blog post of Akshata Shanbhag

HIGH SPIRITS

This is the story of Vara and her family who moved into a new house. They later learn that the house is haunted. Will they decide to stay in that house even after they know it’s haunted? What are the turn of events that take place in that house? Read on to know more in this three part spooky drama – HIGH SPIRITS.

PART-1

“Wow Mother, I love this house,” said Sheena happily.

” See I told you – you would like this place ” Vara looked at Sheena and smiled.

” So darling did you like this house ?? ”  Vara asked her husband Tom.

” Yes, it’s nice ” replied Tom in his baritone voice. 

 

Vara along with her husband and daughter had shifted to their new house.  Vara had loved the house and had insisted her husband Tom that they move in here. Vara was an English professor and had got a job in the University and the house was in proximity. Tom was a lawyer and had taken a break from his work. He wanted to set up his office at home which needed some planning.  Sheena was in her fourth grade and her admission was done in a nearby school.

 

As it was Sheena’s first day at school, Vara had dropped her and after that, she had been to the University. Vara had a warm welcome at the University. She had made few friends. Over the weekend she had invited some of her colleagues home for lunch. When her colleagues had learnt about where she had lived, they were amazed.

 

They had asked Vara that what had made her move to that house. 

” What’s wrong with that house? I love that house. 

It’s just perfect for me and my family” Vara replied. 

Ms Joy looked surprised and asked –

” Don’t you know Vara they say that the house is haunted? ” 

“Haunted?? What are you saying Ms Joy? ” 

“Yes.  Ms Joy is right. Dint your realtor tell you about it ??. ”  Ms Rose queerly asked Vara. 

” I don’t believe in ghosts”. Vara replied sternly.

 

When Vara had got back home, she had informed Tom that she had invited her colleagues for lunch over the weekend. She looked at Tom and realised that he wasn’t listening.

” Tom I am talking to you. Are you even listening??”

Tom was furious. He stood up, looked at Vara and said – 

” Did you know this house was haunted, Vara??” 

” What is wrong with you Tom ?? 

Now please you don’t start all over again.

I have had enough of this at the University. Ms Joy, Ms Rose. 

Moreover, it’s been a week. Did you feel anything Tom ?? Did you ?? No right ?? ” 

” That’s not the point Vara ?? I am asking you did you know about it ?” 

” No Tom I wasn’t aware of it. ” 

 

” Mommy is this house haunted?” asked Sheena who had heard the conversation silently.

” Oh sweetie, no baby. Come here. ” 

Vara had opened her arms and Sheena came running to her and had hugged her tight. 

” There are no such things as ghosts. Okay, sweetie.

You are my brave little girl. Love you.

You go to your room and mommy will join you soon and you will tell me about your first day at school. Okay, sweetie ? “.

” Yes, mommy “. Saying this Sheena ran upstairs to her room. 

 

” Who told you about this Tom? ” 

” I had been to the market. When I told them I was new here and where I lived, this is what they told me that this place – that it is haunted.”

“Tom, Tom-Sssshhhh… lower your voice, please. 

I don’t want Sheena to listen to our conversation. She is scared already.”

” Scared ?? Oh yeah, I can see that. You should have thought about it before moving in here. 

You were in a hurry to shift. “

” Oh please, Tom. Stop it. I don’t find anything spooky about this place?? Do you ?” 

 

Tom had remained silent.  Then he looked at Vara and said –

” I had my dinner. I am tired. Good night” and had walked to the room upstairs. Vara had her dinner and joined her daughter to discuss her school and then had tucked her to sleep. 

 

The next morning at the breakfast table Sheena had asked her mommy if she could invite her friends too for the lunch on the weekend. Vara had agreed. 

“Tom, it would be nice if you invited your friends too.” 

” No Vara. I am not inviting anyone.”

Tom glanced at Vara and grinned. He then looked at Sheena and said-

” C’mon honey, you are getting late. I shall drop you at school. ” 

” Yes, daddy. I am coming.”

” Bye, mommy. Love you .”

” Love you too sweetie.”

 

At the University, Vara was curious to know about her house.  She wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to talk through that topic again. Vara sat at her desk and pondered over it. 

” We are sorry about yesterday Vara,” said Ms Joy in a low tone.

Vara looked at Ms Joy and asked her as to what had made them tell that their house was haunted. 

Ms Joy was a little reluctant at first but then since Vara had been persuasive, Ms Joy had to let slip.

Ms Joy began-

Arthur with his newly-wed wife Rita had moved to this house. They were in harmony. A couple of years later they had a daughter named Pia. After the birth of Pia, things had completely changed for them.  It was like an angel was born into that house. Arthur’s business had flourished, their wealth had expanded and everything was beautiful. 

 

Pia loved dancing, music. She was fluent in French and English.  Arthur was a French. She was sound academically. Pia was their sweetheart and treasure.

 

Ms . Joy looked at her watch and she had realised she had a class. She told Vara that she would continue the story tomorrow and excused herself. Vara had finished her lectures and she had headed home. She was eagerly waiting for the next day to hear about the family who lived here and what happened to their lives. 

 

“Ms Joy I have been waiting for you. I want to hear more. Please. ” 

“Vara, I have a class now and after that I am free. 

By noon. I shall surely tell you more. ” Vara nodded her head. 

Vara went on to take her class and had made some adjustments with the other professors so that she is free by noon. After both of them had finished their classes, they had headed out to the canteen. 

 

Ms Joy further continued- 

Carol was Pia’s nanny. Looking at all the wealth, she had become greedy. She wanted to rule. She had created misunderstandings between Arthur and Rita and their marriage had started falling out. Soon after Rita had left the house, Carol had married Arthur. Pia was staying with them and Carol thought that Pia was a hindrance in her path to success. She wanted to get rid of her. Carol had poisoned Pia. The poor child died in the arms of her father. Arthur could not come to terms with the death of his daughter. He slowly learnt that it was Carol behind this conspiracy. Furious Arthur banished Carol from the house and left in search of Rita. It is believed that the spirit of Pia lives in that house waiting for her parents to return home to her. No one knows what happened to Arthur, Rita and Carol. 

 

Vara’s heart had melted listening to the story. 

“But Ms Joy did you hear about any instances that have taken place thereafter from anyone who had moved in?”

” You can call me Joy .” Vara smiled and said “Sure.”

Joy further continued-

” People say they hear noises, cries, screaming.

They have felt unpleasant living in there. 

Hence that place was not being occupied for a long time. I was surprised when you moved in there not knowing the history of that place”.

 

” So far nothing has happened Joy. 

All good. None of us have heard anything like that. Maybe they don’t exist anymore”.

” I hope so Vara .” Both smiled and got back to their classes after they had their lunch.

All night Vara had kept recollecting what Joy had told her.  She wanted to tell Tom about it but later she had thought that it would disturb him more. 

 

The weekend had finally arrived and it was a lunch get together at home.  Vara and Tom were happy to meet Sheena’s friends. Everyone had a good time and it went about smoothly. Sheena loved her school and her new mates. She would call her friends home sometimes and play with them. Vara was happy that nothing ill had happened so far and was confident that things would go well for them. She had thought that all those were rumours about the house being haunted. 

PART-2

Vara had to attend week-long seminars and conferences in a different city. It was for the first time that she had to stay away from Sheena for so long. 

“I shall be back soon sweetie. Be a good girl and don’t trouble daddy.

Love you. Will miss you.”

“Yes, mommy I shall be a good girl. Love you too.

Mommy, please bring me a new toy.”

Vara smiled and hugged Sheena.

” Sure sweetheart,” Vara whispered into Sheena’s ears.

 

After a week, Vara was home and delighted to meet Sheena. 

” Hello, Tom “.

” Hi, babe” Tom replied. 

” What are you cooking tonight darling?” Asked Vara who was as hungry as a wolf.  

” Couple of minutes babe.  It’s ready.  Grilled Salmon and pasta “. 

” Pasta? But honey, Sheena doest enjoy pasta “.

” Yes, Vara. I know. But she told me that her best friend loves pasta and so she wants to eat it too.” 

Sheena had heard Vara’s voice and she had come downstairs running to her and hugged her.

” Missed you so much, sweetie.”

Moi aussi mommy”.

Vara looked at Sheena and smiled.

” What sweetie?” 

” Me too mommy. That’s what they say in French. ” 

” French? How do you know French Sheena ?” asked Vara curiously. 

” She has been speaking a couple of French words these days,” said Tom. 

” My best friend taught me, mommy. ” 

” What’s her name, Sheena? ” Vara was eager to know more about her. 

” First you tell me what have you got for me? Then I shall tell you about her.”

Sheena was jumping to know what Vara had got for her. 

” Okay, I shall get fresh and come. Then il open my bag. Okay. I have got you a teddy.”

Hourra, hourra” Sheena was excited. 

 

The next morning Vara had asked Tom about Sheena’s friends. He told her that some of them would come home to play with her and sometimes Sheena would visit them at their home. They all would take turns. Vara was interested to know about her friends. 

 

In the next few weeks, Vara had got busy at the University as exams were approaching. She also had few visits to other Universities which meant that she was away from home frequently. Tom would look after Sheena well. They enjoyed each other’s company. He would take her to park, movies, help her out with her studies. Sheena had loved it too. There were fewer restrictions on junk food- candies, chocolates, ice cream. Sheena would tell her dad that it was their secret. Tom would laugh and nod his head.

 

In a short period, Sheena knew many words in French. Tom was curious to know how she had learnt. So one day at the park, he had asked her about it. Sheena had replied by saying her best friend had taught her.  Tom wanted to meet her.  

” Sheena, what’s her name darling? Introduce me to her. 

Does she come home? Or do you visit her?

I want to thank her. Your French is improving day by day “.

” Sure daddy. She is right here in the park playing. Let me show you.”

Sheena pointed her finger at the roller rink.

” See there daddy. There she is. 

She is good at roller skating. She said she will teach me as well.”

Many kids were playing in that area and Tom could not figure out to whom Sheena was pointing at. Just then he had received a call from Vara and Tom had started talking to her.  

 

After a few days when Vara had returned home, she had found that Sheena’s behaviour had changed. 

” Oh, Vara! You are stressed out.

I have been with her all this while and I don’t see any difference.”

” Exactly Tom. You have been with her all the time and so you can’t make out the difference.

But  I can feel it. I can sense it. Something is going on.” 

” Vara. Please. Stop it.  

I need to concentrate on my work too. It would be great if you cut out on your travel and focus on Sheena.  Then maybe you will know what exactly is the behavioural difference.”

 

” Cut on travel? I am not travelling for fun Tom.

It’s work. I too would love to spend time at home with you and Sheena.

You are talking as though I love spending time outside.

It’s exhausting for me too. ” 

” I did not mean that way, Vara. 

But then you must talk to the Dean and see if something can be done about it. 

The last couple of months, you were hardly at home.

You know I support you but then…I hope you are getting what I am trying to say.” 

” Yes, Tom. I do. 

Thank you.” 

 

Vara thought maybe Tom was right and she should focus more on Sheena which lately she hasn’t been doing. But Vara had felt it from the heart that something for sure was not right. 

 

Vara had dropped Sheena the next day to school on the pretext of talking to her in the absence of Tom. 

” So tell me, sweetie, what did you and daddy do when I was away ?” Vara had initiated the conversation. 

” Movies, park, games.

We had an awesome time mommy. Daddy helps me with my homework too.”

“Hmm…so how are your friends doing? 

Daddy tells me that they visit home and sometimes you visit theirs.

Are they the same friends who had come over for lunch?? “

” Yes, mommy. They are the same friends. 

I have also made a few more in school.

We play a lot of games together. ” 

” Daddy was telling me about your best friend who taught you french.

Why don’t you tell me about her ?.”

” I showed her to daddy. She was in the park the other day.

But then she did not like it. She told me if I spoke about her to anybody, she will stop playing with me. 

So pardon ( sorry) mommy I cannot tell you about it. 

Excusez-moi, mon école est ici. Au revoir.” ( Excuse me,  my school has arrived, goodbye). Saying this Sheena had got off the car. 

 

Part-3

Vara was not happy with Sheena’s behaviour. She had decided that she will find out about that girl. Every morning Vara had started dropping Sheena at school. They would start the conversation and Vara in one way or another would bring up the topic about her best friend. When Vara would bring up the topic, Sheena would either deviate or remain silent.

 

” Sheena, sweetie. It’s a late baby. Come soon. Hurry. Mom is waiting.”

Sheena was still in her nightwear. When Tom saw Sheena coming downstairs, he asked her-

” Why aren’t you dressed to school Sheena?” 

” Daddy, my best friend is not playing with me .” 

Wiping Sheena’s tears, Tom asked Vara-

” What happened darling? ” 

” Mommy keeps asking me about her. She does not like it. 

So she says I don’t want to play with you. 

If your parents know about me and my family,  then they won’t let you play with me.

It’s been two days Daddy she is not playing with me. “

Tom looked at Vara-

” Vara – what is happening? What is all this? ” 

” Tom I was just trying to…..”

” Please leave Vara. I shall drop her to school.”

Vara was angry-

” What do you mean if we know about her family? 

What are her parents doing? 

Are they thieves? Or did they go to jail for murder?

Do they do odd jobs? 

What is it, Sheena? 

 

“Vara calm down.

Hear yourself out. Don’t you dare talk to Sheena this way?

What is wrong with you?” 

Vara looked at Sheena. She was in tears.

” Vara please leave. You are getting late.”

Tom had pulled Vara aside –

I will handle this. Don’t worry.

I know your concern.

By talking like this, you will only make things worse.

You go ahead. We will talk later about this.” 

Vara looked at Sheena and waved at her. Sheena had turned her face.

Tom had gestured to Vara and had assured her that he will look into it. Vara had left for the university.

 

Vara could not take away her mind from this topic. She had kept thinking about it while driving. Even at the university, she sat at her desk and tried to put her mind at ease. All of sudden, she had remembered Joy’s story about her house- Arthur and Rita had a daughter-Pia. She was fluent in English and French. Vara had begun to connect the dots. 

 

It slowly became clear to Vara as to how Sheena had started to talk in French, relish French food, show interest in dance and music. Vara could not believe this was happening. She had immediately called Tom and asked him about Sheena. 

” Where is Sheena- Tom? ” 

” Relax Vara. She is upstairs in her room.

It’s okay to miss school one day. You miss University sometimes. Don’t you ??.

I promised her that we will not talk about her best friend. 

She also promised us that she will introduce us to Pia soon and until then we don’t discuss it. ” 

” Wait wait wait …what? What did you just say Tom – Pia?

Did you just say, Pia? ” 

“Yes, I did. I never asked her.

She only mentioned to me that her name is Pia. Do you know her Vara ?”

” Tom, I am coming home right now. Don’t let Sheena go anywhere. I am coming.”

Sheena drove as fast as she could and reached home. 

” Sheena, Sheena- where is Sheena- Tom ?”

” She is upstairs Vara. Could you please tell me what is happening?”

” Sheena come downstairs. Sheena” Vara called out loudly. 

 

Sheena had come out of her room.

” Are you okay sweetie?” 

Sheena darling, why are you dressed like this? Vara asked anxiously. 

Sheena had worn a long dress with a white apron, lace collars with a lace headdress.

They had never seen her dressed earlier like this.

What are you wearing sweetie? Tom asked Sheena curiously.

Sheena looked at Tom and Vara and smiled and said – 

“Hello Papa, Hello Maman” 

Tom and Vara looked at each other and were surprised. 

Vara moved closer to Tom and said –

” What are you saying, sweetheart?

Sheena, it’s Daddy and Mommy sweetie.”

” Yeah, it’s Daddy and Mommy for Sheena. 

But for me, it’s Papa and Maman

I am Pia. We are a happy family now .”

 

**********

THE END 

 

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