Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Mystery

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 17; the seventeenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following

"This is a real story. The names in the story are real.The three of us had gone to watch a Rugby match in Marseilles, France over the week end. While returning we discovered that the Public transport was not available till our hostel hence we decided to walk & lost our way. I have tried to re-visit the scare of that night."

Shobhan was vehemently thumping on the glass pane with his both hands but there was no reaction in the room. It seemed like; the sound was not reaching any ears. He continued it for a while but in vain. He stood on the staircase for a while, holding the sidebars & then returned to the other two. His face wore a sad but determined look; he had not given up yet.
Shashwat looked at his wristwatch but it was so dark it was an effort to see the time. He exclaimed, "Abbe!!! Its 01:00 AM it’s almost 45 minutes since we jumped over those gates. Let's sleep on these staircases, we have no option now. We would see that old man tomorrow morning when the door opens. I would give him two slaps below his ears". He said so but his face was communicating something else. There was fear on his face but it was good to talk. Talking somehow was reducing the fear.
Vithal asked him, "Can you translate this in French, Three Indians found dead outside a French chateau. Apparently they were trying to enter the castle. Further investigation is on" Hearing that Shobhan got angry. He shouted,"That’s a real possibility if you guys don’t shut up. Think guys!!!! Think".

Suddenly he saw some movement inside the room right at the end of the stair case. A shadow was moving around & then another coming closer to the window. Shashwat said, “Let’s run, it looks like a ghost". None of them believed in ghosts but the whole thing was quite scary.
It was a dark European night. Although it was September, it was too cold for the Indian trio. They were inside the courtyard of a French chateau. It was a big second empire style castle built on a hill. It was quite an imposing structure. It was surrounded by a big park at the back, which was going downhill. It would give a panoramic view of the city. On the two sides there were huge open plots which had started to look like jungles because of the shrubs & huge boulders lying around.
There were some big old trees in the garden in the courtyard. The shadows of which were adding to the darkness of the night.
The castle was a three story structure. The gothic style with those paired columns, boxy mansard roofs had made it look scarier. The front side had four round staircases going right to the top. They were all made of wrought iron. The only light which was on in the courtyard was to the right most corner of the building. The light & the Stair cases added to the look & made it scarier, almost like a scene from any hitchcockan movie. The more they were looking around; it would feel more & more scary. Suddenly the wind started blowing. The tree leaves fallen in the courtyard started moving around making that typical hissing sound. Shashwat now also realized that they had not noticed the noise of the night bugs, the crickets. He joked, "The sound of the night bugs is ditto like of those back home". He received another scold from Shobhan for this untimely joke.
Since they were already noticing the noises around that made them more skeptical. Shobhan suspected of hearing some noises from the close by buildings. He thought these sounds like the noise of the rowdy boys encountered by Vithal while going to
the castle. He turned to Vithal & enquired what had actually happened. The noise had become clearer now & they became fearful if the gang was coming towards the palace. After all they were in a port city & they all had heard about the gangs in a port city.
The trio was at Grenoble in France on an official assignment. Somebody at office drew their attention to the ongoing Rugby world Cup in France & they decided to watch a match. That had brought them in Marseilles. It was a late evening match. They had already been through lot of trouble for getting an accommodation in the unknown city. This castle was away from the city centre but never the less they had a place to return to. The manager had told them that, the castle would be closed by 10:30 & gates would be locked after that but especially for them he would open the gates if they return by mid-night. All they had to do was, make a telephone call. With the city maps at their disposal they made elaborate plans to return to the castle after the match. They had become confident of returning in time.
After enjoying the wonderful game of rugby they started towards the Castle. The suburban metro was on till a particular station, from where they had to walk to the castle. They disembarked at the right station but lost their way after that. After a long walk in the unknown city they had finally got to the palace, the youth hostel. But they had missed the deadline & the old man, the manager would not respond to any phone calls. They had made umpteen calls but none was responded to. They had given up on him & hence jumped in from the tall gate of the palace.

Presently, watching the shadows at the window Shobhan thought of giving it another try & he rushed to the window. He started talking to the shadow in the window. For the first time he got a response. The man was clearly terrified. Naturally so, it was unexpected to talk to a stranger in the middle of the night & that too, through the window.
Shobhan requested him if he could open the window & let them in. The man refused it. He said his girlfriend was afraid of the sight of total strangers at the window. He instead, asked Shobhan to keep away from the window or else he would call others of his group. It looked like a hopeless situation but shobhan was adamant. He continued his discussion unbothered. He had become more confident now. His urges turned into kind orders. After a while the man gave up on shobhan & decided to help. He came out & opened the door which was attached to the staircase. The moment he opened the door there was an alarm. The man got fearful & suddenly closed the door. The trio was still out. Clearly, they had missed the moment. But they now knew, somebody must have heard the alarm & there was scope. They gathered at the door, waiting for that somebody to come for the rescue. To their delight, the door got opened. Somebody just shouted to get in & close the door. The alarm had hardly blown & they all got in. That somebody was disappeared. He must have been afraid of an encounter with total strangers in the middle of the night. The trio rushed to their room & threw themselves on their beds. Nobody was in a mood to talk. Sleep came very easily & soon engulfed them to its world. The ordeal was finally over.

In the morning the old man came to their room for his reguler survey visit. He was shocked to see the boys sleeping calmly in the room. His face wore a mystical look. He threw some French words at them; they didn't know what that meant. Those were surely some French expletives.

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