A Promise!

— Reading Time – 10 Min Approx

Sequence 1:

Four friends enjoying dinner at home.

SFX: In background, sound of thunder and rain outside. Clutter of plates and glasses clinking.

Image Courtesy: Thought Catalog

Rai: I don’t think rain will stop in next two hours at least.

Shail: At least weather has turned for good. It reminds me for another round of tea.

Kumar: Yeah yeah!!

John: It’s so eerie, (more thundering).. Just like that day!

Shail: which day?

John: Hmm…forget it.

Kumar: Tell us, we have all the time and perfect mood.

Sound: (of teacups and plates)

Kumar: Lo tea has also arrived.

John: I know no one will believe me. You all will laugh afterwards.

Kumar: Enough of suspense now spill the story. (Sound of sipping the tea)

John: Have you ever seen a ghost?

Shail: Yes, in movies. (Laughing) Oh, we are grownups for god’s sake.

Others: yes, yes.

John: Yes, I also believed that…until…(pause)…that night, about a month back.

SFX: (thundering, raindrops, eerie wind)

John: I was coming back from a late-night movie when it started to rain suddenly.

(John going back into the memory lane, music indicating that)

Image Courtesy: Sephen Gregory

Sequence 2:

(Theme music to indicate change of scene)

SFX: (thundering, motorbike stopping)

John: Shit! This is my worst day, now what has happened to this bike. (Sound of jammed accelerator). It had to fail in this jungle only. Now I will have to wait here till this wicked rain stops.

(Eerie wind blowing and rustle of tree leaves)

John: Wow, it looks so ghostly like those TV soaps…and no house or shop in sight.

(Thumping sound) Oh God! No signal in mobile also. My bad day.

Sound: female voice sobbing

John: (with mixture of fear and surprise) Who’s that, who is there, who is hiding behind that bush (sound of footsteps)? I think some child lost his way, I better go and look.

SFX: theme suspense

John: (talking to himself) Oh it’s a woman, why is she crying and sitting here alone.

(to the woman) hey, hey, who are you, are you okay? can I help?

Woman: (in a whisper) No one can help me, it’s too late. I am waiting here from so many years for someone to help me (sobbing again)

John: (talking to himself) I think she is hurt in head that is why talking all this nonsense.

(to the woman, in a consoling voice) Hey what happened, stop crying…. please tell me and I will help you. Where is your home, let me take you there when this rain stops?

Woman: (in sobbing, whispering voice) I have no home, no one. Will you help me, promise me, promise me?

John: First tell me what happened with you, why are you crying?

Woman: No…no.. first you promise me that you will help me, you won’t leave me here.

John: (with little irritation in voice).. Okay I promise!

Woman: Don’t forget that you promised…(pause)…. Have you seen milestone 32 on this road?

John: Near that petrol-pump?

Woman: Hmm, I was returning from a friend’s place when my car’s tyre punctured. I parked the car on the roadside and picked up the mobile to call someone. There was no signal, so I came out of the car.

(sobbing again)

John: Then? Then what?

Woman: Suddenly something had hit me…hard…as if my body had fallen from a fifteen storey building, bones crushing into powder…I saw blood, my blood on my hands, clothes and then everything started vanishing, a numbness spreading over me…as if a cold blanket was wrapped around me.

John: What!!!…But, you are perfectly fine, no scratch nothing….are you….are you…??

Woman: Listen to me first……

I have a faint memory of opening up of the car door and somebody dragging me to the back seat of the car. Maybe somebody was talking to me or I had heard my own voice moaning in pain. Then blackout…..

Do you see that spot there, behind those trees….

John: yes

Woman: I found myself lying there when I gained consciousness. Blood dried on my face, clothes, my body cut in so many places. I tried to move, to scream for help…..but no sound came out, I could not move. That accident had paralyzed me and whoever did this panicked and threw me here…. (short mock laugh). Hit and Run.

I don’t remember for how long I kept lying there, fruitlessly waiting for someone to come…

John: I don’t believe you; I think you are in some kind of shock…there had been no accident at 32 milestones. I just drove past that.

Woman: Eight years back…..That accident was eight years back, but newspapers reported me missing not killed…..(pause). Because nobody knew (a sneered cackle)..except that killer…that I am bleeding to death in this jungle and my body was never discovered…except by hyenas and dogs.

John: (a loud gasp) So you mean…? (with a stammer) I don’t believe it!

Woman: (sneering laugh) and since then my spirit is wandering; I am waiting for someone to take me from this lonely place. (a spooky laughter)

Image Courtesy: Indian Express

And you promised, remember, you promised.

John: (with fear in voice) It cannot be true, you are lying, you are joking.

Woman: I know it is hard to believe. Okay. See…I will walk through this tree and nothing will happen to me.

John: My god…god I must be dreaming.

Woman: Take me from here, I am so lonely here, I will take good care of you (laugh).

John: Please let me go, I haven’t done any harm to you.

Sound: Of starting the bike.

Woman: (whimpering) Oh don’t run away, I am not scaring you, please come back, talk to me…you had promised you will take me along.


Sequence 3.

(John back from memory lane)

SFX: theme indicating end of scene

Sound: friends laughing and jeering.

Shail: Wow John, we never knew you were such a great storyteller.

Ray: (laughing) And for few seconds I actually believed him.

Kumar: (laughing) Good shot, but so bad that you left your ladylove alone in that forest.

John: (serious tone) I know, no one will ever believe me. But it is hundred percent true.

Image Courtesy: Telegraph

Sound: an eerie laugh from back.

Shail: Who……………who’s that (with stammer)

John: oh ..that….that must be the…, that must be the (pause) ..housekeeper.

Shail: Way she laughs, oh man… it pierced my bone.

Rai: Housekeeper? But you never liked having a housekeeper when did you get this one?

John: About a month back. I never wanted one, but she was good, does all the work, she needed work and, (small pause) And I had promised.

Sound: of thundering, whistling wind.

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Written by 

For Vartika Sharma Lekhak writing is an emotion. She believes that the thoughts which flow out of her fingers are much stronger and beautiful than the words falling from the mouth. Other than this, she loves to travel. She finds traveling one of the most democratic activities as it broadens her horizon and makes her sensitive and tolerant towards other cultures. Her other passions include Trekking and Biking. A Delhite by heart and Indian by soul, she is still in that evolving phase where every opportunity is enriching her learning curve, be it the stint as a teacher or the exposure in publishing house and corporate sector. Often labeled a ‘Problem Maker,’ because of her outspokenness over various issues that plagues the society. Born out of the anguish over rampant rape culture, her story ‘The Girl with Sealed Vagina,’ was the winner of Mumbai LitLive short story contest and now published as a short-story Anthology, ‘When Women Speak Up.’ Many of her articles and short stories on various social and women issues have been published in both print and electronic media, which can be accessed on her WordPress website: Because it Matters, Bra Strap. One can read the nuances of her travels on her WordPress website: Travels of Mast and Malang, Unseen Kutch.

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