It was pitch dark in the room.
The only visible object was the shining radium dial of the time-piece which was showing quarter to ten.
He was utterly alone, half lying and half sitting upon the bed, but he was wide awake. His eyes were peeping inside the darkness, as if they were waiting for someone. The door of the room was bolted and besides him, was lying his small Italian automatic, right under the palm of his right hand, he could feel its cold touch.
It was very queer, yet quiet. There was a feeling of a bizarre element in the atmosphere. He was trying to get his nerves under control. His heart was beating fast; like drums of the savages, producing a sound, the melody of un-easiness and macabre. It was all very lonesome, yet haunting.
Suddenly chill ran through his back-bone, in a flash, the automatic was up in his hands.
He was listening now.
Muffled sound of distant but approaching foot-steps was closing in. The automatic shook in his bony hand.
Someone was approaching.
The sound of ascending the stairs was clearly audible—clutter ! clutter ! thump ! and the visitor was facing his door. He knew it, he was ghastly white and still.
It was queer but a tense silence, although he could feel that someone was breathing deeply outside his room.
He was quaking like a leaf, gripping the automatic as hard as possible and his broad chest was going up and down like a big bellow, pumping air and with a still glance he was watching the door as if he was waiting for something to appear.
But it was a still silence, no sound, no action and yet he could feel that “The Thing”, the morbid and mysterious creature was lurking outside, probably waiting for him to step-out.
He was breathing from his mouth and was all wet, he could feel the little drops of perspiration, appearing again upon his fore-head and it was almost running through his temples. It was grotesque and testing. His nerves were upon the edge of an explosion.
He was shuddering due to some unknown and yet ghoulish fear. He was feeling as if something solid was rising inside his breast, a vague feeling of awe and terror was almost swallowing him. It was a tense silence and he realized that he could no longer stand the great nervous tension.
It was a long pause and then all of a sudden he heard retreating foot-steps !
“The Thing” was going back.
He sighed heavily and then broke down.
“I can’t bear it ! Oh God I can’t bear it !”
The time piece was showing two O’ clock and he was still awake, lying lost in deep thoughts, but on the smallest sound he would grip his automatic, which was also lying nearby.
It was not a calm night, the wind was blowing hard and the maple leaves were making a stranger rustling sound.
It appeared us as if all the evil spirits were on the loose on that night, in search of agonized and hopeless human souls’ to carry them away’.
It was grotesque and a weird night capable of producing any nightmare or a sinister hallucination for the un-nerved and weak.
Suddenly, there was a new sound. It was neither the whistling of the wind, nor the rustling of the leaves: it was a moan ! A dog was moaning right below his balcony, probably in the street.
Another sound was audible. The distant howling of the hungry wolves !
An owl crackled ghoulishly.
Then, All of a sudden there started a hissing, the whispering, the rattling, the growling, the murmuring, the screaming and the shrieking.
A shiver ran through his body.
He sprang to his feet, his lower lip hung a little and the hand holding the automatic was almost paralyzed. He was not very optimistic of using automatic, because his fingers were no longer active and alive.
They were in a semi-living condition; UNDEAD !.
Another new sound was utterly out of human experience. It was unknown, yet a piercing shrill, a eerie cry of hatred, a hideous and dreadful moaning of the devil; it was a non-human sound, a sound outside humanity, a haunting and sinister shrick.
He was half dead with terror and was holding the automatic with both hands, shaking hands; quaking and shuddering and then he threw up one of his hand in despair.
Something dark was moving outside the closed window.
He could see it emerging from behind the glassy-window pane. He saw it through a veil that hung before his eyes, like a gauze drop-curtain, used at the back of the theatre hazily a little.
It was neither a human nor an animal figure.
To him it gave a strange impression of being as large as several birds grouped together, like a ghoulish Vampire.
It was closing in. Unwelcoming suggestion, a vague feeling of fear, a sensation of uneasiness ran through his heart.
The morbid dark object was now quite visible. It was circling again and again and was striking against the window. The worst feature of the situation seemed to be that he did not expect and could therefore make no sort of preparation by the way of defense. He could anticipate nothing and yet the horror of “The Thing” was invincible.
His face became ghastly pale due to cold horror which had already hypnotized his nerves.
There was a crash of glass.
He screamed, but his throat was choked, he could not produce a sound. He was hopelessly watching with wide eyes an open mouth.
It was this moment of distress and confusion that the whip of terror laid its most nicely calculated lash about his heart. It struck with a deadly effect upon the sorest spot of all, completely unnerving him.
He had been secretly dreading all the time that it would come !
And come it did !
It came down and swept passed his face. Feeling the flutter of its cursed wings he gave a cry of terror.
It was encircling the electric lamp. A large black mass of hatred, horror and evil.
He aimed at it.
Suddenly it swept down and hit him.
“Aye e e e e e……. !” he fell with a long drawn scream.
The bat was still hovering over his head. It was flying quite low now.
He aimed at it again.
He was sinking fast.
There was a booming noise of the automatic.
The bat was hit.
But he too had exploded.
He was unconscious !
It was the fifth day of his arrival in the mental hospital.
He had been placed there, because he was found in delirium and in a strange position when the door of his room was forced open by his neighbor’s that night, they said to have heard –‘shots’.
He was found all utterly alone and downtrodden.
The wind was again howling to-night like a mad dog, and the sky was overcast with dark clouds.
He was watching the window with a strange glow in his eyes, but at least, it was not a pleasant glow at all.
Then, came the “Terror”
The room turned cold, a sudden wind shrieked in. Forcing open the window.
The wind that was not earthly.
It bore an evil. Blowing from far.
Then a strange sound was heard.
At this sound, his face became a pale-white mask of newly awakened fear.
There was a crunching at the wall and the window ledge buckled before his staring eyes.
From out of nothingness beyond, came a sudden burst of lubricious laughter, a hysterical cackling born of utter madness. It rose to the grinning quintessence of all horror, without a mouth to give it a birth.
The rest happened with a startling swiftness.
All at once, he started to scream in the most eerie voice.
Once again there came the sound of the maniacal tittering but this time it came from within the room.
He was seized by a dreadful agitation.
He dashed out in a mad run.
He was running on the road as fast as he could.
He had escaped from the mental hospital unseen.
He could see, a loathsome black figure was flying right behind him.
He was being followed.
He was visualizing things now.
A huge scientific laboratory, with a dancing old man.
The scientist Doctor Sarkar was dancing with joy.
Dr. Sarkar had successfully invented a sure cure of cancer, and he the assistant Dr. Vikram was disgustfully watching.
Suddenly, he decided to act.
Within a few minutes Dr. Sarkar was lying dead, being strangled and the assistant Dr. Vikram was holding the invention, the medicine in the test tube.
All of a sudden a bat which was flying high near the roof came down with a rush.
It crashed against the test tube.
Dr. Vikram’s game was up.
The test tube was lying broken into smallest pieces,
He drew the automatic and banged it.
The bat fell, head long.
It crashed upon the bottles of the table.
The chemicals caught fire and the whole lab was burnt to ashes.
Dr. Vikram was rescued somehow.
He had terrible nightmares, hallucinations.
He had lost his soul, sold to the weird and loathsome bat, a personification of evil itself……..
And then the brakes of a speeding car shrieked in.
But it was too late.
The soul-less was already hit.
The car never did stop. It sped away.
Dr. Vikram lay there.
At a distance,
A huge black bat was flying low in the air carrying something grotesque, probably a human soul.