Here to Stay

Vroom whoosh!     

The clamorous roar of the vacuum-cleaner jerked me awake.     

I clamped my eyes shut and took cover under the pillows to blot out the incommodious sound.   

But my peace was short-lived for exactly after twenty minutes, thud!  

The door of the bedroom burst opened.    

The staccato clicks of my new roommate’s high-heeled shoes clattered against the linoleum followed by, the clinking-clanking of the glass bottles sprucely lined up on the dresser.     

Like an adept music maven, I recognized the succeeding sounds too well; the jingle-jangle of the keys, the slamming of the door, and my favourite; the ding of the elevator.   

It meant she was gone for the day, and I had the apartment to myself.   

Tsk, I hated the incessant hullabaloo! If it were not for my landlady, Mrs Fernandez’s lamentable financial state, I would’ve never accepted a roommate.      

I clambered out of the bed, trying hard to ignore the potpourri of sounds emanating from the window; loquacious chatter between the neighbours admixed with the honking, screeching and skidding of the surging traffic on the main street.     

******     

A cacophony of hoots, hollers, and yowls poured from the living room.  

The air thumped, and the floor rippled with the loud music. A party was in full swing.    

Ugh, this girl was getting under my skin.

I flounced into the room and popped open the windows. A violent gust of wind whizzed inside, swishing past the tabletop and rattling the glassware along the way.  

Then, I flicked off the power switch, plonking a cloak of sullen silence and darkness on them before storming into the kitchen.    

Crash, slam, slash!

I knocked down all the crockery, shattering it into a million pieces.    

Pfft, that should beat it in her head.

****    

Hmmm… the television sputtered unheeded, while she lay zonked-out on the sofa.    

After the party incident, she had practically become a recluse. I tinkered with the remote and snuffed out the TV.    

It somehow roused her.

*****    

Click, I heard the distinct sound of the key turning into the lock. 

New roommate, huh? Already? It had scarcely been a day since that high-heeled bimbo left.    

Phew! It was only Mrs Fernandez with… erm, a priest?   

She slunk towards the bed.    

“This place gives me the heebie-jeebies. The fourth tenant also left yesterday. I don’t believe them, but the buzz is that the windows crack open, the boards creak and groan, the chinaware gets smashed, and the switches go phut; on their own. Is she still here, the dead girl?” she stuttered, pointing towards my picture in her hand.    

I forgot to tell you, eh!

I had committed suicide in this apartment a few months back, and that’s why I lollygag around.    

“Ecce Crucis signum, fugiant phantasmata cuncta,” the priest uttered and lit a candle to ignite the smudge sticks.   

Hmm, realization dawned on me.   

Foo!   

I tapped his shoulder and quenched the candle flame. 

“I’m here to stay,” I cackled maliciously in his ear.

*****

Glossary-

Ecce Crucis signum, fugiant phantasmata cuncta – Latin phrase translating as: “behold the emblem of the Cross; let all specters flee”- used for exorcising the house.

Smudge sticks are long bundles of sage leaves and stems tied together into a rod and lit on the end; used by shamans and religious leaders for exorcising the house. (source-wikiHow).
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Supriya Bansal
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