Amreen Siddique is a 23-year-old Business Analyst at Cactus Infotech Global. She lives as a paying guest in a 4-bedroom bungalow house in Andheri, Mumbai. She shares the house with three other girls. As Diwali approached around the corner, her roommates left the house and went to stay with their respective parents for a week.
Amreen had to live all alone in the spacious 4-bedroom bungalow for a week. She wasn’t visiting her parents this time because she finished her leaves as she had taken a vacation trip 3 months ago.
Thursday 2:30 PM
Amreen was sitting in the cafeteria, eating her usual egg salad sandwich and fries that she ordered from her favorite American style cafe — Mackie’s, which was just on the street her office was located at.
mr_giggler has added you on Snapchat
Her eyeballs shifted to the left, followed by staring at her phone screen, reading out the username in her mind. Still chewing a morsel of the sandwich she had bitten fifteen-seconds ago, her eyebrows frowned reading the weird username. She was confused. “What the hell is mr giggler?” she puzzled. Without spending any more thought and shaking this whole thing off, thinking it could be some random guy from Instagram or Twitter, that added her.
Amreen was a graceful brown-haired, hazel-eyed girl. She was one of the prettiest girls in her office. And this had been consistent since school times. She was a real head-turner. Part of the reason why she shrugged the whole random Snapchat add business, was because she was used to random boys adding her to social media. She indirectly liked it. It gave a faint boost to her ego.
Thursday 7:30 PM
Amreen was packing her belongings from her desk, getting ready to leave from work. She placed her laptop into her bag and heard a Snapchat notification. The name read mr_giggler. It was a text message. She opened the message and it read, “Hi”. Two-seconds later, an emoji popped up on the bottom left of the screen. This notified that the person was online with their chat screen open. Usually, frequent Snapchat users have Bitmojis as their avatar. Mr_giggler did not. It was just a smiling emoji that rested on the bottom of the screen, waiting for Amreen.
She was weirded out a bit by this. She closed the app, zipped her bag and left the office. Five minutes later, as she got out of the elevator, she got another Snapchat text message from mr_giggler. She opened it. “Reply.” It read. Amreen ignored it again.
Twenty minutes passed. Amreen was in the rickshaw, heading home. Another Snapchat text message from mr_giggler appeared on her phone. She rolled her eyes and sighed. “What the f-” she muttered under her breath, letting out the F-word only an inch, followed by an exhale. Her eyes widened, eyebrows raised as she read the psychotic message.
“Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply. Reply.”
At this point, she concluded that she was done with this stupidity. She had to reply to him, she had to make it stop. She replied, “Who the fuck are you?! Stop messaging me. I am not obligated to reply to you. Please stop messaging me.” As her message delivered, the smiling emoji popped up on the bottom of the screen. Mr_giggler started typing…
Amreen was befuddled. “Who is doing this? Is it a prank? Or is it really some creep that is messaging me?” were a few thoughts that swam in her mind. She tried to be a bit realistic and concluded that it could be one of her office friends playing a prank on her. She replied, “For God’s sake Shiv if this is you, I’m gonna whoop your ass tomorrow in office! Not funny”. The smiling emoji popped up instantly as her irked message delivered. Mr_giggler replied with three consecutive messages –
Good night ?
She was infuriated by now. She thought of calling Shiv, her friend, and co-worker, who was in his mid-twenties. Shiv was an office entertainer who liked to play pranks on his team members, especially on Amreen. She tapped the home button, exiting Snapchat and head toward the phone log, to call Shiv and tell him to quit his unfunny prank. She mulled over it for a few seconds, rotating her thumb in circles over Shiv’s name, weighing if she should call him right now or just deal with him in the office tomorrow. She went ahead with the latter.
Friday 12:15 PM
Amreen finished the report she had to send out before the first half and headed towards Shiv’s desk. Walking towards his desk, she opened Snapchat and clicked on mr_giggler’s profile. She noticed it had 1500 points and realized it was not a new account, it was at least a few months old. “What is this?” Amreen questioned Shiv. “Mr_giggler” Shiv read out, staring at her phone, puzzled. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Shiv answered. “Listen, Shiv, quit it. I know it’s you, it’s one of your foolish pranks, mr_giggler.” she accused. “Also, Mr_giggler?! For fuck’s sake, could you get a more ludicrous username?” she added, sarcastically.
“Listen, I swear it’s not me-” Shiv retorted halfway as Amreen cut him in the middle, “So you’re saying you aren’t sending me creepy messages since yesterday? Stupid Snapchat doesn’t save messages otherwise I’d have shown you.” “Actually…” responded Shiv, explaining to her about saving messages on Snapchat. Amreen cut him in the middle again, “No I don’t wanna hear anything. I am anyway staying alone at night, it’s not funny receiving such messages ya Shiv.” Amreen paused for a few seconds, closed her eyes and flinched. “I shouldn’t have said that to you, right? You’ll only try to scare me more.” sighed Amreen, looking at Shiv in failure.
“It’s not me Amreen, relax, just block him if you’re so worried.” said Shiv, smiling. Amreen nodded affirmatively and left.
Friday 4:22 PM
Amreen’s phone beeped with the Snapchat notification sound. The notification read out “mr_giggler” with a blue Snapchat ghost icon to the left. She opened the message. “Hi.” Amreen sighed in despair. She stood up from her desk slowly and peeped on to Shiv’s desk. Shiv was texting on the phone, this gave her the benefit of the doubt. “What?”, she replied. “It is Friday, what are your plans for tonight?” came a reply. Amreen replied back instantly, “Better than yours, loser, get back to work now.” The conversation continued with mr_giggler sending three consecutive messages –
Better plans with no one in the house?
She was convinced that it was Shiv who was pulling the prank. Not twenty minutes ago she blurted out that she is living alone, no one knows this information other than Amreen, her roommates, her parents and now, Shiv. She ignored mr_giggler’s last messages. She stood up again from her desk, slowly, to gander over Shiv’s desk. Shiv was busy talking to Anil, their boss.
Friday 8:05 PM
Amreen was on her way home from work when she received another text message from mr_giggler. “Wear something nice tonight. I am coming to see you.” Amreen was enraged reading this. She quit Snapchat in irritation and called Shiv on the phone. “Listen Shiv, ENOUGH! I read what you sent and it is NOT cool.” she spewed words out, riled in frustration. We are friends, I understand that but-” Shiv cut Amreen in the middle, “What the fuck are you talking about!?” exclaimed Shiv, baffling with confusion. “I have no idea what you’re talking about, I told you in the afternoon that I am not messaging you. I am not that giggler guy, or whatever the fuck his name is. I told you to block him!” continued Shiv.
Amreen paused for a second. Shiv sounded certain. The burning rage inside her stomach began to wane. She was bewildered, she couldn’t think straight. Maybe it is not Shiv, a little voice answered in her head. She complied with Shiv’s advice. She opened Snapchat, went to mr_giggler’s profile and blocked him. She closed her eyes, tilted her head up and let out a sigh of relief thinking it was over.
Friday 11:35 PM
Amreen was in the living room, watching The Phantom of The Opera, 1962 classic musical. She was still trying to shake off the encounter with creepiness she’d had to deal with since the past two days. She couldn’t completely focus on the movie as she was distracted by the whole ordeal. However, she tried to collect herself and fix her eyes on the TV screen. Disinterested in the movie, she closed her eyes for a while and dozed off soon.
She woke up with a phone notification sound. Struggling to open her eyes, she blindly tried to fetch her phone on the couch. She grabbed her phone, yawning, and pressed the power button to check the message.
mr_giggler01 has added you
mr_giggler01 has sent you a message
Amreen jolted. Her palm started to shiver a bit and she clenched her fingers onto the phone’s borders. She took a deep breath and opened the message.
It was a picture of her sleeping on the couch, clicked from upstairs.
The picture’s caption read, “Why did you block me Amreen? You should not have blocked me.”
Amreen’s body froze for a few seconds. The hair on the back of her neck rose as the adrenaline bolted inside her bloodstream. She was terrified. She hopped off the couch and turned around to face the stairs.
She received another message, “Are you ready?”. Her anxiety levels shot off the roof. Holding the phone in her trembling hands, she peeked over the stairs and the rooms. Her lower lip was quivering with fear. Startled by the whole thing, her throat ran dry and she couldn’t let out a scream. Screaming right now would not be the brightest decision anyway.
She sprinted to the kitchen to hide. As soon as she entered the kitchen, she tiptoed her way to a small space between the refrigerator and the kitchen counter. She crouched there with her hands crossed on her knees, shivering, hoping he would not find her. She closed her eyes and prayed for it. Tears broke down from her lower eyelids, trickling down her cheeks and down to her jaws.
“Amreeeeeennn….” echoed a dreadful croak from the living room. “You know I’m going to find youuuu, you cannot hide all night from me!” he said, followed by a giggle. She knew sitting there is not going to help her in any way. She quickly unlocked her phone and called Shiv. He did not pick up. She tried again, twice. No answer. She looked over at the kitchen counter and saw the knife stand. Placed in a set of six, there were two paring knives, two chef’s knives, and one utility knife. There was one utility knife missing. She pondered where it could be, and it suddenly struck her that she used it this morning to spread butter on her toast. It was still lying in the sink.
“The utility knife would not do, it’s not sharp enough.” she speculated. “I need a sharper knife, one that’s long and pointy. I think the chef’s knife would do. Yes. That’s it. Go for it Amreen.” said the voice in her head.
She advanced herself a little bit just enough to see if he was anywhere nearby. If he was, she could spot him from the corner of her eye. The room was mostly dark, but the light from the street lamp outside her house shed some of it on the living room floor. He wasn’t there, she raised slowly outside the space she had crouched under, stretching her hand out as far as she could to reach the knife stand.
Her phone rang, she jerked in a shock as the ringtone erased the dead silence of the room. It was Shiv. She picked up the call, crouching back into the space and frantically trying to explain to Shiv what had happened, trying hard to puke words out of her mouth. “Shiv? Shiv listen, please come here. My house. Now.”, she whispered, almost on the brink of crying. What followed was futile. All she heard was blaring club music, she could not hear a word Shiv said and it was fair to assume he didn’t hear any as well.
Three loud steps on the living room floor. Her phone fell to the ground as her eyes and ears caught the attention. The phone call ended. Amreen was shaking. A few seconds later, she heard three loud steps again. This time, closer to her. “Amreeeeeen, I heard that. Where are you?”. Dismayed in horror, Amreen tried to bolt towards her room. After a few steps in darkness, she tripped over an ashtray on the floor and fell flat to the ground. She pulled herself up and ran upstairs, into her room.
She fleeted into her room and locked the door. Switched on the lights and stood there. A soft beep went off on her phone. She knew it was not Snapchat, she clicked the power button and it said, “Low Battery. 10% battery remaining.” She had left her phone charger downstairs and now way in hell was she going to step down. Her heart filled with ghastly feeling. Her room had a window, she paced there, opened the window glass and peeped down. No one was on the street.
“Amreeeeeen I am here.” came a voice from the living room downstairs, following a ghoulish giggle. Tears started to form under Amreen’s eyes again. She was frozen. She received a Snapchat message from him. Phone clutched in her hand, her palm shaking, she unlocked the phone and saw the message. It was a selfie from mr_giggler, in her living room.
It was a picture of a man in his 40s, greying hair, droopy eyes and a sinister smile stretched from ear to ear. He was wearing a striped formal shirt with three buttons open, exposing his chest and the white vest he was clad in. Amreen had paused the movie when mr_giggler had sent her the first message. A few seconds after receiving the selfie, she heard the sound of the movie continue. She did not know what to do, she was trapped in her room. She could not even escape from her window as the height of the window from the ground was about 25 feet, even if she took a chance and pounced out, she would break her bones and there was a fat chance the creep would get to her, hearing her screams.
She received another Snapchat picture from him. This time it was a selfie on the stairs with the caption, “I’m coming. Hehehe.” She could see his face clearly this time, it was horrifying. His face was covered in boils, some of them had dried mountains of puss. He looked repulsive. After a few seconds, she received another message from him. This time it was a picture of him in front of Sheena’s room. He covered his mouth with his palm, eyes squint, widening his cheekbones as if imitating a child in shame. The caption read, “Are you here?”
She received an incoming call from Shiv. She glared at her phone, knowing she could not pick up. If she did, the man would know where she is as he was on the same floor. She quickly put her phone on vibrate and canceled his call. “Amreeeeeeen, come out.” his eerie voice filled the floor. Amreen was in her room, weeping. She was helpless. Her phone had 7% battery and she could not call anyone. She opened WhatsApp and typed a message, “Hi. This is Amreen Siddique. I am trapped inside my house and there is an intruder. This is not a joke. Please help me. My address is Bungalow-8, Bhatt Nagar, Link Road, Near GB Petrol Pump, Andheri West, Mumbai. PLEASE HELP ME.”
She sent this message to her co-workers, her parents and a few friends she knew in the city. It was 1:15 AM. Shiv called again, she confirmed that he had read her message. Helplessly, she had to cancel his call again. She opened WhatsApp and texted him, “Shiv I cannot speak on the phone, he is just outside my room. He is looking for me, I am in my room and I have locked the door. Please call the cops, please come here. He will kill me.” Shiv was online, the grey ticks turned to blue in a fraction. Shiv replied, “Fuck! I’m on my way. Stay in. I’ll get there as soon as possible.”
She received another Snapchat message from mr_giggler. It was a picture of her door with the caption, “Are you going to come out or should I come in?” Amreen felt paralyzed seeing that snap. She quickly ran towards the door and switched off the lights and walked slowly backward towards her bed, shuddering. Mr_giggler responded by clicking his tongue a few times with pauses in the middle, “Baaaaad move, Amreen. Baaaad move. You think I wouldn’t notice the lights go off?” he said, followed by his sinister giggle. He thumped the door thrice, loudly. “I know you’re in there Amreeeeen, open up!” She cringed at his stretched pronunciation of her name, chills ran down her bones. With every loud thump on the door, her blood ran cold.
He started banging loudly on the door, screeching like a maniac. He continued this for a whole minute and then stopped suddenly. “Amreen, open the door.” said a voice, breaking into tears. “Open the door please, let me in Amreen, please” begged his voice, almost crying. “No.” came a voice from the inside of the room. Amreen was sobbing hard. “Please don’t kill me. Please.” she prayed to him. Loud banging on the door ensued. He screeched violently like a lunatic which made the door’s screws loosen up. He noticed the loose screws. “Are you ready, Amreen?” he giggled. He thumped on the door with all his strength and tore it down.
There he was, a little shorter than 6 feet, broad-chested man, smiling at her prey. Amreen screamed her lungs out, breaking down and crying. The man took slow steps towards her, switched the lights on and stared down at her. “It’ll all be over soon. Don’t cry. Please don’t cry.” He said, calmly. Amreen looked at his wide smile wearing down into a poker face as he pleaded her not to cry. “What do you want? Please don’t kill me. Please.” she begged, crying out loud. He walked closer to her, kneeled down and brushed his big hands on her hair. She jerked back, her eyes red with glossy tears, her lips trembling in terror. He held her face, with his fingers and thumb on either side, gripping her cheeks, “You have such a pretty face.” he expressed, tracing his menacing eyeballs across her face.
He wiped her tears and removed a trench knife.
Amreen’s eyes fell on the knife and she began screaming. She continued screaming for a few more seconds until her scream got trapped in her throat, refusing to come out. Her body jerked. He withdrew the knife from her stomach and rammed it in again, deeper. She did not scream anymore, only muffled sounds gagged out of her mouth, along with blood. Her eyes stared at the ceiling fan and then moved towards the man. She stared at him straight in his eyes. He smiled at her, showing off his coffee brown teeth, leaned in close and licked a tracing drop of blood from her chin. Amreen’s body started numbing down. Her vision started to get misty. The last voice her dying ears could grasp was his malicious giggles.
He looked at her till her eyelids stopped throbbing. A tear that formed inside living eyes now broke down from a dead person. He pulled out the trench knife from her, moved it down and slid it in his back pocket.
A few moments passed. A police SUV arrived followed by Shiv in the cab. The police broke down the main door, headed upstairs towards Amreen’s room. Shiv was shaken up as he saw Amreen’s mangled body. The inspector called for an ambulance and the forensics team. After the body was examined, Harish Shetty, the head of the forensics team walked towards the inspector and said, “As you have already noticed, her body is cut up from the chest till the lower abdomen. We checked for body parts, the heart and the kidney are missing. This is similar to the Pune case that happened 3 weeks ago. We might have a serial killer out there.”
CREDIT : Sahil Bhalla
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