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I was inspired to write this because in every house in Pakistan or all around the world, kids love telling each other legends and ghost stories and make them seem real. Here is a story of when it got a bit too real.
[Characters: Ihsan, Alara, Sumayah, Layla]
It’s nearly 12 o’clock at night, in the quiet streets of Islamabad, Pakistan, in a house called Rasheed Residency. Four cousins sat together in a dark room with a torch as their only light source. They all had matching grins on their faces and just one topic on each of their minds. Ghost stories.
Ihsan: (In a mysterious whisper) You know what Khala told me? She told me that nearly 90 years ago, in this house, a little girl mysteriously appeared in this house, no one knew who she was and where she can from. Then suddenly one day, out of nowhere, Dadda’s dad, so our Dada, found her body in this very room we are in right now lying there in a pool of blood. There was also a message written with blood next to her, it said: “Beware the next residences, this room is mine and always shall be”.
Layla: (Her voice barely a whisper) And then?
Ihsan: And then...no one has ever slept in this room since, until now at least.
Alara: Well, that just means-
Sumayah: This room is haunted!
Ihsan & Alara: Sumy, quiet!
Sumayah: Sorry, but what are we going to do? Move?
Layla: No! We should become friends with her...or try at least.
Alara: I agree with Lay, let’s try and get her on our side.
Ihsan: You guys do realize she might be listening to everything we are saying right?
Sumayah: Yeah, she might be planning her revenge on us as we speak…
Sumayah and Ihsan share a look of victory as Layla pales
Layla: Sani, Lara, w-what’s that? Sumy…
At this, Ihsan and Sumayah look behind them and what they see makes Ihsan lose all color from her face while Sumayah’s eyes grow as big as saucers
Ihsan: (Reading the writing on the floor) “Hello dearest friends, watch out, this is my room you are in, and my room it shall stay”, what do you think that means?
Alara: (In a fit of laughter) Did you see your face! Oh, Lay, amazing acting by the way! Sani, you literally went deathly pale!
Sumayah: So it wasn't real! You- Why!
Alara: While you two were so busy scaring Lay here, I went and wrote that with a bit of red paint I found.
Layla: Then she sort of motioned towards me and told me what she was planning.
Ihsan: Hang on, you said red paint.
Ihsan: Show me the paint
Alara: (Getting up and going to the corner) Yeah sure...here it- Hey! Where’d it go? It was right here!
The other three girls quickly get up and come to the corner
Sumayah: Hold on, what's this?
She picks up a piece of torn paper lying there
Sumayah: (reading) “You dare mock me with my blood, well, the next message will be yours”
Alara: Well, what do you think that means?
Ihsan: I guess we need to write a message back right?
Layla: No...the note...look at the beginning...it says that we used her blood...that isn't red paint, it was blood! And the next message will be our blood!
Alara: Maybe we shouldn't have done that…
Ihsan: It's not just your fault.
Sumayah: Let’s go get someone…
When the girls get to the door though, they find it locked
Sumayah: Quick to the window!
They rush to the window and which, fortunately, is unlocked, and open it
Layla: Umm...I’m not so sure about this
Alara: C’mon, I’ll go first then you three can come down after me
Ihsan: Yeah ok
Alara slips out and stands on the window sill
Ihsan: Slowly, slowly, be careful
Alara: Don't worry, I'm nearly at the bottom. Who’s coming n- AAHH!
Ihsan, Layla, and Sumayah: LARA?! Alara? Are you there? ALARA!!!
Sumayah: I’m going down, you two coming?
Layla: Yeah just be careful, we’re right behind you
Slowly, the three girls make it to the bottom and there they find an unconscious Alara
Ihsan: ALARA!? Wake up! What happened!
Layla: (Gently tapping Alara’s face) Alara, can you hear us? Lara?
Sumayah: (Pointing at a broken branch) Look she hit her head on that branch while falling.
After waiting almost 15 minutes, Alara wakes up
Alara: W-what-what happened?
Layla: Lara! You slipped and fell, we found you unconscious…
Ihsan: Let’s go knock on the door or ring the bell, then maybe someone will open it and let us in.
The girls go and ring the bell, however, no one opens the door
Alara: Argh! What is this joke! Sumy, what time is it?
Sumayah: Ummm, 3 A.M.
Ihsan: Hey! Where's Lay? Lay?
Alara: LAY!! LAYLA!
Layla: (muffled voice) Here! Between the branches and bushes!
Alara: Quick come on Sani, Sumy!
The three girls pull and pull until finally, Layla is out
Layla: Guys, we gotta get out of here!
Layla: (pointing towards the wall behind the three girls) Look…
Alara: “What! Trying to escape! Friends don't leave friends! Where do you think you four are going!?”
Ihsan: (Gasp) Yup! Let's get out of here!!!
As the girls run out of the gate and out of the streets, suddenly, it begins to pour
Alara: (Groans) We should have known it would rain! It’s August!
Layla: (Shivering) I-i-it's c-c-cold. I-is there a-any sh-sh-sha-shade?
Ihsan: (also shivering) Y-ye-yeah, th-th-erre
Sumayah: Quick into the shade!
Alara: (muttering and mumbling to herself while checking her pockets) Where’s the phone?
Layla: What phone? Your phone?
Ihsan: (Hope filling her voice) Do you have it?
Alara: (Pulling it out of her pocket) AHA! I picked it up just before leaving the room...thought we might need it. I totally forgot about it though!
Sumayah: HAH! Looks like you forgot it when you fell, eh Lara?
Alara, Ihsan, Layla, and Sumayah: AHAHAHAHA
Alara: (dialing on the phone) Let’s see...AH! No signal! No nothing!
Layla: Sumy, Sani? What do you guys think we should do?
Sumayah: Perhaps we should head back and try to talk to the girl ghost.
Ihsan: Are you sure she won't kill us?
Sumayah: Let’s hope for the best!
After waiting almost 1 hour just talking and playing around, the rain finally stops enough for them to start walking again.
Layla: I don't know if I should be excited, scared, or happy!
Alara: Why would you be happy?
Layla: Because we’re going back home…
Alara: Oh right
After a half an hour walk, they arrive back at their house
Sumayah: Ah! Home sweet home!
Alara: I didn't know sweet involved us potentially getting killed…
Sumayah: ha ha
Ihsan: Let’s go in then!
Alara: Same way we came out!
One by one each of the girls climbs back into the room, excited for whatever was awaiting them
Ihsan: Look! Above the bed!
Layla: “Ah, welcome back! Time for a feast, for me, not you!”. Remind me why I decided to come back!
Sumayah: Let’s try talking to her…
Ihsan: Ok, me first. (clears throat) Um, hello? I am Ihsan and these are my cousins. We were wondering if we could TALK to you. Just a simple chat.
Layla: Look! She’s responding! “Hello, Ihsan and cousins. Yes, you may talk if you wish...don’t expect responses!”
Sumayah: Ok, my turn. Hello. My name is Sumayah. How about talking to me?
Layla: The response is “Hello Sumayah. How about no?
Alara: Lay, you go
Layla: Umm, ok. Hello, you already met my cousins, well most of them. I'm Layla. Do you want to talk?
Alara: Oh! Look! “Hello, Layla, or Lay. I prefer not to talk.”
Ihsan, Sumayah, and Layla: C’mon, Lara! Your turn.
Alara: Fine. (fixes her hair and smiles) Hi! I’m Alara! You already met all my cousins. You know all our names, what's yours?
Sumayah: Her response is “Hi Alara, yes I have met your cousins. My name is Maria.” Lara, you’re doing something right, keep going!
Alara: Well, Maria, I was hoping I could get to know you better, maybe become friends? Also, is there any other way of speaking?
Maria: Yes I can talk, I just prefer not to…
Sumayah: AH! That was scary!
Alara: Sumy! Shush! Anyways, Maria, you have a nice voice, you should speak more.
Maria: Why thank you! No one has ever complimented me before, you know!
Alara: I was wondering, why did you come here and how, no offense, did you die?
Maria: None taken, none at all. Well, my story is a long one, if you’re ready to hear it?
Alara: Of course, the others can listen too?
Maria: Why not? It seems they all are pretty nice once you get to know them. Anyways, on with the story.
When I was just a little girl, not more than 5 years old, my parents and everyone else in my family started to abuse me. They would call me names and even hit me sometimes. The only person who actually cared about me. Our bond was special and everyone knew it. However, they couldn't do anything to my brother as he was the heir of the family, the little prince, while I was the ugly duckling of the family. I used to play with, talk with, and tell him everything that ran through my mind. He used to listen to every tiny detail and then tell me about his thoughts. Then when I was 10, he got extremely sick. I would sit next to him and talk to him every single day. One day he told me that when he leaves, I should go and stay at the 5th house on this street. He told me that this house was his direct inheritance and he had given me the top-left corner room of the house. This room. The next day, my dear brother left me all alone in this world with no one to turn to for help. He died and the whole family took this as a chance and turned on me. They told me that I was unwanted and I was just a burden on them. They locked me up and starved me for almost a whole week until I had enough and tried to escape. I managed to grab the keys locking my room door and unlock it. Once I was out of the house gates, I had just one destination in mind. After a journey of 5 days with barely any food and water, I arrived here. This was my home and this was where I planned on staying. However, this house had been sold in the one week I was locked up in. I was determined to make this house my home, in memory of my dear brother. One day when I was in my room after eating lunch, which your grandfather so kindly allowed me to have along with any other meals and snacks I may want. He treated me like his daughter regardless of not knowing who I was. Anyways, I was in my room and everyone else had gone out for a trip somewhere when suddenly my uncle and father appeared at the doorway. They grabbed me and slowly just slit my throat. I was filled with anger and hate for my family all over again. I was filled with the energy to go and hurt them. I went and pushed them out of my brother’s destined home. Then, I had so much rage inside of me to get out so from then on I decided to let it out by tormenting anyone who came close to this room. Hence, our first meeting. And that is the end of my story.
Alara: (Wiping away her tears) That was a long story and an extremely sad one too. Will you keep haunting this room? Will you stay as a ghost?
Maria: I feel as though you are the first people who tried to actually understand me and befriend me! I am now free of my hate and anger and now will move on from here. I will go and join my brother. Goodbye dear friends, goodbye!
Alara, Ihsan, Sumayah, and Layla: GOODBYE!