Chetan found the room comfortable. It was bright, well ventilated and had an attached bathroom. There was a small kitchenette too. He had a separate entrance though there was a connecting door. The landlord and his wife appeared decent. Their only condition when he told he was a bachelor was no alcohol should be consumed in the room or women brought for stay overnight. On the second day as he was leaving for office, one gentleman standing at the gate of a house on the other side of the road smiled at him and asked “Are you a new tenant in number 12?”When he nodded in affirmative, he asked “I hope you found it peaceful in the night”
“Why do you ask? It was quite peaceful and I like the room”
“Good, I wish it continues to be so. I think the rent must be cheap” he replied with a smirk on his face
“Why, do you anticipate any problem? Yes, the rent is not high. It’s getting late. Will see you later, Sir”
“No, no.If you are fine, I am happy” he replied and hurried inside his house.
That night he was watching cricket match up to 11pm and then retired to bed. He could not sleep. It was not hot and the fan was in full speed. As he was recollecting the conversation had with the neighbour, he felt the fragrance of jasmine flowers in full bloom. It was unmistakable, in close quarter and definitely a lady. His heart beat fast and he switched on the light and sat on the chair opposite the computer table. There was another whiff that brushed past his nose that gave him goose bumps. He wiped his forehead and neck the perspiration. He was certain there was no jasmine plant outside.
“Is there anyone other than me in my room? If yes, please reveal yourself or change the pen on the table from the present vertical to horizontal position” he said
It was quiet and the long silence was unnerving. When he repeated the question, the pen changed its position to horizontal. Fear gripped him but he was unwilling to wake up the land lord.
“Please reveal yourself. Who are you and why do you scare me? Is this what the neighbor meant this morning?”
After some silence, he heard some vague noises before a squeaky one came.”Strain your ears and listen carefully. I cannot show my form. But you can see my picture in the drawing room. I am their daughter and when my lover ditched me after long friendship and putting me in a difficult position, I had to end my life. My parents would not have told you. I was alone and feeling lonely. I am glad you have come. I will never harm you.Infact I have taken a liking for you and we can be friends”
With fear gone, he asked “Yes, I have seen your picture on the first day I came to meet your parents. You looked very beautiful. How I wish you were alive? How can I be friend with someone without form?”
“True, I have no form. But I can enter any lifeless body. Would you like to test my ability? There is a kitten moving here. It must be somewhere here. Find out and strangle it. I will enter and show it running”
“Really, that would be wonderful. He went to kitchenette. It was not there. But he found it under the cot .When he prodded it came running and jumped on his lap with a meow. He had not the heart to kill it but she prompted him to do quickly. He closed his eyes hard and strangled the kitten. It became limp and lay dead when he left it on the floor. Within moments, the kitten came alive and jumped on his lap again and snuggled close to him. He took it in his both arms and kissed it. It in turn purred and rubbed its face against his.
They were playing with each other till the kitten spoke. “I agree it would be no fun to be friend with kitten. You must get a lifeless human female form and then I am yours permanently. We can go away somewhere and be happy”
“Where can I get a lifeless body of a young woman? If I kill someone I will be charged with murder” he said.
“Where is the murder and where is the body? I will be in her and we will be in love ever after.”
“True, it didn’t strike me. How can I find a good looking woman?”
“Have you seen Vinodhini, the maid working in landlord’s house? She is young like me and very beautiful with long hair and hazel eyes. You would like her. Call her tomorrow afternoon on some pretext when the old couple is asleep. I will be with you. We will accomplish the migration smoothly. Don’t be afraid, I am here to help you”
Next day, he brought her on some ruse and when the kitten cried”meow, meow” he was emboldened and grasped her neck and started strangling. She was a strong woman and let out loud screams twice before she became limp and fell on the floor.
The kitten came near her and went round her many times sniffing. But Vinodhini did not get up as was expected. Meanwhile there were thuds on the door with shouts “Open the door”.Chetan looked at the kitten helplessly as it ran under the cot.
Meanwhile the landlord and the neighbours broke open the door to witness Vinodhini lying on the floor. Someone found a dead kitten under the cot. The landlord felt for breath under Vinodhini’s nostril and found it feeble. She was not dead and the spirit could not enter as Chetan had not done his part of job well. The spirit in the kitten flew away leaving Chetan to fend for himself.
All his pleas to the landlord that his dead daughter’s ghost was in the kitten were laughed at as the picture in the hall was that of landlady when she was young and they had no daughter.
TVs were blaring about the psycho’s strangling of a kitten and attempted assault on a young woman and her providential escape in the heart of city.