House for Sale
‘One million for this house? You must be joking? No one would pay even half a million.’
‘Why, if I may ask so?’ he asked. His voice was chilling. But more than the voice it was his face that disturbed me. His face, surprisingly, appeared wax coated.
‘Well…. I don’t know how to put it……. there are rumours…..rumours that could be right...…..I mean……. wrong…....’
‘Out with it,’ he almost barked in anger. His voice sounded harsh and screechy. His eyes had turned lifeless.
‘They say it’s a haunted house,’ I blurted out.
‘And you also think that it’s haunted?’ he appeared badly hurt.
‘I don’t know……..the truth.’
‘The truth is that I have earned enmity of some powerful people. They want to harass me…..punish me. My son has moved abroad. I want to sell this house so that I can be with him. But these people are spreading rumours and frightening away the buyers. They will not let me get a fair price.’
‘What you are demanding is not a fair price.’
‘We can negotiate.’
‘But those powerful people may not like my buying this house.’
‘That won’t happen. They are my enemies. They will only come after me. But they will not find me.’
‘I will pay only six hundred thousand.’
‘Deal; the house is yours.’
I was stunned. I was not expecting that he would straightway accept my offer. I couldn’t decide whether or not I should feel elated. The house was surely worth more than six hundred thousand. No house in the Lake City would cost less than one million. Naturally, I ought to have been overjoyed by the deal. But something about the owner had been disturbing me.
A week later a friend informed me about a house in the Lake City that was up for sale.
‘But only a week back I negotiated a deal with the owner of that very house.’
‘How could you do that? The owner was not here. Last year he had left the country after his father’s tragic death. He came back only yesterday.’
I was dumbstruck.
‘What happened to his father?’ I asked with some effort.
‘Poor fellow had incurred wrath of some powerful people. They drowned him in a tub of melted wax. No clue……….’
I felt my legs were trembling; I was unable to understand what he was saying.