeper and deeper into the black sea. And as she traveled further deep into it, a bright light exploded somewhere with such intensity that she had to shut her eyes off for a few moments and then she heard the divine voices, “Make peace with him Myra! Make peace with him!”
Next morning, Mrs. Shah froze as she unlocked the door of her room. She shrieked with excitement.
“Mum, I have grown all skinny and bones.” Myra stood there in front of the dressing table, examining herself.
She was actually speaking to her mother after ten months!
“Isn’t it my birthday today Mum?” She felt as if she had been sleeping for ages.
Mrs. Shah nodded as tears rolled down from her eyes. Though they never ceased to stop for the last ten months yet this time it was different. Those were the tears of happiness.
“What?” Are not you going to wish me?”
“Happy Birthday darling!” her tears choked her voice.
Myra could not understand why her mother and later other family members and friends behaved so strangely, neither she could figure out why she could not remember the last ten months of her life.
“The last Doctor and his medicines worked for her!” Her father exclaimed with joy. “We got our daughter back, finally. She is reborn today.”
After five years.
It was her wedding day. Her prince charming swept her off her feet and took her away with him. The first night! So exotic and so romantic! She felt the warmth of her husband all over her body and love deep in her heart.
Finally satisfied, she crouched against him while her head rested on his chest.
The next morning, she woke up with the golden sun rays hitting her eyes. Her prince charming was still lying beside her, on one side, with his back on her side.
She threw her arms around his waist.
“Good morning Honey!” She turned his face towards her and planted a kiss on his lips.
He opened his eyes, the haunted eyes- red and lost.
Her throat gave way to a silent scream and she fell back against the wall, her eyes and mouth opened wide in horror.
His face deteriorated and the new ghastly white face took over which was quite familiar to her. It was he.
“Did you miss me?” He grinned as he said in a hush.
The chill brushed her spine and her eyes froze with terror.
“Dead or alive, I am yours and you are mine!”