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Sharique Jamal



Sharique Jamal


A Tale Of The Hills..

A Tale Of The Hills..

4 mins

Dusk always has the promise of a new dawn. But that was not the case, as he saw it.

He put the flowers on her grave, touching the mud, almost feeling her vibrant soul inside. The wind was rising, as in mountains, it gets cold in the evening very fast. Besides winter was a month away too.

Tired, he turned to the police, and with a sigh said " Let's go".

It all came back. He was a writer and had come to the mountains a decade back. He had a family and home once but he never talked about it.

When not typing away on his old typewriter, he just loved wandering, smelling the rotting acorns, drenching in the rain, and talking to the kids of the hills. He would often seek out the unpretentious wildflowers, shyly hidden behind some bushes but exquisite in their raw beauty.

For hours he would just sit amongst the giant oak and deodars, just feeling the spirit of Nature. Most who saw him hardly knew him, called him a nomad, a recluse, and even mad to some.

He could not care less, for his stories stemmed from the past he had once, his mother, the friends, the times he took for granted. All gone like the mountain mist. 

One night it was raining very heavily. Just around the bend to his cottage, he heard someone crying. At first, his heart lept, for the hills have many wandering souls. He warily looked around. Besides the path, she was sitting, drenched, and as if immune to the rain and biting cold.

He went to her. She still had her head down, dressed in a worn-out long frock. Suddenly she looked up, as scared as he was. The first thing which he saw was the innocent beauty, like the wildflower, with radiant eyes. 

" Please help the forest. They will kill everything". He was puzzled, to say the least.

" Listen, why don't you come to my house. Get yourself dried up and then we can talk. Or you will catch the chill of death."

She smiled from beneath her tears, her whole face radiating like a child.

He helped her up and leaning on him, he took her to his cottage.

After having a meal and vodka, sitting in front of the fireplace, she was much better.

She looked at him with piercing, yet kind eyes.

" What's your name? I should know who the angel is." She said with a smile.

" Ashley Smith, and what's yours?"

" Call me banshee, or spirit but I forget my name. No one is there. Well, I was born Ivy."

" Your parents or relatives?"

She threw her head back and laughed.

" I told you, no one is there. I was abandoned in the forest and these woods are my everything. I grew up in the streams, sleeping on the oak trees, playing with animals. You don't believe me, do you?"

I was perturbed but keeping a straight face said " Of course I believe you. These things are not uncommon in hills. But tell me, why were you crying?".

" You won't cry, when you see your friend, the trees and animals being slaughtered or do you just write about them and do nothing?". 

" I do write and love Nature but there are limitations Ivy, if I may call you and you know we may be twin flames, for we bonded over something so intrinsic to us". 

She looked at me, in a haunting far off way. She went to the window, and looking outside said " I loved playing the violin, and I played the song of trees, rains, and the waters that small streams make. But they broke my song, my violin. I wish I could kill those who have imposed sadness and grief on me."

She turned and looked at me. " Will you not do the same Ashley, if you have nothing and that also is taken away?". 

I just nodded and said she should rest now. 

The next morning it was raining, very hard as in mountains. I looked for her but she was nowhere.

I rushed outside for I heard some voices.

To my utter shock, I saw her lying in a pool of blood. Someone had hit her on the head with a thick rod. She just looked at me and with a faint smile said " I knew this would happen but my only regret is, we shared so little time together my dear Ashley. Just take care of the forest and I shall always come when you call me." 

Tears welled in my eyes, looking at pristine, raindrop child bleeding. I would not spare the one who did this. 

The small cell in jail had an inmate. He said with a wry smile.

" What brings a good man like you here man? What did you do?".

" I killed them who killed my love."

He looked deeply at me, saying " No, you are an angel who was meant to protect another angel, even for a brief time. But she is here with you right now."

I was amused and laid back in the hard bed.

And so I put the flowers on her grave a year later. "May the spirit of the forest roam free.." that was my epitaph for Ivy.

She cannot die...she lived in me and in all hearts who love the hills.

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