It was pitch dark. Alicia was sleeping peacefully on the bed in the room that she shared with her bestfriend Katie in the hostel. If one wasn’t in deep sleep they could hear the owls hooting in the distance. The clock showed it was two minutes to midnight. Alicia turned to other side. Her eyes opened just for a second. But in that second she had glimpsed a dark figure. She opened her eyes to see whether it was the product of her imagination factory. To her horror the dark figure was advancing towards her. She closed her eyes and screamed at top of her voice. There was a noise of something crashing followed by multitude screams. The screams were so loud that it appeared as if the entire building has come alive and screaming. The screams continued for about a minute and then someone switched on the light. The screams stopped instantly but Alicia was still screaming. When she felt the beam of light on her face, she stopped screaming and slowly opened her eyes only to see Katie standing before her with her hands over her ears and eyes shut tightly. A wave of relief spread over Alicia. Alicia touched Katie by the elbow who jumped and opened her eyes. Alicia then realized that her room was full of her hostel mates. The clock chimed 12:00. As if everyone came out of trance ,started singing the birthday song for Alicia who had just realized that it was her birthday. Katie hugged her tightly and kissed on her cheek. After everyone was finished with their turn of wishing Alicia, she asked “So where is the cake gals ?”. Everyone turned to look at Katie who pointed to the floor. The glass tray had broken and the cake was on the floor.
“Hey Al, Why did u have to scream like that ? You gave me a fright”
“Well, Kat. I was sleeping but then when I opened my eyes I saw a dark figure. What will u do ? Scream right ? .Thats what I did too “
“Well then u spoiled ur cake.So no cake for u” Katie winked at Alicia.
Some minutes passed after Katie started to giggle thinking about the incident .The giggle was contagious as all the gals started giggling.
The building security who had come to enquire about all the screaming, got irritated when they started giggling and left thinking “Stupid gals, If one screams everyone screams and one starts giggling, soon the whole group is giggling”
Sometime later, only Katie and Alicia were left in their room but neither felt like sleeping. They talked for sometime about all stupid topics.
“Hey Kat, U know the road behind our hostel which leads to the woods”
“Yeah Al, the path which nobody dares to take. I mean its stupid. I am sure that it’s the shortest way to the woods but people would rather go via Peterswood and then OldVille .”
“Yeah I agree with you . All because of a stupid story of ghosts and such.”
“Hey Al, an idea. Are u up for an adventure?”
“What question is that? . U know me Kat. I love adventures. Now tell me what do u have in mind ?”
“Well, I was just thinking that why not the two of us go exploring that path now and have some time in the woods ?”
“Hmm. That’s a great idea. I am fully awake now and I don’t think I can go back to sleep. Let’s change and go”
“Great. We can take something to drink too”
They changed their dresses and packed two bottles of ginger beer and some chocolates to munch on and started.
“Hey Al, the security will be awake. How do we go past him ?”
“We can jump over the fence at the back. Come its already one. We will be back by four”
They crept down the stairs and opened the back door and silently climbed over the fence and jumped. They took their flashlights out and switched it on.
The path was narrow filled with creepers and climbers. Both of them were exhilarated. They didn’t have any fear. The wind was cool and when it breezed through them goosebumps erupted all over them. The walked in silence for some time and then later started to sing . Both of them were amazed at the variety of plants that was growing there. They could identify some plants which are considered to be very rare. An hour passed.
After some time, they could hear the sound of music and laughter in the distance. A slight tingle went up their spines. Don’t mistake it to be fear. It was curiosity in both their minds as to who could be living here. As they walked further ,they could hear the sound level increasing . Al and Kat were too excited.
They started walking faster towards the source of the sound. After half an hour ,they reached a place and to their amazement, it was as if they have entered a carnival.
People were roaming about and having fun. The place looked so beautiful bathed in different colored lights and the people were so beautiful .
Al and Kat were so entranced by this wonderful sight. They went further and found a girl sitting alone in alcove with what seemed like a laptop.
Both of them went to her.
“Hello,Excuse me “. The girl looked up and was startled to see the girls.
“U can see me ?” She asked.
“What ? Of course we can see u” Kat replied. Both of them were bewildered. Of all the questions in the world why did the gal asked whether we can see her.
“Oh I am sorry. I am Amanda.My friends call me Amy”
“I am Alicia. This is Katie. We go by Al and Kat” .Al and Kat shook hands with her.
“Amy, can u tell us what place is this ?”
“Welcome to GhostWood and today is Celebration Day. You could have not chosen a better day for ur visit.” Amy smiled.
“Ghostwood?” Al asked.
“Yup ,Ghostwood because we ghosts live here.” Amy replied.
Al and Kat couldn’t believe their ears. How can the ghosts be so beautiful ? and how come they have laptops. Celebration Day .What were they celebrating ? So many questions running in their mind. They sat next to Amy.
“Okie Amy. Its kind of hard to believe that this is ghostwood full of ghosts, but we don’t want to offend you. Maybe you are really a ghost. We have so many queries running through our mind. If u don’t mind, can you answer them?” Kat asked
“Sure no problem. Its not everyday we get to answer questions of a mortal being “
“Thanks Amy. First u said celebration day . What are u guys celebrating ?” Al asked
“Well, whenever one of the children ghosts finish their degrees successfully , we celebrate it”
“Children ghosts? But don’t they remain a child once they die .”Kat asked
“No its not the way it works. Our life remains the same way after we die too. It’s the place that differs”
“Wow! The entire world’s population of ghost is here ?”
“No not at all. Ghosts of kings or rulers or political leaders or other problematic ghosts are not allowed here. The Lady in the room in heaven takes care of which ghosts goes where. So Ghostwood is a bunch of ghosts of great leaders and artists and good ghosts.”
“Well, u said about degrees and stuff. Who teaches u?”
“We have Rajendra Prasad,Einstein,Shakespeare,Keats,Rabindranath Tagore,Aryabhatta,Marie curie and so many others who teach us”
“I really can’t believe it. Is Gandhi here ?”
“Unfortunately yes. When the whole believes that Gandhi and other dead heroes are resting peacefully .The fact is that they are not. We have Mother Teresa with us too.”
“What are u saying?”
“For some time they were in heaven, but later they wanted to see how the world is getting on without them. So they returned back . But when they came back they were not satisfied with the things happening all over the world. One can go back to heaven only if their heart is fully satisfied. That’s why they are still here not able to return back to the place they deserve.”
Al and Kat were shocked to hear this .
After some minutes of silence Kat asked “ Hey how come u have a laptop? “
“We have so many ghosts from IT field. Once they started to come to ghostwood, we got laptops as the first thing”
“What do u guys do with a laptop?”
“The students use it for their educational purpose. Others use all the applications that IT guys developed for us .”
“Can u show us some of them?” Al asked
“Sure . Well we ghosts would like to spend some time for ourselves. So we would like to rent some house for haunting . So the IT guys developed this applications which tells us the list of castles or houses that they can haunt until any human being comes and lives in them. We have a policy of not disturbing human being. One more application is the one which lets us gift our dear ones living on any occasion.”
“How do u gift them?” Kat asked.
“ Well , we keep the gift among other gifts and place a memory that it was gifted by someone else.”
“ I really can’t believe it “ Kat said
“ Amy , is it possible for us to go to the celebration and see ?” Al asked
“Of course come. I will show you .” Amy took them.
Kat and Al couldn’t believe their eyes. They spoke with almost everyone and it was time for them to leave. They promised that they will do whatever they can to make the world better and bid good bye .
Their return journey was in silence . Both were in deep thoughts. They reached their hostel and silently went to their room . They didn’t exchange any words and so deep in thought and went to bed. It was four thirty in the morning. They drifted to sleep after sometime. They had wanted an adventure but it had been thought provoking journey.