The Mysterious Scratch

Since a few days, I have been having this strange realization of objects around me moving on their own. Like for instance while working on my laptop, through the corner of my eye I would sense a motion. And when I would turn around and look everything would be as static as ever.

I didn’t think much of it until today. My wardrobe was a mess. Trousers, shirts, undergarments, everything was dancing all over the place. Every time I organized my cupboard, I would assure myself that there was no way it would end up in an explosion in a few weeks but then after two weeks the superficial trust in my organizational skills would poof away in thin air.

So it happened while I was folding my trousers. I had my back towards the Queen size bed in my room as I lined the middle rack of my cupboard with neatly folded trousers. I heard a scratch, like a cat scuffing on a rug. It could have been a cat except that I didn’t have one. I spun around to discover the source of the sound, everything felt in place. Thinking of it as a figment of my subconscious mind I began folding my blue jeans.

But it happened again. And this time I was terrified, it was not something of my subconscious mind, it was real. I slowly put the jeans down on my bed and silently moved away from the cupboard towards the rug on the right side of the room. I stood still watching the rug, trying to find any clues of my insanity.

There was nothing, it was all normal, all good.

Just when I was about to turn back towards my pending task, I noticed my journal lying on the floor, by the side of my bed. If I could distinctly remember, the journal was on my bed side table before I slept last night. I have had a childhood habit of writing an every day post no matter how bland many of my days had been.

At this point I was truly scared. I tried to maintain my distance from the bed in fear lest some monster lurking underneath would drag me in. With my heart thumping, I reached down at the lavishly customized journal that I had decorated with all those “cool” and “in” things I could find since childhood.

I picked it up and randomly opened it from somewhere in the middle. It landed on November 15th 2001, I began reading:

Dear diary,

I had a bad day at school today, I made a fool of myself. The teacher asked me to solve a math question on board, I was shitting my pants, you know how anxious I get in public. I was there in front of the white board, marker in my trembling hand. I couldn’t remember the law of sines. I swear I knew it a minute ago but as soon as I was in front of that bloody board and twenty something eyes staring at me, I lost it all. After what felt like an eternity of embarrassment and a wrong formula on the board, I was asked to get back on my seat and await my punishment. Another girl was called to repair the damage I had done but I didn’t pay any attention to the solution or anything else, I was too busy cursing myself and the teacher under my breath, how could she without any warning just call my name! I was angry but I wanted to cry too.

My punishment was to write all formulas of trigonometry 15 times. What kind of punishment was that? Why was she making me write all of this stuff that she knew would bring no mental productivity to my brain. That ignorant witch didn’t even know I was well aware of the formula and only forgot cause I was called into the battle field without my consent! That was pure communism and Good Lord how much I hated that concept.

Just reading the journal entry pissed me off. I remembered how I had a bad blood for that teacher since that day till the end of the term.

I was the person who kept hate in her heart for a very long time.

Suddenly I remembered what made me pick up my journal–the scratching sound. I turned my journal upside down and to my horror the leather back was scratched from the middle. It was like a scratch from a small knife, 3-4 inch wide, I could see the cream colored rough card board bottom peeking from beneath.

I was alone in my apartment and scared. My fellow mate was out looking for a job, she had an interview. placed the journal on my bed, grabbed my phone and left the room almost in a sprint, fearing someone would grab me from behind if I wasn’t quick enough.

I entered the common room where we had our TV and couches. I got myself some apple juice and began watching news. I tried to find a friend that could be online on Skype in hopes to share a part of my restlessness.

My old neighbor from 3 years ago, Neha was online and I began ringing her. Neha was nice and understanding, I was sure she could be of some help. I was kind of embarrassed to talk about the weird incidence I encountered so avoiding that topic, I asked about her life and studies. It was a fine 25 minute distraction I would say but until my apartment mate returned I was not going back to my room.

For the next few hours I tried all the Snapchat filters on my face and spammed my friends with those silly distorted snaps. I kept the news on my TV so there was a noise around me because silence was not what I wanted at that moment. I took some screen shots of Instagram photos and cropped them up for my phone’s wallpaper and lock screen. I always did that. Instagram was a great source for wallpapers.

Finally Zara was back. She greeted me with an exhausted smile. I felt like her interview probably didn’t go well.

“How was it?,” I asked sitting straight.

She shook her head and headed to the fridge. I knew there was nothing else left to say.

She poured herself some cold water and gulped it down in one go. I tried to focus on the news, thinking about the possible failure my friend over there could face yet once again.

She dropped beside me on the couch and changed the channel.

“What did you do all day?,” she asked passively, her eyes on TV.

“Actually I want to tell you something, it’s strange.”

She looked at me.

I narrated the whole journal experience and she listened intently.

“Do you think there could be a possibility that it was on your bed last night before you slept and somehow fell on the floor while you were asleep?” she asked trying to make her hypothesis.

“No Zara, I never sleep on my journal, I mean, I write in it everyday, leave it on the side table, switch off the lamp and sleep. Every single damn day. And till last night, there was no scratch whatsoever.”

Zara was deep in thoughts.

“Let’s go check it out,” she suggested.

I was scared to go back in my room so we went together.

Zara inspected the scratch and realized the story made sense, the scratch was in-explainable.

We were both visibly scared.

——————————————————————————————————–

When I came back from my job interview, Hanna was in the lounge watching TV. I was exhausted from my failed interview and wanted to get my mind off it. When I asked Hanna about her day, she shared a really weird experience. I tried to make sense of it but no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t. Her journal had a long scratch at the back. I knew how precious that diary was to my friend, she would never let anyone touch it, she would take care of it like a baby.

I have to admit I was scared when I saw the journal in that state. We thought it was best to ignore the matter for then rather than dwell on it uselessly when there was no plausible explanation. She tucked the journal in one of her drawers and I went to my room. I offered to share my room for the night if she felt uncomfortable in hers.

That night must have been the scariest experience I have ever encountered in my 27 year old life. Hanna did come to sleep in my room and apologized for the inconvenience. I felt bad for her and for her journal and welcomed her with a wide smile.

I couldn’t sleep as the events of the interview kept floating in my brain, did I give the right answer? Why did the interview guy sigh at one of my answers? What did that mean? I didn’t want to dwell in those thoughts so I began reading. I was a fiction person and admired nice cozy stories. The one in my hand was of the kind.

Suddenly I felt a stir on my side, it was Hanna stirring in her sleep. I looked at her briefly and shifted back to my book. Just then she began moving again and this time, she was out of the bed and just standing by it , facing the wall.

I called out to her.

“Hanna?”

There was no response.

Hanna? What are you doing?”

I felt scared. Could she be pranking me? That was a more reasonable justification. It could be a prank.

“Hanna if you are pranking me right now, it’s not funny okay?”

She began walking, slowly, with no sound. She reached for the door and was out. I put aside my book and followed her. She was headed towards her room. I silently followed.

Hanna was standing in the middle of her dark room, yellow light from the corridor faintly illuminated her room and I could make out what she was up to. I peeked at her halfway from the door, I didn’t want to reveal myself from the fear that what if she was going through some sort of demonic possession and my intrusion raged her? After a few seconds Hanna advanced towards one of her drawers and extracted her journal. I gasped.

I found my hands trembling and my heart racing. She held the journal in her hand and examined it. Just then she grabbed the scratched-torn piece and jerked it hard. Part of the leather came peeling off in her hand, a distorted oval shape. She then threw the journal on the floor and clutching tightly to the torn piece, she crawled under the covers of her bed.

I locked my bedroom door and couldn’t sleep that night.

———————END————————

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