I woke up on hearing the shuffling sound which seemed like somebody was walking on our terrace. Just two days back my aunt had collapsed and died in her flat which was on ground floor. We stayed in first floor and there was no one else in the house other than me. At my age you are not afraid of ghosts anymore as you know that other than memory of the deceased nothing remains. The sound seemed so distant that you are bound to remember all the horror movies you have seen. Who could it be? A thief trying to get into the apartment block to steal or maybe somebody trying to scare me into selling the house so that some unscrupulous could make a highrise and earn huge profits. If it were some builder then the best way to first approach me with a good price. If it was the footsteps of the thief then the person must have been very clumsy because the sound had woken me up.
I tried to calm myself and got my searchlight nearby and also my mobile so that I could dial for help if required. The sound had stopped and slowly my taut nerves began to ease up a bit. After another possibly five minutes or so the there was no more sound made me sleepy again. The time of 2- 4 am is when we are into the deepest part of our sleep. Within next ten to fifteen minutes I had slipped back into the deepest sleep when again the sound of shuffling returned, loud enough to wake me up. Now I was afraid and wanted to ring the Police for help. Before calling Police I wanted to ascertain where the sound was coming from and the source. I crept out of my bed and barefooted walked to the adjacent room without making any sound as Hawai Slippers made a kind of shuffling sound which would have alerted the possible intruder. Despite no lights my eyes were accustomed to the placement of furniture and I did not want to attract the attention of the intruder if any. Mobile in my right hand and the search light, though switched off, in my left hand gave me the confidence I required. I searched all the places in the flat but there was no one. Now was the difficult part where I had to check the terrace and for that I would have to get of my flat. How safe was it I thought then my confidence on my ability to be stealthy overtook all my common precautions. I wanted to catch the thief single handedly and then handover him to police. It was a fool hardy plan which did not strike me.
I walked up the stairs making as little sound as possible and opened the door as quickly as I could to startle the thief. There was no one but the shuffling sound was now loud and clear. My heart skipped a few beats as fear crept into me. After perhaps decades I suspected the presence of ghost. Normally as a child you believe in ghost when you see all those horror movies but as you grow up the reality strikes. However on that dark terrace with no moon and the shuffling noise so near yet so far seemed so unsettling that I wanted to scream but my voice failed me. I even forgot that I was holding a search light in my left hand whose light would have dispelled both ghost or thief but here I was standing on the terrace in the month of December sweating profusely fearing the unseen. After sometime which seemed ages as the shuffling sound came nearer and nearer I somehow managed to switch on the search light. Lo !! It was the kitten that had got stuck in a brown paper bag which was moving on the terrace trying to free itself. I bent down and picked it up to get it out of the paper bag. The kitten ran back to one side of the terrace and I returned to my room after closing the door behind me. I went back to my bed smiling at myself on getting afraid of ghosts. What the hell can small shuffling sound and fear lurking in you can do.