“What do you choose dear- Truth or Dare,” asked Seema.
“Truth,” Manisha replied.
“Aha, then tell us the name of the guy whom you fancy,” teased Seema. Parul giggled.
“Ok. Johnny Depp,” Manisha answered coolly.
“That’s not fair,” interrupted Parul. “Johnny Depp is a Hollywood actor. We want to hear the name of a real-life guy for whom you nurture a soft heart.”
“Yes yes, go on Manisha. You must tell the truth. That was decided before the start of the game,” Seema insisted as a clock ticked nearby.
“Oh. Alright alright. His name is Gaurav. He studies in my college. I have got a crush on him. Ooo, he is so cute,” replied Manisha. All the three girls burst into fits of giggles.
“Okay. Now it’s your turn Seema,” said Parul. “What do you choose- Truth or Dare?”
“Dare,” Seema replied with a smile. Parul raised her eyebrows.
“Remember Seema, you cannot claw out once we have set a task. Are you sure, you would choose ‘dare’?” said Manisha.
“Ya. I know the rules of the game. I am ready for the challenge. Tell me,” said Seema.
“Let’s see then,” Parul wondered aloud. “How about eating up a cockroach like they do in Fear Factor?”
“Ew.. Please.. I am not going to eat anything disgusting. Set me a task that would test my bravery, not my digestive system,” Seema protested.
“Then, how about taking a stroll in the graveyard? Now,” Manisha said.
“Now? It’s 2 am,” said Seema.
“Yes dear, now. After all, you chose ‘dare’. We dare you to go take a walk in that graveyard all alone,” Parul said firmly. “And remember, you cannot back out.”
“Oh okay. Alright. I accept the challenge,” Seema got up.
“We will come with you till the entrance of the graveyard. From there, you go alone,” said Parul as they set off. The 3 friends left the house. The road was deserted and quite still except for the occasional wailing of a cat or the barking of a dog. They walked towards the Park Street Cemetery, which was situated in the proximity.
After walking for 10 minutes, they reached the entrance of the graveyard. Outside, there was a dilapidated signboard with letters ‘Park Street Cemetery’ etched on it.
“We will wait here,” said Manisha with a hint of nervousness. “You go ahead, Seema.”
“Ya, good luck, Seema,” Parul chuckled as she waved Seema goodbye.
Seema pushed the wrought iron gate and walked inside. The gate shut itself with a bang. Perhaps, it was the wind, thought Seema. She began to walk deeper into the cemetery. Soon, she was surrounded by rows and rows of tombs with their owners sleeping peacefully. All was still. There was a crack of a dry leaf as she stepped over it. She started. Her breath had become heavier. She tried to reassure herself that everything was okay as a mouse squeaked nearby. As per the decided rules, she was supposed to lay down a handkerchief over the tomb which was at the farthest end of the graveyard. She took out her white handkerchief and quickened her pace. An owl hooted for sometime somewhere in the distance as she made her way to the farthest end of the graveyard. The hooting of the owl gave her a reassuring company for some time before it ceased abruptly.
She moved further. There were lots of thick bushes nearby which looked eerie in the dark. Grasses under her feet were now getting taller as she made her way through them. She walked cautiously for another couple of minutes before reaching the end of the cemetery. A stone tomb was peeping out of the thick tufts of grasses. She bent down to lay her handkerchief over it. And as she did so, she heard a whisper. ‘Go back, go back,’ it appeared to say. It seemed to be coming from inside the tomb. Was it a ghostly voice or just the wailing of the wind?
She stood up and began to hurry her way back towards the entrance where Manisha and Parul must be waiting for her. She tried to assure herself that everything was alright, but she began to feel scared, nevertheless. She was making a lot of noise as she stepped over the tall grass in her haste to reach the entrance point. And then there came a wave of cold air that sent a chill down her spine. She broke into a run. But then a sound from behind made her stop on her tracks and look back. There it was, a figure with long hands and legs was moving towards her. Seema’s blood curdled as she realized that the man had no head. She was paralyzed with fear. But the headless figure continued to move towards her flailing his arms wildly. Seema found her feet. They were trembling. She made a dash towards the entrance gate. She wanted to scream but found her voice frozen. She wanted to turn and look back if the headless man was still at her pursuit. But she did not. She ran as fast as her trembling legs would permit her. The iron gate at the entrance came into sight as she sighed in relief. She flung herself onto the gate, pushed it open and dashed out.
Parul and Manisha were standing there waiting for her. They saw the look of terror on Seema’s face and asked, “What happened? Did you complete your challenge?”
“Yes, I did,” Seema found her voice. “But tell you what, I am never going to play Truth or Dare again.”
“Let’s take a cab,” suggested Parul.
“TAXI,” Manisha hailed a cab. The yellow taxi came to a screeching halt. All three of them hurried forward to board it.
“Will you go to Maidan,” Seema hurried to ask. It was only then that she realized that the taxi driver had no head……