The usually reserved twins, Samantha and Sharon Frost, were having an unusually loquacious breakfast. They couldn’t stop discussing how their picnic was going to be, as their blue-framed glasses slipped off their noses.
The glasses had always been too big for them. But life had taught them that it was better to wear huge glasses than to repair them. After all, these spectacles were the reason why today they were dead. They were driving to the shop, when… they don’t remember what exactly happened. They have vague memories of the truck speeding up… there was an ear-splitting bang. The next clear vision they had had was, them standing beside their broken car, as their bodies were being carried away.
They were shocked at the beginning, when they realized that they were no more. Then, they started to enjoy their ‘New Life as Ghosts’ as they called it. But slowly they became depressed. Nobody could see them. Nobody could hear them. And they had nothing to do.
It was Sharon who first came up with the idea. “Let’s have a picnic.”
“Picnic? We can’t even carry a bag outside, because it’ll seem like the bag is going itself!”
“It’ll need good planning, and need to be very careful. We’ll rise early in the morning, before anybody can see us getting out, and we’ll return home by sunset.”
After careful considerations, a plan had been sketched out. For the very next day. April 1st.
And today was that day. The two sisters were tremendously excited, as they met in the drawing room at 4am sharp. They were going out after a year. And they were going to enjoy.
Mrs Lynch was being supported by her daughter, and her best friend Mrs Marsh, while she choked on her cup of tea.
“I’m telling you but you’re not listening to me, I saw the Frost’s main door open by itself, bags floating in the air and they soared to the car. I saw the car door open, and the car drove out… and there was nobody in the driving seat!”
“Mom, how is it possible?”
“You’re not listening to me Angela,” she told her daughter.
“Listen Phillipa,” Mrs Marsh assured her, “You probably saw a nightmare. And got scared. No need to panic…”
“Mom, she’s right…”
“I’m telling you both, they were the Frost girls. I mean their ghosts. I have countless times suspected that their spirits stay there!”
“It is true. Do you remember the date they died? On this date, last year, April 1!”
Ms Lynch and Mrs Marsh looked at each other and shook their heads. Any other person in their place would have assumed that it was a prank. It was April Fools’ Day, after all. But it wasn’t the first time she had said that ghosts dwelled in the Frost’s Residence.
“It was a wonderful day, wasn’t it Sammy?” Sharon said.
“Yeah,” Samantha replied, “We should do it every day. I mean, we don’t quite have any other work.” She opened the door, and creeped out at the darkness of the house. She recovered soon and switched on the lights. “I sometimes have the creepy feeling that ghosts might be lurking in the darkness. Then I remember what I actually am,” she said.
Both the sisters burst out laughing.
“I feel I was stupid when I was a living human. Darkness scared me thinking that ghosts might be there. It did not occur to me that ghosts could also be scared of darkness. Everybody is so silly when they are alive.”
“Why have you become so philosophical?” Sharon asked.
“Don’t know. Maybe I’m getting wiser as I’m getting older,” she said dropping her massless body on the sofa.
“Getting older! You are a ghost, Samantha.”
“Now Sammy…” Sharon stopped abruptly and turned towards the door. What’s that chaos outside? And… Sharon turned to her twin and both of them said together, “Wasn’t it a police siren?”
“So, you all saw the car drive in to the house, didn’t you Angela, Simona?” Mrs Lynch said, in a scared yet victorious voice. “And the driver’s seat was empty. Nobody believed me in the morning.”
Mrs Marsh and Ms Lynch were sitting opposite to each other, both faces white as a sheet of paper. Neither of them had really expected this.
“Call the police Angela. Something is seriously wrong,” Mrs Marsh said.
“Told you long before,” huffed Mrs Lynch.
The police were informed that ‘something strange was happening in the Frost’s Residence’. It was a hard work to convince the police to take the case. After all, it wasn’t quite usual.
Within ten minutes, a police car was seen parking in front of the Frost’s Residence.
“What are the police doing here?” Samantha asked.
“No idea…” Sharon replied.
The police walked up to the front porch, and opened the door with a bang. “We suspect that this might be a hideout of a gang of robbers. We are trying to find them for a long time. This notorious band has become a terror, and we think, that they might have come into this part of the town.”
Exclamations and screams followed this proclamation. “Oh my God!” Mrs Burton, staying opposite of the house exclaimed.
“I think I heard somebody walking around on the terrace yesterday. It might have been them,” Mr Lane said.
“I don’t believe there were any robbers or anything,” Mrs Lynch has become adamant. “They were those ghosts, I’m sure. Maybe they were walking around your terrace last night, Mr Lane.”
The twins were getting frantic. “Hey, should we switch off the lights?”
“Let it stay on,” Sharon said biting her lip, “It’ll raise suspicions if we suddenly switch it off.”
“Like it isn’t suspicious enough…” Samantha muttered.
The police entered hurriedly.
“Come on,” Sharon said pulling her sister’s hand and got into their bedroom.
Both sat on the bed. At last, their invisibility and inaudibility had come to their advantage. Let the cops hunt around for their imaginary robbers.
“I’m wondering what gave us away,” Sharon said, after sitting still for an hour. The police seemed to have finished searching the house. The little noise that still existed, was coming from a distance.
“We switched on the lights. Maybe that,” Samantha replied. “We try to go to bed at sunset, to avoid switching on that normally. We didn’t do anything like that today.”
“Or maybe, when we were going or coming back… I mean, nobody could see us. Somebody must have seen the car moving without a driver. For them, it was no passenger, no driver.”
“Oh no. That does seem quite scary when you think about it.”
The police on the other hand, couldn’t find anything strange in the house, except the lights being on. That the house being spotlessly clean did make the police curious but they preferred to ignore it.
“The police are hopeless,” Mrs Lynch declared. “I’m certain about the ghosts.” Ms Lynch and Mrs Marsh didn’t know what to say.
Angela Lynch and Mrs Marsh looked at each other. Their eyes confirmed the existence of ghosts, but their brain agreed that it was the work of robbers.
The whole locality and the policemen were deeply grieved to know that the unfound robbers did not have their base here.
“But they are nearby, no doubt,” Mr Lane was heard telling, “I did hear a lot of noise from the terrace last night.” And he didn’t stop, even after his son whispered to him, “It was the cat, Dad. It broke all the flower pots in the terrace garden.”
The twins, invisible to the living human crowd, peeped from the windows. “So, it was Mrs Lynch who saw the car,” Samantha said grimacing.
“Well, we really gave Mrs Lynch a fright. We should really do something about it.”
Samantha and Sharon looked at each other and nodded.
Next morning, Mrs Lynch got up, in an unusually good mood. “What a bad dream it was!” she told herself, and looked at the Frost’s Residence from the window. “Angela and Simona are right. There is nothing called ghosts after all. It was all just a disgusting nightmare and nothing.”
She went to breakfast with a delightful smile, that made Angela surprised. Only yesterday was her mother being so down in the dumps about the Frost’s case. “Good,” she thought, “Mom has forgotten about it. There is no need to bring up the issue again.”
She and Mrs Lynch talked about random topics during the course of breakfast. Mrs Lynch was getting convinced more and more that the Frost’s case was a nightmare. “If it actually had occurred,” she thought, “Angela would surely mention it.”
Mrs Lynch exited the ‘Frightening Fantasy’ from her head, and her mind shifted to another matter. Today was April 1st. April Fools’ Day. She made a mental note to be extra careful. It wouldn’t do well to be pranked.
“Well, we really need to explain it to her that it was us,” Sharon said, biting the end of her pen, a paper in front of her.
“And that she needn’t worry, because actually I was driving the car. Add that point too.”
“And that we had many bags because we planned a picnic,” she said writing down.
“And that the main door didn’t shut by itself, neither did the lights switch on by itself. It was us who did it.”
“And that no robbers live here. So, the police had better stop finding them in our house.”
“And that we didn’t walk around Mr Lane’s terrace and neither did the robbers.”
“Yeah, it was his cat. Honestly, they were saying that it was either us or the robbers. From when have ghosts and robbers fallen in the same category?”
“I don’t know,” Samantha said. “I told you. Living humans are silly.”
“No, they are pathetic. Would they ever suggest our walking around in someone’s terrace if we were alive? Just because they have a mind block about ghosts, they are just giving the dog a bad name and hanging it. Comparing us with robbers!”
“Hey Sharon. What if Mrs Lynch faints by receiving the letter? I mean, she would get it from someone who she knows is dead.”
“I have nothing to say if she faints. Being sensible human beings, we should apologise for the stress we have indirectly inflicted on her. That’s our divine duty.”
“Ha ha, you can’t call us human beings anymore!”
“Of course, we are humans. Not living though. But more responsible than many living beings, aren’t we?”
Mrs Marsh, Mrs Lane and Mrs Burton came to see Mrs Lynch in the morning. The three ladies were worried about their friend, the reason being that Mrs Lynch had become quite hysteric after her hypothesis were proved wrong the previous night. They hadn't expected Mrs Lynch to be in a jovial mood, and such an expression convinced them that their friend had lost her senses.
“Oh Simona, Camelia, Haven, come in, come in!” she said with a broad smile. Such a gesture confirmed their worst concern.
“Why are you all standing there like that? Come in,” Mrs Lynch said.
The three friends slowly entered the house. “Where is Angela, Philippa?” Mrs Marsh, the bravest of them asked. She wanted to know whether the doctor had prescribed mental asylum or could the treatment be carried out from home.
“Angela? Gone to work, of course,” Mrs Lynch said.
The three friends glanced at each other. “Maybe that’s what she has told Philippa,” Mrs Burton whispered to Mrs Lane. “She’s probably gone to the doctor.”
“What? I didn’t catch that,” Mrs Lynch said, looking innocently from one face to another.
“Nothing,” the three of them blurted out together.
“I was telling Camelia how… how beautiful her necklace is. Yes, how beautiful your necklace is Camelia!” Mrs Burton looked sideways at Mrs Lynch to see if everything was okay.
“Oh, thank you Haven!” Mrs Lane replied in a fake, high-pitched voice.
Mrs Marsh nodded slightly to let the other two know that nothing had gone wrong.
“I’m bringing coffee,” Mrs Lynch said, and rose.
“NO!” the other three ladies shouted.
Mrs Lynch turned back.
“I mean… Philippa,” Mrs Marsh said, “We have just had coffee. Haven’t we friends?” she glared at Mrs Lane and Mrs Burton. Both readily nodded.
“Well, I want to have coffee,” Mrs Lynch turned again.
Mrs Marsh got up now, and stopped her. “Philippa why don’t you take rest? I’m making it.”
“Oh, thank you Simona. But there’s no problem at all. I can make it myself.”
“No, no!” Mrs Marsh said and almost pulled Mrs Lynch to the sofa. “Sit down, and I’m bringing your coffee.”
It was Mrs Lane’s turn to whisper to Mrs Burton. “Why isn’t Angela returning?”
“What?” Mrs Lynch inquired.
“Nothing!” both of them said together. “Haven,” Mrs Lane said, “Why don’t you… tell… yes, about your last vacation?”
“Yes,” Mrs Burton said getting the clue, and started telling all what had happened. But Mrs Lynch was in deep thought. Why were her friends acting so odd? Were they… Mrs Lynch looked up, were they pranking? Wild thoughts raced through Mrs Lynch’s mind. She was sitting exactly where Mrs Marsh was sitting a while ago. “And Simona knows I’m terrified of spiders…” she thought. She jumped up from the sofa, “I won’t let spiders crawl over me,” she told Mrs Lane and Mrs Burton. Taking a feather duster, she started dusting the sofa. “You won’t be able to scare me!” she said, laughing.
Mrs Lane and Mrs Burton were staring at Mrs Lynch, horrified. “Do you think we should call Angela?” they asked each other, not caring to keep their voices low.
“Angela?” Mrs Lynch asked, “Is she in your plan?”
Mrs Lane and Mrs Burton looked at each other. Both were sure that she had become completely deranged.
When this drama was unfolding in the living room, Mrs Marsh entered with a large mug of coffee. Mrs Lane and Mrs Burton looked at her, and their faces called for help. Mrs Marsh didn’t look at them, neither did she panic seeing Mrs Lynch. She only nodded gravely, and told Mrs Lynch in a sweet, low voice, “Philippa, have the coffee.”
Mrs Lynch was staring at the sofa. Why didn’t any spider drop? She stared at the carpet. Maybe they had slipped a large spider there while she was dusting the sofa. Okay, she’d show her friends that she wasn’t very foolish, today. She’d crush the spider. She brought a wood plank from the storeroom, and started banging it on the floor.
“Philippa!” Mrs Lane and Mrs Burton shouted. Mrs Marsh went forwards silently, and pulled it out from Mrs Lynch’s hand. “Sit down, Philippa,” she said softly.
“Do you think you can scare me with spiders crawling under my carpet?” she said, and burst out laughing.
“Don’t worry, I’m going to kill the spider,” she said, and banged the floor twice, and kept the wood plank out of sight. Mrs Lane and Mrs Burton looked at Mrs Marsh with admiring eyes. She had become their role models.
“Have your coffee now,” she said to Mrs Lynch.
“Thank you, Simona,” she said happily. She was sure that, as Mrs Marsh had planned the trick, she was sure where the spider was, and thus had banged the floor on the right place. She was going to lift the cup when she stopped. Was there anything in the coffee? She ran to the kitchen and brought a cup and tea-strainer, and started straining the coffee. “Don’t you think I can detect chilli flakes?” she muttered.
The friends looked at her with wide eyes. Mrs Marsh took out her phone. “I must call Angela.”
Mrs Lynch was sitting on the sofa, happily watching her favourite evening show on TV. The other three friends had talked privately to Ms Lynch about her mother’s madness, who heard, her face bewildered, to hear that her mother had become completely insane after she left for work.
Ms Lynch went and sat beside Mrs Lynch. “Mom,” she said. “I heard your friends came around today.”
“Oh yes, they did,” she said, not moving her eyes from the screen.
“How did it go?”
“I heard that you were dusting the sofa, banging the floor—”
Mrs Lynch went to peals of laughter. “Oh yes, they were trying to make me a fool!”
Ms Lynch looked at her mother with furrowed brows. “They were trying to make you a fool? Why?”
“Because today is April Fools’ Day, of course!”
“What? No! Today is April 2nd. Not April 1st.”
“Come on now Angela. You have tried to make me a fool too today. Don’t think I didn’t understand.”
Ms Lynch was bemused. “Mom I really don’t understand. Why are you laughing? I’m serious. I didn’t prank with you.”
“So, what’s this?” Mrs Lynch said holding up a letter. On it was written: To Mrs Lynch, From Samantha and Sharon Frost.
Ms Lynch went pale. “Mom, who wrote this letter to you?” Mrs Lynch’s smile vanished. “You really didn’t write this letter?”
“Angela, you said today is April 2nd, so yesterday was April 1st?”
“And the Frost’s car getting out by itself, the lights switching on, the police coming… that was true? Are you sure that it wasn’t a dream?”
“Yes, I’m sure.”
“Tell me you are joking.”
Ms Lynch stared at her mother blankly.
“Where do you think we should go next?” Sharon said.
“Anywhere but with greater caution,” Samantha muttered. “Did you give Mrs Lynch the letter?”
“Oh yeah, right on her bedside table.”
“You posted the letter on her bedside table? You gate crashed? That wasn’t quite mannerly,” Samantha grinned.
“I didn’t gate crash of course! I have that much of manners. I just passed through the wall.”