Purab was fresh out of college and had just started working as an Intern at a publishing firm. Moving out of his home and into the city was always something he dreamt of. The people, the places, the pace of life all gave him hope of a better future. His next dream to come true was the small apartment he rented, it overlooked a park and had access to all the amenities.
As he settled into the apartment, he noticed something on a high shelf. He reached out and grabbed it, it happened to be a photo frame with a picture of a girl smiling while seated on a park bench. He called up the landlord and enquired if someone had left it behind, the landlord didn’t know much except that it could have belonged to the last tenant, Dia who was an Artist and lived there for many years and had recently passed away. Purab didn’t think much about it and thought he’d let the photo frame remain on the shelf until someone came to collect it. He couldn’t help but smile at the pretty face in the photo, her smile was infectious indeed. Days passed by and Purab loved his new place, he hosted parties over weekends and told his guests the story of the photo frame.
Months had passed, one fine day Purab decided to go jog at the park, there he noticed a bench just like the one back in the photo frame. He paused, looked around and continued. The next day while jogging he decided to catch his breath and sat on the bench, a stranger walked up to him and praised his smile and asked if he’d like to get a photo clicked. There was something off about the Stranger as he smiled eerily and showed Purab his photo album filled with hundreds of photos of people smiling, all seated at the same bench. Purab was instantly creeped out and denied the Stranger’s request and got up and left and didn’t dare to look back.
That whole day Purab was disturbed, he couldn’t regain his composure, was lost at work and just wanted to get home and unwind to a chilled beer. After a few too many beers, he fell asleep. That night Purab had a strange dream…..
In his dream Purab was running thru the park just like he normally did, but as he approached the bench he was surprised to see Dia seated there. Dia waved at him and called him to her. The Stranger seemed pleasant today as he meticulously setup his camera. Dia asked Purab if he liked the apartment, Purab confirmed the same. The Stranger behaved as if he’d never met Purab before and asked Dia if she’d like to have him click them both together. Dia requested and oddly Purab agreed instantly, as they settled in for the pic Dia smiled and leaned towards Purab and whispered into his ear “You should’ve said No.” The Stranger clicked a snap and then walked up to them, he knelt in front of Dia asking her to smile bigger and then swiftly used a blade to rip and carve a Glasgow smile across her face. Purab was horrified to see this, Dia continued smiling with the ripped and bloodied face and Stranger then moved his knife towards Purab……
A startled Purab woke up from this dream, he was sweating profusely, breathing heavily and his heart pounded like it was about to burst out of his ribs. Purab walked to the kitchen to get a glass of water, as he walked back to his room he was stunned and shocked beyond reason and he just froze in his path. The photo-frame that stood on his shelf, now had a picture of Dia and him seated together and smiling. He sensed he wasn’t alone and that very second he heard someone behind him whisper “Smile”, this was followed by the clicking sound of the camera.
Couple of days later Purab’s body was found, the coroner confirmed it was a cardiac arrest. Months passed by after all of Purab’s belongings were cleared out. Today the new tenants arrived, Tina and Amar were recently married and were excited to find this beautiful home. While they unpacked and set everything up, they came across the photo-frame on the shelf, the pic of Dia and Purab together. Tina smiled looking at the photo frame and walked towards the window. While Amar was about to call the Landlord to enquire about the photo frame, Tina called him to the window. Out of the window they saw the strangest, funniest thing happening at the Park, some guy clicking pics of the empty bench. While the couple laughed and joked about it, the stranger turned his camera towards them and clicked them.
Let’s wish Tina and Amar have a pleasant stay in their beautiful new house.