The Ghost Named Bond – Last Part

(The Story Till Now – A 27-year-old young man named Bond falls off from his balcony while clicking a stunt selfie with his girlfriend. He refuses to move on after his death and stays stuck in Apartment 328, where he has spent the most beautiful days of his life. His parents and girlfriend leave after his funeral but he is unable to move on due to his extreme grief.

Slowly, he comes to know more about the after-death existence and a funny reality – he has become quite a creepy ghost himself. He is sighted by many of the residents in the apartment complex. It is well-accepted that no one would rent the apartment but Bond is surprised to find that an Indian couple has rented the flat. A rare one-sided friendship develops between the ghost and the Indian lady, who is depressed and friendless in a foreign country. She is a typical case of a dependent, Indian visa wife in the USA. Her relationship with her husband worsens and she runs towards the balcony to jump off. At that moment, the ghost appears in front of her…Read more to know what happens next…)

Like a scared cat, she ran to grab her phone. I almost laughed. Just a moment before, she was ready to give up on her life but, desperate self-preservation prevailed on seeing a ghost. Maybe ghost sightings could do magical wonders in pushing people from one extreme to the other.

Breathlessly, she dialed her husband’s number but his phone was on airplane mode since he was flying. She dived towards the bedroom to grab the iPad – contacting any living person in the world was her sole motive. Shivering like a leaf, she face-timed her folks back in India and tried to show me – the tall, weird-American ghost, on the face-time. But I had already disappeared by floating away from the selfie spot.

I heard her mother chanting some mantra loudly. And then, they all began to chant Sanskrit shlokas in chorus. Holding the photo of her god, she obsessively chanted to drive me away while I gloomily sat observing her from the balcony. It was a heavy night as my sole companion in a lonely world wanted to get rid of me.

Techie returned the following evening and although he didn’t believe a word of what she said, he brought a funny looking priest to exorcise me. Then followed an elaborate ceremony accompanied by loud chants and bangs. It was quite interesting to watch the ghost-exorcising ceremony. However, she was under a lot of stress so, I moved away from them.

I decided to stay away as much as I could. They had no clue that the living world was far more savage than our ghost world – where tormented and stuck souls lived. But would they believe me? I made the dark ceiling of the store-room as my new haunt.

Meanwhile, Techie turned over a new leaf since that day. Perhaps, he thought his wife was hallucinating and losing her mind. And that made him consciously make efforts to take care of her. He cooked for her, fed her, and cheered her up. He even got her enrolled in English lessons and driving classes. Life brightened a little for them as they began to talk more.

She had also got another companion! Techie gifted her a handsome talking parrot; she loved it. For hours, she would teach the parrot to talk. I hardly went near the parrot, as it would screech and round its eyes on seeing me.

One day, the fire alarm went off in our building. This was mostly an entertaining event for me because I had the pleasure of watching panicked human behavior. The authorities expected that the residents leave the building before the doors got sealed. She was alone and had never experienced these fire-alarm security measures but Mrs. Raju came to her rescue. They ran out of the building with her. The firefighters and the police arrived within minutes and they began to secure the place. I watched it all from the balcony.

But one particular thing caught my eye, Mrs. Raju was chatting with her and pointing fingers towards my apartment. What was she telling her about me?

After the incident, I strongly felt that she had become comfortable with my presence around the house. Maybe she had gathered that I was harmless. Maybe Mrs. Raju had related my sad death story and she was sympathetic… Maybe she had become used to me… or maybe I was reading too much into things!

Things started to look up for everyone in Apartment 328, but my indiscretion one fateful evening changed everything.

That day, Techie was chatting with her on the balcony. For a change, his conversation seemed entertaining to me. It was about his encounter with an Indian ghost in his childhood. I hovered closer to know more about my Indian counterpart. But lo! In a flash, I reached the ‘selfie’ spot, and unwittingly presented myself.

What a sight I might have looked – a tall American ghost hovering over them, trying to listen to a ghost story! My lady remained unperturbed but the effect on him was pretty disastrous. He grimaced, rubbed his eyes, and looked horrified. A scary ghost lived with them – this information was too much for his mind to process. He ran out of the apartment, dragging her with him. She tried to calm him down… but he was not in his senses.

The next day, I learned that he had decided to move out of the ‘haunted’ apartment. I saw them packing things up. She looked calm but Techie was super-stressed, fearful that I was lurking around.

Memories came flooding back of the days we spent together. The lady and I were partners in loneliness and distress. I remembered her spices, her films, Mr. Khan, and her Gods. Somewhere, someone was playing a haunting song again, giving dark background music to my dejection.

I escaped to the storeroom to avoid seeing my sole friend go. By evening, I listened to the sounds of things getting moved out, luggage dragged, and doors getting closed behind them. I was lonely once again.

It was dark when I came out on the balcony. There was silence everywhere; the mild fragrance of Indian spices was still there in the empty, dark rooms. I felt like I died again, and there was no closure.

Suddenly, I heard a screeching sound from the maple tree in front of my apartment. What was ‘Mitthu’ her talking parrot doing there? Did she set it free before leaving? The bird circled me and squawked- “Thank you from Mukta! Mukta means freedom! Be happy and free!.”

Mesmerized and energized, I spoke her name softly – Mukta! Mitthu was delivering her message. That was her ingenious way to communicate with me and express her gratitude for saving her life before leaving. I thought I had unwittingly helped Mukta when she was lonely and depressed, but she had come to me for a reason as well.

I spoke her name again, and something in me clicked. I had never paid attention to her name. ‘Mukta’ was a divine sign. Was it time to let go, to surrender my despair, and move on…be Mukt?

I whispered ‘Thank You’ to ‘Mitthu’ as it flew away to its freedom. I chose to follow the bird’s illuminated trail…wherever it took me. I felt I was blissfully accepting things, moving on, leaving all the bad as well as good memories of Apartment 328 behind me… to go wherever I was supposed to go!

(I had great fun writing this story. Hope you liked it. And thank you for being with the Ghost named Bond for the past three weeks.)

The Ghost Named Bond – Part 2

(The Story Till Now – A 27-year-old young man named Wilbert Bond falls off from his balcony while clicking a stunt selfie with his girlfriend. He refuses to move on after his death and stays stuck in Apartment 326, where he has spent the most beautiful days of his life. His parents and girlfriend leave after his funeral but he is unable to move on due to his extreme grief. Slowly, he comes to know more about the after-death existence and a funny reality – he has become quite a creepy ghost himself. Read more to know what happens next…)

One evening, the Asian Man ( I had nicknamed him Mr. Crocs), was watering plants in his apartment, which was right opposite to mine. I was melancholic and accidentally floated to the same ‘selfie’ spot, from where I had fallen off.

In a flash, my form seemed heavier; I felt I was materializing. I was acquiring a sort of shadowy structure that was close to my former physical body, on the spot that led to my death. Perhaps, I had left some intense energy there before dying. It felt good to have some form, although ghostly; it was quite an achievement for me.

But I couldn’t enjoy the finding for long because Mr. Crocs had spotted me. His reaction was priceless. His shock-stricken eyes almost came out of the sockets. He blinked twice or thrice and then ran inside, screaming in his language. I had never seen him unnerved before; it was hilarious to ruffle him out of his remarkable composure.

He came out again to check once more and ran back screaming. I moved away from the spot in a blink before he could get a heart attack as he was beginning to look very pale. The very next day, I saw a crowd on his balcony, geared with devices to record a ghost-sighting video.

This intrusion infuriated me. After the incident, I tried not to venture into the ‘selfie’ spot in daylight. It was annoying to have prying eyes on me. However, at night, the irrepressible feeling of having a presence, albeit shadowy, in the living world would overpower me.

And I would stand on my balcony after midnight, reminiscing about my girlfriend – hoping that I get a second chance to say good-bye to my love. I would also think of my parents and move around the house in an agitated state. I wondered whether the neighbors heard my horrible noises of agony.

Despite my best intentions, I got sighted by old Mrs. Wiederholt, who was taking in the night air by the pool. She looked startled for a second, and then the dear lady just crossed her heart. She knew Mr. Wiederholt was somewhere in my world. I tried to connect with the ghost of Mr. Wiederholt for companionship. I often played chess with Mr. Wiederholt when we were alive but he was not there in my dimension. He had moved on.

Often, creepy animals floated by me; occasionally, I saw some light beings too. The ghost-world perplexed me; there was so much to learn.

Mrs. Wiederholt had stopped reacting whenever she saw me and would leave me in peace. However, Mrs. Raju almost had a heart attack when she spotted me from the outside parking lot. ‘Aiyayiyoooo,’ she yelled and jumped towards the clueless Mr. Raju, who walked ahead carrying their sleeping boy. They were returning home from a late-night birthday party.

Mr. Raju was annoyed about being pushed but Mrs. Raju pointed towards my balcony and escaped abandoning her glittery sandals. Mr. Raju kept a brave face, walked faster, and faster… and finally, ran like a bullet towards the safety of the building holding the wailing kid.

I was not that scary, was I?

I became one of the most talked-about ‘non-living-being’ in the county. Everyone held me responsible for doing terrible things. I was ‘Mr. Nobody’ who stalked, scared, and harassed people. My ghost stories made kids go to bed on time.

Therefore, I was astonished when an Indian couple rented my apartment. Weren’t they aware that Apartment 326 was haunted by ME – the terrifying, blood-curdling ghost named Bond? (To be contd…)

Khakhra


Little Brinda could not comprehend how it happened! All she saw was a jar containing some spice getting attracted to the old lady’s fingers. Her hand seemed to be sort of magnet! Was this lady a witch?

She watched as the scrawny lady grinded all kinds of spices. She kept murmuring something and Brinda got scared to even breathe in that strangely aromatic house.

“I shouldn’t have listened to grandma,” Brinda thought. But grandma had bad cough and the doctor’s medicines were ineffective. That morning granny said to Brinda,”Only old Khakhra can help me. Can you get the cough mixture…but don’t tell your parents.”

She agreed for grandma’s sake but knew that Khakhra was weird!

The mixture was almost ready and Khakhra smiled revealing crooked teeth. Brinda accepted the medicine bag and planned to run.

But Khakhra clutched her hand. Brinda held her breath as she pressed something into her palm and released her. 

Once home, panting and jittery, Brinda opened her fist – it was her favourite orange candy! 

(The character of Khakhra is based on a lady in my maternal grandmother’s village. She was rumoured to be a witch but actually she was quite nice. I met her when I was little.)

This is my entry to the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by the lovely Priceless Joy. We are given a photo prompt and approximately 75-175 words with which to create our stories. This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. Please CLICK HERE for more. Thank you Maria for the image!