Navratri- one of the most infamous Indian festivals celebrated as the tribute to the nine avatars of Maa Durga, nine planets, nine openings in us, nine forms of bhakti, and the nine aesthetic emotions, is often associated with a pious and godly vibe of life. But what if I tell you not every story related to Navratri saintly!

Since I am from a little village in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, often dubbed as Mini India, where all kinds of people dwell, the eve of Durga Puja is celebrated with great interest. A fair of 5 days is organised and people of all age groups receive the blessings of Maa Durga and enjoy the fest.

That year I was already 15, according to the parents here the right age to let their daughters visit the fair alone. While my brother went away with his friends to play around I was left alone and rather irritated by the crowd. The fair was the same as I have been witnessing it for the past ten years and lacked anything that would pique my interest so, I decided to return home. My home was just 15 minutes away and I was pretty used to the neighborhood, so I chose to go back alone which was probably the biggest mistake of my life.

There were not many houses on the way back home and neither were there many people. There wasn't anything worth mentioning other than the old abandoned house on our street.

I looked at the approaching house as the things I had heard about it started to surface in my mind. Stories had it that in the late 90s, before I was even born, there lived a couple. They had three children, the eldest daughter was married off and their son was sent to study while their 8-year-old youngest daughter lives with them.

Life was pretty harmonious until one day when the man discovered that his wife had been having an affair and his youngest daughter was not even his child.

Knowing that her husband has learnt everything the woman eloped away with her lover... As for the young daughter, she vanished in thin air never to be found again! What's more, the house caught fire and burned down into ruins the very next day!

Coincidence or was it?

Rumours had it that the man killed the young girl in the fit of rage and hid her body somewhere around the house and that the fire was set by him to erase the evidence against his crime. The police failed to find her even to this date voicing the famous legend.

The house was tagged haunted by the little girl's ghost as many people had reported paranormal sightings around the house. People reported strange noises of someone running around and dragging things inside the house even though no one lived or dwelled there.

Being a resident of this place I have heard this story and even though I was not as superstitious to believe in ghosts I still kept my distance from this house as everyone else did.

Back to that night, as I was approaching the house I felt the aura around me change into something eerie. The sound of the fair was vanishing with every step I took. I looked at the old worn-out house in darkness as the wind rustled the ancient trees around it. I was just about to cross the house when I suddenly heard the sound of knocking; freaked out I turned at the house to see something I have never dreamt of seeing- someone was actually knocking on the door of that house but from inside.

How on Earth was this even possible! Curious and confused I decided to check on what it was, I stepped inside the porch and climbed the stairs. Once I reached the door I knocked on it before asking if there was anyone inside.

My question hit a cold wall of silence, I knocked a few more times before I decided to give up and leave but then I heard the sound of footsteps rushing inside the house. I distanced myself from the door but then I heard a meek voice calling out for me, "Hello… are you still there… hello?"

I replied that I was there and further inquired who she was and what she was doing inside. The voice replied that she was stuck in here and couldn't find a way out, she asked me if I could help her get out of here. I found nothing suspicious as I thought she must be some girl who went to explore inside and got struck, even her voice showed a hint of weariness and fright.

I agreed and was about to open the door when I heard my name being called out. I turned around to see that it was the elder sister next door. She asked me what I was doing there and asked me to come out of there right now. I told her that there was a girl inside who was asking me to open the door; her face turned pale as she jumped across the fences and pulled me out of the yard, not stopping until we reached home.

When I asked her why she pulled me out of there she told me something really horrifying. It turned out that the house was set on fire on the fifth day of Navratri, which was shockingly the same day, and that every year during Navratri many people heard a little girl's voice, which was said to be the youngest daughter's ghost, calling out for them from the house and whoever opened the door would end up getting either inhumanly sick or some misfortune.

I felt goosebumps surfacing my body when I heard his account! I wondered what would have happened to me if I naively opened the door that day. Both that house and the Navratri have never been the same to me since then.

Who would have thought such a fatal and frightful thing would be associated with the auspicious eve of Navratri...

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