My feet tingled; my head felt woozy but everything that I felt then was my body’s interpretation of fear. Down there among the rubble of dry grass and decaying bark was a cloth less corpse. But irony in that was that she was kneeling and was extending one pale hand to me. Struck in the moment like a deer caught in the headlight, I slowly shook my head. But her responses to me were unrelated. Then she slowly bled from various points, purple bruises covering her skin and hair falling away in lumps. I gulped and dare not blink. She extended her hand and was conversing with me again…it was then that another thought came into my shocked mind. The minute I thought of it, my mind conjured up images of what was behind me. I don’t know why I turned; but I did. Staring into my face was another pale-skin shedding corpse, smiling cheerfully even with a broken jaw.
I ran. Adrenaline took control and I fled the scene. I ran down the stairs, two at a time, and into the first room that I saw. The painters had abandoned it, probably on their lunch break. Maybe they thought that I’d left sooner. More fear surged and I went down the flight of stairs to the main door.
‘Please God’ I whispered before I check the handle. It looked like my prayers were facing a network problem for it was locked. The sound of echoing footsteps made me leave the looked door and into the coat room. It was pitch dark inside, and the smell of new paint clubbed with limited supply of oxygen made it harder to keep conscious. These ‘beings’ weren’t ghosts. If it were so I’d have not bothered, braced myself and faced them. But these were living corpses. I didn’t know how they landed up here, and why they were decaying old but they were real. And I needed help; enough of pretending that I can handle it on my own. So what did I do? Stupidly enough, I prayed. A bit of concentration and chanting, I got a light bulb idea. Rather simple really. I yanked out my phone and dialled in Lila’s number. Her company was nearby and maybe she could come and haul me out of this. Or at least get the damn painters to open the door.
‘Hello?’ a voice cracked on the other line.
‘Lila! It’s me. Come get me. I’ll explain later.’ I shortened my sentences as the line was cracking.
‘Vicky was on--way there-- her boxes-- her room. Hasn’t --reached?’
‘Lila I can’t hear!’
‘Where are you?’ I heard her yell.
‘The Row House!’. By the time I finished the call I was desperately in need of air. Gasping loudly I bust the door open and welcomed the fresh air that came. The footsteps weren’t to be heard now so I tip-toed cautiously to the next room. It had been painted already, done in with shades of purple. Vicky’s color. Lila said something about Vicky’s boxes in her room. I guess the eye covets what it wants to see and my eyes rested on the huge cardboard box. ‘Vicky’ was neatly written across it with a star next to it. Definitely Vicky. But something was wrong with the image. Something impractical, something twisted wrong…something red in the middle of all her purple.
I inched forward to the box and slowly opened the flaps.