‘No one should go near that outhouse,’ the granduncle almost shouted at Pipi and his two younger brothers.
‘Why?’ asked Pipi. He was here with his parents and two kid brothers. The granduncle was his father’s uncle.
‘Sir, you mean it is haunted by a ghost? Pipi asked.
‘Yes. And that ghost hates mischievous little kids. He likes to eat them alive,’ granduncle’s eyes looked menacing.
‘Sir, are you serious?’ Pipi said rather insolently.
Pipi was not impressed by this story. He disliked being treated like a little dumb kid. He decided to explore the outhouse at first opportunity.
A week later granduncle had to go out to a court of law on some business. He was not expected back till late evening. Pipi had been waiting for this opportunity. He rushed to the outhouse. His brothers came chasing after him. But they were all disappointed.
The outhouse was locked. They went around the structure listlessly. Pipi spied a window and peeped in. He was shocked to see an old man sitting on a rocking chair inside the locked outhouse.
The old man was asleep but he sensed their presence and opened his eyes. He stared at Pipi for a few seconds without blinking his eyes. Then he smiled.
‘Why don’t you all come in? I haven’t talked to kids for a long time. Let’s have some fun; come in,’ said the old man.
‘The door is locked,’ Pipi almost shouted
‘I know. Your granduncle keeps me locked in, never forgets to lock the door. But you can get the key; I know where he keeps it. It’s in the upper drawer of his study table. Go and get it, but do hurry.’
Pipi kept thinking for few seconds, ‘Who is this old man? Why is he being held here?’
It was a mystery that he wanted to unravel. He was also beginning to dislike his granduncle. It was an opportunity to settle the score with him. He ran and found the key. He was about to open the lock when one of his brothers said, ‘Don’t; the old man is a ghost. He would eat us.’
‘Get lost if you are scared,’ Pipi thundered at his brother. He quickly opened the door and entered the outhouse. His brothers followed him, unwillingly and apprehensively. They searched every nook and corner of the outhouse but surprisingly there was no one in there. There was nothing in it except an old rocking chair.
‘Where is the old man? Where has he vanished?’ muttered Pipi.
‘He was sitting on that chair,’ said one kid brother pointing towards the rocking chair.
‘Look at this chair; no one seems to have sat on it for years,’ said other kid brother.
‘Let’s leave…..now,’ ordered Pipi. He was suddenly scared although he was unwilling to show his feelings to his brothers.
To their horror they found the door bolted from outside. Pipi panicked. He rushed to the window and opened it.
He was about to shout for help when he saw his granduncle running towards the outhouse; granduncle’s face was contorted in fear.
You can read earlier stories here