Okay, who loves getting creeped out? Me! Me! But I also can’t sleep after reading a horror novel or seeing something scary on TV because in my imagination, the shirts hanging at the back of the door, transform themselves into sinister monsters at night, something that will creep towards me while I turn my face away from it, slide its cold finger up my spine and then…
You get the point. I actually do enjoy writing horror/creepy/supernatural stuff and I’ve recently begun to see how much fun it is to scare other people.
What creeps you out the most? Dolls? Clowns? Mannequins?
Read the free preview here ( a little more than what is available on the Juggernaut site) and decide for yourself.
Two young girls enter a shop in a lane, adjacent to a busy road. There is a yellowing shopping complex on the main road, thronged with shoppers, but the two girls are looking for something else entirely.
Both the girls are pretty and Sonia whose birthday it is today, smiles at the shopkeeper who looks back, somewhat startled and he smiles back hesitatingly. His shop is a tiny square, and barring the entrance, the entire wall space is packed with clothes hanging off racks. The other girl, Reema, asks him to get all his latest designs.
A lone mannequin stands at the corner, dressed in a pale-yellow summer dress that reaches its knees. It’s old, the plastic eroded in places, and the grin on its face almost macabre. The dress however, looks new. The shopkeeper pushes the door to an inner sanctum and steps inside, asking them to wait.
Sonia looks at Reema and shakes her head, looking sceptical. ‘Really? You think he’ll have something good here?’
Reema nods. ‘You want something mind-blowing, right? This guy has the best imports I’ve seen. Remember that maroon top I wore the other day to Sunita’s party? Got it from here,’ she says.
Sonia looks thoughtful, her hands inside her pockets, and nods. She looks around the items on display with a great deal of interest. Lots of floral prints and soft material but what she’s looking for isn’t here.
Sonia’s eyes connect with the mannequin’s for the barest of seconds and she turns away as the man walks back inside the store.
‘See this, madam,’ he says, showing her three dresses that are on hangers. Sonia’s eyes widen, but not in appreciation. She looks at Reema and shakes her head slightly. She doesn’t want to hurt the shopkeeper’s feelings, but these are not the kind of clothes she would ever wear. One of them is a knee-length dress in baby pink with pink hearts all over it. It has a sweetheart neck which only makes it worse. The other two are somewhat better in terms of colour—one is blue and one is green—but their designs are extremely kitschy.
Reema understands the look on Sonia’s face.
‘Bhaiya, show us some of your new designs?’ Reema asks him. He brings more. Sonia hates them all. She begins to feel terrible about rejecting everything he brings. She’s about to tell him enough when he gestures towards the mannequin.
‘How about that one, madam? I put it on display just today,’ he says. Sonia walks up to the mannequin and inspects the dress it’s wearing. It looks promising.
Eager to make a sale, the shopkeeper looks relieved when she doesn’t say no immediately.
‘Do you want to try it on?’ he asks. Sonia looks around in surprise. Where?
‘You can go inside and try it. There’s a mirror there too,’ he says. Reema is checking something on her phone and looks up.
‘Aryan just confirmed. He’s coming,’ she tells Sonia whose face lights up. Reema rolls her eyes. Sonia’s crush on Aryan is becoming a little too apparent. To be honest, almost all the girls in class have a crush on him, but Sonia is hoping to catch his eye this evening at her birthday party.
‘Okay, I’ll try this dress,’ she says and waits for the shopkeeper to get her a new piece. But he moves towards the mannequin instead.
‘Wait, don’t you have any fresh pieces?’ she asks.
‘Only piece, madam. I put it on just a few minutes ago before you came,’ he says.
There’s no space for him to undress the mannequin however, and so he lifts the mannequin and takes it inside, beckoning Sonia to come with him. Sonia looks at Reema who nods.
Go, she mouths the words.
Somewhat uneasily, Sonia follows the man to the windowless room inside that is packed with cardboard boxes and cartons. It’s a storeroom, Sonia thinks with dismay. Small and claustrophobic.
Reema is just outside, Sonia tells herself as the man places the mannequin in the centre and peels off the dress carefully, handing it to Sonia.
‘Try it and see. There’s a mirror also,’ he says pointing to the mirror on one side of the room and leaves.
Liked it? Buy the ebook on Juggernaut here.