THE BLACK MIST PART 2 OF 10
Mitesh grew up hearing the story of black witch, there was a temple in a marsh, a little distance away from the village, five or six kilometers away from his home. That temple was built by the king of this village that is, the king who ruled over this village too… he owned quite a substantial amount of property in nearby areas back then, the prosperous lands were turned to graveyard by the witch as per the folklores, Mitesh was related to the king.
That infamous temple was certainly not surrounded by marsh then. Five hundred or so years ago it was standing in the middle of a village. A prosperous village! The beautiful temple was surrounded by a garden and sat by a lake.
Now it was sitting in the middle of a marsh with strange black liquid that won’t dry in the fiercest heat of summer. In monsoon when it was drenched or filled up with water it stank like hell. That marsh ended a kilometer or so away from his home. One narrow path led to the temple which none but Mitesh walked upon, that is, he has never seen any signs of anyone else visiting the temple.
The temple was still beautiful, Mitesh often sat there when he took his walks in that direction. But villagers did not flitter anywhere too close to it. They had really bad feelings about it. So even though it was supposed to be crumbling down it was not it was not vandalized like so many temples across this country.
The marble floor and the elegant pillars were blackened by neglect, time and surrounding swamp but there was no other sign of decay or plundering. The statue of the Goddess made of Ashtadhatu (eight metals) and at-least thousand years old was sitting on the almost black marble seat, spreading an air of sad neglect.
It was king’s dedication to mother goddess Kali, thanking her for a son.
A few years after the temple was built a witch occupied it. She practiced black magic. Small children of the village started to disappear, but such was her power that no one could enter the temple. Every time someone dared to step on its thresh-hold something bad happened to his family.
The villagers were so convinced about her dark powers that dozens of stories started to circulate in and around the village. Some vowed they have seen her flying, her black cascade of hair and sari flying around her like darkness, others said they have seen demons serving her.
But that fear was not scary enough for grieving parents. When the next child disappeared they surrounded the temple. Within a few minutes it was set on fire. They could hear monstrous roars coming from inside.
The strange thing was no one or nothing tried to escape. They stood there, surrounding it, waiting for it to reduce to ashes, it did not. Something else happened!
The black fume turned into a black mist. Next it started to condense like darkness itself. The terrified villagers heard roaring and hissing inside that mist as it lurched towards them in a slow but menacing manner. They ran with their families, leaving everything behind.
Things people left behind were never seen again. When some daredevil villagers returned next morning with a hope of salvaging things left behind they saw that a black liquid has oozed out of ground and there was no sign, none at all of their huts, houses , men, animals or anything else that was left there! Only miles of foul smelling marsh surrounded the absolutely intact temple. They dared not to venture near but could see that there was no sign of the fire that engulfed it previous night.
They could hear the sound of bells and chanting of Krishnamayee coming out of the temple.
They ran as fast they could to never return.
This village came up centuries later, when the fear of the myth has ebbed away. But the mist returns, once in a while, cowering under its darkness villagers can hear the clanging of the bells of the temple, as if it too was alive and moving inside the mist. They could hear the loud chanting of Krishanmayee, the witch. The hissing and growling of her companions, it never returned empty handed. It devoured one village after the other that fell in the path to this village. Last time it surfaced hundred years ago, and devoured the last village that lay between the temple and Maheshpura.
That marsh is where those villages were.
“Villagers are deserting the village.” The Ramprasad mumbled. “I will leave by noon. I will suggest you the same. Don’t try to stay back.”
“How far is the mist from here?” Mitesh was bubbling with curiosity. He was thinking about calling up his friend in Delhi to come down with his shooting equipment to capture the village frenzy.
“It has just started to rise from the marsh that means, it will be here by tomorrow noon. It travels in darkness, in night.” Ramprasad muttered. Then he looked at Mitesh’s face, “Don’t go there son. Don’t play with things beyond your control.”
“I won’t uncle.” Mitesh tried to soothe the man but Ramprasad was too old to be fooled.
“Don’t do it son. I will have to take my leave. We are leaving by eleven a.m. I will have to gather my belongings before that.” The old man took his leave after requesting Mitesh repeatedly to not meddle with the witch.
Mitesh pressed the button for a cup of tea. No one showed up. He went out to the kitchen. It was deserted. All his household helps have vanished in thin air.
They must have overheard Ramprasad, or one must have heard him and ignited the rumor haystack. The entire house was deserted but him.
He picked up his camera and left for the marsh. He stopped his car a few meters away from the marsh and stared at the black mist. It was halfway through the marsh already, two or three kilometers away from the border of the marshland.
BLACK MIST AND OTHER STORIES
This book is for people like me who enjoy a good spook and chill like a daily cup of tea, coffee. The title story is the only story that is common with the previous edition of this book, others are new. This year the book will contain stories of various spooky/fantasy tastes. This year the stories are not much dark though. A mixed platter of fantasy and eerie stories for you! Don’t forget to share your views after reading.
WORDS LEFT BY READERS (For the previous version):
This is a collection of stories of distinctly Indian flavor, dealing with often dire
supernatural beings of a spiritual nature. Below I briefly note each story:
The Black Mist:
Mitesh has a new real estate purchase in an abandoned village, and a dire legend
surrounding the locale, of a witch out for blood and souls. It doesn’t end well for Mitesh at all . . . I liked this one, a nice start for a collection of this sort.
Ritwik and his family have moved into a new home . . . one with a dire history, and a mysterious intruder who enters the home even with the strictest security measures. They soon discover said dire history, ending on a terrifying note.
Sima is seeing ghosts while incarcerated under a life sentence in prison. Jailed for
serious criminal offenses, only she can see her ghosts, the ghosts of her victims,
though her jailers think her mad. The ghosts, though, have a purpose of their own!
Chinmayee and Pradyumna witness slaves and their drivers in Mughal dress. They soon discover the secret of the town’s history, reenacted by the ghosts of the past!
Don’t Waste Our Time:
Death’s deputies are going nuts. Induced near death experiences in recreational test subjects are causing problems with the reaping of souls. So the Reapers have a clever plan, one that puts a damper in these would-be tourists of the afterlife…
Jewels of Madhulipi:
Bidisha comes to live in a haunted house, with a persistent ancestor spirit who has something important to show her. This one has a more pleasant ending than the previous, but fits the theme of the book well.
The College Trip:
Prema brings home a souvenir from an outing with fellow students, an evil souvenir, a passenger of sorts that makes her very, very ill. This one too ends on a happier note, concluding this collection with the defeat of evil and the triumph of life.
4.0 out of 5 starsPerfect for Halloween
ByKevin Cooperon 24 October 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
If you want a fresh read for Halloween, but don’t have the time to get into reading a full novel, I would definitely recommend this book of short dark fiction.
Sharmishtha Basu has a unique approach to dark fiction and things tend to begin, en media res in a very masterful way. I particularly liked Black Mist and found myself fully engaged with it. As with most short stories, there isn’t a lot of room for character development, But Sharmishtha’s storytelling technique more than makes up for this problem.
Now the grammar is not perfect, (Seriously, with the constant changes to it, whose is?) but I also have to take into account in this case that English is not this author’s first language, hence the four stars.