Satish Somasundaran: When Raja Sleeps

A horror story from the Chennai workshop.

Dear Parents,

Your son Raja falls asleep in the class, we wake him up and he goes to sleep again. He sleeps while eating, playing and sitting and even in the toilet. This has been going on for a month. Can you please look into the matter and send him back when he is awake?

Samantha (class teacher)

Raja’s mother Divya tucks a bedsheet over her sleeping son, closes the door and goes to her room and says ‘Is he awake at night using the internet?’

‘At this young age, come on! We will check it out tomorrow. Leave the kids alone please,’ says her husband Ram.

The next day, Divya goes to Raja’s school and finds him asleep. She wakes him up, he thinks he’s in the house and asks her to sing a song.

‘Raja, you don’t have to go to school today,’ says Appa the next day.

In the late afternoon, a neighbour complains about Raja. Divya walks to the nearby park and sees Raja whispering to all the stray dogs. Cats sit on dogs and rodents on cats. Who ever saw such a strange stuff? A crowd gathers around to look at this young boy. She pulls him home.

The next day, residents wake up in the morning and find reptiles of all kinds taking a walk on the streets and beach. This happens till afternoon. It’s as if they were all moving somewhere else.

Divya tucks Raja into bed at night. But when she sneaks into his room past midnight, she finds the bed empty. She looks for him all over the house. She wakes Raj and they both go looking for him all over the streets. When they come back in the morning, thinking it time to lodge a police complaint, he is asleep on his bed.

Ram doesn’t want to wake Raja up. He wants to know what happens at night.

The next night, Ram goes out and hides in a ditch outside the house after switching off the lights.

After midnight, Ram hears someone whistling, the trees shriek, dogs howl, cats meow and horses neigh. Though he wants to lift his head and see what’s happening, he’s terrified that he will find something truly gruesome.

Then he hears a footstep.

Ram knew his wife will be furious if he doesn’t tell her what he saw. So he lifts his head and faints on seeing Raja slide down the wall, smooth as a lizard.


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