I reached home late from work one Thursday night. I gave a “ I am tired today--- Don't disturb me right now ” look to my dad, who was sprawling across the divan and mom who was on the couch. I dropped my bag on the side table in my room and went to refresh myself. As I entered the bathroom to wash my feet and hands, I had a strange sensation that I was being watched. I felt a prickling on the back of my neck.
I looked around immediately. There was no one. I did not search in the dark areas as I fear the dark. I must have taken quite some time as my mum put her head inside and saw me standing still.
She startled me by asking , “What are you doing? Not coming for dinner?
I said, I ll be there. I went to my room, changed into my night clothes all along keeping my room door slightly open. I then entered the hall to have dinner with my family. I tried to remain calm. I finished my dinner and proceeded to sleep.
Since my grandfather was staying with us then, my cousin used to sleep in the bedroom along with me and my sister. My sister and I on the cot while she used to put her mattress, in the space after the cot.
Both my cousin and sister come in late. So I was awake till around 11.30 poring through my books keeping two lights on. It was cold. And I was distracted by “God knows what”? All calm was broken when both the devils arrived almost one after the other. While they were devouring dinner, I put aside the books and got ready to sleep as I knew any studying then was pointless. But I was also relived I was not alone in my room anymore. After the usual chitchat each one of us proceeded to sleep around 12.10.
All of us were tucked in comfortably when we realized that the tube light was still on. None of us wanted to get out of the warm cozy blanket. And suddenly, both my cousin and sister were asleep. I knew it was all a pretense just so they didn't have to wake up. Since I can't sleep with the light on, I had no choice. I got up, switched off the light and dived under my blanket in case some ghost caught my legs. I don't know why I was getting images of the “Ring” ghost with long hair. To calm my frayed nerves I read some e-books on my phone. In half hour, my eyes started getting heavy and I could not keep them open. I drifted off into sleep.
It must have been around 3am. I am not sure. I was trying to scream.... I could not find my voice. It was like I was choking seeing something horrifying in my dream and my throat felt like there was cement stuffed down my throat. And suddenly I managed to shake away the dreadful feeling and screamed “Ma”. Hearing to my scream, my sister also screamed. I sat up and was sitting up looking shell shocked. My sister immediately switched on the light and asked me what the matter was.
My cousin sat there saying nothing, but looking sleepy and angry. I said something touched me. It was real. My sister was my “Knight in Shining Armour”. She immediately looked around and we all saw the culprit. It was a wretched cockroach. It must have brushed past my face. My sister immediately got in action, picked up “MY” slippers and went Whack Whack Whack. She missed.
Then I turned my anger to my cousin. I told her that it was her unwashed clothes kept in a disarray next to my cot, that made the cockroach visit me. I was also throwing my frustration at her that she did nothing to help me when I was terrified. She said she almost died of a heart attack listening to our screams and that she would have died without even knowing the reason for her death. At this we all started laughing.
And my mom came in like the Indian Police, at the end of all the action asking what the commotion was about? We recounted the tale and my cousin got yet another earful for her dirty clothes and my mom left the room.
After my mom left, we were still smiling with my cousin exclaiming what an exciting night it was. My sister was tired and she wanted to sleep. And the tube light was on :). This time we bullied our cousin to switch it off.
I was restless and could not get back to sleep. I proceeded to ask them how my scream was? And I got the quieter repeat version of it from my cousin who also mimicked my sister's scream which was hilarious listening to, after the incident.
I had one last question. Was my scream blood curling? My cousin said NO. I asked again : Was it spine chilling? She again said NO. My sister was getting annoyed and she said Your scream was heart stopping and a killer scream at that. And that if I did not shut up, she was going to kill us both with her bare hands. That put us in place and we went back to sleep.
I didn't sleep immediately. I was happy my scream had been heart stopping. Good I could scare somebody too. Suddenly a thought struck. If the cockroach had not been there, I would have still been in the grip of that nightmare. I silently apologized for having called it wretched and thanked him for having saved me from my nightmare. I then went to sleep peacefully :)