Waiting For The Owner
The story is from a small village 50 miles away from the famous pearl city of India, Thootukodi. Once upon a time, the village had around 100 houses and fishing was their main occupation. Since it was close to the coastline, floods were common in the area. The new village is in the place, which once submerged under the sea for a long time. Now and then, there are some archaeological discoveries in that place. Even today, there are few old uninhabited houses in the village.
One such dilapidated house which is now almost in ruins stands in the middle of the village. The house once belonged to the wealthy family. Once, while floods occurred, it affected the house. But owing to a strong foundation, it somehow managed to stand in its place. The popular story is that there was an old caretaker in the house. No one knows what happened to her. Some people tell she vanished away when trying to save jewels of the house. When all the people fled amidst the floods, she reentered the house to take back the jewels. The fate of the old woman and jewels was never known.
Fast forward to these events 7 decades later, people on many occasions, report of sighting an old woman sitting outside the dilapidated house. At noon, a woman sits in the open balcony of that house.
She sits in the lotus position with her long hair covering the face and some shiny objects near her. People speculate she is drying her hair and gold, which got wet during floods. She is probably waiting for someone to return their belongings.
Since thorny bushes and shrubs have grown around the house, most of the people avoid going near it to have a closer look. The flood story is very popular in the village, people even think she is an evil entity guarding the treasure. They are scared to approach anywhere near. Some people even think it's just a reflection, which from an angle, and at a distance gives an illusion. It looks like an old woman sitting. But due to fear, no one wants to take the risk.
Murgan and Rohan, two local boys of the town, hear about this story. Being of a teenager, adrenal rush made them go near the house.
Rohan parked his scooter just at a distance and tried to look into the house.
Rohan said, "I cannot see any old women sitting in the house."
"She might be resting in this midday heat," Murgan joked.
"Murgan, don't you think these villagers make up unwanted stories?"Rohan looked at him curiously.
Murgan replied, "Shouldn't we be cautious? I think it's not safe, and we should return."
"Murgan, I thought your ancestors were great warriors, they were kalaripayattu martial art experts and you are so much afraid?" Rohan teased.
Murgan looked with anger and said, "Rohan, martial art experts against humans, not against ghosts, for me my life is more important than my pride, I am leaving."
"Okay coward you go away then, I am going inside," Rohan boasted.
"You can call me whatever you like. But as a friend, I ask you not to take a risk." saying this Murgan left the place.
Once Murgan left, Rohan looked around the place, the place was barren and in the scorching sun, the heat was too much. There was a stillness in the place. He heard someone laugh, Rohan had a chill of his life. He looked around to find no one. "Maybe when the dried twig brush due to the wind, it sounds like someone laughing", Rohan consoled himself.
"Should I go in or go back?"Rohan thought for a second.
"I have teased Murgan. I am more courageous than him, I should go in somehow, maybe there is a real treasure. These stories are only to protect it," Rohan said to himself.
Rohan created an impression in his mind that he is brave and slowly started walking towards the house. Every brush of shrubs would give him a chill, but he kept walking. Finally, he reached the old wooden door which was half-broken.
He tried to peep in, through the cracks of the door, but he could not find anything. Another time he looked at the surroundings. It was calm and no one was around. Finally, he pushed the door and it opened with a clang. Before entering, from outside the tried to observe as much as he could. Satisfied with nothing suspicious, he took a deep breath and entered the house. It was unusually colder inside than outside, there were spider webs all over, the thick layer of dust embedded in the furniture. The staircases were broken. A ray of light entered the room through the broken window panes.
Rohan was observing old fractured photo frames with the semi torn photos, hung on the wall. "These people might be living here ages ago," He said to himself.
Suddenly he had the shock of his life when he heard something moving around."Oh, God! it's just a mouse." He had a sigh of relief when he saw it running back inside the hole in the wall.
Rohan looked around the house to find no treasure."The treasure story might be just a myth, or it might be hidden in some secret place," he said to himself.
Rohan finally came across an old cupboard fixed to the wall. The iron lock which secures it is now rusted. He looked around and found a big iron rod. With a bang, and he broke open the lock. Curiously he looked for the content inside. For his disappointment, he found only some old copper utensils. At the corner of the cupboard, was a small pot covered with a cloth. Rohan took out the pot and unsealed it. To his surprise, he found an old silver coin in it.
"Maybe this is an old temple coin," Rohan said to himself. " Is this all the treasure, a silver coin?"Rohan thought with comic validity.
He looked at the coin carefully, on one side it had two serpentine figures and the other side had curved designs. "I will keep this as a trophy, which will always symbolize the testimony of my bravery," saying this Rohan started laughing.
Suddenly, he heard women laugh. "Is it my echo?"Rohan thought looking around. He tried again, he felt the echo was different, "maybe it is a woman laughing."
Rohan got a spooky feeling, and he quickly pocketed the coin into his shirt and ran out of the house. While on the way back, at a distance, he could see his scooter parked. Without looking back, he was just running towards the scooter. While running too Rohan felt someone following him, he could hear the multiple footsteps behind him. Somehow he reached the scooter and rode it away.
Rohan felt a bit of relief. But the thought, someone was there behind him was haunting his mind. The rugged road had humps all over. Rohan was partly sweating due to fear relief. He was enjoying the breeze and driving. As he took his scooter on the hump, he felt someone touch his back. Scared, he looked back, and in this process, he raises the accelerator. The scooter went and hit the milestone on the side of the road knocking Rohan unconscious.
Few villagers took him to the hospital. There were minor scratches on his body.
In the evening, Murgan came to visit Rohan in the hospital. Sitting beside Rohan's bed, he inquired "What happened brother, are you feeling better now?"
"Yes, all is well, tomorrow they will discharge me from the hospital."
"Did you see any ghost, Rohan?"
"No ghost, but the feeling in and around that house is very strange. I always felt someone was behind me. " Rohan whispered
"Hey, I wanted to show you something. I found in the house", Rohan tried to search his shirt pocket. He then looked around and even scanned his trousers for the coin, but he could not trace it anywhere.
"What are you searching for Rohan? You should rest", Murgan leaned forward to give him the pillow.
While Murgan was leaning forward with a pillow, Rohan observed Murgan's chain; it had a coin pendant in it. Even though he has seen the chain on Murgan's neck for ages, never did Rohan bothered to look at it closely. The coin pendant was very similar to the coin he fetched from the dilapidated house.
"Murgan, this pendant coin is unique. Does it signify something?"
"This is our ancestral coin; this is in our family for ages, my grandfather gifted it to me when I was born", Murgan was curious, why Rohan was suddenly asking this question?
"From that old house, I had picked up a very similar coin and had kept it in the pocket, I was searching for it to show it to you. Ever since I picked up that coin, I started feeling strange. Maybe during the accident, it fell off from my pocket and I lost it." Rohan was a bit curious and disappointed.
Murgan smiled, " Leave it, Maybe it did not belong to you!!!"
PS: This is a part of urban stories. This story is heard from some people who believe its real. The incidents are related in the form of stories with fictional characters. Any resembles with fictional characters is purely coincidental.