Title: House of Screams
Author: Andaleeb Wajid
Price: Rs 250
W alls have ears too, we all have heard it, but what if you get to experience something more scarier than this. What if you get to see shadows on the walls of your house which can move and even come out of it? If you are into horror genre, Andaleeb Wajid has done a remarkable job in her book House of Screams. She has weaved the story around paranormal activities without losing the touch with reality.
The book is divided into two parts, the Present, and the Past. While in the first part Wajid narrates the story of the current residents of the house, in the later part she unravels the mystery of the haunted mansion.
A man with his wife and three-year-old son shift into a bungalow — ill-maintained and much dilapidated — in a posh locality. Unaware that they were walking right into the conundrum of unbelievable and weird future experiences, the couple looks up to their new possession as a godsend gift as they get it pretty cheap looking at their present financial difficulties.
However, the first shock comes when none of their friends are able to locate the house when called for a party, and eventually, they start hearing noises from the adjacent walls and unseen people. The wife, Muneera, would hear scary voices and see apparitions but choose to ignore them so she’s not laughed at by the husband. She sees her maid Asha as the key to everything that goes wrong in the house. Asha is mysterious and always in bad mood. It’s when their child goes missing that they confront the realities of the supernatural world that exist in the house known only to the maid. The second part deals with past when Asha narrates what made the house evil itself. Asha reveals the story of the original owners, their shot to fame and power, her own greed and what resulted from all that. She’s the only link to the past through which the present couple can get their child back.
The author uses right amount of narration and leaves the rest to the imagination of the reader, which actually works wonderfully in this case. Horror is not an easy genre, but Wajid aces it with panache. The pace, the storyline, the narration, and the pauses… are all in the correct order. There are few loopholes, but they can be overlooked when reading the book as a whole.