She woke up in the dead of the night, startled at the â€˜clinkâ€™ in the house that was empty but for her. In spite of the cold in the room, she felt thirsty. Reaching out to the jug of the water she was habitual of having in the bedroom, the lightness of it surprised her.
â€œDid I not fill it tonight? Hmmâ€¦ maybe I forgotâ€
Pretending to ignore the creak of 7th step on the flight of the staircase and making a mental note to get it fixed by a carpenter during the weekend, she proceeded towards the kitchen. The door was ajar and a light bulb flickered.
The fact that she never used to forget to lock the door and to fill her water jug never occurred to her. Unsuspecting anything she returned back to the bedroom and closed the door, latching it behind her.
With her thirst quenched and the satisfaction that all the doors were rechecked and confirmed to be locked, Laya tucked herself in. Sleep called out to her with open arms and she succumbed gladly, enjoying the rhythm of the raindrops against the windowpane that were lulling her to sleep.
She swore she heard it again! Sitting upright, she noticed how humid it was, she was sweating and it felt almost like summer, but then it was the rainy season and the rain was beating hard on her windowâ€¦
The windowâ€¦ where was it, why could she not see it? She tried her phone for to give her a ray of light, but it was dead. It was so dark her hand fumbled to find the light switch, but failed miserably.
Itâ€™s all in the timing!
Trying to get up, she knocks the water jug down, â€œShit!â€ cursing herself for being so clumsy, she runs her hand along the walls of her own bedroom trying to find the door knob.
And she thought she knew me the back of her hand!
Whether it was because she was panicking, or because she could not find a way out of her room, there was a steady trickle of sweat going down her spine, making her shiver.
As if a power cut was over, the lights switched on in her room, but they continued to flicker â€“ as if, as if someone was playing with the switches.
Off. On. Off. On.
â€œHell!â€Â Laya could not understand a thing that was happening to her. â€œFirst the noises, then the lights, and now, now why canâ€™t I find the damned door! Why are all the walls looking so plain andâ€¦ and where is the photo of Ryan and Me. â€œ
Â I hide, you seek.
Fear crept up on her; it was becoming increasingly difficult to remain calm. She tried screaming out loud, alas, no sound would come out of her throat. Nausea and giddiness overcame her and she fell on the floor with a loud thud.
Sitting up on the bed, Laya rubbed her eyes open and looked about her room. There it was, her favorite picture with Ryan, intact on the wall. Relieved that it was just a bad dream, she walked out of her room, towards the kitchen.
A light was flickering in there.
â€œDid I forget to switch it off again?â€