And The Roses Bled by Mehak Daleh (Fingerprint Publishers, 224 pages, Rs 399) is a story about Alisha and her ability to see and hear ghosts, specifically of her twin sister Nina.
Alisha and Nina are twins who love each other immensely and share a special bond, common to all twins. One day, when they were six, while playing together in the ground, Nina disappears and Alisha is left alone, crying and searching for her. The family is distraught but eventually accept that she is dead. But not Alisha. And soon she starts seeing the ghost of Nina which affects her badly. She is unable to sleep, eat or do anything. There is no one with whom she can about her problem. Her mother becomes overly protective of her and she starts avoiding her altogether. Therapists don’t work either. Time passes.
Alisha is now 11 and her father finally decides to send her to a boarding school “to help her grow individually”. There she meets Ravneet and they become the best of friends. All is going well for Alisha when one day she sees another ghost, of a girl she doesn’t recognise. Soon after she starts hearing voices, seeing strange things and she also gets nightmares while in sleep. All this perplexes her; she cannot understand the reason behind it.
Then one day, one of her classmates and good friend Robby mysteriously disappears. Robby’s body is found some days later. This leaves Alisha more troubled than before and thus begins her journey of discovering the truth. She is sure of the fact that all these events are somehow related and is determined to get to the bottom of the matter.
What lies at the bottom is something Alisha wouldn’t have thought possible even in her wildest dreams! What came at the end is shocking and terrifying but not entirely unbelievable. What is that, I won’t tell you! For that you have to pick up the book on your own.
But one thing I must say is that the book is extremely well written and is terrifying and exciting, in equal parts. When I picked up And The Roses Bled, I had taken it to be just another run-of-the-mill horror story about ghosts and zombies, but it ain’t so simple. In fact, it is spooky.
The story is engaging and I couldn’t put the book down till I had finished it. At places I was scared to turn a page, at others too excited to know what comes next — that’s the kind of thrill this book gives — a complete rollercoaster. It truly makes you believe that there are some unknown and unexplained forces out there that some of us can see and some of us can’t, but nobody can deny their existence.