She stood there, watching him tie his boat on the tree. A small boy was sitting on the boat.
“Come!” he ordered the little boy.
The boy looked scared.
She followed them from a distance, the man kept looking around him, he looked nervous but she kept out of his sight.
She knew there was a small cabin in the woods, in the past summers loggers often came there to hole up, for a few days, to gather woods.
But that has been years… quite a few years she thought… what is he doing here with a kid? Is he ignorant of this island’s notoriety?
The man shoved the boy inside the cabin and locked the door.
He left after a while.
She went to the window, the boy was crying piteously. She tried to call him but could not speak… her voice was gone… years ago…
She went back to the shore. The man was rowing away.
Why did he left the kid here?
The kid was banging at the door, screaming and crying.
The man returned a few hours later. It seemed he was furious. He went directly to the cabin, she followed him, he opened the door.
“Your father thinks his money is dearer… than your pathetic life… he does not knows who he is messing with!” he picked up the gun.
The man threw away the gun and ran screaming towards his boat.
A skeleton at his chase.
The boy fainted.
The man somehow reached the boat and vanished from the scene.
What will she do with the kid now?
She picked up some water from a nearby stream and sprinkled on his face.
The boy gathered his senses, he was about to faint again but decided against it… somehow gathered his nerves and looked at his rescuer.
“You are ghost?” he asked.
“Thank you for scaring him away…”
How quickly time passes by… she wondered. Life zips by one before properly realizing. She looked around her. It was autumn, the trees were shedding their leaves, the path in her garden was covered by them.
She went to the gate of the garden and looked out wistfully. The only thing she missed in life was roaming freely like she did before… before that monster got fixated on her.
She remembered that fateful trip to the holy place. The sick gaze of that priest and the series of death and misfortune that followed, which ended up in her deserting her own kingdom, afraid that she will only bring misfortune to her subjects.
Then that night, when her fate changed… she was sitting here, under a tree when a being appeared in front of her, her gentle face that was glowing like a moon told her she was an angel or someone truly powerful.
“I know of your plight princess, God has sent me to help you, even though we dont interfere in the world of mortals but this time your tormentor has gone too far, and you have always been my lord’s dear.”
“The misforune that is stalking you has a name, its a black magic practicing wizard who got obsessed by you when you were visiting that temple, he is following you like a plague so that the rest of the world rejects you, and he can devour you, he wont let go of you … ever… if you want, I can build a home where he wont be able to enter, beware, dont step out of the boundary without the knowledge that you will be vulnerable. He may or may not harm you when you are outside.”
The angel created the house and its boundary wall before disappearing.
Twenty years have passed, she has been living a blissful life, filled with inner peace and happiness.
“Its been more than five years now…” he humbly said, kneeling before the teacher.
The teacher did not answered his question, in place of that he asked him to see what the teacher does for the rest of the day.
He keenly observed the teacher, to his great discomfort he noticed how badly his teacher was treating his pet dog, the poor creature did not accepted food from any other hand, and the teacher kept placing his plate of food and water out of its reach.
“What did you see?” the teacher asked when they settled down in the evening.
He narrated everything except abuse of the dog.
“That is all?” the teacher asked.
“You did not asked me why I treated the dog so cruelly?” he asked.
The pupil remained silent.
“What would have you done if you were the dog?” the teacher asked.
“I would have gone for another source of food…” he said.
“That is the lesson of your life!” the teacher said.
“You know how easy it is for me to frame you…” the commander in chief smiled, his ugly face glowing like a monster’s face in hell’s fire. “I will just put some things in your rooms while you are rotting here and later when my men go there to raid, they will discover them.”
“Who will believe you? A foreigner living in a strange country… an escapee from a country that is so infamous for drug trafficking..”
He knew he was cornered, there was no where to run…
“What will I have to do?” he asked, he could feel a cold hand clutching his heart.
“Go home… I will let you know…” he smirked. “Don’t think about running away, my men will keep an eye on your whereabouts, you see we have lot of time at our disposal… so dont even imagine you will be able to evade us… the day you try something like that, the next day you will see your face in all newspapers as a drug-trafficker at loose, deadly and dirty.”
“Now run along and play …”
He left the police-station, cursing the moment he came to this country, believing he will be able to earn honest bread.
He never even guessed the depth of hell he was about to touch very soon.
“She is a witch…” the grocer whispered to him.
“Really?” he just played along, without believing.
“Yes… she has sold her soul to the devil.” he said, “I would not go anywhere near her if I was you.”
“If I see something missing I will run away…” he picked up his bag and started the car.
He rented a small bungalow in the outskirt of this small town, surrounded by forest. The village “witch” was his next door neighbour, an old woman who lived a solitary life.
Well, next door in this town meant quite some distance apart, he could see the chimney of her house from his porch, surrounded by trees and bushes.
A few nights later it was full moon, he woke up late at night, feeling really uneasy, the window was open, he could see the moon in the sky, and that light showed him something else… a creature standing right beside his bed, it looked like a human being but was not… it was three feet tall and its hair touched the floor.
He jumped up and the creature in a flash dived for the window, by the time he turned on the light it was out of the window… and into the bushes.
He picked up the torch and flashed it all around but could not see it.
He bolted the window from inside, checked the other rooms their doors and windows before going back to bed.
It paid its next visit a week later.
He was awake this time, lying on the bed, eyes closed thinking about plots for his next story. A soft sound attracted his attention.
He could see its head, a feet higher than the lower level of the window, he could see the slight sparkle of its eyes hidden behind hair.
It was staring at him, he did not made any movement, it kept staring at him, then he heard a voice, a woman’s voice, “How many times have I told you to not go near others? they will hurt you if they see you….”
The creature withdrew from the window, he quickly went to the window.
In the light of the half moon he saw the creature walking away with his next door neighbour.
A part of his heart wanted him to go to the woman and ask her what it was, the other part told him to keep his silence. The creature was harmless, actually it was more scared of him than he was of it. So…
Some secrets should be left alone.
“There he is…” Vinay grabbed Dinesh’s arm firmly. “I told you….”
They could see the apparition floating a few feet above the ground, slowly moving towards the place they were hiding in.
“Come…” Vinay tugged Dinesh’s sleeve, “We will have to go…”
“No…” he whispered, “I want to see it… clearly…”
“He will kill us… like he killed the old beggar….” Vinay tugged harder.
The thing was quite close to them now, Dinesh whipped out a flashlight he was hiding under his baggy shirt and flashed it, there was a pulley attached to the ceiling, dragging the straw figure in an oversized robe through the dark corridor.
Something hit him hard on the back of his head.
Next day when his deadbody was discovered the old house was declared as a haunted house by locals. A few months later a hotelier bought it at very cheap price.
A few months later Vinay submitted the advance for a small flat in Bandra.
It was just a small clipping, in the corner of a newspaper. Armyman goes beserk, kills five people then surrenders in the local police station.
Just a fortnight earlier he was whistling when he alighted on the railway station. He was home, after two years for a month.
His father was waiting for him in the station, the face of the old man told him something was wrong, his son was not there…
He was in the hospital battling for his life.
They were playing in the field the previous morning, the school was off, the kids were out. The ball shattered the glass of a nearby house.
His son went there to apologise and collect the ball but did not returned, the scared kids ran off to their parents.
His father went to that house, it belonged to a man infamous for his illegal activities.
His grandson was lying on the courtyard unconscious. He picked him up and returned home.
The boy has been beaten up monstrously by more than one person.
He listened to his father silently, went to the hospitatl to see his son. He was still in the ICU. Then he went straight to that house.
He only said one sentence to the judge, “My duty is to kill the enemies of my country.”
“It was an alien attack…” Suva said, her voice was sweet and adamant.
“No it was human attack…” her friend answered equally adamant, “My granny knows all…”
They both stomped off to his granny, sitting on a porch in her verandah, sipping a glass of ice cold lemonade.
“What are you two fighting for now?” she laughed.
“Suva says alien attack destroyed everything here and changed it to a desert.” her grandson said.
“Come here…” she gathered them both in her arms.
“Till date, there have been no alien invasion honey…” she smiled, “Centuries ago, even in late 21st century, this area was green, trees, lakes everywhere, then population started to grow too much, people needed more place, so they started filling up the ponds, destroying the trees…then the rain started to cease… slowly land dried up, now, two thousand years later, we are sitting in desert.”
“Will it again become green? We are planting trees again… are not we?”
“Let’s hope so honey… may be, two thousand years later…it will be green again.” granny smiled, “Who wants a lemonade?”
He could see her, rowing the boat, he knew why she came there every dawn… He picked up his guitar and started playing for her.
She stopped rowing and started to search again… all she could see was bushes and trees, all she heard was the divine melody of the guitar, mingling with birdsong. She looked hard but could not see the musician.
Huge boards all over the bankline clearly said that it was a private property and there were guard-dogs roaming free all over the island, so any trespasser may get mauled.
She stayed there, listening to him for hours, aching for a glimpse.
He got up and left after an hour, she rowed away to return again next dawn.
He looked at the mirror, a terribly disfigured creature looked back at him.
He did not wanted to rob the beautiful woman of her ecstasy…
A painter’s world
“Beautiful.” a sweet voice broke his trance. He turned, his eyes met the eyes of a young girl, looking at his canvas.
“You painted the scene …perfectly.” she smiled.
“Thanks and will you mind…” he answered gruffly glaring at her. He certainly did not wanted her standing there and ruining his mood.
“Moron..” he could hear the girl muttering as she stomped away.
He returned in the evening with his canvas, the painting has finished.
“It’s amazing!” his lodge owner exclaimed.
A young woman was standing on the bank of a lake by the hill, her hair was disheveled, a rucksack was lying at her feet…
“Where is that *** messenger..” he mumbled furiously. He was looking all around him, for the messenger. He opened the book and checked in flashlight-
Go to the townsquare, stand under the horseman and look up… you will find the way to your destination.
“Look up…” he mumbled and looked up and stared, the horseman, that holds the reign of his horse with both hands during the day was pointing at a hill.