Archive for September, 2020

I See You

The first time I saw her she was standing in the corner of my room, staring at me. I had entered the room before my husband to inspect it. He had just bought the house and he had brought me over to see it as a surprise. I had recently had our second baby and this was his present to me, he believed in grand gestures.

I tried talking to her but she didn’t respond, she just kept staring back at me with her head slightly tilted and her long flowing black hair hanging around her body down till her hips. She had long bruise on her neck but while I could not figure out its probable cause though I could perhaps make a calculated guess.  

Assalamualiekum. Are you the caretaker’s wife? This is a lovely house, thank you for taking such good care of it.” I told her with a smile to put her at ease, trying to coax a response from her.

Armaan entered the room then and looked at me like I had lost my mind.

“Who are you talking to jaan?” He asked me with a worried look in his eyes.

“Who is that girl standing there in the corner? Does she live her?” I asked him, still looking at her.

“What girl? Who are you talking about Sairah? There is no one there.” He told me. “Do you like this room? I think this will be the perfect room for us.” He told me then seemingly to take my mind off this complex puzzle of a situation.

‘How can he not see her? Am I losing my mind or is he going blind?’ I thought to myself. She was still standing there looking at me blankly but her eyes seemed to flash with anger every time she looked at Armaan. 

I found myself feeling scared and reciting all the surahs and ayats I knew from the Quran hoping it would keep us safe from her if she was a bad spirit or jinn. I had complete faith in the paranormal and I intended to keep a Quran Khwani (Holy book recitation) at this place before moving in next week.

We moved into the house a week later; she was still in the room and Armaan refused to budge from his decision of making it ours. I knew he would just laugh at me and call me crazy for seeing her when no one else could so I willingly went along.

She didn’t say or do anything, just stood in a corner like a fixed piece of furniture and I became used to her being there. She would disappear sometimes, just for a while but she always came back. It was usually when I played the Quran, prayed or went for a shower. She never attempted to reach out to me in any way either.

I often wished I knew her name, I talked to her sometimes but I just called her ‘dost’ (friend). It became a habit or sorts. I would share everything with her, things that made me happy and the things that brought me pain. She became a sort of journal that I started sharing things with verbally instead of in writing. Her eyes seemed to reflect my joy when I felt happy and my agony when I felt sad.

She watched me closely, her eyes seemed to follow my every move and her being seemed to tense up and release negative energy whenever Armaan was around. She never left me alone with him, no matter what happened. Even if I prayed while he was around, she would not leave the room and it often made me wonder why.

I finally mustered the courage to look things up online to see if I could figure out her identity and her story. I had almost given up with I saw a news clipping with what appeared to be her picture.

“Woman allegedly strangled to death by husband for giving birth to girl”

I read the headline and felt tears rolling down my cheeks as I looked up at her again. My heart went out to her and I felt an overwhelming urge to hold her but how does one comfort a ghost? I finally understood the origin of the marks on her neck and I found myself struggling to breathe as I imagined what she had possibly experienced.

The incident had happened in Khalra, an area in India closest to us here in one of the recently developed phases of DHA Lahore. The news clipping dated back to 2012, around 8 years ago and she had been 30 years old then. Her husband had reportedly tortured and killed her in a fit of rage over the birth of their third female child.

 I found myself wondering why she was here in my house, so far from her own. I had always assumed that she came with the house and was maybe buried somewhere on the premises. Years of conditioning my Indian horror shows suggested that would be the case but it clearly wasn’t. Why then had she chosen this house and specifically me?

I found myself wishing there was someone I could discuss this with but there was no one I could talk to about these things without appearing to have lost my senses. I went online again to a page on Facebook which specifically discussed paranormal incidents and searched for information there.

I came across a number of women posting about an experience similar to mine and reached out to almost all of them. It came to my attention and struck me instantly that almost of them had died soon after their posts under mysterious circumstances. I reached out to their close friends and family in hopes of finding an answer. All they could tell me was that soon after they saw ‘her’ their loved ones died tragically at the hands of their own family members.

I found myself having trouble breathing and found myself unable to look at her; the probable cause of my possibly fast approaching death. I wanted to run away but how could I move out with two small children and a third one arriving soon. I felt myself panicking and feeling breathless, I was now worried that I would deliver prematurely because of the stress of the situation.

Oh God! I found myself praying for a way out of the situation. I needed answers and I knew that I could not get them from her. I prayed profusely for a miracle and for some way to be saved from what seemed to be my imminent death. She had not hurt me yet and it had been quite a few months since we moved to this place. Why hadn’t she killed me already if that is what she had wanted to do? Was she here to expedite my death? I had a hard time believing that. What was she waiting for?

I was losing my mind and I stared at her almost all night, unable to sleep. Finally slumber overtook me and I had a really bad dream. I dreamt that I had another daughter and Armaan went above and beyond his usual dose of abuse and ended up killing me. I woke up drenched in sweat and I started sobbing in agony as soon as I awakened. It seemed I had finally solved the puzzle; she had come to warn me and make an attempt at preventing my death.

I shook my head to clear my mind. Armaan wasn’t that kind of man. He would never kill me over the birth of another female child, would he? He had his heart set on a boy this time and he had been upset when I didn’t agree to an ultrasound but he would never kill me……?

I was feeling a whirlwind of emotions and so much uncertainty. I decided to talk to Armaan finally, yes, he was prone to bouts of anger and yes, he was abusive but he wouldn’t go as far as murder. Is that why she never left me alone with him? Was she scared that I would end up like her? She had always been in the room when he went into one of his abusive stupors but only her eyes changed in response. Wouldn’t or rather shouldn’t she have reacted more strongly to his actions?

What struck me next was the fact that this stranger who could not help me in anyways cared about me more than all the other people around me who possibly could.

“Samreet, will he really hurt me?” I asked her with tears running down my cheeks. “Will he kill me for giving him another daughter?” She just looked back at me the same way; her head tilted to the side but I saw one single, solitary tear run down her face.