Do you like fictional stories? Well, this one is not. After his (a little disappointing) first day in India, Josh settles in a hotel room in Central Delhi. As he lay down on his less disappointing hotel room bed, he realizes something is wrong. Read Encountering Ghosts in India – Part 2/4 with Rees Gargi.
Read part 1 here if you’ve missed it.
This is chapter 1.2 of the story “Encountering ghosts in India.”
Go to the index of this story for all published chapters.
Someone is pounding the doors, but the sound of thuds barely falls on his ears. “What is it, am I really dying?” Josh mumbles in his mind as he tries to move his body and falls from the bed. The floor is cold, at least he still can feel the temperature. Someone has burst the door open, finally. His moment of temporary relief turned into horror as a masked figure kneed on his feet. Of course, why would anyone from the hotel need to break the door, they must have had the keys. “Whaaa… “, Josh tried to form a word in shock and fails miserably.
He could feel the life getting sucked out of his mouth, his consciousness still on a see-saw of life and death.
“Don’t worry, I will just take your body, your soul is still yours,” said the masked man as he sucked the soul out from the mouth of Josh.
“You taste delectable, but I cannot savor this as you might run away.”
This guy is definitely not Indian, and he definitely is NOT into girls, thought Josh before gasping for air and coughing blood.
Finally, Josh collapses.
It’s dark, but some blurry sounds are triggering his consciousness. A pale light falling as if were from a light bulb, spreading across the room slowly. He wants to scream because of the sudden gush of pain searing through his left arm. I am feeling pain, means I am not dead: thought Josh, with his senses getting in place once again.
The sound is now molding into smooth and beautiful classical music. Josh can now feel the movement of steady air through his mouth to his lungs, and back, the room is starting to form an image to his eyes, and the masked mystery man is reading a book.
“I thought… you will kill me”, said Josh, still on the floor but laying with his face to the ceiling, mouth red with blood.
“Nocturne Op.9 No.2,” replied the man with an unmistakeably English accent. “This music always brings the dark on my surface.”
“You’re not Indian, are you?” asked Josh, “Who are you, and what just happened to me?”
“You are not traumatized, why?” answered the man with another question.
“I am not dead, and you are my bigger concern here,” Josh can now form words properly again, though blood in his mouth is still making it uncomfortable for him to speak.
“Me? Oh, thank you, that is sweet, but I’ll be fine”, mocked the man.
“You know what I mean, I can’t die here. I need to go back home. Please, I cannot be buried here. I am not afraid of death, but this is not my place to die,” cried Josh.
“You will not die today, mate, not under my watch. So stop with lady sensitivity here.”
Josh, unsure how to react, closed his eyes and took a long breath before falling into sleep.
What a horrible dream. Josh opens his eyes. He overslept. It’s 2 pm on the wall clock.
He slept for over 15 hours, Oh God, he was tired.
Yawning and stretching, Josh gets out of his bed and steps into the clean wooden floor. He had nothing to eat since his arrival in India. And even skipped his dinner, but surprisingly is not hungry at all. I should get moving today, I did not invest my savings just to sleep in a foreign country, he thought as he unpacked his new clothes and walked into the shower.
He knew last night was just too real to be a dream. But there was no wound on his body, and the door was not damaged either. Besides, if someone had trespassed the alley and hotel lobby, the staff would’ve known. There are cameras all over this place, and no one can wander streets wearing a weird, stupid mask. Mask, he could not even remember the type of the mask it was, it was all too hazy, just like an ordinary lousy dream. I’ll start with breakfast; first, he interrupted his thought train as he twisted the shower knob off.
“I’ll have some Omelette and coffee,” Josh ordered to the waiter. “And… bring some cold water first”. The hotel dining was overcrowded, so Josh had to get his breakfast from a next-door cafe. Unlike the last day, it is a very windy afternoon, and Josh did not want to get his meal on the bed. He needed some air.
It was a cute small cafe, with a couple or three sitting and just one person waiting tables. He probably was the cook as well, predicted Josh as he takes out a magazine from the side-table. Should I get a sim card? Josh asked himself, his trip was supposed to be a spiritual adventure, and not bringing his cell phone with him was his plan to begin with. But he might need to contact someone familiar if anything wrong were to happen. Maybe I should get a burner.
“Hey, hey, excuse me, sir,” Josh called the waiter. “Do you know where I can get a burner?”
“Eh, sorry, sorry,” mumbled the waiter looking confused and pointed a young boy to answer Josh. “Pardon, what?” asked the boy, looking confused as well.
“Where do I ah! Nevermind,” Josh stopped himself and begin forking his just-delivered-omelet in disappointment. Actually not, it’s pretty tasty, and there’s always a black-pepper-shaker on Indian tables, Josh giggled to himself before resting his palm on the forehead.
“You should try their tea,” came a very familiar voice from a guy sipping his on another table. Josh did not notice when this guy came. “It is marvelous.”
“Excuse me,” said Josh in astonishment.
He knew exactly who this English guy was. He sounded the same, and it cannot be coincident. “I don’t like tea,” finished Josh.
“Really, then I feel bad you.” said the man as he put down some change on the table and stood up to leave. “By the way, you would not get any disposable phone here. It’s hard enough for people who are already living here”. How long this guy was here, Josh stood as well and put down a hundred rupee bill on his table.
“How do I get a sim card then,” asked Josh without blinking. He had to have enough evidence to ask direct questions to the man.
“Are you here for the first time then, I presume.”
“Get someone acquainted here, like this waiter, he’ll get you a number cheaply,” said the man with a slight disgust in his eyes as the waiter smiles. “This lad did not understand a single word I said, did he?”
They both shared brief laughter. “My name is Rob, by the way,” the man introduced himself. “I am the man who saved you last night, do you have a lighter,” said Rob drawing out a cigarette from his breast pocket.