"You can do it ND! You can do it. Its just a matter of few hours until dawn-break," I closed my eyes the last three words ringing in my ears; breathed in and out slowly, while I could hear my friends behind; encouraging me to go ahead. "Come on, you only said you could do it. Don't chicken out now!" There were the sneer of some skeptical ones too, who had challenged that I could never rise above fear. I could make out their faint chuckles ~ ready to chant out and tease 'ND is a darpok! ND is a darpok!' any moment, should I give up.
What had I got myself to? I wondered rather helplessly. If I backed out, I'd become the butt of jokes. I wished I didn't take up the challenge, but then, at times when you are a teenager ( like I was then ) - you wanna prove things to others. This was the same case. Me, trying to prove myself to others as fearless! By being the ultimate fear factor Icon, they'd all bow down to. We all were die-hard Fear Factor freaks, and that show along with the then Mountain Dew commercial had pumped our adrenaline to an all time high. And like any fans, we wanted to replicate reel into real. Only catch was, this time the fear was more scarier and spookier ( or so I thought ).

Time was running out and with dusk nearly approaching there was no way I could escape. I had to climb all the way up the hill, alone, and spend the night in the haunted house, on top of it. The place was a couple of kilometers away from our house, and we always heard lots of stories about it. A new family who had moved into the neighbourhood, used to live in the house; but one day they were all found mysteriously dead. The case was never solved, however, rumours began thriving in that whole area ~ that the place was haunted by a witch! And now, even by the family members who died in the property too. Anyone who passed by that area had eerie experiences, and nobody ever attempted to go to that house especially after the attack incident - where a group of youngsters ( similar to us ) had once decided to spend the night there, and everyone had experienced someone strangling them while sleeping, that they had to run for their lives with echoes of eerie laughter following them ~ till they reached the civilization below.

These stories sent chills down my spine. Add to these, the task of climbing the hill itself was daunting too. With rocky terrain as well as slippery edges, and with the former pathway barely trekkable now, it did nothing good for my vertigo - i.e fear of heights. On top of that, I was supposed to spend my time all alone in that house too. Phew! I exclaimed, as I tried to push myself forward. I held the rope ( that was tied to a tree on top ) to keep myself steady and started climbing, with my backpack hanging along, that had all the things I required for the night ( mat, torch, candles, match-box, food and my favourite mountain-dew cans ). Just a few hours?? My friend had said? I wanted to laugh. It all seemed like an eternity to me. Would I even come back alive - I wondered.

As I climbed further and further away from the gang, the place indeed grew more creepier. Uphill, tall trees ( along with their shadows ) started appearing that made the place more darker than it was, and it was getting night-time already. My heart was pounding in my chest, with sweat trickling down my forehead ( though it was pleasant season of November-end ). Damn! I had to finish it, I told myself. If I came this far, I could get it done with. One more reason I had to complete it was, I always tried to show off has having no fear of the paranormal. I used to research on the subject ( i.e read all kinds of paranormal books/watch shows etc ), and while everyone feared ghosts/devils etc, I used to advise them calmly that fear feeds the evil. That was why, my friends too challenged me to see - if it was all just a pretence or I really had no fear. They doubted my claims and I had to prove them wrong! If I went back - I'd have to chew my own words, and I didn't want to look like a coward. So, it was a challenge for myself as well!


I was perspiring heavily by the time I reached the top, not really an easy feat for someone like ...ahem ahem...khaate peete ghar ki chubby..errr well-fed healthy me!

When I first saw the house, I wanted to bolt and run. It was in ruins and looked very scary. But something held me back. Why fear! I told myself. After all, even if there were ghosts or a witch inside, what could they possibly do! Yeah yeah...the dead family and strangling images flashed instantly inside my mind; but I took a long breathe. Fear feeds them! More I fear, more energy they get from it, my paranormal books had told me. Maybe the family or that group of youngsters feared, and that's why they met those consequences. Hell, I'm not going to fear anyone, certainly not a bunch of moron ghosts! I'm going to scare them instead - whatever that was, inside the house; I decided. I took out a can of my favorite Mountain Dew, from my backpack, and brought it to my lips, taking in a long gulp. My exhaustion instantly vanished, as the fresh liquid trickled down my throat, blasting energies inside I so needed; and I was almost pepped up for the night ahead. "Damn...silly little ghosts, you ain't gonna scare me," I muttered aloud and walked daringly inside the house. I took another gulp, and was totally re-energised. I was so ready to face anyone. Come and scare me ghosts! I challenged.

The house smelt weird and was covered with dust and cob-webs everywhere. I lit one of my candles and took out my food box. I was feeling very hungry by then. "I ain't gonna give any of my food to any of you silly ghosts," I said aloud, as I took a mouthful of my burger. Somewhere the house creaked, but I knew beforehand that these kinds of noises usually happened in abandoned houses, thanks to my books. Nonetheless, I said nonchalantly - "Try harder. Little creaks don't scare me stupids!" But everything was silent.
"Are you guys feeling shy? Won't you show up?" Finishing my burger, I said aloud again and started walking around the hall, kicking little objects that lay on the floor. The furniture were all torn-out and everything indeed look spooky. But another sip of Mountain dew, and I seemed to get renewed courage and energy. "Hahaha," I laughed, "stupid ghosts - wanna have some Dew? I guess, you'll need the Dew to face me. Do the Dew cowards, do the Dew! But shame shame ~ you can't do it or have it morons. Its for humans, not silly ghosts!" I took another sip from my other can. After walking about, when nothing unusual happened, I decided to rest a bit ~ but not before saying aloud - "Alright, stupid ghosts! I'm gonna sleep now for a while. Don't you dare disturb me, else, like Salman khan style I'll..... 'pungi bajawungi sabki'!"

It was early dawn-break when my eyes opened to the chirping of birds outside. I could see faint light streaming in through the broken windows, and rushed out! I had done it. I spent the whole night fearlessly and not a single ghost dared to disturb me. I cried a victory yelp \YAY/ \WOOHOO/! I then rushed back inside the house to collect my backpack and left the house ~ but not before saying - "Alright, stupid ghosts, I'm going now! Like you didn't dare to disturb me last night, don't ever dare to scare anyone...else, you know what I'll do! I'll come back and like Salman Khan style...sabki...."

My head spinned when I saw the distance I had to climb down the hill. Did I really make it up here the last evening and spent the whole night too? It was amazing, almost unbelievable! But when I saw the open-mouthed, awed-eyed look on each of my gang member's faces - I knew it all was for REAL! Reel had indeed replicated to real. And I had a sense of satisfaction inside me, that - I had proved I WAS FEARLESS!


Fear is a fact and one has to take risks in life to succeed. So tell us about the risks you have taken to overcome your fear and claim victory!
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