The 5 year old girl
Our village had a small store where my father and two of his brothers sold vegetables and groceries. The land my father and uncles farmed was also in our possession. A joint family of nearly 15 siblings lived in our ancestral home. After school, we used to listen to stories from our grandparents every night after dinner. We were in the same school (there was only one school in our village). Our winter tradition was to light a campfire and eat dinner around it during the colder months. Past dinner, we would sit around and listen to these tales. Occasionally, my grandfather would tell us spooky stories that he had heard, or had experienced. At that time, we had never seen a ghost, or didn’t even understand what it meant — but listening to those stories gave us goosebumps.
Soon, my father and uncles decided that it was time that we expanded our business — being in a village, our shop had very less customers. Although we did make sufficient money — it was time we looked at a better opportunity. All in all, it was decided that we set up another shop in the nearby Shree taluk, and my father can look after it. Three brothers from Kerala had rented an attached shop with two rooms for us to live in a month later. My father, mother and I moved there with them. Because our shop was located in the center of town, on the main road, it was very successful and my father made a lot of money because of it. In the meantime, my mother helped him run the store while I went to school nearby.
An iron staircase behind the shop connected two rooms in our house that were located above it. It had a sloping roof and a lot of high ceilings. Rooms used to be dark because of small windows, which made it difficult to see out of them during the day. Every day, I used to stand on a small balcony connected to the living room and watch the people wandering by, as well as vehicles passing by on the street.
The fact that I was used to living in a large family made me feel incredibly alone in this house. The fact that there weren’t many kids in our neighborhood meant that I spent most of my time alone, while my parents took care of the store.
The incident occurred on Sunday afternoon. While eating lunch, I stood on the balcony, staring out at the main road. There was a sudden sound of footsteps coming up the iron stair. It was my mother, I figured, since my father was out of the house doing some work. The footsteps halted, and I turned around to see what was going on. To my surprise, there wasn’t anyone there at all! It’s just that I didn’t give it a lot of thought beforehand. As I lay on my bed that afternoon, I heard what sounded like someone in the next room was tearing papers. Despite my nervousness, I went inside — and there was no one there!
In the evening, I told my mother about this experience. Her response was to make fun of me and tell me that I was getting too lonely and that my mind was making up all of this. I nodded in agreement and went back to sleep after that..
On the following day, one of my uncles, my two sisters, and a cousin came to see us. I was overjoyed — we had a great time playing all day and eating dinner together. Finally, it was time for us to retire for the night. We were awakened by an unexpected sound. I could hear someone walking up the stairs, so I assumed it was them. A corner caught my attention as I woke up and began to look around me (from where the stairs reached up). There was a small girl with loose hair standing in the corner of the room in the darkness. “Meena, what are you doing here anyway?” I shouted at her, assuming she was my younger sister.
So the girl was scared, and she took off running down the stairs. Then I looked at my side and realized that I had woken up in a frenzy to follow her. The corner was occupied by my sisters and cousin.
On several occasions over the next few days, I heard footsteps and saw this girl again. I was so scared that I even tried telling my parents about it. It was obvious that they both had a lot on their plates, but they kept telling me that it was all in my head.
Unexpectedly, a noise awakened me one night while I was sleeping. From the loft above me, it sounded as if someone was crawling across the ceiling. I awoke in a panic and stared up at the ceiling, trying to see in the darkness — and then I spotted her! Up there was a little girl, probably around four or five years old, staring directly at me. Her hair was down and she was smiling. Her progress increased as I kept my gaze on her, and eventually she reached the loft’s perimeter.
A loud scream came from me when I saw the girl look back at me before disappearing right in front of my very eyes. As I continued to scream, my parents awoke and comforted me. Then, I told them the whole story of what had happened. However, my father told me that must be a nightmare, but my mom seemed convinced that it wasn’t just a nightmare.
After that, I didn’t see her again. When our landlord and his wife visited us for lunch one day, we were pleasantly surprised. After lunch, I sat with my mother and listened to her chat with the landlord’s wife while I ate my meal. It was revealed to my mother by the landlord’s wife that they had a small daughter who died of typhoid when she was only five years old. As soon as my mother and I heard this, we were both terrified and stared at each other.
This article was written by Brandsandu