The Ghostwriter and other short stories

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The Fearsome Man

“Hello anyone there?” Asked John knocking on the door of the room allotted to him in the hostel.

“Yes, who are you?” A feeble voice came from the room.

“I am Watt.” John replied.

“What’s your name?” Asked the man inside.

“Watt’s my name.”

“Yes, what’s your name?”

“My name is John Watt.”

“John what?”

“Yes, are you Jones?”

“No I am Knott.”

“Will you tell me your name then?”

“Will Knott.”

“Why not?”

“My name is Knott.”

“Not what?”

“Knott…!”

“What?”

John then heard some footsteps approaching the door and then the door opened. There emerged a young boy. He said –

“I’m Will Knott. Are you John Watt?”

“Yes!” Exclaimed John.

“Please come in.”

Then the man went towards the bed climbed up and went to one corner of it. Then he covered himself all over with a blanket. John got a bit surprised but he was really hungry so he said –

“Hey man, I am very hungry! Have you got anything to eat, I forgot to bring my food?”

“No,” replied Will.

“So I have to go out and buy something, Agh… Would you like to come with me?”

“No, I have Claustrophobia that is fear of crowd.”

“What on earth is that?”

“It’s a phobia.”

“Fo- what?”

“Phobia, it means extreme fear of something.”

“Oh… So what would you like to have for dinner?”

“Anything.”

“Should I bring bread for you?”

“No.”

“So would you -”

“Just shut up man! Go out and get something to eat, I am really hungry.”

“Okay, don’t get angry at me!”

John went out and bought some vegetables. Soon he came back and found Will was still inside the blanket. He said –

“Hey man, I am back!”

“So what? Have you got anything to eat?”

“Surely, but I don’t know how to cook. So please cook something good, and also please put less salt as -”

“Shut up! I can’t cook as I have Thermophobia that is fear of hot things.”

“Oh I see… Never mind, I would make something.”

John tried hard for a long time to make something good and in the end he did make something. He presented to Will who was still in the blanket. After some time Will said –

“Really nice food!”

“Thanks, I don’t know how made it but -”

“Shut up! I was just kidding, I haven’t tasted it yet. I told you I have Thermophobia so I can’t eat this hot so called ‘food’. And keeping the Thermophobia aside, I cannot eat this semi solid brownish thing you have brought in front of me! Just seeing this reminds me of the washroom!”

“Agh… How many of this Fo – things do you have?”

“I have Acrophobia, Aerophobia, Astraphobia, Hydrophobia, Claustrophobia, Zoophobia along with 102 other phobias -”

“Does that mean -”

“Let me complete first! I even have Phobophobia that is fear of having phobias. So basically I have Panophobia that is fear of everything.”

“So that means that you are just going to sit in that corner of the bed covered with the blanket the whole time?”

“Exactly!”

“Oh god! How will I cut these 4 years of high school with this man?”

“Don’t shout I have Phonophobia that is -”

“Just go to hell with these Fo – things of yours! So do you have this thing for food also?”

“Oh no, actually when I was 4 I realized that breathing and food were important for living so I overcame my fear of them.”

“Wow! What a wonderful and unique thing you had observed!”

“Okay okay, quit joking and call the school office and ask for the number of a cook. I can’t live on this brownish thing you made. I need to go to the washroom now.”

“Sure thing!”

John went to make the call to the office. Just then he heard a thud noise from behind him, he turned and found Will on the floor holding his knee and was crying from pain. He rushed and put him on bed again and gave him a painkiller.

It was already dark so they went to bed (Will was always on bed!). Will was reading something from a diary and John was pretending to study. Suddenly John asked Will –

“Are you good at ‘The dictionary of pain and confusion’?”

“What’s that?”

“Maths of course!”

“Not much.”

“Oh…”

“Pass me my pen,” ordered Will.

“You have legs.”

“But I am hurt on knees!”

“You still have legs!”

“Agh… Anyways let me tell you about my phobias as you have to live with me for two years. So as I have told you that phobias are extreme fear of particular things. There are many type of phobias. I have Acrophobia that is fear of height, Aerophobia that is fear of – Are you even listening!?”

“Oh yes, it just takes me sometime to process so much stupidity all at once!”

“I am trying to have a really serious conversation with you!”

“And I am completely trying to avoid it!”

“Ugh… You are irritating. Now let me check if you have any phobias. What if the world ends and only you are left?”

“I would build it again, simple!”

“As expected from you. Next question, what if a giant monster cat says it is going to eat you?”

“Um… I will offer him a giant rat instead!”

“When did you get so smart mister?”

“Since I stopped listening to you!”

John went to his bag and took out a chocolate bar, he ate it then took out another, then another and another. Seeing this Watt said –

“You will spoil your teeth if you keep eating those chocolates.”

“My grandfather lived for 102 years…”

“By eating chocolates?”

“No, because he minded his own business!”

“Hey man just shut up now! I have had enough stupidity for today and now I am going to sleep, do not disturb me!”

“You are really a weird guy!”

Day after day the same stupidity continued for a long time in the lives of Watt and Knott until one day when John returned back from the market and found Will lying on the ground with his hand pointed towards John as if he was dying. John ran to him and said –

“Oh my god! What happened? Why is your nose bleeding?”

“That’s because I am an idiot!”

“So does idiocy leads to nosebleed?”

“Yeah, I think it’s a new phenomenon.”

“Will, just cut out the stupid talk of yours and tell me what happened?”

“Actually I have a serious heart problem which is the cause of all of this.”

“Let’s hurry and go to a doctor.”

“I can’t, I have Iatrophobia that is fear of doctors.”

“This isn’t time for telling me some stupid phobias! Just come.”

“Wow John! You pronounced phobia correctly for the first time.”

“This isn’t the time for all of this stuff just try to stand up!”

“It’s too late John, my death is a few seconds away. Due my fear of doctor I never visited a doctor even once in my life but besides all the fears I have there is one fear that I had never had, that is the fear of death!”

Saying this Will’s eyes started to close. John shook him hard to keep his eyes open.

“Open your eyes Will you can’t die please open your eyes! I would be all alone without you!”

On the next morning when John woke up he found himself inside a hospital, it took him a few seconds to remember where he was. Then he looked to his left where Will was lying on a bed looking at him and smiling, he said –

“So you brought me to the hospital after all.”

There were tears in John’s eyes after he heard Will’s voice. Seeing him Will said –

“Are you crying for me?”

“Why would I cry for you? I am crying because I want to punch you hard on your face but the law states that I can’t.”

“Ha… Well it’s time for my medicines, John will you please pass me my medicines?”

“You have legs so -”

“Not your stupid joke again!”

Just then John looked up at Will and said –

“You used to have fear of medicines, Pharmacophobia that is. What about it?”

“Oh, I would thank you for that. I overcame my fear of it and not only this I overcame every fear I had, every single one of them!”

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