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Akshata Vagarali



Akshata Vagarali




4 mins 291 4 mins 291

If you ever stumble across them, don’t wait. Don’t wait for help, don’t wait for a friend, just don’t wait. Not even a moment’s delay can be tolerated. Nothing can save you from it. From its vice like grip on your neck, slowly crushing everything. From its dagger like nails plowing into your chest, shredding everything it touches. From your pathetic demise.

But what? Stumble across what?

Have you ever taken a long walk in a forest, when the sun was touching the horizon and so was the moon, just to blow off the steam of a long day of labor, thinking about all the different choices you could’ve made, different places you could’ve been at, wondering about the road you didn’t take, deep in its depth? No companion, just you. Have you ever? If you have then you must know what I'm cautioning you against. And if you have not, then imagine. Simply conjure up the story as I narrate it.

Winds are rustling the leaves, the woods seem to be swaying to a melody you can hear but not listen to, the birds are chirping caution, the sun is waving farewell and the moon is wishing hello. You walk and walk and walk until you cannot see what you left behind and cannot remember what you forgot.

You go deeper and the forest gets darker. You can barely see a tree five feet in front of you.

You stumble upon it. Its bailiwick. Its special domain. Its place of power. Its area of reign. But you do not know.

All you see is a hollowed out tree trunk and storm clouds. You see a place of shelter. You see a waiting place.

You know something could be lurking in there, some animal looking for shelter. Or, if you have any sense, something much worse.

And you are vain against your own humane nature of curiosity.

Imagine yourself climbing into that hollow.

You never climb out.

Because of it. That deadly, horrifying creature, ready to shred your heart and crush your bones and get drunk on your fear.

Now you must understand what I am warning you against.

If you ever stumble across a gap, don’t wait. Don’t wait for the rain to subside. Don’t wait, no matter what. And don’t stop. Never stop. Do not let your imagination run away from you, and if you do, insanity will take its place.

And most importantly, no matter what you hear or what you feel or what you smell or what you taste, don’t look back. Don’t look for it, checking to see if it is following you. That is one blunder which can cost you your life.

Still, if you beg to differ and insist on calling me a crazy person, then let me elaborate. If you do not believe me and believe my words to be an outlandish theory, then let me change your mind.

Suppose you are doing what I described earlier.

You are walking in a forest, too far away to see anything other than the barks of trees. The light is receding and the dark is prevailing.

The sky is shedding tears, wetting you with them.

You take shelter. In that dark hollow of swirling black which even your mind shuns.

And here my experience comes into action.

You enter it. You regret it.

You see it. You see everything. You see nothing.

A cold dread fills you which the whole of cosmos itself cannot contain. You are struck dumb and deaf and blind and numb. Your fear leaks from your pores, tempting it.

It loses the distance and you lose your mind. Before it can ever touch your skin, you die. You die along with your thoughts.

The pure terror on your face feeds it and makes it stronger. The warping of your features, your eyes wide open moth ajar for scream which is never let loose and the light fading from your eyes realization filling your mind, brings it the only solace it can feel.

And before it can ever devour you, you die. In the most unspectacular way you possibly could.

But only if you don’t listen to my warning. Only if you think me crazy. Only if you don’t realize that my lexis is most applicable. Only if you don’t know better.

So, if I were you I would listen to I.

You will heed my advice wont you?

After all I know.

But how?

Nobody who knows this, the bitter truth, ever survives. So how do I know this?

You must have noticed that there were various references to your own façade but not one noun did I use describing its features. That on several occasions I painted your agony instead of its haunting expression.

Do you get where I'm going with this? No? then here:

I know because of personal experience.

So beware whenever you see such a hollow. I might be lurking in its depths.

Alas, I am it.

So is that enough to convince you to stay away? Or to lure you in?

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