Satish looked at his watch. It was 5:30 in the evening. The soft sound of rain drops on the roof had got milder. He adjusted the blinds on the window glass. Now he could see out onto the road.
The road was glittering as it was wet and was reflecting vehicles moving speedily with headlights on. The wind was making the trees sway. The twilight made the atmosphere adorable.It occurred to Satish that he was in Toronto for more than a week then. He came here to meet his school friend Ramesh who had migrated to Canada soon after his engineering some ten years ago. After communication over the phone and the emails with Ramesh, Satish got into the Air India plane to Toronto. He was received by Ramesh and his wife and was driven down to Ramesh’s house. A nice cozy room in the bungalow was allotted to Satish.
Ramesh had met Natasha in his office in Toronto and after a prolonged courtship they got married five years ago. The happily married couple took care of Satish and made him comfortable. Both used to go for work early in the morning separately in individual cars leaving Satishalone at home. In the evenings after their return, they used to drive Satish out to see Toronto. On Saturday and Sunday the whole day they spent together visiting Lake Ontario, C N Tower and other places. Satish became familiar with the area soon.
When the drizzle stopped, Satish stepped out of the house to take a stroll in the nearby area. The roads were wet. Temperature was around 6 degrees centigrade. The breeze blowing at 40 kmph added extra chill to the atmosphere. Wearing the warm clothes given by Ramesh, Satish was enjoying his evening walk.
He was using the sidewalk. The rushing vehicles were making Satish a little uncomfortable. He was watching every house as he was passing by. The amazing architecture of these small houses was astounding. But Satish noticed that every house had some weird thing kept in the window or at the door of the house. Satish realized that Halloween day was just at the week end.
Some houses had kept some balloons with ghostly mouth and eyes painted on them. Some houses had put cobwebs on the walls or windows to give creepy looks. In front of some houses the cemetery was displayed with few tombs. Full size skeleton was made to sit on a chair in some houses. Small dolls dressed as ghosts were hung upside down in some houses. Everything looked spooky. These sights upset Satish. He decided to rest in the nearby garden which he earlier used to visit.
The garden had stretches of lawns and big maple trees. Benches were kept for visitors. Satish sat down on a bench under a tree. The scene of the skeleton in the chair kept haunting him.
The light was fading fast. Satish decided to head home. A young lady approached him. She looked tired. She said: “It is very cold. I am so tired. Can I sit on this bench, please?”
Satish replied: “Sure.”
The lady made herself comfortable next to Satish. He felt somewhat awkward.
But before he could get up, the girl said: “During fall, the trees change color. It looks so beautiful. Yellow, red, orange leaves besides the green leaves. Very nice. But Halloween makes me nervous. Every house keeps terrifying items at the entrance. It is so horrifying.”
“Yes. It is really spooky. Some houses have even kept a full size skeleton near their doors.”
“My God!” said the lady.
“I even saw a doll hung upside down with her hair flowing down,” Satish added.
“Oh. Did it look like this?” The lady got up and rapidly moved closer to the tree and hung herself upside down on the branch of the tree which was 8-10 feet above the ground.
Satish’s throat turned dry. He could not utter a word. He got up and started running out of the garden towards his house.