It was a quiet, tranquil and serene April afternoon. Everything was usual and typical. Sky was clear and bright with no cloud blocking its view, trees stood stiff with grace, wind muttered softly sweeping the weary leaves away, birds fluttered their wings and hushed their way in the sky. The surrounding was an evidence of a sultry autumn season. Leaves were getting abscised. New buds were taking birth in the lap of the branches. The scenery was orange-red and dry.
After 5 pm, the weather turned a bit clement. Temperature dropped few folds. The earth began vaporising the heat thrown by the flaming red Sun throughout the day; a typical autumn day.
Sunlight no longer wove a pattern on the rustling leaves. The breeze was warm and comfortable. People were vacating the park as the closing hour was near. Kids were playing the final round of their respective games. Parents especially mothers were concluding their gossips about the TV soaps and anticipating the events of the upcoming episode. Everyone was chortling. Everyone was happy.
I was cycling around the park. My mother was watching me from a distance, simultaneously chit-chatting with her friends, my mother’s favourite pastime.
The park used to shut down at 6 pm. People left the park before the clock struck 6. It was half an hour to go but the park was almost empty. Locals reported paranormal activities in the park. They conjectured the presence of evil spirit near the fountain area. My mother warned me not to cycle near that “prohibited” area. A sign board saying “DANGER” was tucked there. I disobeyed my mother always but after the incident that happened with me right at that place, I will never disobey my mother even in my wildest of dreams.
The fountain was extensive and ancient in its features, bronze in colour with a hexagonal base beautifully carved out through polite strokes. On it stood a round bowl which collected the water gently falling into it, designed much like the petals of a flower dangling along the edges. The water overflowed into a squarish tank on which it stood.
I trespassed past the fountain and entered the area. I felt completely normal and then I chuckled, being proud of myself of accomplishing something great, something requiring valour, “I always knew that there was nothing such as they tell us. Ghost stories, moaning sounds, sad cries or awful yelps. They might have some personal benefits so they close the park at 6pm. I said to myself. “I would flaunt about it and get an article published in the local newspaper about my heroic skills and then I’d enjoy the celebrity status.”, I imagined.
As I gained speed and invaded deeper, I felt dull, vile and unholy. I looked up and witnessed the sky lost its shine, the sun melted away, dark clouds cloaked the horizon, the tree branches started shaking, all the vibrant colours, lovely scent and lively sounds of the afternoon dwindled away. Intense opaqueness was taking over. I pulled the break immediately out of apprehensiveness. I was still and unmoving . My throat dried up and grew scratchy. I urgently needed water, at least a sip of it. But I finished the last few drops of it from my water bottle just before I entered this infernal place. I honestly realised how the earth cracks when it isn’t fed with water under the drought periods. The walls of my throat felt the same. I swallowed my saliva in huge quantities. I heard the bats screeching, the birds squeaking, the breeze becoming as cold as ice.
I was dazed and stupefied. I couldn’t move forward or backward. I was jammed like the engine of a car after a snowfall. My heart was thumping inside my chest. My eyes bulged out of my eyelids which didn’t blink. I was afraid to death. My feet turned icy-cold but my forehead was sweating. The silence intensified and an air of profound seclusion possessed the place. I gathered every bit of courage which I instilled in me over the years as a fighter and victim of constant bullying in high school which fashioned me into a crabby ruthless tyke.
I grabbed the handle of my bicycle and set my feet firmly on the paddle. I applied force. But to no avail. It didn’t move an inch. Some larger force held it more tightly. Something severely sinister, demonic and fiendish. I could feel it just behind me. My pulse raced and pupils dilated. Every drop of blood in my body came to a stop. My grandmother always told me these fancy little ghost stories. And she told me to never look back in a case a spirit is close to you. I kept looking forward. I tried hard, very hard but the grip was stronger and powerful. Not even for a second I left the paddle. I kept applying more pressure. I chanted few lines from the verses of THE THRONE (Ayat-Al-Kursi) recited occasionally in Muslim households. After several trials and repeated chants, the cycle took off. I nearly tumbled but paddled hard. My legs were breaking.
As I crossed the edge of the fountain, I saw a savage short figure of a crone covered in spotless white, glistening from top to bottom, motionless.
I shouted few more verses followed by invocations to God while speeding, almost flying. Within a minute, I was out, out of the forbidden area. It was pitch black by then. My mother was fretting over my absence and searching me since half an hour. I ran towards her and she put her arms around me and pressed me tightly. I fainted immediately. I don’t remember what happened next. I found myself on the hospital bed the next morning. My blood pressure dropped immensely: the reason I passed out. When I came back home, I told my mother about the entire happening. I wept and asked her to forgive me owing to the fact that I willingly put myself in harm’s way. She kissed my forehead and pressed me to her bosom. My imagination haunted me more than my fear. It took me an entire month to bring back all my senses to functioning.
What was that which I encountered? Was that harmful? Of course it was because it felt that way. It retarded the dawn, saddened the noon. Whatever it may be, it was no more, at least around me. Since then I never returned to the park. But I’ll unravel this mystery of the “Savage crone” whenever I gain back my lost nerves.
#first short story published on YQ.
# I love thriller and horror movies
#this is an account of my experience. True incident.
#I gained back my lost nerves but still I'd never gain back the guts to "unravel" any such mystery. 😰😨
#ghosts aren't there but out-worldly beings dwell on the face of the earth. 👻👻
#believe it or not but enjoy the story. 😬
We often refer soul to feelings, emotions and conscience.
And shadow as someone who is around us always.
And ghost as a restless character
So here I have related soul with shadow because when someone loose their soul they loose their shadow too...