Dear Readers,

It’s Friday again and time for the next chapter of ‘The Woman in My House‘.

As I stepped in front of my house, a mix of anticipation and surprise, filled me. The door was unlocked, and as I entered, a comforting warmth enveloped me, mingling with the faint scent of sandalwood perfume that hung in the air. It added an intriguing layer to the atmosphere, piquing my curiosity. The heater had been turned off recently, and the curtains on the living room window that I always kept open, had been drawn.

With cautious steps, I walked into the kitchen and then the spare room, my senses on high alert. However, upon closer inspection, everything appeared to be in order. The vessels were neatly stacked and clean, the sink empty, and there were no signs of any activity in the spare room. For a moment, I began to question my mind. Was I hallucinating? Had the desire for solitude ventured into the territory of loneliness without my realization? I shook my head.

The mysterious presence that had made itself known in my home continued to elude me, leaving me both bewildered and strangely captivated. As the night grew deeper, I settled at my desk, fully immersed in my work. I meticulously edited my travel article, dedicating attention to every word. Reviewing the photographs I had taken, I carefully selected one that captured the essence of my journey, choosing it as the main image to accompany the article. Time seemed to slip away unnoticed as I delved into my creative process, only realizing how late it had become when a yawn finally escaped me, reminding me of the need for rest.

In the early hours of the following day, I woke up with a start from my slumber by the thud of the main door closing. A surge of adrenaline coursed through me, instantly awakening my senses and propelling me out of bed. Instinctively, I rushed to the living room arriving just in time to witness it closing. A blur of a woman reached my eye before the door closed completely.

Under normal circumstances, this situation would have triggered a rapid heartbeat and a sense of fear, urging me to flee. Yet, the solitary week I had spent in the depths of the forest had transformed me. Now, I stood resolute, unafraid, and driven by an insatiable curiosity. There was no room for panic; there was only a deep-rooted desire to catch the intruder and find out what she wanted.

At least I knew it was a woman or… was it?

During the last few months of my stay in Bheemchatti, conversing with old women and drunk men high on locally made alcohol, I had heard many stories of phantom spirits and churails lurking in the forests above. My house being the first one from the top and being vacant most of the time was an easy catch for any lurking spirits that decided to venture into the village.

Once the old priest in the Hanuman temple below had asked me if I believed in ghosts. I had thought about it for a whole minute and then decided to answer with the words of Mr Bond – ‘I don’t believe in them but I see them all the time’. The priest after looking for signs of mischief on my face and not finding any had gracefully excused himself and hurried inside the temple. I chuckled at the memory.

Locking the door from the inside, I made a deliberate choice to wait for the intruder to return – human or otherwise.

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