The forlorn silence – II

“I saw her staring at me from the other side. I was unable to say anything or move. I was transfixed on that distant figure in-spite of myself. I wanted to cry but could not. Then all of a sudden she seemed to come closer and I could see her face…It was an abomination of a face. The eyes were missing and from the dark hollows of her socket the stream of blood flowed in a small trickle.The face was…all burned and disfigured with decaying flesh hanging loose near the jaws. The teeth were bare and…then in a flash everything went white and…” I stopped talking at this point and observed my friend’s dread and building up tension. Then all of a sudden he started laughing. “You got me…I must say…what a story…you Rascal…I will get back at you for this ..one day..ahahahah…I am gonna get you …” He was tossing all over while trying to control his laughter. He looked at my silent face and asked “Are you serious?”. I replied “Look into my eyes…you will find the answer.” He stared at me for a while with deadpan expression and went out running while shouting “stay away from me…you bastard!”. Mother came in just then with steaming hot food and looked at me questioning in gestures about what just happened. “He will be back.” I said and sat down to eat my food. I had to.

The night drawing near and I asked my mother to close the windows and draw the curtains. She looked at me with and expression of disbelief and asked “Don’t you always keep your window open? You are the one who cries about fresh air all the time. You really want me to?”

“Yes…Mother. Just that I feel a bit cold and I don’t want to get sick” I said half apologetically.

“Alright, I was not questioning your request…its just that…” and then she turned towards me and continued “you are not telling me something. I feel it. You are covering something behind that request. What happened today?”

“Nothing Ma…its just weakness and thats all. Just sleep and don’t open your windows or else you will fall sick.” I tried my best to look positive and carved a little reassuring smile.

She kissed my forehead and went out. I knew she did not buy whatever I said. She would ask me again in a few days. The problem was with the  night that was ahead of me. The sleep would not come and I stared at the closed windows with a sort of disbelief that It might open up the minute I close my eyes and that dreadful creature shall come lurking through the moonlit shadows and come crawling right through my window and take me with it to the other side. My body was shivering and my hands and feet almost felt ice cold. The chill was stinging and it was difficult to stay still with all this uncontrolled shivering. I began to say the Lord’s prayer and asked forgiveness for my sins and transgressions. This is what fear does to most of us perhaps. We seek some superior or divine intervention to make things better for us. I wanted to have some sense of security and an inner solace that all will be well soon.

I must have fallen asleep either from the sumptuous meal that I had or the stress that had zapped out all remaining energy in me. I opened my eyes in the dead of the night to see if I really heard a knock on the window or perhaps the door. It was more of a scratch than a knock. It sounded like a talon of a bird scratching the wooden surface. My heart began beating with the erupting fright that just engulfed me in its grip and that crushing feeling inside choked me continuously into a mute acquiescence of the events taking shape in my surroundings. I saw the color of the walls in my room change to deep blood red and a dark aura seemed to hang over the ceiling that appeared to spawn little creepy-crawlers dangling tight over my bed. Again, I could not move or jump out of my bed to safety. I watched with horror as the dry and bony tentacles crawled all over me and pressed all over my body into the very bed I was paralyzed in. How come it was happening in my house!? I could not be…Its a lie…the Lord is with me…No…its all a big LIE!

I must have let out a shriek and my mother came rushing in through the door. “What happened Isaiah?” She turned on the lamp and was horrified to see my dreadfully contorted face and almost paralyzed limbs. She shook me hard enough and I came out of my nightmare and hugged her with all my strength while gasping for breath.

“Its all right…kid…its alright. Tomorrow you are coming with me to the church and I shall see that the priest takes care of the evil that is troubling my baby.” She spent the next hour sitting close by and reading the Bible to me. “Mom…go to sleep. I am alright now. It was a bad dream. We have to go tomorrow…you should sleep now. ” I said with a half hearted smile. She put the Bible over my chest and went out to sleep.

The next morning I woke up with a distinct remembrance of the dream I had after my mother had left the Bible last night. I dreamed of some almost familiar place and an old house made of stones and wood standing there by the well. I saw myself going in and looking at the fireplace place. There came a beautiful woman in white clothes and asked me something. I opened the pouch and gave the things inside to her. It was some metal shillings, some roots and a little conch shell. She looked at me and after that went inside a room. The whole house started beating and reverberating with a shrill cry “YOU MUST FULFILL YOUR PROMISE. YOU HAVE COME NOW AND YOU MUST FULFILL YOUR PROMISE”. It was a maddening shout all around me and seemed not to stop and then I woke up again in cold sweat and my right hand clutching the Bible.

 

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