A Ghost in a Guest House

May 4, 2014

(The short story is entirely imaginary, for entertainment. All events and characters are fictitious.)

The Malbari wiped his sweating face with the corner of his Lungi, carefully avoiding the sandalwood paste on his forehead. He had a frightened look on his face. He was in panic. He had just returned after two days to his room in the guest house to find his lady companion missing from his room, and he had no idea what might have happened. All her belongings, purse, money, everything was intact.
He looked scared, terrified and tried to hide his expression by lighting a beedi (Indian version of hand rolled cigarette). He handed over the keys at the reception and wanted to leave immediately. He had hardly any baggage with him. “How does this guy travel with so little baggage?" the housekeeper at the reception mused. His multipurpose black Lungi probably served as a bed sheet, bath towel, shawl, all in one. He had opted for the rooftop room because it was cheaper than the rest of the rooms. This was a rare specimen among the foreign tourists that frequented Starhome guest house, Anjuna beach, Goa. The housekeeper remembered well that the man had come with a lady companion, left her in the room and had gone for a couple of days. The lady rarely came out and he did not remember when he had seen her last.

The housekeeper went upstairs and checked the room. He searched under the bed, toilet, clothes cabinet, just to make sure there was no dead body lying around. He questioned the man more about his lady companion. The man confessed his partner had disappeared mysteriously, while he was out on his business. He insisted there was no reason she could run away. However he refused to lodge a police complaint. Probably the girl was not his wife? Could it be that she was really his wife but he was happy she disappeared? Or, it could be that he wanted to bring his mother-in-law to the same room and try his luck to see if she could also vanish….No one knows, but the frightened man literally ran away leaving behind his plastic slippers and the aroma of coconut oil.

The housekeeper however had a more serious reason to worry. A few days ago a British lady had stayed in the same room. She had left her pet dog and gone for a full night party. She said she distinctly remembered that she had locked the door from the outside. When she returned the next day, the lock was intact, but the dog was nowhere in sight. The windows had a grill, there was no balcony, so there was no way the pet could escape from the room! The woman was hysteric. Her four letter swearing in BBC accent with ample use of F’s and C’s left the poor housekeeper stammering and sweating. "No wonder even a dog wouldn't stay with this lady" he murmured to himself. While the guest house staff took her tantrums lightly and thought she had a few drinks extra that night, she refused to stay in that room and left with a frightened look on her face. The room was vacant ever since that day.

Rumors of a ghost haunting the guest house started spreading like wild fire. ‘Star Home’ was the most popular guest house in Anjuna, Goa. Its luxurious spacious rooms were always booked in advance. Since Star Home guest house was closer to most beaches of North Goa, the tourists preferred that location for accommodation. The rooms on the ground floor had direct access through the garden and couples on honey moon loved the private and independent, spacious rooms. Huge trees surrounded the house and provided shade and greenery all around. The haunted room was on the roof top. It was actually built for the purpose of accommodating a staff. However the mysterious disappearance of a pet and a woman started spreading rumors in the neighborhood.

The housekeeper was a Catholic. He wasted no more time and called the parish priest to bless the house. The rooftop room got additional attention and extra share of holy water. Not to be left out, his north Indian Hindu cook made pooja and tied a chilly, a lemon and a few flowers to the door and window. A helpful neighbor even tied an old slipper to the ventilator to dispel the ghost or devil or whatever the hell it was. The staff of Star Home avoided the roof top at night and for the rest of the year the room was kept locked.

It was the cool season of December when a group of students were on their way to the same guest house for a picnic.

The girls screamed with joy and boys heaved a sigh of relief as the neon sign board 'Star Home' appeared on the road leading to Anjuna beach. They had travelled for six hours all the way from Mangalore, and were really tired, and looking for a comfortable rest. The guest house was just two KM away from Anjuna and Vagator beach . The guest house had eleven rooms and a huge hall on the roof top. While the boys went to the roof top hall to sleep the girls ran to occupy the best of the rooms that were available. The extra room on the roof top was kept locked, so they asked the housekeeper to open it as well.

The housekeeper did not oblige, so they insisted. The man was in no mood to pick up trouble with them, so he tried to discourage them saying the room was haunted. He also told them the two mysterious episodes of disappearences. The boys were now thrilled. They quickly collected money as reward for the most courageous one who was willing to sleep in that room. Before anyone else could volunteer, Don, the rich pampered brat in the group volunteered. He had a secret mission, he desperately wanted to impress his sweetheart Dolly with this new stunt. Dolly was already watching him wide eyed, impressed when he volunteered to sleep alone in that haunted room. Once they had the dinner, Don went in to the roof top room while the rest of the group clapped and cheered him. He closed the door, sat on the bed and opened the whisky bottle he had with him. Though the fear was overwhelming in that room, the power of alchohol made him drowsy . They were all tired and longing to sleep. Lights went off one by one and there was silence. Tired after a long journey and tipsy with alchohol, Don slept as if he was dead.

It was a pool, some kind of swimming pool. Don was dreaming…..he was swimming, along with Dolly. Dolly was like a mermaid. The more he tried to touch her, the more slippery she became. Slippery…..Slimy….even as he tried to get close, she put her arm around his neck, slowly tightening….tightening….till he suffocated. Don tried to open his eyes, but he was too drowsy. He did not see the mermaid anymore. But her slippery arm continued to strangle his neck tighter and tighter. He screamed with all his might.

The housekeeper could not sleep that night. He was strolling on the terrace. He heard the muffled sound of a scream and ran to the rooftop room where Don slept. As he kicked open the door and put on the lights, to his utter horror he watched a huge python that had coiled around the boy and was strangling his neck. The next few minutes it was total chaos as all gathered in Don's room. The girls screamed their lungs out, while the boys tried to shoo away the huge scary creature.

Just as they watched, it slithered on to the table, then to the dressing cabinet, reached the ventilator, and through the ventilator climbed on to the branch of the huge tree behind the house that was touching the ventilator. With astonishing speed it vanished in the darkness.

Don got his award for the bravery from his friends and even earned some admiring smiles from Dolly. But the youngsters could not get over the fear for a long time. It was certain it was the same python that had swallowed up the pet dog. However some still do not believe the python could swallow a human being. While the Malbari probably swears by his ancestors that the girl is dead, there are others who argue a python cannot eat and digest a human so fast. They say the girl must have run away with someone, still alive somewhere and giving a oil massage to someone with hot coconut oil.

The huge Jackfruit tree adjacent to the Star Home guest house was cut down the very next day to the great relief of everyone.


Richard D'Souza Archives:



By Richard D'Souza, Doha
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Comment on this article

  • Richard D Souza, Qatar

    Sun, May 11 2014

    Dear John,Bhandarkar Mamu,Sundari, and Gopal,
    Thanks for your appreciation encouragement.Your support keeps us amateur writers going.

  • Gopal R. Bhandary, Mangalore

    Sun, May 11 2014

    Beautiful Reading to enjoy and forget ourselves for a moment. Later again ghost haunts !!

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'lore

    Tue, May 06 2014

    Baari Sundari Dear...
    Eerega Gotthijaa? Yaan Voiklaa Podujee.Maatha Aayee Thoodayee Bokaa Daadha Podunee?
    'Real Experience' makes you fearless even while reading ghost stories' imaginary' or 'real'.
    You have a long way to go dear..don't you?

  • Sundari Ashoknagar, Mangalore

    Mon, May 05 2014

    While reading, first I got scared of the ghost. Then I got scarred more about the python. Now that the tree is cut and python cannot come to the rooftop, I am relaxed.
    Bhandarkar mamu eer dadekla podujar athe.

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'lore

    Mon, May 05 2014

    All good for the Python...Lady companion, Young Boy, Pet dog and all that...
    Imagine (Just imagine only o.k...This is also imaginary story-right?)If it had encountered married women above 35 o.k o.k.above 42 this python(imaginary or even real for that matter!) would not have been able to do a thing!
    Why-you ask me?
    Tell me.....Can a Python swallow a TON?
    Married Men above 42 -50 you ask????
    They are already half -swallowed -o.k. Python has to do the remaining formalities that's all....
    Very good imaginations dear Richard.Imagined to the 'T'. Even the Jack Fruit Tree at the end! Didn't even leave that to the imagination!!You got it cut at the end -didn't you?

  • Austin Savio Barghanza, Jeppu Boppal

    Mon, May 05 2014

    Any 'Ghost' story makes interesting reading.

    One must grow up from the primitive concept of 'ghost storyline' and offer something concrete to the household to remember, which can be like 'tonic' to the body and mind.

  • John DSouza, Mangalore/Qatar

    Mon, May 05 2014

    Congratulations Richard, Good imaginary and well entertaining story of Guest House
    Thank you DW for your support and encouragement to the multiple talents and ideas

    Christ has risen, let us pray and welcome the Holy Ghost in our Dwelling House
    To open our eyes to see wonders, ears to hear true facts and tongue to talk good
    Let not the entertainment and social media make us redundant, being covered 24x7.

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