Room no 204
Rutuja opened the wooden door as the number on it glistened in the moonlight.
It was dark and there was a rotten smell all over. She felt she wasn’t in control as her body walked into a chair.
She looked above her and noticed a rope tied to the ceiling fan. Rutuja could see herself climb the chair and tie the rope around her neck, fastening it. Tears rolled down her cheek as she felt paralyzed.
She looked at her feet, when she noticed a decayed hand emerge out of the darkness, and it pulled the chair away from her!
Rutuja waived to her parents as they left the college campus and traveled to her hometown. She felt excited to begin her first year and yet her face gloomed as she saw her parents go away.
She was out of her cocoon. Wiping the tears off her face, she walked hastily to the girl’s hostel block. This was a smaller building which had 220 rooms and each room had three or four girls.
She went to her room after noticing the numbers on her floor as she was yet to get used to the place. Rutuja walked near the corner, next to a locked room and entered 204.
She was the only one in her room. There were two more empty beds which would be occupied in a few days.
She setup her clothes in the cupboard and kept her laptop on the table, near her bed. It was an iron cot with a new mattress, which felt comfy to her.
It was evening as she opened her eyes. There was still a lot of unpacking to be done but Rutuja felt that she should explore the campus as it would be dark and she wanted to reach her room before 9pm.
She walked to the TV room on the ground floor and surfed a few channels to explore what she could follow in her past time.
There was no one in the TV room either and after a while, she switched the TV off and walked to the canteen for an early dinner. She could see a few girls and felt glad that she was not alone.
After coming back in the room, she tried using her laptop, only to find that it needed to be charged.
She called her mother and then played ‘Candy Crush’ on her phone. It was then time for her to sleep but Rutuja noticed the empty beds and preferred to sleep with the lights on. She hoped to make new friends the next day.
There was someone knocking the door. Rutuja was startled. She noticed that the lights were off and it didn’t make any sense to her.
She recollected that it was not safe to open the door this late and chose not to get up from her bed.
There was silence as the person who was knocking walked away.
She tried sleeping again and heard the neighboring iron cot squeak as if someone just slept on it.
Rutuja thought it was a bad dream and closed her eyes to sleep, but this time when she glanced around, she noticed a girl sleeping on that bed.
Her hands trembled and reached her phone on the table as she turned the flashlight on.
She pointed the light towards the other bed and did not notice anyone.
She moved the light to one corner and was glad that there was no one.
But as the light reached the other side of the bed, she noticed the festered legs of the girl who was now sitting on the bed.
Rutuja screamed! She woke up and noticed the lights were on and it was morning already. She did not sleep well at all.
She was still in bed, playing with her phone, when she heard two girls outside her room. Rutuja pulled the quilt towards her by instinct as she heard the key rotate the latch.
After a while, she heard them knocking on the door. Rutuja looked at the bar lock and got up from the bed.
“I’m coming in a minute!” She shouted and waited for a response. She didn’t hear anything as she wore her track pant and stepped towards the door.
“Hi there…” Priyanka and Rini stepped in the room with their suitcases.
The girls got talking and bonded well in a few hours itself.
Rutuja was glad to have company and realized that both Priyanka and Rini were just like her when it came to academics and hobbies.
She noticed Priyanka occupy the bed which terrified her last night, but soon relinquished that thought.
Priyanka waved to Rini and Rutuja as they stepped out to explore the campus.
She would join them soon by meeting them near the canteen in some time.
Somehow, she couldn’t adjust to this room.
She felt an aura which made her uncomfortable.
Priyanka was in the bathroom and was about to change her clothes when she felt a shiver. She could hear a voice outside and thought that Rini forgot something and hence returned to the room.
“Rini, is that you?” Priyanka called out from the bathroom. She quickly changed her attire and stepped out.
There was no one.
Priyanka picked up her phone and left the room. She thought she saw someone in the mirror just before leaving.
The girls met near the canteen and went for a heavy brunch.
The food was tasty and satisfying as it was accompanied with gulab jamuns, sooji halwa and ice-cream which the girls bought after the brunch.
It was now time to trot the campus.
The trio returned to their hostel and went to the TV room where Rini met another friend who was their senior. Priyanka noticed Rini step out to discuss with the other girl as Rutuja got hold of the remote and began surfing the channels.
Being glued to the TV, they did not notice a tired Rini, when she waved and left towards their room.
The TV room was spacious with a reading area in one corner near the entrance, which had two loungers and a bookstand with many magazines and academic books.
On the other side was the television set and a bookshelf.
The girls were sitting in the center so that they could enjoy the breeze from the two large windows near the reading area.
“What are you doing?” Priyanka was puzzled as she noticed Rutuja fidget with the remote control.
“It doesn’t seem to work. Maybe there are signal challenges” Rutuja stared at the TV which was unable to project any channel apart from a blue screen.
“It is late. Do you think they turn it off on purpose?” Priyanka was staring at the screen too.
“I don’t think so. I don’t think it works that way”
Priyanka focused harder as she started seeing a reflection of a girl in the blue screen.
“Did you see that?”
Both the girls turned their heads at once but there was no one.
“Priyanka, I need to tell you something” Rutuja remembered last night and was now sure that it was the same girl.
There was a girl in the reading area. Her entire body was decayed as if she was dead for many days now.
She was engrossed in reading and flipped the pages in a frenzy.
Right then she looked at Priyanka and Rutuja and shouted. “How can I fail! Can you tell me?”
The girls were terrified and both of them started yelling.
The security guard barged in and checked on the girls. They were crying. After discussing for a while, the girls were guided to their room.
Priyanka and Rutuja did not step outside the room the next day. Rini was worried too.
She was sure that something was not right. Her friends were not mad.
She decided to meet her senior to get information.
There was a girl who committed suicide due to examination pressure. That’s all she knew. She did not know anything else.
Rini was upset. This was not how she expected her studies to begin. She would talk to her room mates and shift the room tomorrow itself to another building, preferably.
The three of them discussed about the room and Priyanka panicked.
She urged them to get the security’s help and ask one of them to be here during the night. The girls decided to spend the last night in this room after ensuring the security personnel is nearby on the same floor.
Rini received a message on her phone from her senior.
She would help them talk to the authorities and have their room changed tomorrow.
She sent back a smiley and thanked her.
The girls were in sound sleep when a knock on the door woke them up.
They were already scared and shouted to know who was at the door.
They waited but there was no response. Rutuja got up and sat with Rini.
She called Priyanka too and told them her first night experience.
They were all scared now.
The door latch moved on its own and the door swayed slowly. A girl stepped inside.
It was her! Her body was floating in midair and then vanished.
Rini managed to turn the flashlight on and pointed her phone upwards.
There was no one. She got out of bed and switched the lights on.
“I’ll get the security. Stay put!” Rini ran and shouted for help all the way.
It took her a while to find the personnel on the first floor as she too was running.
“The receptionist called for me when I told the authorities about the TV room incident” She was gasping for breath as both of them ran to the second floor.
“You mentioned that you are in Room 204. But that room is locked permanently! Rutuja was given the keys to room 206 and not 204!”
“What?” Rini felt the fear in her feet, which wobbled, making her walk slower that the security personnel.
Rutuja and Priyanka held hands and they waited for Rini to get the security.
They got up and decided to wait outside the room.
As soon as they stepped out, a hand grabbed Rutuja and took her inside again! She could hear Priyanka yelling outside the room.
The door was shut!
Rutuja looked around. There were no lights. She searched her phone and took it out.
A hand came out of nowhere and grabbed her face trying to suffocate her.
Rutuja then saw the girl’s face through the decayed fingers and couldn’t remember anything after that. She lost control over her body.
Rutuja started dreaming as she felt that she opened the wooden door as the number on it glistened in the moonlight.
She was reliving another moment from the ghost’s life.
She was in a trance and had lost control of her own body at that time.
Rini reached the room and saw Priyanka banging the door.
The three of them pried the door open and stepped inside.
Priyanka ran to the center when she noticed Rutuja hanging from the ceiling fan. They held Rutuja and brought her to senses.
Even before they could step out, Rutuja pointed to the door as it shut itself! The room was permanently locked… again.
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