At the stroke of midnight, Esha woke up to strange noises. They were strained voices, singing happy birthday. She leaned over to her side table, checked the clock. It showed 12.00 am. 13th August. With quivering hands, she turned on the table lamp.
13th August. It was definitely not her birthday today. Nor anyone else that she knew of. But this date rang a bell for her. What was it?
She looked over, and her husband was sleeping peacefully. He didn’t seem to hear even the faintest sound around him. Maybe this was her demon to face.
Demon. Ghost. Paranormal activity. The Supernatural. These things had always intrigued her.
In fact, you would always see her scouting for haunted locales, just to explore them & find out the story behind it. The more mystery it had, the more exciting it was for her. She knew the significance of 12 am or 3 am. She knew better than to explore the source of the noise, at this hour, all by herself.
But this noise seemed to engulf her in a trance. She began following it, in a dream-like state. The singing had transformed into unbridled laughter. As she walked out of her bedroom, and headed towards her terrace, the voices grew more distinct. She began recognizing a few of them too.
She grew even more curious as she walked up the stairs. The terrace door was slightly ajar, and there was a bright light emanating from it. She was smiling, as she walked fearlessly into the light. The voices seemed to welcome her. Right there, on her terrace, were all the faces that she had pursued in those haunted locations. Those horror stories that she simply had to discover. The drunk plumber who killed his cheating wife, and then himself. The 6 year old who died trying to save his dog from an accident. The daughter-in-law who had been burned to death. The grandfather who was cursed by black magic. And they were welcoming her into their world, where she would learn even more. It would be her ‘birthday’ – Friday, 13th of August, the day she leaves this world & steps into theirs.
They were urging her to take the plunge. She took a step back, and they all closed in on her. She was a little nervous, but there was no way out. Her hands shook, as she stepped onto the terrace wall. She let the moment take over. If this is way it had to be, she might as well enjoy it. She opened her arms and flung herself from the terrace of her 4th floor building. The freefall lasted for a few seconds, but it felt like eternity. When she finally touched the ground, she felt a sudden jerk. She woke up, and found herself in her bed, right next to her husband. She was sweating profusely, and was breathing hard.
She checked her clock on the side table.
13th August. It was exactly the stroke of midnight.
And the singing had only just begun…
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