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The Return of Imray, Part 1 of 4

By Rudyard Kipling

First of four scary stories kids like

Imray, a rather colorless civil servant, achieved the impossible by becoming featured in several of those scary stories kids like. Without warning, for no conceivable motive in his youth at the threshold of his career he disappeared from the world—-or at least from the Indian station where he lived. 

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Me
After three or four months of your own police-led inquiries, you say you have rented Imray’s bungalow?
Strickland
He must have left clues about his disappearance. I should find some there! 
Me
But how will you find them, Lieutenant, when fishing rods and other sporting goods occupy half the bungalow? No doubt the other half is given up to you and your giant, shaggy dog.
Strickland
The villagers say she speaks to me in solving crimes. Perhaps she will. 
Strickland
Secondly, some say that if she sees things calculated to destroy the peace, she returns to me and lays out the information.
Me
Yes, your neighbors decried your great Rampur hound to me.
Strickland
Certainly, the natives believe Tietjens is a familiar spirit and they treat her with great reverence.
Me
Reverence born of hate and fear, yes.
Strickland
In contrast with my own love and awe for her. I owe my life to Tietjens, after all, for she once caught a man crawling into my tent with a dagger between his teeth. 
Me
Yes, I remember that case: He was found to be an escaped cutthroat and was hanged. 


A most welcome guest

Strickland
Tietjens has ever since had a silver collar and bowl, and a monogrammed night blanket of double-woven Kashmir.
Me
But my purpose in visiting is not only to reminisce. A short time hence my business will take me through this station, and naturally, the club quarters being so often full, I wondered if I might quarter myself upon your large bungalow next Tuesday. 
Strickland
You are welcome any time. It is a desirable bungalow, eight-roomed and heavily thatched against any chance of leakage from rain. But there is the usual drawback. 
Me
Certainly, I am aware generally. But what is the specific problem?
Strickland
Under the pitch of the roof runs a ceiling-cloth that looks just as neat as any ceiling. The landlord has repainted it. But above the cloth lays the dark three-cornered cavern of the roof, where the beams and underside of the thatch harbour all manner of rats, bats, and foul things.
Me
That’s what I thought you meant by “the usual drawbacks.” I will chance it for that one night.
Strickland
You will be a most welcome guest, but not the only one. There does seem to be a spirit stalking the place at night.

Look for Part 2!