The needles of my watch barely moved. I still repented for having nodded my head for this dare. Three hours of stay in this abandoned ACT canteen! No one with the right amount of cerebral matter would have stepped forward with guts and courage to perform this dare. But what could poor Jasmine do in order to prove her existence in that class of fifty?
I have come across many rumours about the place where I was literally stuck. But the most heard one amongst them was about Adora Mathew. The very utterance of that name sends chills down my spine. Adora, a pharmaceutical student of ACT, never got a chance to experience the real happiness of a family even though she had a huge one. They were always behind wealth and unfortunately forgot her. She eventually grew in her own world of loneliness and darkness and this lifestyle also made the psychopathic shade of Adora take form.
Her meritorious entry into ACT paved the way for a whole new thriller story that the campus was yet to experience. The word Adora was never pronounced without the name Charles, Charles Thomas- the senior server of act canteen and perhaps an eligible person to get hooked up with (keeping in mind his looks). Yes, a pretty handsome one with a good physique. Even the gatekeeper of the campus was well aware of the affair between Adora and that scoundrel. Oh! What did I just say? If Adora were here she would have turned me into ashes. Such was the love between these two.
I suddenly smelt something beautiful! Something sweet! And of course strange! It was the fragrance of Daphne. What? Yes, those Daphne that Adora was fond of! In fact, obsessed with! Was she here? I couldn’t stop thinking of all the horror scenes that featured in all spooky movies that I have watched until then. I made up my mind to definitely not do a 180-degree turn. And then out of nowhere, I heard murmurs! I prayed to all types of good spirits to free me from that canteen. Oh please!
That gave me relief. I was sure that the dogs inside the campus were trying to frighten me. I calmed myself. I could see nothing in the dark that was encircling me except for some creepy figures that were results of my hallucinations, I presumed.
Ahh! Dogs! This made one incident find its way out my memory lane. Once, Charles was caught red-handed for trying to break into a mansion and one of those patrolmen called him a DOG. You know what his Juliet did? She literally kidnapped that policeman and made the street dogs enjoy his flesh! Adora was perhaps worshipped by those dogs for such a gastronomical delight! A real psychopath!
Now, I felt that the scent of Daphne to be much stronger. Was she approaching me? Perhaps sitting beside me? I felt too scared. I got up and started to stroll around that burnt building in search of matchsticks and candles. I came to the window, where this couple had spent most of their quality time. I took each step with fear. I stood near the ruined remains of the window. I noticed some inscription on the jambs, but could hardly see it with clarity. The faded streetlight helped me guess those engraved words as ACT. ACT? Argh! Adora Charles Thomas! Perhaps, they could have enjoyed this acronym. Wait! Something else was written next to it. I took a closer look at it. ‘COUNT YOUR LAST HOURS!’ I stood speechless. THUD! Someone was about to bang his or her palm on my face but was interrupted by the glass in between. I almost fell down, closing my eyes. Then I started to run back and occupy the former position. I just coiled myself in the fold of my arms, deterred by what I just saw.
Ouch! I felt a sudden prick. Mosquitoes? Oh man! Even Adora can spare me, but definitely not these tiny devils! Ahhh! These reminded me of the chocolate incident. Preethi once ordered hot chocolate but got cold chocolate instead. Preethi never cared for decency and fired Charles. And now you know who would have come to his rescue, but never guess how she would have revenged. Yes! She made a new cup of hot chocolate and added MORTIN to it so that the drink can turn to be a super-duper mortal portion. Preethi was then admitted in hospital. Adora escaped the law and you know how.
Every flashback that I was thinking of made my situation and state of mind worse. I then knew that it was past 3 hours, but no one came to open the door. Coming to a conclusion that only I can be of great help to myself, I went to open the door with a dupe key that I stole from Arti’s bag. I inserted the key into the keyhole but it didn’t fit in properly. It was only then I really started to panic. I turned the key in all possible ways, but my attempts went futile. Out of nowhere, I heard someone breathing down my neck. It was a heavy puff. I was damn sure it was her!
Suddenly, she curbed my neck! I somehow managed to push her away and fled from that spot. But that wasn’t a female touch. Perhaps it was him?
I kept running inside that vast haunted canteen without knowing my destination. Suddenly someone caught hold of my ankle and made me hit the floor with a loud thud! I hurt my forehead. It was surely in need of first aid. But the first need of the hour was the smallest possibility to elude.
I raised from the floor like someone who had been victimized by a hangover. On the spur of moment, a streak of fire went past me and attacked the curtains on my left. What! A fire! Was that canteen repeating itself? That place went abandoned because of the fire started by the duo for a reason unknown. Their bodies were recovered in the form of mere ashes.
Within one batting of my eyelid, half the place was set ablaze. I stood there, in the middle of flames and fumes, with no idea, no emotion, in fact, no life! I was about to become unconscious when I spotted some figure amongst the smoke. Was that Charles! No! It was only a gas cylinder that erupted and came flying toward me, almost hitting my clavicle.
I heard noises all around! It was full of commotion! I struggled to separate my eyelids. I could see some letters in red. People with white aprons were moving around me. Where on the earth was I? My mind was only busy thinking about the origin of that gas cylinder. I tried to open my eyes wider. My whole body felt numb. Opening the door, came a man in white. With gloves and surgical mask of course. I gave him a keen look. He slowly lowered his mask and brought his face under the light. “Hey, Jasmine”. These were the faint words from his mouth. It was Charles! Charles Thomas! He took out a scalpel from his coat pocket and lowered his head towards me. “Dare not a word against her!”Tweet