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An Uncanny Encounter
There was something strange about the murky moonless night today. It was a very windy night and what was odder was that I couldn’t quite sleep. Not that I am an insomniac, perhaps, it was the night’s fault. What to do now? What to do on a gloomy sleepless night? Loneliness started engulfing me. So I thought why not take a stroll with my Labrador (RAJA).
I got out of my bed and untethered Raja, who of course was profoundly asleep. I put on my sweater, for the night was windy and on top of that it was a winter night.
I commenced my lonely stroll on the streets with Raja and a cigarette (You know…that helps a lot when one is lonely.) The street was deserted, for no one would be as foolish as me to take a stroll on such a velvety windy moonless night. As I breathed out puffs of smoke, I plodded on and on surveying the silhouette of the trees and the houses of the colony.
A cold breeze blew on my face, which inexplicably sent a chill down my spine. I don’t know why, but there was something macabre about the breeze. Dismissing the dreaded thoughts about the breeze, I continued to walk.
There was this public park in our colony, which was according to me pretty beautiful. So, I thought why not spend some time in the lovely park?
I entered the park, which was on the left hand side of the road which I was walking on. Near the threshold, I again (don’t know why) felt the same horrifying breeze blow on my face. That kind of scared me again, but I composed myself by reasoning that it was just a breeze.
As I entered the park, raja for some mysterious reason started barking off like h*ll, and simultaneously I dropped my cigarette as I was startled at Raja’s bark. (You know….he is a very intimate dog who seldom barks.) I, for the first time admonished him for having barked at such an odd hour of the night. It was 2o’clock. “I still have some time to waste” I mused.
I just took a round in the park, smelling the aroma of various flowers – roses, jasmine, and lilies – to name a few. Subsequently, I settled myself wit Raja on a cement bench laid out in the park. Darkness had engulfed me completely, which again started scaring the daylights out of me. But once again I reasoned myself that darkness is just absence of light and there is nothing sinister and horrifying about it.
I don’t know why, but various premonitions evoked in my mind in the hushed darkness of the night. Raja was fast asleep nestled against my lap. I just sat there idly avoiding the bad thoughts evoking in my mind.
I was adoring the lovely lilies, when I noticed a girl leaning on the rollercoaster just beside the bench I was seated on. She was, perhaps, a nine year old girl. She had a fair and marble-smooth countenance, with silken hair cascading down like a waterfall. Her eyes were very hypnotic – very uncanny. But she was a lovely girl to look at.
What struck me most was her mysterious presence in this odd hour!
I had gotten up (was careful not to wake up Raja who was asleep nestled against my lap) and went near the beautiful girl and kneeled down so that I could be in level with her face.
“What’s your name, dear?” I queried.
She perhaps hadn’t taken notice of me and was startled to have seen me.
“My name is Anandi” she replied hesitantly, still in an alarmed manner.
But looking at my grin, she smiled back (which actually pleased me….I mean that was the most bewitching smile I had ever seen. It was so beautiful.)
OK…so just out of curiosity, I asked her what she was doing here at this time of the night. She was taken aback by my prying question and did not respond.
Instead, to my surprise, she just asked the same question to me. I didn’t know what to answer, so I did not respond as well.
Then….we conversed for quite some time about many things. She was filled with uncommon questions like ‘how is the world formed?’; ‘Where do the dead people go?’ etc.
Something was fishy about that! Why would a nine year old ponder over such adult things?
Though she was a strange girl, I was endeared to her. I just enjoyed the fleeting moments of conversation with her.
I don’t know how the time had passed, but it was dawn already. (It was 6o’clock already.) So, I just hugged the girl to say goodbye. But, when I touched the girl’s body, it was as cold as ice-lollies! It just reminded me of the sinister cool breeze which I had experienced twice before.
OK, so that left my brain thinking over the set of things that just happened this night. But the reverie was broken by the same cold breeze which had been haunting me. At the same time, to my surprise, the girl just dispelled in front of my eyes.
That was just so uncanny – An Uncanny encounter. Raja started barking and I at once (dreaded about what just happened) went back home with Raja. My brother had just woken up (forgot to mention that I had an elder brother) by that time. I, full of questions, asked him if he knew anybody among the neighbors known as “Anandi”.
He uninterestedly replied “Oh yeah. That girl! She had recently succumbed to food poisoning and has been buried in the colony park. What makes you ask about a dead person during the daybreak?”
I just stared at him, dumbfounded.