Iriza loved to immerse herself in her memories while lying down on the isolated bank of Orzio Lake. Over the years, nobody but her visited that haunting place. She likes reading her favorite books on the courtyard of an abandoned mansion, nearby. When it rains, she takes shelter inside that mansion and looks at the distant golden hill, through the windows upstairs. Everyone in her town feared that mansion, as there were many dubious murders and suicides. Many claimed to have seen the spirits of deceased wandering along the banks. It is her secret hangout place to be alone. For the last six years, she has been visiting there regularly, like pilgrimage.
Iriza was a fun loving girl, who hung around with friends and enjoyed the life in her terms. Dancing and shopping used to be her weakness. She could dance for hours and could shop all day in malls. Now, she does not visit any mall or discotheques. She aspired to be a novelist. Her friends used to tease her by saying that someday; she will get married to a guy, who will fall for her novel. However, she is yet to finish her much-awaited first novel. She went aloof from all of her friends and relatives to start a new life. Nobody knows why she has become silent over the years. She works part-time as a copywriter with an ad agency. She shunned many good job offers to be alone and read for most of the time.
As usual, Iriza went to the lake Orzio. She noticed a boat tied to an anchoring bar on the shore. She looked around to see if someone was there. Some kind of fear grappled her heart, as she found encroachment in her territory, by a stranger. She became curious and walked towards the mansion, to see if that person was there. She saw empty beer bottles and cigars lying on a corner. On the courtyard, there was reminiscent of fire. She ascertained that, the stranger was inside the mansion. She chose to walk away, with agony and tears as if she lost her only shelter of peace.
On her way back, Iriza looked back at her life. Her friends are all married and have beautiful kids. For her, the lake and the mansion were the companions. From the neighbors’, she learned that someone bought that haunted property. She could feel that, it might have been her last visit to that place. She wondered why someone would wish to buy a property that majority of people in that town fear! She became more curious about that stranger. She wanted to see the stranger, but she did not want her to be seen by the stranger.
Iriza became frustrated as the stranger has spoiled her routine. She could no more afford to enjoy the tranquility of the lake or mansion. It has been days since she read anything or slept properly. She wished that she could buy the property, but she do not have any savings. She cried due to agony and pain. Suddenly, she started writing down on her diary. She always liked to pen down her feelings, when she was too sad or angry. She kept writing until the morning. As she read those pages again, she slowly laughed, then cried, and jumped madly. She could not believe, finally she has finished her novel.
Later in the day, Iriza went to visit her friend Susan, who works as an editor at Mark’s Publishing Inc. Susan was surprised to see her best friend, after many months. Iriza gave her novel to Susan and asked if she could help her. Susan told her that she would contact her in two days, as she has to take permission from her owner, before she could go ahead with printing plans. Susan has once promised Iriza that she will get her novel published, no matter when it is finished. So, Iriza had trust in her.
Two days later, Iriza got a courier from Mark’s Publishing Inc. It is an invitation to attend a party at her favorite haunted mansion. Though she was shocked at first, later she found relief at the fact that, she can visit that place again. Now, it is obvious now that, someone from Mark’s Publishing Inc is that stranger. She went to her favorite mall for the first time in many years, and bought herself a new gown and matching jewelry, as she wanted to look pretty on that occasion, for some reason.
Iriza reached the mansion at 6 pm. She was surprised to see that the building has been renovated, just as she used to wish. As she entered the visitors’ hall, she heard a familiar voice, though she did not see anyone. Welcome Miss Iriza; take that envelope from that table. She opened the beautifully covered envelope, to see her dream book for the first time, “Destined Soul. Before she could feel her emotions, a man came to her side and said, “I am sorry.” It is none other than Mark Brook, her boy friend who left her 6 years back, over a bitter fight. It is the place where they first met accidently and then romanced over a period. Mark bought the place in her sweet memory, but never thought he could see her again.
Mark left Iriza over misunderstanding and went abroad to do business. It took many years for him to realize his mistake. He told Iriza the, he searched for her for many years, but he failed to find her as she never introduced him to any of her friends or relatives. I broke your heart and I was stupid to leave you then. When I read the novel, which Susan gave me, I realized that it is yours. I am glad that I am able to fulfill your wish, finally. He took a ring out and asked her, will you marry me, on his knees. The hall filled with bursting claps as her friends came flocking her from other rooms, to her surprise. Now everyone knew the reason for her silence and the secret behind her loneliness.
Image courtesy : Thanks to npia.police