Death Loop

Death Loop

It was 5 a.m. on the 18th of August, Priyanka was already in the kitchen. She heard Arnav’s alarm go off in the bedroom. When the alarm kept ringing for some time, she went to switch it off. She got worried when she saw Arnav sweating and restless.

“Arnav, wake up. What’s happening to you?” She shouted and shook him. Arnav woke up and sat straight in bed.

“What happened?” She enquired again.

“I’m ok, just a nightmare I guess.”

“Oh, thank God. I got so scared. Go freshen up, breakfast is ready, we have to leave as soon as possible to beat the city traffic.”

“Sure, I’ll be out in ten minutes.”

Priyanka and Arnav Malhotra were a young couple in their twenties. They were both techies who had married recently and decided to have their own humble abode in Mumbai. They were gripped by wanderlust and were often on the move. Mahabaleshwar, a picturesque hill station in the Western Ghats, was one of their favourite destinations. They made it a point to drive down to Mahabaleshwar at least twice a year. There was a stretch of about 50 kilometres that ran through dense forest with no settlements, barring one old mansion. This old mansion was reminiscent of a lost era. There were stories about the mansion being haunted, but Arnav disregarded them as myth. This place lured Arnav each time they drove past it but up until that day, he had managed to resist the temptation, or so he thought.

He got ready and came for breakfast.

“Hey, Priyanka, I was thinking,” he stopped.


“On this trip, let us stop and check out the old mansion. What do you say?”

“The haunted one, you mean?”

“Yes, but don’t tell me you believe ghost stories,” he chuckled.

“I don’t, but I prefer not to take chances.”

“I don’t know, this place always seems to draw me to itself. We have stopped at the gate often, let’s check it from inside this time.”

“That is one place I don’t want to go. It looks sad and gloomy even on a beautiful sunny day. You want to go, be my guest!”

“You’re not sporting at all! I’ll go by myself.”

“All the best!” She said, “I’m done with my breakfast, I’ll go get ready now.”

They got into their car, put on some happy music and left at 6 o’clock in the morning. As per plan, they managed to beat the city traffic. Before the city woke up, they were away. Four hours into their journey, Arnav realised Priyanka looked worried.

“What’s the matter sweetheart?”


“Come on, tell me, what happened?”

“Your mansion is close by. We have been driving through this forest for half an hour. Don’t go in there, love. I don’t have a good feeling about it.”

“Oh, don’t worry,” he said. “I’ll be alright.”

Priyanka did not reply. Soon they were there, Arnav pulled up right in front of the gate and she rolled down her window.

“Looks kind of spooky,” she said, looking at the two-storey mansion.

“It’s all in your mind, honey.”

“If you insist, go ahead, I’m not coming. Park the car a little away from the gate, please. And be careful, alright?”

“I will, don’t worry.”

Arnav parked the car a few meters away from the gate and got out. 

Arnav walked to the gate and looked inside for any signs of it being inhabited.

‘Looks deserted alright,’ he thought.

The gate was tall and made of iron. Years of standing unattended showed on its rusted surface while most of the paint has scaled off. He climbed up the boundary wall and jumped inside. He landed to the sound of dry leaves crackling under his feet. He started walking towards the porch when he noticed a pen lying on the ground.

“You look new, you shouldn’t be here,” he said as he picked up the pen and put it in his pocket.

There were two French windows, one on either side of the main door. Before trying to open the door, he walked towards one of the windows. He cleaned the glass with his handkerchief and looked inside. The house was empty barring a couple of sofa sets covered with a big cloth each. He returned to the door and found a note on the door latch which read, ‘Please do not enter’. He laughed, tore the paper and tried to push open the door, only to find it locked. The house was old and the locks were corroded. When Arnav applied a little force, the lock gave way.

The door creaked loudly as Arnav pushed it open. The door had been opened after decades it seemed. A strong gust of wind followed Arnav into the house. It set in motion the old wooden wind chimes, the sound of which startled Arnav.

“Silly me,” he said to himself when he realised it was just the wind chimes. He wiped the sweat off his brow and tiptoed inside. Another gust of wind carried a lot of dry leaves and scattered them in the hall room. The mansion had lost its grandeur but there was evidence there of how majestic it must have once been. A huge crystal chandelier in the centre of the hall was covered with cobwebs and dust. The staircase to the first floor had beautifully carved railings. Huge frames hanging on the wall were covered with so much dust, one could barely see whose portrait it was. Arnav noticed a cupboard in the corner. Curiosity got the better of him and he opened it. A squeaking mouse jumped onto him from inside the cupboard.

“Get off me!” Yelled Arnav as he tried to shove the mouse away. Arnav’s heart was pounding as sweat trickled down his temples. He saw a photo album inside and took it out. 

He dusted the album and was about to open it when he heard someone softly call his name.

“Arnav,” called a woman. Arnav was startled and scared. The woman laughed; her laughter echoed in the empty hall. Suddenly the door at the back flung open. Arnav dropped the album and walked into the backyard. It was less of a backyard and more of a jungle back there. As he walked further in, amongst the wild growing shrubs and plants he noticed a few tombstones. As he read the names one by one, he stumbled upon a freshly dug grave, the tombstone on which read – Arnav Malhotra.

“What the f…,” he cursed. “I have to get out of here now!”

He ran into the mansion towards the main door but tripped on the photo album and fell. He couldn’t just walk past the album. He picked it up and opened it. It had photos of various people with their date of birth and date of death written below. As he flipped through the album, he saw his was the last photo with 18th August mentioned as the date of his death. He threw the album away and ran out of the front door. To his horror, the main gate was guarded by a huge menacing black wolf.

The mystical wolf had red blood thirsty eyes and showed off his huge canines when he howled. When Arnav tried to go towards the gate, the wolf closed him down. When Arnav backed down, so did the wolf.

“What the hell is this,” he yelled. “I must call Priyanka.”

With trembling hands, he somehow managed to remove the phone from his pocket. To his horror, he had no network.

“Come on, you piece of garbage,” he yelled as he searched for network. 

“I shouldn’t have come here,” he cursed himself and burst into tears.

“Get away from me,” he shouted and threw the phone at the wolf. The phone went right through him and out of the gate. As soon as it crossed the perimeter of the mansion, it started ringing.

“This place is cursed, haunted,” he shouted. “I must write a warning so that no one else enters this mansion ever again.” He took a piece of paper from his pocket and wrote on it, ‘Please do not enter’. The wolf howled again and Arnav dropped the pen right there. He turned towards the mansion and hung the note on the latch of the main door. He ran into the mansion then, towards the backyard to try and find another exit.

As he was running through the mansion, he heard the woman’s voice again.

“Why are you trying to run away Arnav? You can come here by your will, but you cannot leave by your will. You are mine now.”

Arnav rushed into the backyard, running away from the mansion, looking behind to check if he was being followed. He failed to notice a branch in his path because he was looking behind. He tripped and fell right into the freshly dug grave. He banged his head against a stone and lost consciousness.

A few minutes later he heard some beeping. The beeping grew louder and faster. 

“Arnav, wake up. What’s happening to you?” Priyanka shouted and shook him. Arnav woke up and sat straight in bed.

“What happened?” She enquired again.

“I’m ok, just a nightmare I guess.”

“Oh, thank God. I was so scared. Go freshen up, breakfast is ready, we have to leave as soon as possible to beat the city traffic.”

“Sure, I’ll be out in ten minutes.”


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Zeyd Ladha
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