The Ghost writer

I found myself in my bed again, trying to fall asleep for the hundredth time that day. Sleep have long since abandoned me. I could feel the slow breeze crawling into my bedroom through the window…a soothing one beckoning me perhaps to the dream world? Some sort of commotion, in the next room made me sit up with a start. The study room’s door was closed, but there was light there, and shadows, as though someone lingered by the door, ready to pounce. But then it may have been my fatigue playing ticks on me. These days it has become a routine of sorts, the strangeness of it all stopped bothering me, I was too tried to be bothered.
When you overwork your body rebels in strange ways. Sleep won’t come when you wished and when it does come, something happens in the real world that touches the realm of supernatural and disturbs you. When was the last time I slept well? Woke up fresh? When was the last time I closed my eyes and dreamed of the unreal, the real? The answers to all these questions eluded me, like my sleep. Sleeping pills, my mind murmured, I was relieved that I did not have any left. If I did, I am sure that I would have gone overboard with the pills, till sleep actually came. Things you are willing to do for a few moments of undisturbed sleep, will actually surprise you. But wait, am I sleeping now or am I awake? What do you think? Could a sleeping person bother about light and movement in the other room ? But could an awake one be still in bed like this, unable to do anything about it? Maybe I am stuck somewhere in the middle, between sleep and wakefulness. Between heaven and hell…I don’t know though. The real world has never been so bothersome to be called hell and yet not so botherless to be called heaven. Maybe I am already living in the middle, the nowhere and didn’t realise it yet.
I could tell that there was someone standing at the head of my bed staring right at me.I could tell. Suddenly I heard someone scream…! I am stuck in one of those nightmares again. That is the only possible reason for not being able to wake up and do something about all this screaming. Why was I inert? Am I dead? Is this what death feels like? you lie still and helpless unable to do anything about things around you, no longer able to make a difference? Why didn’t I go to heaven or even hell? is there a place like that? Jeez it never occurred to me to cross check and now I am stuck. Great! The scream was still on, a very heart wrenching sort of scream. My mind ran me a flash back of all those scary stuffs that I have ever seen. I have heard somewhere that when you are about to die you get a flash back of your entire life, for me it was only the scary parts. Guess this human head is particularly adept at running flashbacks at the most inconvenient time! But then there was light…finally ..heaven? What an easy pass to heaven. I thought I would never make it here.
“What’s wrong, what’s wrong , oh my god!!! stop screaming…my head is pounding!!! “
It was not my voice! Someone else’s? Someone was shaking me? A welcome shake? I have never heard that the welcome to heaven is shaky. I have heard about the light, the flashbacks ,heaven and hell ..seems like I have been living my life and now dying based on the things I heard from some random movies and books. We are such intelligent beings and yet we give ourselves up to fantasy and not cross-checked facts. Facts or fiction? It was a particularly familiar form shaking me though and the light was not blinding like I heard, it was like the light from a LED light. Is God trying to save energy too? my eyes where yet to adjust completely to it…
“Why are you screaming. Stop it..!”
My roommate? jeez what the hell is he doing in heaven? Why does he look like, he had a run in with the devil? Was he trying to shake me into the real world.Weirdly it made me ponder about birth trauma. You are comfortably numb inside your mother’s womb, sleeping and before you even realise it, you are forced into reality …light… doctors…horrible…!! how could parents who claim to love us do this to us…There were more faces at the door…oh great!! Landlord and his dear family. Didn’t I pay his bill? What is he doing in my heaven? Why can’t someone stop this stupid scream! He was looking scared too. The man was never fond of me. He though I was a nutcase, in fact I heard him tell his grandchild not to come near me because I was one of those ghost hunters..
Oh sorry..didn’t I tell you what I did for a living?
I hunt ghosts…well, not really hunt, just pretend to hunt, for one of those tv channels, because ghosts are always popular, everybody likes ghosts. When I joined the show biz a show assistant little did, I know that I would be forced into the company of ghosts. Personally, I never liked them, I am not implying that I am unique or anything or that I go against popular choices, it’s just that I don’t like them, never did! it was always disturbing to watch floating bodies or crawling hands or gory smiles, never captured my fancy and yet I got a job because of ghosts. I needed the job desperately and so I took it! my first task was to watch all the ghost movies in the world, different cultures’ ghost perceptions and stuff. For Indians the scariest were women in white sarees, who laughed out loud. For Japanese folks it was crawling things, things that could defy gravity and had nothing on their face but eyes with too much eye make-up. Both these ghosts had long well combed straight hair for their ghosts. For American’s normal people with flowy white gowns, and sometimes even in suite and where scariest. One common theme in all these movies were that there was always an abandoned house in the background that nested all evil . First the kids see the ghosts and then the grow-ups or if it’s a bunch of college kids then the most deviant gets to see the ghost first. I watched a lot of horror flicks all part of my infinite research. It did make me feel like an idiot but then my room rent was pending, my roommate’s patience was wearing thing and I did not have an array of job lined up. It was either this one or head back home where there was non stop lectures of how I ‘shattered’ their expectations even though I never asked them to ‘expect’ in the first place.
In my school days I was unfortunately what you might classify as a geek, a bright student but not the teacher’s favourite. They kept away and never friend’s favourite buddy either. In a way being bright but weird was the easy way route to keep to myself, without having to be particularly nice. In college though bright folks where always the focus of “expectations”. so, I decided to tone it down a bit. It displeased my parents when I suddenly lost my “brightness”. So, one fine morning, I packed a bag took out my scholarship money that I got for being bright and walked out of the front door because the window was too hight to jump from and caught the first bus to the city! Everything was new and I didn’t like it, I realised that it was much easier to live under the umbrella of “expectations” than to make a life on your own. Seriously after a few months alone I couldn’t blame my parents for their expectations, at least they managed to make a life on their own and I was one of their most important and probably expensive investment. They would obviously expect returns but I didn’t go back, couldn’t, too much pride. Eventually I found a place to reside, a roommate that was not too nosey, a few crappy jobs till I landed on this showbiz thing. I found out that my certificates and personality were well suited for the back stage works and my hobby was an added advantage for my job. What’s my hobby you ask? Photography, don’t snicker, I know every other person is a photographer these days. But I am not boasting, someone from the interview panel actually thought I was better than the majority, so I got the job which was random support for random shows until someone in the administration thought I would do a better job in a consistent project. Though I didn’t like ghosts I took the job. It was to do research about ghosts, visit random houses and hotels and sometimes palaces and even prisons or lonely islands and help with the production of the ghost hunting series. My real work was to cook up stories about these haunted places. The ghost hunters will repeat these stories, as if they felt it from the ghosts, I really didn’t have to accompany them but the show’s producer thought I will work better on location than off it. So, I had to accompany those weiredos! They would claim to hear voices and then when focus was on them, they would walk straight into a wall, or bump their head and said the ghosts pushed them. The only person who actually didn’t believe the crap was me because I knew what would happen next as I wrote them. But sometimes versatile ghost hunters would scare the crap out of you with their acting skills. But on some days your brain plays tricks on you. Some places inspire dread, it reminds you of things that you are scared of and then it gets tricky. I think that is the secret behind these shows. They make us see all the horror movies and leave us to shoot in places that is renowned for ghost stories or that looks like horror movie sets and call us hunters. After some time, we realise that we are not hunters but we are the hunted but we do it anyways, for money. The audience makes it difficult for us further with all the high ratings. When there is a demand for something you have to supply it and as one of the suppliers the job became very demanding. I had to think up stories and ended up with a writer’s block.
The producer though if I was locked up in the attic of the ghost palace where we were trying to shoot a new episode my writer’s block would go away. I saw things that day I don’t know if it was real ghosts or if it was just my imagination. When you spend too much time on something you begin to loose your sanity. Not that I was ever sane but still, until that day I never believed that ghosts are really because when I got out of that room, I had a stack of paper with things on it that I honestly don’t remember writing. The director was so happy with whatever was in there that he let me go back to the hotel and take the rest of the day off. Two things I realised that day, first is that I didn’t write those stories, and second, I didn’t leave that ghost house alone for I was not in my room alone, I stared at the mirror longer because I was sure that I caught a passing shadow.
Every morning after this incident, a stake of paper with stories that I did not remember or recall writing, stood ready when I woke up. My fellow crew members were full of deep appreciation for such creative ideas. They laughed and called it modesty when I dared to tell them that it was not me. Then I began to fear sleep, dark circles appeared under my eyes and I got the quintessential haunted looked.
Up until that point, I never had a problem with being alone, but then I was no longer alone and nobody believed me! I started noticing other things that I did not do. My radio caught static with strange noises, the water tap was left open to flood the entire apartment. The nights were not silent, there was a constant distant hum. Things began to escalate a little bit each day, then I began to finish food that I don’t remembering eating, or scratch my wrist or cut my hair or even leave holes in my dress. No body believed me when I said, I am not harming myself, not even the ghost hunters! Why would anybody in their right mind, inflict self-harm? I tried to run away from it all, I remember packing my bag and leaving for home multiple times and yet I also woke up back at the apartment. But the job paid handsomely because of all the stories that I did not write. So, what if I can’t sleep? So, what if I can’t remember writing those scary stories? So what if I don’t know the woman staring at me from the edge of the bed? So, what if I can hear the screams that no one else can? Does it really matter?
“How is he today? Any luck with sleep?”
“He talks to himself doctor and refuses to fall asleep in spite of all the heavy sedation”
“Any more, and he will go into a coma. This is a difficult case, have you contacted his family yet? “
“Yes doctor, his parents were here”
“Good. Take his family history from them, we might find a trigger there somewhere. Maybe there is a hidden tendency for delusions or other such issues that might help us understand.”
“Such a brilliant writer too, did you see the last episode? I was completely hooked” the interns talked amongst themselves.
“Okay folks don’t get took carried away, sister keep me informed, it is important for him to get some sleep”
“Okay doctor, his parents are waiting for you”
I could not longer hear them, instead someone was screaming again, my throat felt soar, I swear, my ears are ringing, can you hear it too?

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