Adventure Thriller Mystery

When I had received a call from Dora, about the idea of decorating our ancestral home, I was quite excited. But little did I know what we would face there…

Our ancestral house… since childhood I had heard of its stories from Mum and Dad. Though Mum says that I had been there when I was little, I don’t have the faintest memory of it. I was quite pleased when I had heard that it was getting renovated, and more, when I came to know about a grand party going to be held after the renovation, with all our relatives—close and distant. But I was quite ecstatic when Dora called me up to let me know about the latest plan, to decorate the house by going before the party. Plans were made and Dora - my favourite cousin, her younger sister Betty, and I were seen driving in to the gigantic house one cold afternoon.

“Mr Johnson,” Betty cried to our caretaker carrying a suitcase, “Can you please keep this luggage on the topmost bedroom?”

On the other hand, Dora was talking to our driver, “Well, we’ll call you when we need to go out. Mr Johnson will help you out here. Thank you for now.”

I took in what I saw. It was like I had expected. A mansion just like out of the history books. It was a three-floored palace with a garden and a mini-pond. Generations after generations of our ancestors had peeped through those circular windows, had strolled through the garden... had stood in the very place I was standing this very minute.

And today, again after years, we, the youngest descendants, had returned.

“It’s simply… enormous, isn’t it?” Dora said as we climbed up the spiral staircase. “It’ll be quite a job to decorate it in five days.”

“Well, if…”

“Come this way,” a deep voice rang out, making us jump. It was Mr Johnson. His voice matched with his appearance. He had an expressionless face, a grizzly beard and his eyes were covered with bushy eyebrows. He had a grim mouth and looked thoroughly annoyed. After showing us our rooms, he retired to the kitchen.

“God! He’s gonna be painful. Anyone would think that he was disgruntled by our presence,” Dora said.

I laughed but noticed that Betty was looking intently at the door and the pathway through which he had just passed. 

In the evening, we three began the decorations, we replaced the old curtains with new ones; but strangely Betty, the most talkative person I had ever known, remained pensive.

“Is everything ok, Betty?” Dora asked.

She merely nodded.

Dora glanced at me with raised eyebrows and then shrugged. But the conversation didn’t continue further as Mr Johnson’s voice loomed again from nowhere, “Dinner served. Eat fast. I want to return to my quarters.” 

After serving our food, he staggered out of the room. Betty stiffly gulped down her food and got up from the table as soon as she had finished. She didn’t even wait for us, who were, at that time, not even halfway through.

“Wonder what’s wrong…” Dora whispered.

“No idea. Maybe she’s homesick.”

 I don’t know when I fell asleep that night. Suddenly a creaking noise woke me up. Turning back, I saw someone standing by the door. I was going to scream—when I realized it was Betty. I was at a loss about what to say to a person who had just ruined my sleep but then with all the politeness I could master, I blurted out, “Hi Betty. What’s the matter?”

  Her reply was strange. “Can I talk to you for sometime?” This was most unexpected, as, the Betty I knew was very straightforward and candid. Looking at her worried face, I replied, “Sure.”

     “Do you know anything about our family myth?” she asked. “Granny told me, it’s a family secret… and yeah, Mr Johnson knows, I think. His whole family has been serving us for decades.”

     “What secret?” I was curious.

      She sighed, “Promise me you won’t tell Dora. She is scared out of her wits when the matter is of paranormal things. I, normally, am not scared about such stuff, but still, one does feel a bit uncanny…”

    “I don’t want to spoil Dora’s vacation by just telling her a scary myth.”                   

    “The story, Grandma says, is about Sara, who was our great-great-great grandaunt. Sara was known to be very good singer who possessed a lovely voice. She became the talk of the town for her superlative performances at different fora in those days. In no time, she was flooded with offers of joining the rival groups but she had never showed any interest. There was one group of three prominent singers who repeatedly insisted her to join their group. But as I said, she had refused them every time. This repeated denials upset them and they had tried to harm Sara several times. Days passed. One day, her body was found lying in her room; a mysterious death. How she died was never solved and the matter remained a mystery ever since. After that incident our ancestors relocated to another town. After many years, my Grandma’s three brothers came here to spend a weekend, when many unnatural things happened… like they heard a girl singing nearby but they could not trace who the singer was. As the legend goes, whenever people came here to stay, they used to hear someone singing. Soon the house was dubbed haunted.”

“Dora was telling me," Betty continued. "That she heard someone singing in a shrill voice... I told her that she was imagining things… but…”

“It is merely a myth, isn’t it?” I managed to say.

"Yeah... right..." Betty nodded and went out of the room.

I again went to sleep with an uneasy feeling. I dreamt that Betty was accusing me angrily of bringing about the fate of Sara and was demanding to bring her back. I was continuously trying to voice my logic that I couldn’t have done anything to Sara because she was before my time. Then I suddenly realized that I was underwater and couldn’t swim, so I was drowning. The next second, I could see that Betty and Dora were jeering at me and laughing at my pitiful cries while I struggled to survive. Slowly the water changed to land and Dora and Betty metamorphosized into a sweet looking girl whom I didn’t know. I realized that I was in a room which was doorless and had only one window. At a loss to escape, I smiled at the girl and she gave me a strange grin. Soon, everything started twirling and rounding and I could hear her telling me, “I am Sara. And you are three,” and then she laughed out loud in an abnormal voice, which gave me the creeps. Suddenly there was a flash of light, a terrific sound and everything dissolved into darkness as I woke up from the nightmare with a leap to find that a thunderstorm was raging on outside.

I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night.

The next morning the inhabitants of the bungalow were in different states. Dora was extremely excited and was jumping around the whole bungalow with heaps of decorative items. Betty was seen smiling encouragingly to no one in particular and seemed happier. I was watching Mr Johnson who, as usual, had been wearing a bitter face since the second we had stepped in.

“What’s the matter Mr. Johnson? You seem unwell,” said I. I wanted to initiate a dialogue.

“You are not safe here.”


 “You should go away.”


          “There’s a myth about three people staying alone at nights in the house. Things have happened here, strange things, things that defy logic. My family’s been staying here from the last century working as caretakers of this house. So, we are a part of all that’s ever happened here. Good and evil. Sadly, there were horrors in the past concerning this estate and it is not advisable to do such daring tasks.”

  “What horrors?” I asked.

  “Don’t you know about that girl? The Song Girl, who sings at nights. Don’t you know about it?”


  “Well there was a girl named Sara who was murdered by her three competitors. History tells us that from that day onwards Sara’s ghost haunts this place. Whenever there are three people in the estate, she comes to take revenge. So, it is not advisable to stay here.”

  “But Mr. Johnson these are all stories. Has anything ever happened in real?”

  “Happened? Of course, things have happened! I’m not telling just some local lore. These are facts. Many times, the terrible things have happened. Three enter, none come out. The first time it happened with the Summers themselves, your grandfathers. The three men obviously did not know and they too were almost dead. My father hearing screams went to save them and he was just in time. The Summers have not stayed here since the time of the mishap. But now you all are planning for a party! She will not spare you, remember that.”

  “Hey Tina! Can you help me with the lights, please?” I heard Dora’s voice from a distance.

  “Well, thank you for alerting us Mr. Johnson. We’ll see what we can do.”

   As I was helping Dora with the lights, I became lost. I was thinking about all that had happened since I came here.

But can it be true that a ghost appears? But he told many people had died.


 “What happened? Oh, it’s you, Dora.”

 “I have been calling you from the last five minutes to put the wire on the left edge but you seemed lost. Is everything alright?”

   “Nothing, where’s Betty?”

 “Betty is busy in decorating the other side of the room. Hey, wait, where are you going?”

 “Come with me.”

  I dashed across the balcony as the church clock struck four in the afternoon. I rushed to Betty with Dora at my heels, and pounced on her.

 “Betty I’m sorry but I have to tell Dora about everything.”

 “About what? Tina, Betty, what’s going on?”

 “Dora, I hate to break it but this bungalow is said to be haunted, especially when only three people are residing.”

  “WHAT? Why didn’t you all tell me before? Good heavens! Now what are we going to do? I say we should pack up our things and take off all the decorations and spend the night in the nearby hotel…”

  “Hang on, hang on, these are just rumours. Don’t chicken out.”

 “But Tina,” said Betty, “Granny told me… it really happened with her brothers.”

 “I know Betty. But what else did she tell you? Were there any more incidents like this?”     

 “I told you everything she told me she didn’t mention anything else, not with the family at least.”

 “What about Mr. Johnson? Is he trustworthy?”

 “Well, his family has been serving this house for the last century.”

  We were interrupted by an odd sound made by Mr, Johnson. “So, when are you all leaving? You must not stay here!”

  Something suddenly struck me. It changed my views, “Sorry Mr. Johnson but we’ll be quite glad to see the ghost,” I said.

  Mr. Johnson shook his head and stormed out of the house.

  Dora and Betty were dumbfounded.

 “Come on,” said I smiling. “We want to see the ghost, don’t we? But we have to be prepared when it appears.”

     By eight we were all ready. We had prepared ourselves with weapons like knives, torches and ropes. I had also taken a steel rod from the curtain pelmet for emergency. All these precautions were taken to capture the so-called ghost.

As usual Mr. Johnson came to serve us dinner in the same hurried manner, but today when we had gone halfway through our dessert, the light went out.

     “Dora! Tina!”

   “It’s okay Betty. Don’t worry.” A faint sound of footsteps made me stop. “Who is there? Beware I’m armed,” I said in a stern way.

   “Tina… see the staircase.”

     I turned to the staircase just to see a flicker of light disappear.

    Suddenly there was a terrific clatter and I realized that something or somebody had pulled off the tablecloth. As Betty let out a scream, I felt a pair of cold hands grasping my throat, trying to throttle me and I heard a faint but sweet song in the background—a female voice. My breathing was becoming slow and I couldn’t even call Dora or Betty as it was impossible for me to make a sound. With all my effort I tried to grab the rod which I had placed under the table, but it was not there! Just then, I heard a heavy and loud thud and a painful groan (I made out it was a male voice). I took up my chair swiftly and placed the chair on top of him as he had already fallen on the ground. I asked Dora to turn on the lights.

   “It will never work,” the man laughed, “I cut the line”.

    “Mr. Johnson? But why?” I asked.

   “Because of you Summers, what do you think of yourselves? King? You will rule us like slaves forever? It’s our revenge, we will never allow you to stay here and take our service, understand. This mansion is ours; we are taking care of it since the last century. You have no right to stay here.”

“Shame on you. That is why you made the story of Sara?”

“No, that was true. She is here, but she never harmed anyone. We only used her name,” he started laughing and pushed me so badly that I fell off from the chair. I shouted again, “Put on the light”.

“Poor girl, I cut the electric connection. And now you and your friends know quite a lot and thus it is necessary for you to go. Goodbye,” he started laughing loudly.

But suddenly the room was filled with lights. And I saw that Mr Johnson had taken out a knife edging towards me. But before I could understand anything, there was a crashing sound, and Mr. Johnson was lying on the floor, unconscious, this time. I saw Dora standing with my steel rod.

  “Thanks, Dora, for saving my life, twice.”

  She smiled, “Not twice, this is the first time.”

Before I could ask anything, the main door burst open and troops of policemen entered. “Thank you, Ms Summers for the assistance, your driver reached on time at our police station,” said the inspector approaching me. “We were patrolling the whole evening, the moment we saw the lights going off, we understood that something was wrong. Anyway, good that your power generator is working now because this man has cut the main switch, to create a ghostly ambiance, a trial of murder and what not. Let us take him now.”

  Mr Johnson was still unconscious. The cops took him to their van.

“I never knew, there is a power generator here, where is it?” asked Betty. “If the main switch is cut, how come all the lights are switched on?”

“There is no power generator here,” Dora said. “We have to remember that, after all, an ancient house has been renovated. Creating a power generator, is difficult and useless. Who’s gonna stay here after the party, that a power generator is needed?”

“But then…”

“One more thing. Are you sure Dora, you or Betty didn’t bang Mr. Johnson in the dark?” I asked.

“No, who banged him for the first time? I thought it was you Tina,” Dora said.

Our conversation stopped as our driver asked us to get back to the car.

“I think, as the decorations are over, we must return, especially due to the incident. I think it would be advisable to return again with the grown-ups.”

 “Well,” I said smiling, an hour later, packed up, and with a last glance at the house, “I don’t think Mr. Johnson was totally wrong, you know. Maybe she is still here.”

August 18, 2020 11:55

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Liz James
18:15 Apr 11, 2021

I enjoyed this, however, just a suggestion. That it would create quite an effect if you kind of just slow down the ending. And end it with a question for example: But who knows [...] Overall the ending was very good too, just a tiny suggestion, hardly any need to change the ending line as well, just saying 🙂. -Emma


Aarshia Ray
15:54 Apr 17, 2021

Thank you for your feedback :-) I will keep it in mind. Please keep reading my stories.


Liz James
19:19 Apr 19, 2021

Yes, hoping to read more of your work! (Only the visitor is left, have read all the others.) Edited: Just read it too, enjoyed it.


Aarshia Ray
17:38 Apr 22, 2021

Thank you :-)


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Lindsey W
03:59 Aug 25, 2020

Nice story! You have a really interesting writing style. At moments it was a bit awkward like when you said "I wanted to initiate a dialogue", this could be reworded so it's a little more colloquial. Also, this is much more of a suggestion but in your opening paragraph when you wrote "But little did I know what we would face there" I feel like you could take this line out because as the reader, we are about to find out what they faced there and so having this sentence kind of takes the reader out of the story for a moment. But overall I en...


Aarshia Ray
06:17 Aug 25, 2020

Thank you for your suggestions. I'll be happy to read your story :-)


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17:04 Aug 23, 2020

From the first line, I was like "don't do anything to the house!!" You do such a wonderful setting up a good scary story with a bit of fluff. The dialogue was truly so funny!!


Aarshia Ray
18:15 Aug 23, 2020

Thank you for your feedback :-) But I couldn't understand which dialogue you've mentioned. It would be very helpful if you mention the line.


18:28 Aug 23, 2020

"When I had received a call from Dora, about the idea of decorating our ancestral home, I was quite excited." This line drew me in from the start. I've seen enough horror films to know that's almost always a bad idea, so I needed to know more.


Aarshia Ray
18:34 Aug 23, 2020

Thank you. Keep reading my stories :-)


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Keerththan 😀
14:06 Aug 23, 2020

Wow!!!!!!!! Wonderful story. Completely adore your writing. Well written. Can't wait for your next, Aarshia. Would you mind reading my new story "Secrets don't remain buried?"


Aarshia Ray
17:02 Aug 23, 2020

Thank you :-) I would be happy to read your story :-)


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Atmadip Ray
15:49 Aug 22, 2020

Loved it. Keenly waiting for the next one. Would like to read something in different genre than the previous ones.


Aarshia Ray
16:51 Aug 22, 2020

Thank you :-) I'll try definitely.


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Karin Venables
14:33 Aug 20, 2020

This is an interesting ghost story. I don't think Sara was the killer in the first place. It was one of the Johnson family all along. It wouldn't surprise me if one of the Johnson family killed Sara in the first place. This is an interesting family secret story. You need to grab an editing program, and watch the length of your sentences. Sometimes some of them need to be chopped in two. Otherwise a great story.


Aarshia Ray
16:50 Aug 22, 2020

Thank you for your suggestions :-) Please keep reading my stories.


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Charles Stucker
14:54 Aug 19, 2020

"He had an expressionless face, his eyes covered with bushy eyebrows and a grizzly beard. " This would be better as, "He had an expressionless face, a grizzly beard and his eyes covered with bushy eyebrows." Which eliminates the ambiguity of his eyes having a beard. This is a run-on sentence, "After serving our food, he staggered out of the room and Betty stiffly gulped down her food and got up from the table as soon as she had finished and didn’t even wait for us, who were at that time not even halfway through." You can change it to, "A...


Aarshia Ray
17:32 Aug 19, 2020

Thank you for your valuable feedback, Sir. It's really helpful. I will make the necessary changes.


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Jubilee Forbess
05:28 Aug 19, 2020

Another great story, Aarshia! One thing I did notice is that, and this is something I do too, that we both use ellipsis too much (...) and a lot of people have told me to use this - instead because it's more grammatically correct. Just thought I'd pass that along, but other than that, your story was fine.


Aarshia Ray
17:29 Aug 19, 2020

Thank you for your valuable feedback. Next time, I'll keep it in mind.


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The Cold Ice
14:44 Aug 26, 2020

Wonderful story. The dialogue was great. Well written. Great job. Waould you mind reading my new story “The dragon warrior?”


Aarshia Ray
16:10 Aug 29, 2020

Thank you :-) I'll be happy to read your story :-)


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