As the train halted to a stop at the Zamandir Station, Samara looked back as the sinister grey house with the long windows slowly pulled out of view. Intrigued, she pulled her hair into a pony tail, hitched the bag onto her shoulder and turned around.
“Nah sis. You go ahead. I’d rather not walk with the bandages on”, said Adeel.
“You want something then? Pakoras? Samosas?” Samara asked.
“I dunno. Maybe some juice?” he replied.
Samara nodded, although as soon as she walked away from Adi, the thought of his request faded and the grey house with blackened, soot filled walls overtook her curiosity. Getting off the train, and ignoring creepy looks from a few men seated very comfortably on a bench, she pulled her scarf tighter around her neck. Taking a full long breath, she moved towards the house, groping in the bag for her camera. As she quickened her pace, she went a little past the train tracks and the grey house emerged. The atmosphere suddenly went acutely quite, as if to gauge her response. Even though the house was old, and probably suffered a small fire by the looks of it, it was beautiful. Like a wise old oak, with its branches almost touching the earth with exhaustion, yet the beauty in the ancient creature was always unmatchable.
She tried to click a picture but the camera went blank. Unable to capture image, it said. She frowned. She tried to work her way around the nonsense, but couldn’t find what was wrong. A little disgruntled, she pulled her phone out, trying again to snap a photo. The lens is not working, is what the phone camera said this time. She was spooked a little now. She looked around, uneasily, sensing a presence. No one.
She edged a little closer, and saw a side alley with the grey house. Trying to find the front of the house, she went into it. Every side she emerged from though, she saw the train standing right where she could see it. Goosebumps. “Wow”, she thought. “I’m finally losing my mind”.
A little hurriedly now, she moved towards the train but a man called her from behind.
“Behen, are you looking for something?” the guy inquired. She turned to reply to him and froze in her tracks. The guy had a camera in his hand. A small one, an old one, perched in the small of his hand. He had a leg bandaged, his right leg just like Adi, she thought slowly. Long black hair covering half his face. Wearing blackish grey Shalwar Kameez just like the house behind him. But what froze her in her place and in her thoughts was the red scarf he was wearing around his neck, the very same color that was around her neck. He was even wearing it the same way she was.
Her eyes grew large, her voice stuck in her throat. He just smiled and limbed back to the house. As soon as he was out of sight, she freaked out and starting running. Adrenaline, she thought. Late as usual. All thoughts now centered on going inside the safety of the metal box that was standing on the rails. As she jumped inside the train, all air went out of her. She yelped. Not one seat occupied. No one in sight. She realized she was shivering. How very unlike me, she thought. All noise blocked out. From a distance though, someone was calling her name. As her senses gathered, she recognized Adi’s voice.
“Sami!! Sami! Come on over, you’ve got the wrong train!” He could barely keep his teeth in, this was apparently very funny.
Her eyes grew larger still, and she breathed out air. Still nervously shivering, she got off the train, swore loudly and threw a stone towards the house.
Her brother still teases her about this temporary lapse of sanity to this date.
24 Sep 2018
24 Jul 2018