Tuesday, April 03, 2018

The Ghost Alarm

The arrival of spring signals the arrival of pollen. To me, it means allergies. I am allergic to tree pollen and avoid going out during pollen heavy days. This past weekend was nice and sunny, and we thought of taking the kids out to play in the park.  However with the air heavy on pollen I had to stay back while my wife and kids went out. With the kids out I sat down to watch a science fiction horror movie. Over the course of the weekend, I ended up watching 3 horror movies, 2 of which were recommendation based on my previous watch item.

My allergies were acting up by the time I reached home from office yesterday (Monday). I took an allergy medication before going to bed, which as a side effect causes marked drowsiness. The medication helped me breathe easy and I was asleep soon.

I was woken by the sound of an alarm this morning. The sound was not defying to get me out of the bed, but was enough to wake me up. I looked around and it was still dark. There was heaviness in my head due to the allergy medication but that did not bother me as much as the alarm did. The alarm bothered me because there is no clock in our home which makes that particular sound. So where was this sound coming from? I looked around in the dark but could not make out anything. The alarm suddenly stopped sounding. I thought maybe it from our neighbors’ house and went back to sleep. I was woken up again with that same alarm sound and this time too it was still dark and no sign of where that sound was coming from. I thought I was dreaming and rubbed my eyes but I could feel my hands and face. So I was definitely not dreaming. The alarm sound stopped again and I quickly pulled the blanket over my head and tried to sleep. It was complete silence but I could not sleep this time. That alarm sound however faint it was, felt sinister.

I was trying to put my thoughts to rest when that alarm started again. I sat up on the bed and looked around. It was dark and nothing was moving. There was suddenly a sound of someone running which came from the living room, but I recognized that sound. It is from the dog which stays in the house above us. But what if that sound was not of that dog but actually came from within our house? I thought of getting out of the bed when the alarm stopped again. I wondered what to do next when I noticed a faint white light at the other end of the room. Just like that alarm, the light went on and off maybe 2-3 times. Was this some kind of a game? What was happening? At some point both the alarm and the light stopped; and the whole room was quiet and dark again. I quickly went back to bed and pulled the blanket over my head. All this was new and had never happened to me. In a moment every scary scene from each of those horror movies played through my mind.  Was my blanket getting pulled? Am I hanging in the air as they show in the movies? Was that a ghost standing at the corner? I tried to tell myself I don’t believe in ghosts and all this was just a bad dream. I had started to calm my mind when I suddenly heard a sound and felt like someone was standing right next to me and I could feel his breathing. It sent shivers down my spine. I lay still on the bed with the blanket over my head. The scariest scenes from the horror movie were now replaying in my head.

This is not me; I told myself. I don’t believe in ghosts and a horror movie cannot scare me. I pulled the blanket off and stared in the dark. There was no one next to me. I could almost hear my heart beating. I am better than this; I told myself. I got off the bed. The air from the AC duct hit my head; a sign of relief. Suddenly I saw the same white light at the corner. I went to check and it was my cell phone. I had put my cell phone on silent mode and face down when I slept and it glowed every time there was a message. I put the phone face down again and went into the living room. There was no one there. I switched on the light and looked at the front door and the porch door. Everything seemed fine. I was about to switch off the light when that alarm sounded again. It was loud and seemed to come from the play room. My kids use the play room to play but sleep in their own room. So no one should be in the play room yet there was a sound. The door of the playroom was closed. I slowly opened the playroom door and switched on the light. There were toys scattered but no one in the room. The alarm sounded louder and closer now. I looked in the direction of the alarm and there was a bag.

It suddenly occurred to me what might be making that sound. My wife had brought a watch as a gift for someone; maybe it was that watch alarm sounding off. I tore the wrapping paper and pulled that watch out. The watch had different alarm modes and it was indeed set to go off at 2:48 AM on Tuesday, with a 10 sec snooze mode. So this was the problem. Today being Tuesday the alarm went off at 2:48 AM and it snoozed every 10 seconds. I fiddled with the watch for some time but was unable to switch off the alarm. The only option left was to go through the user manual. I patiently went through the user manual and finally at around 3 AM this morning I was able to switch off the watch alarm putting an end to that ghostly sound.


~Narendra V Joshi

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