Caught between the Beast and the Ghost- A flash fiction

by Chandrika R Krishnan

Anita paused long enough to discard her shoes after she stepped on a twig causing it to snap that sounded like a fire-cracker to her ears. She ran straight towards the booth bungalow* for she had to choose between being haunted by the resident ghost or being hunted down by the human beast. Her stalker seemed to be single-minded despite being knocked up to his eyeballs with whatever was his present flavour.  Berating herself for being caught in this potentially unsafe situation she ran, oblivious to the rough ground cutting through her socks.  Though not many would want to enter the spooky building, she shimmied up the wall unmindful of the scratches and cuts it left on her palms and bare legs. She fought through the shrubs and clinging ivy and eased her way into the house through the broken window just in time to see her pursuer pause at the gate and look dubiously at the building.

Though it was at the far end of the school premises, the building was abandoned after a fifteen-year-old fell to her death from one of the classroom windows. No one quite knew how her end came about but like Chinese whispers, the stories spread with many swearing by quiet sobs and an icy hand felt on the shoulder if anyone dared enter the building. The management with the help of the science department tried to quash the rumours and open its doors but to no avail when the cleaning staff went on strike. Subsequently, the parents threatened the withdrawal of their children if forced to attend classes there. With major stakeholders refusing to budge, the management had no other option except to build new classrooms around the stone building and it held its place amidst overgrown shrubs, a rusted gate, and weeds that were three feet tall. Afraid of displacing the in-house ghost, the building remained as is for the last decade with the gossip showing no sign of abating. Into this building she ran hoping that her pursuer had no gumption entering the building and also sent in a prayer that she would be alive to tell the tale the next day.

She stayed still as her pounding heart slowed down and wondered idly if the ghostly stories were unfounded when she felt a hand tracing her back and her heart went into an over-drive. She opened her mouth to scream but heard the whisper like a soft breath and a translucent finger pointed at her pursuer who continued hovering outside the gate, looking ominous silhouetted against the setting sun. She looked over the shoulder to see a formless figure in pink floating just at her shoulder. “I thought ghosts were in white?” Despite her fear, Anita’s query came in a squeak.

” Oh! I am known to experiment. Like it?”

” Love it!” With that the two fifteen-year-olds sat and chatted away transcending form, space and time.


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