THE LOCKED ROOM
Govindan was facing the problem of plenty.
A very large ancestral house.
Relations of all hues- in dozens-living as a disjointed joint family, of which he was supposedly the head.
Huge quantity of valuables, including cash and jewellery-which he found hard to safe guard from the greedy cockroaches calling themselves his relatives. Try as he might, he could not dislodge a single one among these detested people for fear of offending either a brother, a sister, mother or his wife.
He tried hiding the stash at different places in his ancient thirty-two roomed bungalow and changing places every few days… but was shit scared that someone or other would find out.
Thus, among plenty of other things, he had plenty of angst also.
One day, Govindan got a flashy idea after watching a Malayalam movie about a haunted room in a large house like his.
‘Why didn’t I think of this before?’ he thought.
Without wasting time, he made a plan with one of his trusted aides.
One day soon after, a piercing scream was heard in the bungalow. Inmates rushing to the spot found the aide, lying with what appeared to be foam (from a detergent of course) oozing out of his mouth.
Later, the amateur actor woke up and after one more round of screaming and sweating swore that he saw ‘him’- a venerable old man-long dead, who till now was only figuring in one of the numerous family photo frames adorning the walls.
The wily Govindan took over from there.
After keeping a considerable portion of his ill gotten wealth in that room, he brought home a rustic exorcist kind of bloke after bribing the latter, to declare the room haunted and that it ought to be kept locked. Anyone opening the room would do so henceforth almost certainly face immediate death.
Though there were many skeptics among the inmates of this house, no one dared to open the room because of an inbuilt superstition. Moreover, Govindan guarded the key to this room very jealously indeed.
Govindan’s idea seemed to have worked.
A few days later, just before midnight, there was a blood curdling scream from the direction of the locked room. The inmates, jolted from their sleep rushed to find the dreaded room wide open. Inside, a stricken Govindan was lying on the floor, struggling for his breath and shivering.
“They are gone, my valuables are gone!’ gasped Govindan to the puzzled gathering, before going into a dead faint.
As the terror stricken inmates looked about the room, they found that the portrait of the ghostly grandsire was now in this room, floating freely near the roof, swinging about like a kite in the air.
Some swore they could see a leer on his face.