Read a tale of endurance, will & a daring fight against Covid. Click here for "The Stalwarts" by Soni Shalini.
Read a tale of endurance, will & a daring fight against Covid. Click here for "The Stalwarts" by Soni Shalini.

Rahul Banerjee

Horror

3  

Rahul Banerjee

Horror

An Ancient Evil Awakens At Gowda, Chhatisgarh!

An Ancient Evil Awakens At Gowda, Chhatisgarh!

29 mins
158


Rakesh Arora and Praveen Rana were childhood friends and were very close to each other. They had gone to the same kindergarten, in the same school, and were in the same class till the time Praveen’s father, who was working in the Geological Survey of India, got transferred to Tamil Nadu. Before Praveen moved to Tamil Nadu, he was the only friend that Rakesh had. Rakesh started remaining morose from that day. Every time his parents used to ask him

“What’s the matter, son? Why aren’t you playing with other kids?”

He just used to give them a blank stare and slink back to his room.

Then, one day, fate smiled upon him and he was woken up by his overly excited and smiling mom.

“Wake up beta, see who is here?”

Rakesh opened his eyes and saw Praveen standing there and laughing at him. He jumped from the bed and gave him a big bone-crushing hug. Praveen then said that he too could not bear to stay away from him. He could not adjust to life in Chennai. So, seeing his abject condition, his parents were forced to take a transfer back to Raipur, Praveen winked mischievously.


Anyways, time passed and these two friends were as inseparable as if they were conjoined. They did everything together. Right from studying to partying and having fun and being mischievous and goofy all the time. Moreover, they tried their luck in dating the same girl too! But the girl was far wiser than these two and she firmly rejected their advances; though she became one of their fast friends in their engineering college. This girl’s name was Shelley and she has a very important role to play, though, no one knew for the moment. It was not that Rakesh and Praveen were only having a gala time of their lives, they studied hard and both excelled in their respective fields of engineering! Rakesh was a software engineer and Praveen was a mechanical engineer.

When it came to choosing a professional career; both were unanimous in their decision to not join the rat race like the multitudes of us mere mortals. Instead, both of them were quite adventurous and innovative since childhood. So they decide to jointly start a venture which would allow them to travel to various parts of the country and explore the sights and including folktales, supernatural tales and unexplained events associated with different places. Their website had attracted lots of visitors and they used to get hundreds of hits and likes every day. Even Shelley contributed in her way to their venture and this further helped in making their website more popular and attractive as she was a famous journalist.


Rakesh and Praveen were discussing their next project when Shelley came in all huffing and puffing.

“Guys, have you heard of a place called Jagdalpur?” She asked.

Both of them looked at each other and shook their heads. Shelley was surprised.

“Unbelievable! You guys are living in Chhattisgarh and you even don’t know your own state’s geography and cultural heritage?” She said

When both of them were still perplexed.

“Jagdalpur is 150 km from Raipur, and there is a district in Jagdalpur called Gowda. It’s known for scenic beauties and lush green forests and mountains. Also, the tribes of the area are protected under the “Special Conservation Of Indigenous People’s Act” of the government. It is a little less known tourist destination.

Both Rakesh and Praveen were impressed and amazed at Shelley’s impeccable delivery of the information and her vast knowledge.

“How do you know all of this?” asked Rakesh.

“It is my job to know such things. Remember I am a journalist.” She smiled.

“Wow!, Shelley, you have impressed us.” Praveen applauded.

“Thanks, but here is the best part guy, there is a forest surrounding Gowda and it is protected under the Environment Conservation Act. However, according to local legend, this forest has been haunted over many centuries!”

Shelley paused and waited for letting that sink in.

Both Praveen and Rakesh were startled and asked “Now how can you be so sure of this?”

“I have a peon whose cousin’s family belongs to the local tribe of the area and they stay very close to the forest. Also, he told me further, that his cousin’s tribe has been the custodians of many folktales and legends, superstitions and myths etc connected to this forest.” She continued.

Now, Rakesh and Praveen looked at each other and an idea started forming in their minds. They thought of going there themselves and exploring this legend and the forest and then uploading it onto their website. They discussed this with Shelley who agreed.

“This is the reason I came to tell you guys. It’s still unknown to the vast majority of the people and it’s an opportunity for you guys!” Shelley exclaimed.


The next day, both Rakesh and Praveen booked a taxi for Jagdalpur. They were all excited and raring to go thinking about all the possibilities. Both of their families were a bit hesitant at first but again had to bow down seeing the fervour in their eyes.


“Where are you going, sahib?” Raju, the cab driver asked.

Raju was a colourful fellow. He was short in stature but he complimented that with a pleasant welcoming expression on his face, along with a disarming smile.

“We are going to Jagdalpur,” Rakesh replied.

“Where in Jagdalpur?” Raju asked.

“Gowda,” Praveen replied.

Raju stopped immediately and looked back at them incredulously.

“Why?” he asked.

Rakesh just stared at him with a blank expression and replied

“We have heard about the forest of Gowda and we want to see if the legends are true or not.”

“Saahib, they are hundred per cent true!” exclaimed Raju.

“My advice is you better change your mind about going to Gowda sahib.” He pleaded.

Now, it was both Rakesh and Praveen’s turn to look incredulously at him.

“Why are you saying like this?” asked Rakesh.

“Saahib, that forest is cursed. Nobody goes there. Even if anyone has gone there, he or she has never been found again!” He replied.

Praveen laughed at this and said, “ You are just saying this to discourage us from going there right.”

“Noooooooooooooooooo sahib……… Please try to understand that the wretched forest is a very dangerous place. Last year only, a few youngsters from the village had strayed into the forest. None of them came back alive!”

“Only a couple of bodies were found and that too in terrible condition. Their eyes had abject terror in them.” He pleaded again.

“How come you know all of this?” Rakesh asked genuinely curious.

“Because sahib, I also belong to that area. I have heard stories since I was a child. My grandfather had gone into that wretched forest to collect wood and never came back!” He replied.

“Even my uncle went looking for him and he also never came back!” he added.

Both Rakesh and Praveen were solemn at this.

“What about the police? Haven’t they been able to find anything about those boys?” asked Praveen.

“Sahib, the local Thana consists of 5 constables and one inspector and they have to take care of an area of 1,500 people residing in Gowda. So, they did not bother much.” Raju replied dejectedly.

Now Praveen was more intrigued by the prospect.

“Well, I guess, we have to go and see whether all of this is true or not.”

“What do you say Rakesh?” Praveen asked.

Rakesh was engrossed in deep contemplation that at first, he did not reply, but when Praveen shook him by the hand, he said “I agree. If all of this is true then it will be an experience of a lifetime; on the other hand, if it’s a false legend, then also we will gain experience.” He replied ruefully.

Raju could not believe his ears that they were still determined to go there. He just politely advised them to be careful. That evening they reached Gowda in Jagdalpur.

From the moment they stepped out of the cab, they were mesmerised by the beauty of Gowda.

Towering cliffs, lush green vegetation enveloping the whole region, the clouds seemed to hug the tips of the mountains. It all seemed like they have landed in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Moreover, the locals of the area were warm and hospitable in their welcome. That evening, in a local tavern, both Rakesh and Praveen were treated as celebrities and were honoured by the local tribe chieftain, whose name was Saikya Prabhu. Saikya Prabhu was the tribal chieftain of the predominant tribe there. Though, due to modernisation people had adopted and adapted modern and urban customs and lifestyles; inherently they were still ancient and proudly maintained their rich historical and cultural heritage.

The same evening, Rakesh and Praveen started asking questions about Gowda, its history, culture, people, customs, lifestyles and nature etc. Saikya Prabhu was a grizzly old man, but was still active and was a very learned man. He was delighted to answer all their questions. Both Rakesh and Praveen were overwhelmed by his and his tribe’s hospitality and warm welcome. Seizing the opportunity Rakesh signalled Praveen to broach the subject.

“Sir, we have heard a lot about the forest of Gowda. It is our earnest desire to go there and explore the legend connected to it.” Praveen treaded cautiously here.

Saikya Prabhu was taken aback and startled. He looked at them with disbelieving eyes.

“Babu, it’s better you leave.” He said with folded hands.

Now both of them were startled. Just a few moments ago he was all warm and welcoming and now he is asking them to leave!

“But why?” Rakesh asked.

“Even Raju, the taxi driver tried to dissuade us by telling us a story about his grandfather and uncle vanishing in that forest.”

“Raju was right babu, those men were my father and brother.” Saikya Prabhu replied emotionally.

Praveen and Rakesh now jolted upright and exclaimed” What!”

“Yes babu, Raju is my son. He could have been the next chief but he wanted to go to the city and live his life. So, I could not restrain him and allowed him to do as he desired.” Saikya Prabhu replied.

“But what is there in that forest that is so terrifying for the people?” asked Rakesh.

“Babu, it’s a long story and if you still want to go there, I will ask someone to take you there. Just promise that you won’t venture deeper into the forest.” Saikya Prabhu demanded.

Both Rakesh and Praveen were excited to hear this but they still promised.

Little did they know that this adventure of theirs would be the last adventure they ever had!


The next day, both Rakesh and Praveen got up very early and were very excited. The Village and Tribe chieftain, Saikya Prabhu visited them after breakfast and told them that he had arranged for a local guide for them. He also warned them not to go too deep into the forest! Both were surprised by this but chose to keep their counsel.

Outside they saw a tall, gangly, youthful-looking guy with freckles covering all his face. He was the local guide assigned to them. His name was Sanju and he was overly welcoming to them in their quest.

“Hello sahib, welcome to Gowda. My name is Sanju and I will be your guide to the forest.”

“Aren’t you afraid of the forest?” A somewhat bewildered Praveen asked.

Sanju chose to ignore the question.

They saw all the places throughout Gowda which were deemed tourist attractions at first. Then they entered the forest.

Here, at first, they were entranced by the lush greenery.

They could see very old trees still standing. They could also see some deer and monkeys initially.

Rakesh was capturing all of this in his handicam and also constantly giving a brief description of each spot. At last, they reached a clearing and saw the mouth of the cave entrance.

It was covered by dead vegetation. As soon as they approached the place everything seemed to be frozen.

 The breeze which had been flowing since morning suddenly seemed to have stopped.

 Even the chirping of the birds had grown silent in this particular area.

 There was no one around. The air seemed heavy and depressing.

 “What is this? Praveen asked.

Sanju remained silent.

Rakesh also asked, “what is this cave?”

He still kept silent. When both of them turned towards Sanju, they saw that he was a few feet from them and was trembling with terror. His normal cheerful face had seemed to turn grey!

“What’s wrong 

Sanju?” Praveen asked.

“Sahib, can we

please turn and go back?” Sanju said.

“But why?” Rakesh asked.

“Sahib, I cannot go any further” Sanju trembled with abject fear in his eyes.

“Why you have been asked to accompany us throughout the day,” Rakesh said, somewhat consternated.

Sanju said, “Sahib, I am still at your service but I cannot go inside that cave!”

“Oh, that! Exclaimed Praveen, don’t worry we will not force you. Just stay outside and wait for us.” He said encouragingly.


Then both of them removed the dry twigs and trees from the entrance of the cave, took out their flashlights and went in!

From the moment they entered the cave Rakesh suddenly felt a sense of unease. However, he chose to ignore it. It was all dark inside and they had to carefully watch their steps in moss and bat droppings which covered the entire floor of the cave. As they made their way ahead, they could see some paintings made on the wall.


The strange thing about these paintings is though it was made many centuries ago; it seemed as if they were made yesterday! These paintings were of an era which to both of them seemed to be maybe more than 1,000 years old! There were depictions of a village, people, forests, animals and different tribes living in the forest. As both of them made their way ahead they saw more paintings on the wall. Both of them were mesmerised and forgot the real danger lurking somewhere within this ancient cave!

Up ahead, they came across a very peculiar set of paintings. Here they saw pictures of human sacrifices and strange rituals! They also saw an image of a man dressed like a tantric practising strange rituals. Further ahead, they saw that the same man was dragged in chains and executed by the tribals in this very cave!

All of this was a bit too much for Rakesh and he said “Yaar, maybe the people are right. We shouldn’t have come here!”

“Don’t be stupid!” Praveen exclaimed.

“Look at all these paintings. The archaeologists and historians are going to have a heyday when they come here.” He said excitedly.

“And guess what who is going to inform them about this incredible find?” He asked.

Rakesh immediately exclaimed “Us!”

“You are right, I was a bit carried away by the people’s warning and seeing Sanju behave strangely,” Rakesh said.

Although he was as excited as Praveen was and thinking about the attention their company would get out of all this, still he had a nagging feeling of unease inside him.

Praveen, on the other hand, looked too excited and happy. They also found something written beside this particular set of paintings but could not understand it. All this while Rakesh had been diligently recording everything in his camera! As they moved ahead, Praveen was taking the help of the cave wall to move ahead in the pitch black darkness when he felt that something sharply cut across his palm. He yelped out in alarm!

Rakesh who was following came rushing and asked “what’s wrong?”

Praveen said “I think I have cut myself”

“Where, show me.” Rakesh immediately was alarmed.

He shone the flashlight onto Praveen’s hand and saw there was a deep gash on his palm and blood was flowing freely!

“Try to be more careful,” Rakesh said and applied a makeshift bandage by tying his handkerchief on Praveen’s palm to stem the flow of blood.

Little did they realize that some drops had fallen on the floor of the cave!

As the first drop of blood hit the cave floor everything changed from that moment!

As Rakesh and Praveen moved ahead, both of them felt a strong gust of wind blow past them. Both of them were surprised as earlier there was no wind blowing in the cave; rather it was damp, dark and depressing! Anyways, they moved ahead when Praveen again stumbled against something and fell!

“Arrey be careful!” Rakesh cried out.

“I don’t know what happened yaar. It seemed somebody pushed past me!” Praveen said.

“Huh….. What are you saying?” Rakesh asked.

“I am telling you the truth. It felt like somebody pushed me!” Praveen emphasised.

“There is still time we can turn back Praveen”

Rakesh again suggested. This time his tone was a bit sombre and fearful.

“Yes yes, I will be, don’t worry!” Praveen replied, somewhat flustered.


Meanwhile, Sanju, who was waiting outside of the cave, was fervently praying for Rakesh’s and Praveen’s safety and well-being. He too suddenly felt the change in atmosphere. He could also feel a strong gust of wind whoosh past him into the cave.

The sky overhead suddenly was overcast with dark ominous clouds!

He felt scared and wished that both of them should come out immediately as he could not go in!

Praveen and Rakesh moved ahead, and now the light from their flashlights also started flickering.

At one point in time, both of the flashlights went off at the same time!

“Did you bring an extra pair of lights?” Praveen asked

“No, I thought you did.” Rakesh retorted.

As both of them started arguing, all of a sudden they saw a blinding flame erupt in front of them!

It was a huge gigantic fire towering over them!

Both of them were taken aback and surprised at this sudden appearance of fire!

Before anyone could react they saw a strange apparition emerge from the flames and stand directly in front of them!

From the flames, they could see a shape of a man all covered in flames!

The face was horrible and terrifying!

Both Rakesh and Praveen recollected that it was somewhat similar to the face they had seen on the wall!

Both Rakesh and Praveen were terrified and were frozen to the spot. It seemed that they could not move their muscles any longer and a strong invisible force had bound them to the spot!

Before Praveen could say anything in warning, he seemed to float in the air and was thrashed around the walls with such violent force that it nearly killed him!

Rakesh was too immobilized with fear and he could not do anything!

Though everything was being captured in the camera!

“Help…………. Help…………… Rakesh……………………. Please help……….” Praveen screamed for help.

Rakesh was too terrified to move and he could not understand what was happening. Then that strange fiery apparition brought forth a huge sword which was also ablaze!

Praveen at that moment understood that his time was up. He shouted “ Run Rakesh………………………………………….. run for your life……………… save yourself!”

Rakesh was transfixed by the whole site unfolding before him that he jolted back from his trance and looked at Praveen, who was screaming at the top of his lungs!

Then, suddenly the horrible face sneered at Rakesh and chopped Praveen's body in two halves with the blazing sword!

Rakesh was stunned, he tried to turn back and run. His camera also fell from his hands. Alas! Rakesh too felt that he was lifted upwards and then the fiery sword came down upon him!


Sanju now was extremely worried. It was dark already and Rakesh and Praveen had still not come out yet!

Before he could muster the courage to enter the cave he saw a huge fireball coming towards the entrance of the cave at full throttle!

He quickly hid in the bushes and prayed fervently. At the mouth of the cave the fireball seemed to stop and from it emerged a fiery apparition!

Sanju could feel the heat emanating from the apparition. He dared to look at the face. He almost lost consciousness! That was the face of Triloki Baba! The tantric who was long supposed to have been dead!

“Now I am free. Now, after all these ages, I can again continue my work!” exclaimed the spirit.

With that, it disappeared completely!

Sanju could not believe his eyes but waited for a few seconds and ran screaming back to his village!


He kept on running at full speed till he did not reach the outskirts of his village.

Here also he kept on screaming “He is back………………….. He is back……………….. He will not spare anyone. We are doomed!”

The people wondered why was Sanju behaving in such an odd manner.

What was wrong with him?

When they asked him he said, “He is back!”

“Who is back?” they asked.

“Sanju, where are the two babus?” asked the tribe’s chieftain.

He looked at everybody with pure fright in his eyes and replied

“they are dead!”

“What? Are you out of your mind?” Saikya Prabhu asked.

“I saw them enter the cave. I waited for a long time but they did not come out. After a while

I thought of entering the cave.” Sanju recounted with a frightened tone.

“Then what happened?” asked everybody.

“Then I saw him!” he replied more frightened now.

Saikya Prabhu held Sanju by the shoulders as he was shaking uncontrollably and asked him again

“Sanju, who is back? Whom did you see? And where are the two babus?

Sanju looked at them with terror reflected in his eyes and in between sobbing gasps replied

“Triloki Baba!”

There was a muffled gasp from everyone present.

A kind of hush and silence suddenly seemed to have descended on the crowd!

Everybody was whispering in fear that how come Triloki Baba come back?

He was supposed to be dead a long time back!

Everyone was a bit fearful too as everybody had heard of the story of Triloki Baba!

Then Saikya Prabhu said “ You must be mistaken! He is long dead. How can he come back!”

Sanju replied, “Sir, I saw his fiery apparition!”

“I also saw him vowing that now he would have his revenge on the people as he was free now to do anything he wanted!” he added.


Saikya Prabhu looked at Sanju and then at the people. He could see the fear reflecting in the people’s eyes and expressions too!


Everybody knew about Triloki Baba and how he was a monstrous creature who was killed ruthlessly and mercilessly for his agenda and how he had terrorized and destroyed these people. It was not until with great difficulty that Saikya Prabhu’s ancestors had gotten the opportunity to overpower him and thus captured Triloki Baba and executed him for his heinous crimes!

Till his death Triloki Baba was unrepentant and with venom in his eyes had cursed the tribe of Gowda!

“I will come back when some innocent’s blood will be spilt where I am now and wreak havoc and destruction on all of you and fulfil my destiny of being the lord of the universe!” these were his last words as the executioner had chopped his head off and dismembered his body and buried it in the same cave!

It was the cave where Rakesh and Praveen had entered and not come back!

The village school headmaster, Chandrachur Yadav, looked at the fright of the people and said

“Hah! There is no such thing as Triloki Baba. Tonight, I will go there and see what I can find about the babus. Anybody who wishes to join me can come along.”

Everyone was aghast listening to Chandrachu Yadav. They said “Masterji, you are a teacher and you are new here. So you don’t know anything about Triloki Baba!”

“He was a monster!” Everyone said.

The police officer also agreed with the headmaster and said he will send one of his constables, Bahadur Singh with the headmaster to look for the two outsiders.

That night Bahadur Singh and Chandrachur Yadav also met the same fate as Rakesh and Praveen!

Now, evermore, the people were terrified. Nobody knew what to do!

The police had mounted a search party in the jungle and the cave but nothing could be found. Either of Rakesh and Praveen or the constable and the school teacher!

People started talking now that how could they escape Triloki Baba’s wrath now. Meanwhile, the police had contacted Shelley Singh back at Raipur and told her of the terrible incident.

When she heard of the disappearance of Rakesh and Praveen, she was aghast!

She immediately contacted their parents and informed them of this sad news. Both the families were devastated and in shock. Shelley Singh, however, did not lose hope and decided to herself go to Gowda and investigate!


Shelley was a smart girl and was a famous journalist so she knew how to act and react in different situations. The first thing, however, she noticed, when she reached Gowda was, that people were frightened and moving about very cautiously! As if they were afraid of someone or something!

Shelley was taken aback by this sight. Wherever she asked for instructions at the Police Station, people looked at her with fear in their eyes and ignored her by politely refusing to help. At last, one old man told her the way to the police station but his parting comment seemed strange to Shelley.

“Madamji, I know why you have come here. You will find nothing. People are afraid here. Try your luck though.”

Shelley wanted to give a response but when she turned back there was no one there!

She was surprised. Anyway, she made her way to the police station. Here, she met the Police Officer-In-Charge after great difficulty as there was hardly anyone in the station to help her!

She was getting frustrated by all of this and also worried for her friends. Finally, she saw a pot-bellied man slumped on a chair behind a table. The nameplate on it read “Inspector Manish Awasthi.” She called him by his name

“Inspector Awasthi, my name is Shelley Singh and I am a journalist by profession.”

The inspector curiously raised his head with a furrowed expression.

“How can I help you?” he asked.

“I have come here to know about the whereabouts of Rakesh and Praveen who had come to this village a few days back.” She replied.

“Oh yes, I only contacted you, Ma’am.” Inspector Awasthi said with all seriousness.

“What is the latest news about them?” she eagerly asked.

Inspector Awasthi looked at her eagerness and said softly that there still has not been any news about them. Moreover, two more people have disappeared mysteriously in the last 3 days!

“What! And here you are doing nothing! Just sitting on your back and twiddling your thumb!” Shelley exploded furiously.

Inspector Awasthi looked at her and said in a calm manner

“Ma’am, this is a Police Station, so keep your volume down. And, who said that we are not doing anything? I have asked for more back-up from Raipur, as you can see, this is a small police post and I have only 5 policemen working under me, covering an area of people of 1,500! Moreover, one of my constables, Bahadur Singh is also one of the people who are missing!” he replied.

Shelley was stunned by this and realized her mistake and apologized for being so harsh and demanding answers like this.

“It’s okay ma’am. I can understand.” Inspector Awasthi said.

“I will let you know if I get any news.” He promised.


Shelley was unconvinced despite the police officer’s assurance and wanted to find out for herself.

That night she went and met with Saikya Prabhu, the tribe’s chieftain, who Rakesh and Praveen had told her about.

One thing I forgot to tell you is that Rakesh and Praveen were regularly updating Shelley about everything and everyone they had met, and talked to till their disappearance!

So she knew who Saikya Prabhu was. That evening, Saikya Prabhu, after the pleasantries, told her about his meeting with Rakesh and Praveen. He also said that he had warned them about not going into that forest! When Shelley asked what was there in the forest that so terrified the people. It was then Saikya Prabhu who told her of the story that hundreds of years ago, there lived this evil tantric, who boasted of possessing supernatural powers! The people naturally went to him for every little problem. He did not ask for any financial gain but what he demanded of them showed his true malicious and evil personality! Saikya Prabhu continued that Triloki Baba demanded a child sacrifice from the people who came to seek his help!


At first, some people acceded to his demand, because they were afraid of his wrath. But when Triloki Baba started stealing and kidnapping children and started sacrificing them to the devil! It was then that people were truly afraid. At that time, Saikya Prabhu’s ancestor was the tribal chieftain and the king. So when the people went to him with their plight, he had to act.

At first, when Triloki Baba was asked to appear before the chief to answer for his grievous sins, he escaped the clutches of the guards and went into hiding. It was then he started killing people and children indiscriminately and sacrificing them for his evil agenda to be the lord of the universe! When the Tribal chieftain sent his army in pursuit, it was only then that Triloki Baba was captured in the middle of a child sacrifice ritual and brought to justice. The village priest had advised the chieftain to lock him in that dark, dank cave for an eternity without any food and water.


But when Triloki Baba showed no repentance and vowed to have his revenge, it was then that the Tribal chieftain had ordered his head to be chopped off and his body dismembered and buried in the cave! The Tribal shaman had used some sacred mantras to trap his evil soul so that he could not be freed for eternity.

However, Triloki Baba was a powerful tantric and he vowed and said that if the blood of any innocent spills on his resting place, he will again awaken and then he will have his revenge!


Saikya Prabhu paused and looked at Shelley, she looked taken aback and surprised by this story!

“But sir, what connection does it have with the disappearance of my friends and the other two disappearances?” She asked somewhat confused.

Saikya Prabhu replied, “The babus must have been injured themselves in the cave and some blood must have spilt to the ground!”

“That’s why his spirit was released!” Saikya Prabhu exclaimed.

“What is the solution to this?” asked Shelley

“We don’t know what to do!” again exclaimed Saikya Prabhu.

Shelley then went into her room in the same tavern where Rakesh and Praveen had stayed for the night. She was all surprised and curious about this whole situation.


That night, she had a strange dream, or an encounter, a vision, whatever you might call it. It was around 2:30 a.m., that she suddenly felt an irresistible thirst and looked for the water pitcher in the dark next to her table beside the bed. Here, all of a sudden, she could see some apparitions!

She was taken aback, before she could react, she could distinctly make out the features of Rakesh, Praveen, Chandrachur and Bahadur beseeching her for her help!

The next moment it was gone!

She sat up on her bed completely awake and covered in sweat!

That morning, she was in a dilemma to tell about her experience with anyone. After a lot of mental dilemmas, she finally decided to share this with Inspector Awasthi. Though Shelley was a sceptic of everything supernatural she could not find any logical explanation for the experience she had in the night!

Inspector Awasthi was silent for a while then broke out laughing.

“What ma’am! You are a journalist and you believe in such things. Incredible!” exclaimed Inspector Awasthi.

“I know but somehow I cannot forget their faces and I believe it is connected with that cave!” she said in her defence.

Inspector Awasthi said “there is nothing in that cave! I have spent two days with my team looking for any leads but came up empty-handed.”


Shelley just nodded her head and said nothing though she had decided on the course she had to follow. That night she emailed a long letter to the world-renowned Paranormal Investigator and Psychic, Paramjeet Sengupta! Paramjeet Sengupta had been keenly following this case since its beginning and was waiting for someone to call him!


Meanwhile, strange deaths and disappearances continued in the village also!

People started whispering that Triloki Baba is wreaking his vengeance!

People who accidentally strayed in that forest path where the cave was were never heard of again!

People also started dying mysteriously even in broad daylight in the village!

No one knew what to do and the police were already overworked with the minimal staff!

When he received the email he immediately responded and asked for more details. Shelley then called him and asked, “Sir, it would be better if you can come here.”

Paramjeet thought for a moment and then replied “okay.”


The first thing Paramjeet did was to meet with Saikya Prabhu along with Shelley in attendance when he reached Gowda. After listening to the whole story, he was in deep thought and then he said “I want to go into that cave!”

Saikya Prabhu was aghast at this.

“You can’t go there babu!” he pleaded.

“Don’t worry, nothing will happen to me,” assured Paramjeet.

“I will also come along with you.” Shelley piped in.

Finally accepting defeat Saikya Prabhu had to accede to Paramjeet and Shelley.

The next day, both of them were escorted to the edge of the forest by the villagers.

All of them were terrified and none of them wanted to accompany them!


The moment they stepped into the forest Paramjeet could feel something nasty and evil was around!

There was no blowing and all the sounds and smells of the forest seemed to have disappeared!

Every step they inched closer, they could sense someone was watching them!

The atmosphere seemed heavy and depressing. At last, they reached the cave.


Here, they switched on their flashlights and went inside.

Before entering, Paramjeet had warned Shelley that whatever happens never let go of the “Rudraksha Mala” that he had given her. There was a similar mala in his hand too!


As they entered, they were attacked by a group of blind, angry bats who were trying to escape from the cave! They moved ahead in the darkness. The flashlights were the only two sources of light, despite it being a bright sunny day outside. Here, Shelley could feel that someone was watching her intently!


She could also see some shadows dancing on the walls. It seemed that these shadows were trying to intimidate and scare them. “Don’t look at them, just ignore them,” Paramjeet said calmly.


Up ahead, they could see Rakesh’s handicam lying on the floor!

Shelley picked it up and tried to switch it on but the battery was dead!

An awful smell was emanating from the cave but Paramjeet seemed oblivious to all of this. He just stared ahead and was so focussed on his immediate task that he almost forgot that Shelley was with him also!

He could sense that someone was there. He shouted, “Who is here?”

“Show yourself!”

“Don’t be afraid we are not here to harm you”


Suddenly, there was a peal of harsh laughter that emanated all around them. It reverberated around the cave walls increasing its volume and resonance!

“Hah! Harm me!” “You foolish mortals, you have come here to die!”

“Who is this?” asked Paramjeet.

Then the very same fiery apparition of Triloki Baba appeared in front of them!


It towered above them that Paramjeet had to strain his neck. Shelley, on the other hand, was trembling with fear.


Before Paramjeet could continue, the apparition hurled a fireball at them! It was by sheer intuition and presence of mind that Parmajeet jumped and dragged Shelley sideways and it missed them by a hair fall! The spirit kept on hurling fireball after fireball after them and both of them barely managed to escape from the cave.


That night, Parmajeet, Shelley and Inspector Manish Awasthi closely and very carefully scrutinised the recording on the camera. Paramjeet squinted into the video and when he saw the terror in Rakesh and Praveen’s eyes and the way they were killed, he was all the more resolved to stay back and fight this evil menace. Then he chanced to see the writing on the wall besides the painting. He stopped the button and zoomed in. He studied the writing for quite a while and then shut the recording off.

“Why did you do that for?” Inspector Awasthi asked.

“I know how to get rid of this thing.” Answered Paramjeet.

There was finality in his voice.

Both Shelley and Manish Awasthi were surprised but they kept quiet. Shelley was sad and distraught after looking at the video. She thought how painful and miserable her friends’ deaths were, as were the other deaths.


The next day, Paramjeet went b himself to the cave. Here, he again encountered the spirit of Triloki Baba! This time, Paramjeet was prepared!


The moment he saw the apparition he started chanting a special mantra that he had picked up from an ancient text online. That’s why he had not slept that night and was researching how to fight this spirit. Now, he had the answer. He had also brought sacred water with him. So each time he chanted the mantra, he sprinkled holy water on the fiery apparition!

At first, the spirit was oblivious to this but then it started feeling the wrath of the holy!

The divine was with Paramjeet and the spirit of Triloki Baba could not harm him anymore!


At first, it tried to escape the sprinkling of holy water, but Parmajeet forced it back to show itself by chanting those mantras!


Finally, it was enough for Paramjeet and he sprinkled the whole pitcher of holy water directly at the spirit! The spirit was not ready for this sudden onslaught of the divine and it fizzled off and mysteriously disappeared into nothingness!


There was a lot of smoke coming out of the cave as the people had somehow managed to enter the forest with apprehension in their every step. Even Manish Awasthi was with them. At last, through all smoke they could see Parmajeet coming out at the entrance of the cave, all covered in soot. They cheered and clapped joyfully.

“Now you don’t have to be scared and worried about anything. From now on, the spirit of Triloki Baba will never trouble you or harm you.” He said in a very serious tone.

Saikya Prabhu and the rest of the villagers profusely thanked Paramjeet and Shelley. Shelley, on the other hand, was both happy and sorrowful knowing the fate of her dear friends.

She was more disturbed at the thought that how will she face the families of Rakesh and Praveen.

Paramjeet and Inspector Awasthi glanced at Shelley and knew immediately what was troubling her.

“Don’t worry we will be there with you?” they said in unison.

Shelley was a little heartened by this reassurance and gave a weak smile, acknowledging her gratitude towards them.


With that, all three made their way to prepare for their meeting with the families at Raipur.


Copyright@Rahul Banerjee

 


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