The Romantic Horror
(A Romantic Thriller Story)
I am a young struggling actor and I have just one dream- to haunt every silver screen in the world. I want to be the biggest movie star the world has ever been an audience to. For the past 3 years, I’ve lived every day like a high profile audition for my next big break- each day the tickets were sold out and each day it was a stellar performance. Today is one such day…
A rich and successful producer, Kapoor Saahab, wants me to go to the Apollo Hospital and meet his sick daughter, for two hours. If I do this, and if the sick daughter is pleased by my performance, then I will get to play the lead character in the very talented director Bhansaali Saahab’s next Romantic Sci-fi movie titled “Trisexual Quadrelateral”- where the species of man is trisexual, instead of bisexual. And all I had to do was-to pretend that I was the sick daughter’s boy friend, convincingly! Sure why not! To be the lead actor in Bhansaali ‘s next movie- I’ll be her God-damned husband for the rest of my life.
I brought Jasmine flowers, as instructed. She was still sleeping restlessly, when I entered her room. I read her chart- the sick girl’s name was Anju, just Anju. Her whole body was nothing more than pale tight skin wrapped tightly on some fragile ancient bones. She was very ghastly, unlike the very handsome & lively Kapoor Saahab, her father. Kapoor Saahab and Anju had no physical similarities at all. Anju must have gotten her looks from her mom- or was it her sickness?
She probably realized my presence & opened her eyes. She looked like she was recovering from being in a coma or something coz she couldn’t move her body in a well coordinated way. She was clumsy with the flowers that I gave her and she didn’t know how to respond to my very generous hug. She was just too weird- too not human.
“What’s your name?” she asked cheerfully, breaking the gaze of my judging eyes on her body. She had a melodious voice. That was a pleasant surprise- for some reason, I imagined her to have a monstrous voice, like the female ghosts in some horror movies.
“Did you forget your boy-friend so soon, Anju?” I teased.
“So you are my boy friend, huh?”
“Ah! You and your jokes! Sometimes I don’t get your jokes, dummy! Of course I am your boy friend Vicky- how can you forget this cute smile of mine, huh?”
“So Kapoor Saahab wants to cheer me up, after I woke up from that horrible accident, in this way?”
“Ah Kapoor Saahab?” She calls her dad Kapoor Saahab? I tried to change the subject, “So your friend died in this accident, is it? How long ago was it? You were in a coma weren’t you?”
“Ho! Slow down there SuperMan!” she muttered, “I just woke up after a year! I’m slow, and uncoordinated and dizzy and dazzled by your… by your sweet handsome looks!”
“Story of my life!” is all I could say and gave her time to do whatever she wanted to do. I didn’t want to make her feel uncomfortable- my career was on the line here. I wanted to make her happy. This was a feeling I never felt before- the feeling of trying to make others happy or laugh… And I always wanted to be an actor, whose profession is to entertain others- yes, yes, I am getting the irony!
“So you’re here to make me feel better?” she asked finally.
“How long do you have…”
“A little less than two hours…”
“All righty then- Entertain me! Blow my mind away!” she exclaimed lighting her eyes up.
“Well, I always seem to have all the solutions”, I began, “Maybe I made a wrong career choice- I should have been a chemist!”
She blinked. She didn’t get the joke.
“A chemist, you know- he has… he has all the solutions … in the beakers” I said making shapes of beakers and Bunsen burners through my fingers.
“You’re joke sucks! You know, you’re too cute to be a comedian- why don’t you try doing some romantic stuff”
“You know kiss- slap stuff”
“Romantic Action?” I winked.
“Yeah! Stuff like that!”
“So, romance for you and some action for me!”
“Well, stick to just Romance, for now” she smirked, “Like making me feel beautiful… Can you do that?”
“You are beautiful!” I said casually. It came very naturally.
“Yes, like that, make me feel divine!” she said raising her head. Her unkempt hair bounced over her shoulders- coming alive, as if they too had woken up from the coma. This girl was not just bones. She had a lovely voice, with wide lively eyes. She had a cute smile- with her long black hair- inviting me to play with them.
There was a new aura in the room now. I let myself into the magical mood- I entangled my finger gently in the single strand of hair, which was fishing around on her forehand.
“Looks like I caught myself a pretty merman here” she teased.
I smiled. I didn’t answer her. There was no need for words to feel this moment- to make her feel beautiful.
I continued playing with her bouncy hair and gently pulled her onto the pillow. I could almost hear her pacing heart- her eyes were giving away her naughty smile- which she tried so hard to hide. I broke the slender thread holding the Jasmine & Crossandra flowers together and sprinkled the flowers all over her hair.
“You’re making a mess in my hair! This is supposed to make me feel pretty?”
“It reminds of the night-sky…”
“What?” she asked getting curious.
“Your long shiny hair… That’s the dark night sky… You are playful and ticklish and restless in my arms, the flowers in your hair seem to be imitating you- scattering all over your hair- as if tiny fairies prancing around in the night sky. The white Jasmine flowers look like shiny little stars against your hair…. The orange Crossandra look like planets, like Jupiter…. The white bed-sheet, when it flows over your hair, looks like the clouds and…”
“And your bright happy face looks like the Moon… No, it’s prettier than the Moon. And whenever you smile, it reminds me of the Lightning… The erratic electrifying smile… You are the true spirit of the night…“
“Wow! Beautiful!” she whispered.
She looked so cute, I couldn’t help myself from saying- “I can keep looking at you forever”
“Be careful about what you wish for- it might come true, you know!”
“I’d love that!”
Suddenly the atmosphere grew heavy. I saw fear in her eyes. She was trembling all over. I thought it was something related to her condition but she kept looking at the window, as if her life depended on it.
“Hey Vicky, can you see something over there, near the window?” she asked.
“No” I replied, as I walked towards the window. Suddenly I could feel my body freeze. I could see my hands turn bluer and bluer. I froze. Everything was getting blurry & I was scared. I thought I was going to die…
“I don’t need you… Go away! Go away! Please, I beg you…” I heard her shout at the top of her voice.
Slowly I could feel the flow of blood in my body. I could feel my heart beat faster; my breathing was not natural- “What the hell was that?” I yelled breaking into sweat.
“Your job is done, Vicky. Go home,” said Kapoor Saahab running into the room, he seemed to be panicking, “Here take this address and come tomorrow at 11 a.m sharp. Bhansaali Saahab will be eagerly waiting for you.”
I suddenly remembered about why I had come here. Was I dreaming? Is this really happening? Was I really going to be a lead actor in Bhansaali Saahab’s movie?
“Kapoor Saahab, his two hours are not over…” interrupted Anju.
“But honey, just now…” Kapoor Saahab’s eyes welled up.
“It’s not what you think it is…” Anju was crying too.
What was going on here? What just happened?
“All right Sweety, whatever you want… You know I’ll do anything for you…”
“I know… I know”
“I love you, angel”
“Love you too…”
“Just a few more minutes” said Kapoor Saahab, locking the door behind him and Anju and I were alone again.
“Just don’t ask about it, OK?” she ordered.
I nodded my head reluctantly.
“Here’s what I want you to act like,” she continued, “You are dead…”
“That’s easy!” I smiled lying down.
She giggled- “No, you are a ghost and you haunt your own grave!”
“How very glamorous of me!” I noted.
“You know there’s a reason why you haunt your own grave- you have many people that you love. There are many people that you want to help and protect, but you can’t. You have no powers at all. You couldn’t hurt or help a fly even if you wanted to… And nobody can see you or feel you, not even your girl friend… You are helpless and lonely… Very lonely”
“This gets better and better every second….”
“Stop complaining… now here’s the interesting part. Your girl friend, which is me, visits your grave daily …”
“I would expect nothing less from her!” I smiled.
“Now now, calm down fella! You have a scary task at hand…”
“What?” I asked getting interested.
“Your girlfriend wants to desperately meet you, wants to have one last conversation with you. Luckily for you, there’s a way for you to do that- just one time, you can appear before her and talk to her- to ease her suffering… would you do th…”
“Wait! Is that what it was? That thing near the window… was it your boyfriend’s ghost?”
“What- no! No! Silly! This is a romantic horror!” she started laughing hysterically.
The door opened and Kapoor Saahab entered again, but with much more composure than the last time.
“Time’s Up” he said.
I looked at him. I didn’t know what to do. He was my benefactor, and I didn’t want to do anything that would offend him. But on the other hand if I could solve whatever that thing near the window was, then maybe, I might make him much more relaxed. Of course, the real reason probably was that Anju was scared of that thing and I really wanted to get rid of it. I wanted to protect Anju- I just didn’t know how or why though… And what was that story about the ghost that Anju was talking about…
“Thank you, Vicky for being such a wonderful boy friend! And Kapoor Saahab, he’s going to be one helluva actor! Please gift him a good shelf, with lots of space, for all the Oscar Trophies he’s going to win…”
“Ah won’t that be the day!” I winked.
“Goodbye!” said Anju.
“Goodbye? I will be back tomorrow to see you!’ I said warmly.
“Now that won’t be necessary young man! If you want to continue to be in that movie, then promise me, that you won’t ever try to meet my Anju ever again!” warned Kapoor Saahab.
“Kapoor Saahab, you don’t have to be that harsh on him! Vicky, it was fun meeting you, but I don’t think it’s a good idea for us to meet again…”
“What!” I was so confused. What’s going on here? Did she not enjoy my company? And what the hell was I thinking? I should be happy for getting my dream job! Why am I getting so worked up over this, this skeleton of a girl! She didn’t mean anything to me! Did she?
“Please try to understand! You know, I love Bhansaali Saahab’s movies! And this new movie with you in it, I’ll definitely see it a million times, OK?” I sensed tears in her eyes. Or was it just my eyes playing tricks on me? Her voice was as cheerful as ever and she probably was enjoying this twist in the tale, which the father-daughter wrote long before, with loud sadistic guffaws.
Was this just a father-daughter game? A very cruel sadist game?
I showed myself the door without even a second look at her and without fuss. I was shocked and my heart was feeling heavy. And God Damn it! Why did I care so much if I see this skeleton-girl again or not? I had seen better girls right?
I waited outside the room for the lift. I was lost in the thoughts of the starry sickly girl. I was getting impatient. I was getting irritated. Even the damned lift was not coming- I kept waiting and waiting- the lift was not coming.
Finally a doctor came towards the lift and pushed the lift button.
He pushed the button. What the hell was I doing? I was just waiting impatiently, without pushing the button- without doing anything… I was doing nothing. Was I not going to do anything to lift myself towards Anju?
I walked into the lift. As the 2 doors closed I could see that someone had drawn a man on one door & a woman on the other door with a permanent marker, with great effort. When the doors closed, the 2 sketches merged into a single piece of beautiful art- the man kissing the woman.
“Even the man in the lift door sketch is having more fun than me!” I thought.
Really, the man in the sketch was having a better time. He knew exactly what was going to happen. No matter how long the door wasn’t in his favorable position, it was going to change, & soon. He’d kiss the girl he loved, eventually & repeatedly. Sure, she wasn’t Mona Lisa or Shakunthala in her beauty of art, but she faithfully waited for him, understood him. She loved him & every time he was lonely, she gave him the best of her hugs & kisses & made him happy. No wonder the man loved her, & never looked at other girls in the lift!
Man, what am I thinking! I really must be going crazy! Was I jealous of a lift-art? Was I expecting to get kissed like the lift-man, without even pushing a damn button? I had to do something. But what? She doesn’t want to see me! I tried to laugh at myself, for having such stupid thoughts, but my eyes were feeling heavier.
I wanted to think about something else- I looked at the doctor in the lift.
“Hey! You met Anju just now, didn’t you?” he asked me.
“Yes” I replied. Of all the topics, he starts with Anju! Damn, my eyes are getting heavy!
“I’m Dr. Sharukh. Feel like a cup of Tea?” he asked.
“Only if you are paying!” I managed to say with tears in my eyes. Damn it, I can’t stop thinking about her! I just saw her a few seconds ago- and I already miss her so much!
We walked towards the cafeteria.
“What happened?” he asked.
“Anju- they don’t want me to come here again tomorrow…”
“Obviously” he said with a sarcastic shake of his head.
“Obviously? What do you mean?”
“Don’t you know?”
“What? I met her for the first time today!”
“She’s a lily- like in that poem”
“A lily of a day, Is fairer in May?”
“She wakes up only once in a year and goes back to sleep after 8 hours of being awake or so…”
“What? She’s awake for just 8 hours in a whole year and for the rest of time she’s.. she’s…”
“… she’s just a vegetable, man…”
“Am I being duped or something? Is this some live reality TV show where they fool people?”
“It’s all real man, believe me. I’m her doctor. I just wanted to know something from you…”
“What can I tell you? I don’t know anything! This is all so messed up!”
“Listen! Did you see Anju and Kapoor Saahab interact with each other today?”
“Was it cordial? I mean, were they like father-daughter? Was there genuine concern for each other and all that bull?”
“Yes. They love each other a lot.”
“I am going to press charges against Kapoor Saahab, today. I think he doesn’t care for Anju- he’s delusional and thinks that his daughter is a demon. The ward boy heard him say this when Kapoor Saahab was drunk last night…”
“Wait, what are you saying? He’s a really good father. Now that I think about it, he gave his daughter a boy-friend for 2 hours from the 8 hours that she has… that must have been very tough, but he did it for Anju’s happiness…”
“Dude, Anju is not Kapoor Saahab’s daughter”
“Well, I caught them kissing once…”
Huh? The old man and the skeleton girl? My skeleton girl? My Anju? Is the doctor playing some prank? Anju and Kapoor Saahab are a daughter-father pair, right? Not some kissing… Yew! No! They are… Wait, I never heard Anju call Kapoor Saahab as Dad or Father or Appa or Pops or … or anything else… She always called him Kapoor Saahab… It can’t be! The words- they called each other- they were- Honey, Sweety, Angel- I love you- they said that they loved each other- the old man and the skeleton girl- playing some sick games with me- I, I, huh… I couldn’t take it anymore…
I ran up the stairs to her room. I could hear Anju and Kapoor Saahab arguing loudly. I opened the door…
“Vicky!!” said Anju.
“What are you- you two?” I asked disgusted at the sight of them holding hands. Were they arguing while holding hands? Who are these people?
“I was just telling Kapoor Saahab, that I love Vicky, more than him!” said Anju cheerfully.
“And I was just telling her, that you, my dear Vicky boy, that you don’t fancy her!” said Kapoor Saahab, “Surely you have better women- and with Bhansaali Saahab’s movie coming up, I don’t think you’ll be sticking to just one girl, and definitely not some sick twisted girl!”
I looked at them in disbelief- “I love Anju- just now I was… I was crying, coz I was missing her…”
“You did?” asked Anju with a smile, “Awwww!”
Kapoor Saahab calmly reached inside his pocket to take out a pistol and shot at me. But he missed.
Anju screamed wildly and when she realized that I was not hurt, she looked at the window and said- “Kill Him!”
Kapoor Saahab instantly froze to death- and Anju began to shiver.
I could see her fingers, practically melting into the void near the window. Soon her entire left hand was missing. I was at my wits end- nothing was making sense. I grabbed her right hand and held her face in my palm. She looked so beautiful- so peaceful.
“You made me feel beautiful!” she said.
“You are beautiful, silly” I said, controlling my tears, “Don’t leave me… Please don’t leave me alone here…”
She bent her head towards me. Her entire body was almost gone. She looked like she was in pain now- I caressed her cheeks and kissed her. Lightly, at first- and soon, it became fierce- and painful and teary. I let go of her lips, which later said- “I’ll be… back, Chemist!”
And she was gone.
When I finally regained some sense, I realized that there was a dead body in the hospital room. Kapoor Saahab’s frozen eyes were looking straight at me- as if mocking in a victorious hurrah. It was very unsettling- the old man looked very happy. In his hands I could see the pistol, and a letter.
Surprisingly, the letter was addressed to me. Did the old man plan all this? Did he plan his death?
I read the letter-
If you are reading this, then it means that I’m dead! Finally! I am dead! What a liberating feeling!
I met Anju some 612 years ago. I was just a normal human then. But Anju wasn’t. Even to this day I don’t know what exactly she is. There are no stories that truly describe what she truly is- no a historical account, or rumors or myths.
All I can tell you is that, she’s crazy. And she’s powerful- very powerful. When I first met her- she had no human form. But we fell in love with each other. I hate myself for falling in love with her- I hate that wretched stupid moment, I fell for her- it was the beginning of my doom- and my immortality.
She wanted to make me happy- make me enjoy the pleasures a human body desires and longs to savor. But she couldn’t do that, the way she was. She had a body- which was invisible. My hands would touch her- yet I couldn’t feel her. She was, nothing more than thin air… And this pained her.
She longed for a human body. To feel, what I wanted to feel. So she did something crazy using her powers. She sealed her “good” part into the shape of a human girl and sealed her “evil” into the invisible beast, which constantly guards the weaker human girl. Somehow, she failed. The human girl could maintain her conscience for eight hours only, in an entire year. And the beast was just a beast- with no human intelligence.
She tried many times to gain a body with longer time-limit of being awake, but she kept failing- every year. As I aged- she began to feel more scared- and lonely. So she put a charm on me- and made immortal, and put me in charge of taking care of her vegetable of a body, throughout the year, just like what the beast did. And for eight hours, I was supposed to love her sickly body. It was sickening. Death would’ve been so much better than the life I was living with her…
There was no love… no death… for me. And every girl, I ever loved or cared for, during the time when Anju was asleep, the beast would find her, and freeze that girl to death. I kept trying to find new love, and the beast would take it away from me. I ended up killing many girls. I fought with the beast, countless times- the beast always left me a half dead cripple- and when Anju woke up, she’d find me and revive my body and this cycle repeated for what seemed like eternity.
There was no Escape. There was no Nirvana…
There was no hope… for a long, long time, till you came along.
I’m so happy that my savior is finally here… I’m not even sorry for what I’m putting you through. All I can say is that, I can understand your pain- and that Anju is very loyal, she’ll not leave you, no matter what you do- and that she’s very jealous. And very very callous.
Hope you like Romantic Horrors…
Hope you enjoy your “Lived happily ever after”
The next day I became accustomed to being lonely and helpless like the ghost in the act written by Anju. Additionally I was scared- the letter drove me nuts. Each second I looked at the window, and wondered whether Anju was dead or alive. I would go near the window, half-wishing that the thing would kill me and spare me from this misery of not knowing and the horror of Anju’s romance.
Soon my mind was playing tricks on me. I knew that the thing was near the window and yet I wouldn’t freeze- it wasn’t trying to harm me. My hands didn’t turn blue. And this scared me! Kill me already! I don’t want to live… for ever with Anju! Anju! Anju- I could almost feel her… I could almost hear her heart beat…
“You there?” I finally asked.
“Yes” was her reply.
“Anju!!!” I gulped. My whole body was trembling… I was… I was…
“Till death do us apart- make me feel beautiful!” and I could almost feel her kiss me. She was right- this is a romantic horror…
Just then my mobile phone rang. It displayed- “Bhansaali Saahab Calling…”