"Don't," Vinaya said in a hushed tone.
I looked around to see if anyone is watching us from the woods.
"Let's try at least. We don't even know if it is vacant!" I said.
"But there's nobody inside. We already knocked at the door thrice."
It's hard to say, but she was right for a change. We knocked at the door, and nobody opened it. Hence we decided to sneak into to spend the night in the middle of the woods. We wanted to get some thrill in our life that brought us here. Yes, you heard it right, two teenage girls bored from the current life needed something to pump up in their lives, and hence we stood there where we shouldn't be standing in the first place.
Hi, I am Anaya, and my childhood friend Vinaya. If you wonder that we became friends because our name rhymes with each other, then wait, hold on, yes, you are right! In our childhood, we make such decisions with the worst reasoning. So yes, our names rhyme, and we became friends because we loved the rhyme sound 'Anaya-Vinaya.'
After the harsh break-up with her boyfriend, Vinaya needed some excitement to move on. Hence we landed here at an isolated place, full of darkness in the woods. I cannot let her go all by herself. I had to tag along to ensure her safety. Also, another reason for my adventure was that it sucks sitting at home during vacations.
"It was your idea to get some thrill. So how much thrilled are you feeling now?" I said with a hint of sarcasm.
She gave me a weird look, and I ignored it. I shifted my focus on pushing the door open. It was an old rusted metal door, with creative flowery carvings. It used to be in golden color in its older days, but now the rust has reduced its shine and glory, removed golden yellow color too, making it look scary.
As I pushed the door hard with all my strength, it opened with a creaking sound, scaring both of us. As we stepped in, darkness engulfed us. Vinaya walked left ways.
"Where are you going?" I asked annoyingly.
"Searching the electric switch-board to switch on the lights."
"Are you insane? We are in the middle of the woods. The house structure seemed to be old and can fall off at any time. Switch on your mobile torch right now," I ordered.
As the torch was on, we could see a few old furniture lying in the hallway, covered with a white cloth in front of us. The dust settled on it. I ignored it and shifted the torchlight from furniture towards the right side.
"Are you sure that it is a good place for us to spend the night here, all alone?" Vinaya's words broke the silence in the wood house.
"I think so. Outside we are the food for wild animals, and here..."
"Here we are open for ghosts, spirits, vampires, zombies...."
I stared at her, "No such things exist. So shut up, and let's walk."
"But what are we searching for now?"
She always had a valid question, now one more.
"We are looking for a safe place to spend the night. I am hoping there shouldn't be any wild animals or reptiles around.
We both held each other's hand and tiptoed towards the furniture. I kicked the sofa hard to ensure it's not broken so that we can uncover it and use it to spend the night. Nothing happened to it, so I pulled the cloth covering the sofa. Dust filled into the air as we both started coughing and eventually sat on it.
"Give me some water," I asked Vinaya.
"Yes." and she started searching in her backpack.
"What happened?" I asked.
"It was there in my backpack. I kept after drinking from it just before entering into the house."
"It might have fallen outside," I said.
"How is it possible? I clearly remember zipping the backpack," she said and moved the torchlight towards the floor. Finally, she found her bottle lying on the floor just near to the giant door.
"See there it is," she said excitedly. "I will get it," she said and got up from the sofa.
I held her hand, "Stop. Don't go there."
'Why," she asked confusingly.
"How come we didn't hear the bottle falling off from your bag?"
Vinaya took a step back and sat more closer to me than before. I continued, "Did you close the door after we stepped in?"
"Why would I close it?"
"If you didn't do it, neither me, then why the hell the door seemed closed?" I said in a shaky voice.
"The door is open, Anaya. Don't scare me," she said and stood once again to get her bottle.
"Vinaya, stop. Please don't go. I see that the door is closed. Trust me," I screamed. Vinaya froze there, not moved an inch, turned, and looked at me. I said again, "Please come here. I think we are stuck here. Let's wait until it's morning."
Vinaya listened to me like an obedient student and came back.
"Do you have another bottle of water?" she asked.
"Yes, I do, but I think it's empty. Let me check?"
I started to search in my backpack, and with a great shock, I found a filled one. We both saw each other and said in unison, "Oh My God!"
"How is this possible? I knew my bottle was empty!" I said.
I was shocked, and so was she, in disbelieve. Finally, she spoke first after a brief silence of five minutes, " What should we do now?"
"Wait until the sun rises and run from here early morning," I spoke in a hushed tone.
"Why are you talking in this low tone?" she asked in the same hush tone.
"Because I don't want the evil spirits to listen to us."
It was midnight when I felt something was hovering above me. I looked above instantly, but I saw nothing. Vinaya got scared too. The howling sound of the fox and the sound of crickets made us scared even more. Every passing minute seemed like an hour. I looked at the bottle. We still had enough water in it to manage till the dawn. I heard a tiptoed sound of someone walking towards us.
"Vinaya, do you hear that?"
"The sound of someone walking towards us."
And then suddenly, the gush of air hit us hard along with thundering and lightning as the window broke open. We both screamed and ran but in opposite directions. In this entire drama, we got separated. I ran on the right side of the hallway, and she ran on the left. There was the kitchen behind me. I turned to see what can be the possibility of me getting attacked.
I turned the torchlight on and off in the direction where Vinaya ran.
"Are you alright, Vinaya?"
I once again switch on and off the torchlight to get some reply. I was in a dilemma of crossing the hallway. To either run in her direction or wait here patiently for her to come here. Slowly fear started gripping in.
"Vinaya, please say something. It is not the correct time for all this fun!"
I felt some footsteps coming near to me from behind. Sweat was all over my face, and few drops started to roll off from my forehead, making its way from the cheeks and finally fall on the ground. I do not want to look behind as anything can appear in front of me, and I might die here due to a heart attack. I folded my hands and started to chant God and Goddesses' name to protect us. From the corner of my left eye, I can see a shadow of a hand moving towards me, and I am slowly taking steps ahead to save myself.
'Thud!' the hand hit on my shoulder, and I screamed, "Nooooooo" out of fear. I turned around immediately, grabbed the hand, only to find Vinaya standing there and loudly laughing at me.
"What the f**k is this? Are you insane? I thought someone held me. I almost got a mini heart attack. Don't you dare do this again to me now? Otherwise..."
"Otherwise, what? You will leave me here alone?"
"Yes, I will leave you here alone and go," I said and started walking towards the kitchen. Vinaya followed me.
"Anaya, don't be upset. Please, dear. It was so much fun and thrill. Wow! I had so much fun doing this."
"Show me some light here," I ordered.
Vinaya showed the torchlight on the kitchen platform. The kitchen has a fragrance of some freshly cooked meal. The kitchen platform also seems wet as if cleaned a few minutes ago. I touched it with my index finger. "It's wet," I said.
"Do you think there is someone here along with us?" she questioned.
I shouted, "Hello, anyone there?"
"I don't think there is anyone here. It's only we in this middle of woods wandering and forgot our way back to home," Vinaya said with a sad face.
I was sad too. The thunder and lightning hit, and I see the shadow of someone at the window. The man was holding an axe in his hand. "There, I saw him," I screamed and pointed towards the window.
"Who?" Vinaya asked.
"That man with an axe, he was standing at the window."
Thunder and light struck once again, but I saw nobody at the window.
"Anaya baby, there is no one. Only we both are here."
"I saw someone Vinaya, trust me. Let's go from here. We have time we can run towards the door, open it, and can be out from this house in one minute."
"It is raining outside. Where will we go? You are just tired, and your mind is playing games with you. Relax. Let's see if we can find anything to eat here in this kitchen."
"There is nothing good to eat here."
We spread our lights across and found nothing except for a few airtight containers. Vinaya immediately grabbed it and started to open it. The airtight containers were empty.
"What are you expecting to find in these containers?" I asked irritatedly.
"Some packed stuff like chips or cookies or biscuits."
"There is no electricity here, and you are expecting some foodstuffs. Anyways those packed packets would be of the expired date similar to this old house and not healthy to eat. Let's walkout. I am not getting good vibes here."
"It's 2.00 a.m. We already spent two hours here. It's just a matter of more three hours, and we will be out from here," said Vinaya.
I sat on the floor with my back leaning to one of the drawer shelves in the kitchen area. Vinaya sat with me and started opening the drawers one by one.
"Vinaya, stop it. The sound is irritating me."
"Bingo! See what I found," she said excitedly.
I peeped into the drawer. There was a candle and a matchstick box. It seemed old, and getting fire from those sticks and matchbox will give us a hard time. Still, we decided to give it a try. We counted there were ten sticks in the box, and the candle seemed half burned. We hoped to light it and save our mobile battery from draining.
"How old these candles and match sticks would be?" she asked tried to rub the first stick on the side of the box.
"The box doesn't seem latest. It resembles one of those boxes we saw during our childhood!" I said as I recalled my childhood days when my mother used the same brand for a matchbox in case of an emergency.
"Yes, I feel so," said Vinaya.
Her facial expressions started changing as she saw a shadow appearing on the wall, and its size was increasing. The person appeared from behind her. Her hand started shaking. I looked up and instantly saw a person with an axe above her.
I immediately pulled her by her hand and saved her in the nick of time. We started running towards the door to save our lives, that door, which I see closed, and she imagined open due to darkness around us.
"We are gonna hit and hurt ourselves badly, Vinaya," I said, but we both kept on running at a faster speed, holding hands. The backpack on our shoulders was reducing our running speed. We were now thirty meters away from the door.
"We have to take this chance," she said, breathing heavily. I looked at her. She continued, "It's either this way or the other, but we will try."
I again looked at the door. We were ten meters away from the door..., now seven.....five......three...two....one....., Bang!
Our foreheads hit the door, and we fall on the floor. Blood started flowing out from the forehead. We looked behind, but nobody was there.
"Where is he?" I asked, confused.
"I don't know. Did you see him coming behind us? How can he just get invisible!"
"Yes, I saw him running for us," I said, grasping for some breath.
We got up again and walked towards the door, trying to search the latch to open the door. It was dark. We were just patting on the door.
"Vinaya, torchlight quickly."
With shaky hands, she was trying to search for torchlight on her mobile. After a few failed attempts, she finally had it on. There was no latch to open it and no handle to pull open the door. I held Vinaya's hand and moved the light upwards.
"There it is, the latch. We have to open it."
The door was seven feet tall, and we both had an average height of 5.5 feet.
"Now what?" Vinaya asked.
"We had to reach there and open the latch before he is back."
We looked around to find something to climb on and open the latch. I remember seeing a four feet table placed next to the sofa with a lamp placed on top of it.
"The sofa. I saw a table. We will have to drag it till here. I can't pull it alone. You will have to help me."
We were scared of stepping there again.
"There isn't any other way? Like a window or smaller door from where we can get out?" Vinaya asked in a shaky voice.
Fear was gripping both of us. We were alert seeing around incase he reappears. How can he leave us after running behind? On the way, Vinaya saw her bottle and picked it up, and put it in her backpack. I looked at her surprisingly. She whispered, "It's my bottle. How can I leave it here?"
I shrugged my shoulders, "whatever."
As we walked closer to the sofa on our left side, I see a shadow coming closer to us. I felt the presence when we were crossing the two chairs. I continued walking, trying hard to ignore the shadow walking along with us. The shadow size increased as he was nearing. Slowly I see his hands raised high in the air with an axe.
"Vinaayaaa," I screamed and pushed her sideways while I moved on the right. Vinaya fell on the chairs covered with a white sheet. She got up and pulled the white cover from the chairs. At the same time, I, too, grabbed the white sheet of the sofa and immediately put it on the man who fell in front of us, puzzled what to do next?
"Annnnaaayyaaa, we have him... we caught him."
I pulled the axe from his hand. He was trying to hit punches and release his hand from our grip, but all his attempts failed. Poor guy wasn't aware that we were martial arts trained students and capable enough to handle such situations. We tied his hands and legs with one of the pillars in the hallway with a rope that was a part of our trek backpacks. I looked at the time, 4.00 a.m. We moved the tall table towards the door and opened the latch.
"But Anaya, I didn't understand one thing?" said Vinaya breaking the silence.
"What?" I said, opening the cap of the bottle to sip in some water into my tired body.
"How come you saw the door closed when it was open and closed later on?"
I laughed suddenly, "Ohh that! I was trying some fun with you. The door was open initially, but later on, your mind played games, and you assumed the door is open, even when this psycho closed it with an axe when we were running towards it. Before you ask me, the bottle on the floor was also my trick. I kept my empty bottle on the floor and removed your bottle from your backpack side pocket."
"Youuu," said Vinaya stepped forward to hit me and then grabbed the water bottle to gulp up the remaining water. She then said, "What to do with him?"
"Nothing, we will call the forest officers, and they will take care of him," I said and looked at him. He was in the mid-forties age. 6' feet tall and looked ugly and dirty with torn clothes on him. He grunted, looking at me. I responded to him with a smile. After some time, the sun was up in the sky, and we both stepped out to fetch some network in our mobile phones to call the forest officers.
It took them two hours to locate us and reach there. Finally, we were safe, but I learned one thing, 'anything in excess can harm us.' We had an overdosage of adventure today and risked ourselves.
The forest officers dropped us at the nearest bus stop. I looked at Vinaya. She was happy and relaxed, and not for once, she thought about her ex-boyfriend.