Stay Tuned To Radio Screams!
She frowned at the pile of copies & books glaring at her from the desk. There was no way she could finish all the homework & it was already past 11pm. She let out a long sigh, rubbed her eyes & got ready for bed setting the alarm at 4am. “It’s a curse being in 12th standard” she muttered on her way to the common bathroom.
On the way back, she passed the room of her elder sister. The door was slightly ajar & Lara could see Asha sleeping soundly while her new touch phone resting innocently on the bedside table. The phone was a gift for topping that year in her engineering college. Lara being in the torturous 12th standard could only dream of such gadgets. She had only just managed to lay her hands on the computer on the pretext of school projects. And Asha being the obnoxious elder sister wouldn’t even let her enter her bedroom let alone touch her stuff.
But Asha was asleep & everyone knew that when Asha slept only an earthquake can wake her up. She survived her own awfully loud snores, so there was no way the creaking door, the light footsteps in the room and the slight rustling as Lara picked up her phone, could have woken her. “I’ll be up by 4am anyway & place it back. She won’t know a thing”, Lara smiled as she snuggled into the bed.
She plugged in the headset that was dangling from the phone, turned on the FM and began browsing through the menu. Some funny song was playing and she couldn’t make out the lyrics. “Uff…why can’t they play some nice Hindi songs? Do they really expect people listening to FM & dancing at this time of the night?” she muttered.
She was reading one of the many cheesy SMS sent by some guy to Asha and too busy giggling, when suddenly the voice on the radio said-“Now that was a great song by the Dead Devils, from their latest album Till Death Do Us Part. Coming up next is the jittery music band Vampire Villa with their song I’m Thirsty. Stay tuned to Radio Screams…keep them screaming!”
Lara sat up on bed. Vampire Villa? Radio Screams??? “I’ve so lost it. I know am having an emotional-nervous breakdown. I knew it-trigonometry would ruin me one day!” The wailing noise in the station continued until she could no longer bear it. She tried changing the station but it returned static elsewhere. Her curiosity got the better of her & she decided to keep listening to hear more.
“Welcome back to Radio Screams. Your host tonight is Radio Spirit Tamanna. And it’s time to take some calls now. Let’s see who goes first?” Lara’s face bore the expression similar to the one on the face of a student who’s caught, by an angry teacher laughing at a really funny joke. A perfect mixture of fear & mirth. “’Hi,Tamanna! It’s great to talk to you. My problem is my son. You see he’s refusing to haunt anyone! We are an ancient poltergeist family. His behavior is ruining our reputation and…’ Tamanna cut in mid-way-‘Oh wait, has your son been anywhere close to a TV? You see he must have gotten hold of one of those ridiculous channels that show the oh-so-cute-helping-smiling excuse of ghosts.’ ‘Oh yes come to think of it I did catch him once perched outside the window of a kid. But he said he was waiting for the right opportunity to scare the kid. He’s been disappearing every evening.’
‘Ah! I knew it. Let your son watch Evil Dead or Last Exorcism & he’ll soon learn what haunting is all about. If he is still obstinate, force him to watch one of the Scary Movie series. Once he sees how little humans think of ghosts these days, he’ll be cured.’ ‘Oh thank you Tamanna! You are a spirit-saver. I love Radio Screams…keep them screaming!’ “
Lara was wide-awake by now & sitting dumb-founded on her bed. Another song came up but it sounded worse than the wailing. A female werewolf was singing out to the full moon. The background music was like nails scratching on window panes. Thankfully the song finished & Tamanna came on air again to entertain another caller.
“’ Hi, Tamanna! Remember me? It’s Larry the vampire.’ ‘Oh yeah Larry how are you?’ ‘In a big problem Tamanna. I followed your advice & used pixie dust to sparkle and impress my witch girlfriend. But now she has gone up one level & bought some perfume called Bella’s Stink or something that she thinks would make her irresistible to me. But hell! That thing smells worse than garlic & pumpkin paste. I can’t bear it Tamanna!’
‘Oh these girls. Well, I’m a witch myself and have seen countless such young witches & vampires have been fooled by this one woman. In fact many young vampires have burnt to ashes going out in the sun. This is insane! You grab your girl and watch count Dracula together. Show her what a real vampire looks & acts like. And throw away that bottle, it says ‘Stink’ on its label doesn’t it??!’ ”
Lara’s eyelids were drooping by now. She struggled to make sense of what was happening around her. The last thing that her tired brain registered was Larry’s sing-song voice saying-“Radio Screams…you bet I’ll keep them screaming!” The ‘screamy ‘ song that followed next was endless and somehow seemed to have the word ‘Lara’ in it repeating quite often. “Oh no..they discovered I was a human listening to them” Lara mumbled.
“Stop mumbling and wake up you idiot! How DARE you touch my phone? Mom don’t stop me I’m so gonna kill her today!” Asha was standing there glaring at Lara. “C’mon girls it just 7am and you are two are growling already? Now Lara get up or you’ll be late for school. And you too Asha, stop being childish & go take your bath.” their mother yelled back from the kitchen.
“You were listening to the radio?” Asha’s eyes were bulging. Lara blinked. ‘Radio Screams..keep them screaming’ playing in her head. “Definitely a dream”; she decided. “Nope I was too busy reading all your ‘romantic’ SMS from your Sweetheart. How cheesy …eww!” “You stay out of it!” “Now get lost from my room before I go rambling to Mom” “You wouldn’t dare….” Asha stomped off.
“Phew, some dream that was…” Lara thought as she gulped down her sandwich. “Oops…I almost forgot my assignment. One minute!!!” she yelled to the honking driver.
She dashed back to her room and grabbed the file. Asha was still taking her beauty bath. Lara smirked but froze mid-way.
An exact rendition of the female werewolf’s song about full moon was emanating from the bathroom.