I am pretty happy to say to you guys that I have started contributing at a insta-page
”The Poetic Atelier” .
It’s cool place, a writers’ symposium where few of our friends here in WordPress are actively taking part.
Please do go there and follow, many interesting works are being published everyday, from poems to short-stories. This week’s prompt was ‘The Secrets Buried Under the Tree’.
Wrote a short-story related to the prompt. So here it goes…
The Secret Buried Under the Tree
It was a dark night. Clouds, even darker than the night sky. The rain sprinkles looked created a mist all around. An eerie fog. I was breathing heavily. The street lights were all off. As if somebody cut the connection. The houses around were dark as well. Must be midnight, that’s why all are asleep. The only sound that is prolific is the thunder, striking hard, harder than usual. The atmosphere was quite weird. Am I the only life in this whole space? But I gathered courage and channeled them to my feet for motion. I needed to walk forward. Towards that giant Eucalyptus tree. I don’t know what is driving me into it. The dried burnt leaves, looking like razor-sharp knives signaling me to come towards it. Few branches have become barren, like a crooked old man, pointing towards the clouds.
I was reaching close. The tree started looking larger now, even more haunting than before. Then suddenly I noticed something in front of the tree. Are those candle lights? Yes, they are. But how are they lit up in such a weather condition? Wait there’s more. Three figures are sitting in-front, forming a circle. All hooded in black cloth, that’s why I could not notice them before. I don’t feel good about this. Not at all. Yet I am moving forward, towards the scene, towards the wicked tree.
I am feeling like puppet. I lost control on my body. An invisible force is pulling my strings, controlling my will. Making me enthusiastic to investigate what the hell is happening beneath the tree. Let’s not fight with myself. Let’s move on. Now despite of strong thunder crackles, I can hear some chanting. Those three people are murmuring pretty loud. They are urging someone to come down from the heavens. But the ambience looks totally the opposite.
Slowly slowly, the picture in got clearer. Horrifically my suspicion was correct. The trio are conducting a planchet…
But whose? Who are they calling so desperately? And who are these people? Do I know them. They are totally veiled in black. Not even a pinch of light could pierce through. I can only see their lips moving vigorously. Chanting on and on and on…
I tried to call them, “Hey you three! What are you guys doing? Are you nuts? Who the hell are you?”
But no response at all. As if I am dumb. I wanted to go to them and stop this nonsense going on but wait suddenly my feet are not moving anymore. As if they are stuck in quicksand. I can’t move at all. Their chants have now turned to yelling. The voice texture indicates both confidence and fear in them. They are close. Very close. The one who is being called upon, is almost here.
Suddenly a huge lightning struck the tree at the top most branch. And lights flashed everywhere. The trio also got up from position astonished. But I still can’t see their face.
The cloud was gone, its suddenly day time, the road is busy again. But this can’t be at my era. Horse carts, people wearing ethnic. Am I being shown something? The trio also in a mix.
A woman came. Middle-aged, around 30-40 I think. Fair skinned, black and white hair combination, not matching her age though. Her clothes indicated she is poor, but her body structure proves she is not malnourished. She came beneath the tree, just beside the trio, who are also in total awe like me, and started digging by her bear hands. She held out a book, no no, looks like a diary and buried it in the small hole she made. Very hastily.
An angry mob came shouting towards the tree, towards the lady. “Grab that witch! Yes grab that witch, I say. She killed my son, she killed my daughter, she didn’t spare my wife also.”, one guy shouted.
“She is a vampire I tell you, she feeds on others blood…”, another old man yelled.
This made everyone afraid now. The busy road stopped in awe. I was spellbound already. Even the trio scratching their heads. The woman never protested. She quite happily surrendered herself to the angry mob.
“She must be hanged, or else we all will die.”, a guy shouted.
“Hanged? Ha ha ha ha… Whether I am a witch or not time will only tell. I will return. Death won’t stop me. I curse you all. My suffering will be yours to bear, the day I return. I have planted my seed to make a comeback, even after I die, ha ha ha ha…”
My god, what a scary scene. Even at day time, her voice is so evil, wicked. The hanging arrangement starts. The lady was not even trying to run off. She was rather helping the mob. Guess where they are tying the strong rope, on that tree only, on that branch only, where the lightning struck and triggered this flashback. It was getting cloudy around. Rain followed. A storm followed. But the people were adamant, she must be hanged today only.
Finally the time came. The lady’s hands cuffed, and face covered. Her head was tucked in the knot. The other-side of the rope was tied to horse carriage via the branch. As she was tucked-in, a horseman signaled the carriage to move slowly. The rope was slowly pulling her neck off her shoulders, her feet from the ground. I tried to cover my eyes, but I couldn’t. I had see it through. I also noticed the trio there. They are standing like stones, no one noticing them there just like me. But I am unfortunate enough to yet uncover their faces.
The lady was not shouting in pain. She was laughing out loud. Making this extremely weird. I could clearly see blooding vomit marks on the covering on her face. Yet she laughed. What a terrible noise. Everyone in the scene, confused whether to cover their eyes or ears. I could not cover either. As if my hands were tied up. I cannot break free. I must experience this horrific scene.
At last the rope reached the highest point of the branch. The carriage stopped. She was still laughing. How is she still breathing? Is she not feeling any kind of strangling?
When suddenly, a lightning struck, straight aiming her body, like an arrow. Bang, the body was charred. Her despicable laugh finally stopped. But she was still hanging. Going back and forth with the wind.
Within a wink, everyone and everything from the scene started disappearing. It seemed the flash-back was over. The angry mob, the brutal carriage everything vanished. Except me and the trio, who were now crying out of fear now.
The carcass is still hanging from that branch, that barren branch. But if that was flash-back why is the body here? The odor, which was not there earlier, is extremely foul. The blood mark on the covering now felt fresh. As if new blood is oozing out of her mouth. The wind swinging the body back and forth, back and forth, back and forth…
Ha ha ha ha ha ha… The dreadful laugh has returned. Shrilling my ear drums.
“What have you guys done? Can you hear me? What have you guys done?” I shouted at the trio.
They finally heard me. Turned towards me. I was stunned. Totally stunned. One of the persons involved in this mischievous act, in this horrid planchet looked like me, totally like me. Or is it me??
My body froze. How can it be me? I am standing here.
Meanwhile another lightning struck the same branch. How? Lightning never strikes the same area. Everything is getting confusing. Science is no longer relevant for me. What is happening.
The branch broke, and body fell down…
But it was not lifeless anymore. It laughed and laughed…And started rising up…
“Hu hu hu hu”, the sound of my heavy breathing. I am panting. I woke up finally. Birds are chirping outside my bedroom window. Sweat has made my mattress wet. It was just a dream? It felt so real. But how, why? What an astounding nightmare my god. I must stop watching haunted movies before going to bed now. My god.
I remembered I was supposed to meet two of my friends today. Got up quickly, got fresh and got out to catch a transport.
I almost forgot about the dream, why need remembering it?
“Hey man, you are late. Had a long night or what?” one of my friends asked.
“Yeah kind-off, I guess”. I answered in a low voice.
“Okay forget about it, I want to show both of you something. That’s why I called.”, saying that he took out a book out of his pocket. Not a book, it seemed like a diary…
My eyes got filled with fear. Is it that diary? That diary that was buried under that tree by that evil…by that witch?
“Where did you get it???” I cried out pointing at that diary.
“See that tree, big Eucalyptus tree, the big one. I saw a dog was digging there. After some time, it ran away very awkwardly. Screaming in fear. I went in to check out what’s wrong. Then I saw this diary. Found it interesting so brought it home. But I don’t know who’s it is or why was it buried under the tree, I don’t know. Seems very old. At least the dates inside indicate…”, he was interrupted by my other friend…
“Idea, why don’t we conduct a planchet? We wanted to do this for a long time now, right? We have the perfect material now. Let’s do it tonight, and find out the secret buried under this tree…”
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