"When is your next book coming?" asked the lucky reporter out of the thousands that had gathered around the
"I am sorry to disappoint all my fans and readers but I have decided to retire. So no books from me then.
Perhaps they can try reading some other authors, some indeed are very promising," replied Ralph Anderson.
"So what do you plan to do now?" a voice came.
"I understand that it seems very odd and bookish but now I have decided to lead a quiet and old-fashioned life
in the countryside; working in the farms perhaps," the award-winning author announced to the stunned
"It is always the same, these authors retire and then return with a 'Bang!," someone shouted over the crowd.
"Sorry, but this time it shan't be so," Ralph replied, "Nothing can make me change my mind.......nothing can
make me get back to writing."
Little did the author realize the depth of his words. It was indeed 'nothing' that got him back to writing.
A week later, Ralph was working along with his friend's brother and his family in the farm. It was an old place
just as scenic countrysides are. It comprised of a small cottage, a sty, a shed, a pen for the chickens and
acres of cultivated land. It had been almost 3 days for Ralph pursuing his life's dream. His friend's brother,
David Scoff, was a very simple man. His family consisting of a mother and her younger son(8) and elder girl(15)
were ready to accommodate him in the family. For a writer, such a life is like a boon and for Ralph, it was his
life's ambition. Everything was normal. But it is always these places that the Devil chooses to infect.
Ralph's day four was unlike the other three days he had spent there. It wasn't uneventful. The weather was
dark even though the old rickety radio had predicted clear skies. Ralph was taking a bath after the long
tiresome day he had spent gathering harvested crops. It was evening and the sun was about to go down. All
of a sudden there was a blood curdling scream and a foul smell of burning and smoke filled the small house.
Ralph dressed up hastily and ran outside to the shed where the entire family had already gathered. What he
saw made him very angry, the crop he had helped in harvesting that day was on fire.
David was busy taking the remaining piles of crop outside. Ralph hurried to join him. The piles which he had
spent hours on, collecting and stuffing, were now on fire and there was no means by which he could put out
the cursed fire. He noticed that the little boy, Mathew, seemed in a state of shock and his sister and mother
were busy attending to him. As for Ralph he seemed very tired to. With each bundle he drew out of the fire,
the physical and mental strain on him manifolded.
They managed to save about twelve bundles out of the fifty five they had collected and that too half of the
surviving bundles were singed very badly. After an hour or so of struggling against the fire, it seemed to fade
away and finally died. Surprisingly, instead of feeling weak, Ralph seemed to regain some strength. The sad
family went back inside their house. Ralph began to feel guilty as if he had been responsible for all this. He also
saw that the family was taking this a bit too hard.
"What is the matter? Never mind we still have plenty of crops for the season," Ralph tried to console them.
"It is not that, we people consider it a very bad omen. Even Mathew is saying that he saw 'something'," replied
"Don't worry, we will work harder," added Mrs. Scoff. "Let us celebrate that we at least managed to save
That night the family made a small party but there was a look was tension on every face. Ralph was tensed
too. Was he somehow connected to the fire in the shed? What did Mathew actually see? Is he the 'bad omen'
of this happy family? All further negative thought were broken when the children requested him to come to
their room and tell them a bed-time story.
The next morning everyone was in a cheerful mood except the weather which was still dark and windy with
slight signs of drizzle. No one remembered the events of the last evening. Even Ralph came to close to
forgetting the incident, but the singed ground of the shed was a painful souvenir of last evening. After some
work at the pen, Ralph hurried back to the cottage for Mrs. Scoff's lovely breakfast. Everyone closed their
eyes to say a prayer. Ralph also obediently closed his eyes.
"Amen," they finished simultaneously and then opened their eyes.
The dining table was wet. The sick water dipped down the dining cloth to the floor where a huge puddle had
formed. Again Ralph felt some kind of energy being sucked from him. David quickly sat up, his seat was
drenched. The family quickly followed him and they all saw their chairs wet. Mathew was shivering with fear.
The odd thing was that the water wasn't dripping from anywhere, it just appeared out of nowhere. Ralph could
see the children were very scared and the water didn't seem to have any end. Ralph began to feel weak with
each and every drop of water that fell from the table to the floor. He felt that every drop that came was a
drop of his very own blood. Mrs. Scoff was in tears and her husband rushed to the kitchen and brought a cloth
and began to clean the mess silently. Mrs. Scoff continued to cry, Mathew kept on shivering in his sister,
Mary's arms. Ralph could just sit and watch the family helplessly. He somehow realized that had he not come
here then none of this would have happened.
"I'll get some eggs," he announced and left.
There was no debate. One can't say anything on something which one can't understand.
Ralph was on his way to the poultry. He was lost deep in thought. He now began to regret his decision of
giving up writing. He knew that all this was because of him, but still he wasn't going to give up his decision just
because of some unexplainable events. Or could he? He knew that there was a ghost or an omen around, but
could it actually hurt them?
Ralph returned with the eggs. The family was already seated on the 'dry' table and Mrs. Scoff had served some
toasts since the food she had prepared was spoiled in the water. Too his surprise everyone seemed normal as
if nothing had happened. Ralph thought that had he been in some other family then he would have been
thrown out. He understood that even the family knew that he was responsible for all this.
"I am leaving," Ralph told them.
"Don't be silly, are you scared of such silly beliefs?" Mrs. Scoff asked him.
"No, but it is because of me that you people are going through all this. I can't live with that guilt."
"You are blaming yourself unnecessarily," David told him.
"You will stay here no matter what happens," Mrs. Scoff added.
Ralph silently went to his room and began to pack. He was half-way through his packing when he heard a
terrified scream which a person can give only once in a lifetime. He immediately rushed to the kitchen.
"The...the radio is acting strangely," Mrs. Scoff stammered.
David joined them in the kitchen and the children rushed shortly with their hands clenched so hard that their
knuckles were as white as a ghost. Ralph sent them back to their room. Fear is such a thing that it gets
reduced as more people are around, however with a poltergeist, fear seem to manifold with the number of
people it scares. A strange demonic voice was coming from the radio set, it seemed to breathe evil around the
atmosphere around it. A sort of deep sinister growl, a noise that could scare one even if he himself were
David hurried over and changed the channel but the noise still came from the old radio. Ralph even pulled the
plug but there was no escaping from the evil voice.
"What do you want?" screamed Mrs. Scoff.
The radio spoke up finally, it had a sinister voice. The growl continued as the background and the radio
screeched, "I want Ralph Anderson."
A chill ran up Ralph's spine. He began to feel very weak and was on the verge of fainting.
"What for?" inquire David.
"He knows," came the cold reply.
Mr. and Mrs. Scoff were staring at Ralph now with a horrid expression.
"I will leave this place now," mumbled Ralph, "Will you go away then?"
"NO....you know what to do. Just help me or else see them all dying."
"Okay, I'll do it, but promise that you won't hurt the kids."
The thing in the radio gave a shrill laugh and then said, "Sorry Ralph, beggars are not the choosers."
With that the radio burst into pieces like Ralph's nerves. A shrill bone chilling scream came from the children's
room. Ralph collapsed onto the floor due to excessive strain. David ran to see his children. On reaching there
he was shocked to see that Mary's books were in the air. For a while he stood gaping at the site. A sound of a
loud dreadful clap came and Mathew fell to the ground, his cheeks became the color of blood and there was a
ghostly impression of fingers on them. Mary was shrieking at the top of her lungs now but the deafening sound
of slap that came next made her scarily quiet. She too was slapped hard by the invisible hand which knew no
In the kitchen Ralph lay unconscious. Mrs. Scoff was bending over him to inspect if he still breathed. All of a
sudden she was thrown away from him by some invisible force and she began to swell up like a balloon. Her
husband came rushing in the room with the children but couldn't do anything to ease her pain. Ralph woke up
and saw the house in total chaos. The windows and doors automatically opened and closed.
"I'll do as you say," Ralph told the poltergeist, "I will write the book."
All of a sudden there was a dreadful silence. The family gathered in the corner of the kitchen and looked
fearfully at Ralph.
"Just tell me the directions to the toilet," Ralph asked.
Mary held out her finger and Ralph rushed out of the room.
10 minutes later Ralph stepped inside the bathroom with his pen and dairy. He sat down on the floor and
opened the tap for the hot water and placed a bucket underneath it. Once he used to enjoy this but now even
he was scared. He placed the bathroom mirror in front of him. Soon it got covered with vapor and a white mist
formed inside the bathroom.
Finally-the words came up on the misty mirror.
"What do you want?" asked Ralph.
I just want my books to be read -the words appeared automatically on the mirror and then were erased
"Why don't you find some other person? Why are you after me?" Ralph questioned him desperately.
It is very unkind of you to say that. You got famous by writing my books and now you ask me to find some
"I have given up writing."
Well that is okay, but there is a problem. I haven't given up writing. The bathroom light began to flicker as the
words came up on the mirror.
"Okay, great. So what is the story?" asked Ralph.
Immediately words began to appear on the mirror and Ralph copied them down.
This process had been going on for 3 years. Each day Ralph would sit in the company of the ghost and write
whatever came on the mirror. Ralph believed the ghost to be someone who wanted to write a book but died
before he could get published. For Ralph, the ghost was a terrific writer. He was even willing to attribute his
success to him but thought that he would be considered mad if he did so. After his eighth book Ralph decided
to quit writing since he had learned that the ghost or the poltergeist derived energy from him or in the
psychologist's words he was the 'focus ' of the ghost. Later he also came to know that the spirit possessed
some sort of psychokinetic energy to make things move. The connection with the spirit drove him insane and
he decided to give up writing. Now he sat there copying the ghost's words with great speed.
It took Ralph a week to write the book. Only the suspense part remained to be finished, Ralph would sit in the
bathroom the whole day and well into the night. The Scoff family tried to continue with their usual life which
was difficult since the poltergeist activities hadn't subsided completely. One day there would be the case of
poisoning, the next day the furniture would be moved and then the poltergeist would slap the children till their
faces were red or make pools of water appear out of nowhere. It set things to fire or used his psychokinetic
abilities to fly things around.
As for the book, Ralph found out that it was too in the mystery/thriller genre like the ghost's other books.
Though he had little time to read it, he considered the plot and the characters the best so far. It was a true
masterpiece, some 200 pages in length and extremely well written. He was confident that it would become a
bestseller and the credit would as usual go to him. The book was titled: "Half-lies Full-truth". It showed how a
man who didn't believe in supernatural and occult is changed by a series of horror and strange happenings.
The book was completed and sent to the publisher on the third of October. Ralph Anderson died on twenty
eighth September, the same year.
The confusion regarding the dates can be explained by just one living person.
"Mommy, look I wrote another story."
"Wow, Mathew you'll soon grow up to become a great writer." Mrs. Scoff replied.
She actually didn't think much of Mathew's stories. She didn't even read them, she had been too busy handling
the reporters that were coming to know more about the mysterious death of Ralph Anderson.
The only good thing was that Mathew was taking his baths regularly.
The Real Author
by: Aman Mathur