"Sartaj, stop! Don't go that way," Bittu shouted, waving frantically towards Sartaj.
Sartaj turned back to see his cousin rushing towards him, his eyes wide with fear. "What's wrong, Bittu?" Sartaj asked, his brow furrowed in confusion.
"We can't go that way. It's too dangerous," Bittu panted, trying to catch his breath.
Sartaj and Bittu were out exploring the woods near Bittu's house. As a kid, Sartaj had visited his native village often, but he was never allowed to venture out into the forest. Now that he had graduated, he thought he was old enough to explore the nearby woods with Bittu as his guide.
"What's dangerous?" Sartaj asked, feeling a surge of curiosity.
Bittu's face turned pale. "The old house. It's over there," he pointed towards a dilapidated house in the distance.
"What old house? The haunted one?" Sartaj had heard rumors of an old house in the middle of the forest that was thought to be haunted by the villagers.
"Yes, the haunted one. No one goes near it," Bittu said in a hushed tone.
Sartaj was skeptical. "Do you really believe that?" he asked.
Bittu nodded gravely. "Every few years, we hear weird sounds from the old house - sounds of prayer bells, utensils, and even screams. If you don't lock yourself inside your house when you hear those sounds, the demon takes you away."
Sartaj scoffed. "That's just a superstition," he said dismissively.
Bittu's expression turned serious. "It's not a superstition, Sartaj. I've heard those sounds myself. Every time we hear them, people go missing from the village. It generally lasts for a week."
Sartaj was intrigued despite himself. "When was the last time it happened?" he asked.
"It hasn't happened for almost 4 years now. But forget about it, let me show you the waterfall. It's just half a kilometer from here, and it's really beautiful," Bittu said, eager to change the subject.
Sartaj agreed and followed Bittu to the waterfall, but he couldn't stop thinking about the old haunted house. He thought the villagers were illiterate and superstitious and felt that the place was perfect for some interesting content for his Instagram Stories.
The next morning, Sartaj woke up early and headed towards the old house. It was more than a mile inside the woods. When he finally reached there, he saw "om" signs written on a stone fence wall surrounding the house. Sartaj figured it was done by the villagers as a part of some holy ritual to lock the imaginary demons inside the house.
Sartaj started recording a video. "Hello, friends, I'm at my village, and right now, I'm at this really cool old haunted house."
"Apparently, people hear screams and weird sounds from inside this house, and the villagers are so scared of it that they lock themselves in whenever they hear those sounds," Sartaj continued, walking towards the partially broken door.
He carefully opened the door, and as the weight of the door shut it again, he entered the house. It was quite dark inside as all the windows were closed, and the stench of decay was overwhelming.
Sartaj switched on the flashlight for the video. "Guys, this is really scary. This place is stinking. I don't think anyone in the village has ever walked inside this house," he said, flashing the torch in all directions.
While walking around the room, Sartaj suddenly felt a jolt as if he had missed a step. Under his right foot was nothing but air, and it was too late to recover his balance. Sartaj fell into a dark, deep pit, not deep enough to kill him, but enough to break his right foot.
As his heart pounded with excruciating pain, Sartaj groped around in the darkness for his mobile phone. His hand brushed against something that felt like a stick, which he used to clear away the debris around him. But time was passing, and as fear gripped him, he began to scream for help.
"Help! Someone help! Is there anyone there?"
Sartaj continued to scream for several minutes before finally locating his phone. He tried calling Bittu, but there was no network. Desperately, he used the mobile's torch to survey his surroundings. It was then that he realized he was in a borehole about 20 ft deep and 6 ft wide, surrounded by skeletons. The stick he had found was actually a bone.
Looking down at the ground beneath the skeletons, Sartaj saw that it was scorched, with partially burnt pieces of furniture and household items scattered about. The shock of this discovery left him too frightened to even scream.
Scanning the area for anything that might help him make noise, he saw some utensils lying nearby. Sartaj began to strike them together as loudly as possible, hoping that someone passing by might hear him. Then, he noticed a prayer bell in the hands of one of the skeletons. With shaking hands, he picked it up and rang it as loud as he could, hoping that its sound would carry far enough to bring him help.
Thank you for reading. I would love to hear your feedback in comments. If you enjoyed it, please consider sharing it with others. Would mean a lot :)