Komal Gupta

Abstract Others


Komal Gupta

Abstract Others

The Moonlit Rain

The Moonlit Rain

8 mins

It is late in the morning and the house is quiet, my family has gone out for an excursion to the old castle. I stay back to preferring to ramble around the vacation home we have booked for the summer holidays. It is a quaint house in this laid back hill station, a legacy of the British Empire. It draws me towards itself, with an enchanting and whimsical pull that I find hard to resist. The slightly remote location and the views it affords are amazing and compensate for that fact that it is an ancient house. It is a good change away from the hustle and bustle of our city lives. My books and myself keep each other good company here and I enjoy every bit of it.

A truck is meandering noisily on its way up the steep narrow road just outside the home, and it is a strange sound that seems to break the magical spell cast on this place. The monkeys are chattering on the branches of the trees, animated by the presence of something. I walk out to the balcony and try to see what the fuss was about. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a black shadow hovering behind one of the tall deodar trees that frame this property. It darts quickly back into the bushes. I stare for a long time in that direction, my mind trying to process the facts and feeling a bit intrigued too. Nothing moves again. The monkeys have fallen silent and sit still, hiding among the green foliage of the trees.

I pull up a chair, my imagination goes into overdrive. What could have that been? I take out my smartphone and start googling black shadows out of curiosity. It is a good way to while away the time, but just then, a prickling on the nape of my neck alerts me to something nearby. Call it a survival instinct, I turn back to see a black shadow right in the middle of the room. I freeze instantly, blinking nervously, not a sound escapes my lips. The black shadow disappears into the wall by the door and I cannot see it anywhere. Walking towards the door, I look out to the hallway, nothing is there. I suddenly wished I wasn’t alone. Scared out of my wits, I bolt the door, walking back out to the balcony and peer outside fervently hoping to see the caretaker or cook. But no one is there, except for me and the black shadow. I vividly remember the stillness of the day at that hour, it was weird and spooky, not even a bird chirped. I sat down waiting for the others to return, for nothing in the world would make me leave the room and face that black shadow or whatever it was again.

Time passes by excruciatingly slow when you want it to hasten by. I sit cold, hungry and puzzled by the events of the day. It could be the house or it could maybe be me. I have always had a penchant for attracting supernatural happenings around myself since I was a small child. I sensed that this was different as there was a malicious vibe around this other worldly spectre who had graced me with a visit. The bolted door could hardly be a deterrent to this entity, so I wondered why it did not enter the room again.

Had something happened here in this house that had seen centuries pass by? Murder, suicide, a fire, an unforeseen calamity or bad fortune? What were the dark forces holding this restless phantom in earthly chains? These thoughts didn’t exactly help me in my present state but I had to conjecture, trying to make sense of what was happening to me.

The deep recesses in the subconscious wormholes of time hold on to a few things that stick around for lifetimes, like a record playing a doleful song again and again. As the days pass, sombre grey remembrances of intrigue, love and hate, blood and gore follow the passages of life leaving incandescent trails that turn continually around in circles of fate. Was this the case with this old house set in this lonely valley?

I ruminate for a supernatural explanation to the day’s events. I am curious, for signs from the great beyond hold an alluring fascination for me. I like to think of myself as an old soul, a product of the wizened journeys of Time. I want to unravel these happenings, which have become a recurring reality for me for as long as I can remember. They have residual emotions which unsettle me and affect me badly.

I hear some movement in the corridor and someone calling out. Summoning the last vestiges of courage, I open the door and nearly fall over in delight on seeing the chubby face of the caretaker. At last, it wasn’t a ghost but a real human being ! The caretaker of course wasn’t too pleased at my excited welcome and backed away in disdain, muttering to himself about citywallahs with no manners. Happy to have some company, I feel safe and try to brush away the day’s happenings. After instructing the caretaker to arrange for lunch, I wait in the dining area, still afraid to go back to the room across the hallway.

I believe there is some meaning in what happened today, making a mental note to share it with my family. Maybe if I asked around the town, some light could be shed on this mystery.I did not eat as heartily as I wished to, being bit shaken by the visit of the black shadow but forcing a few morsels down my throat, I settle down on the sofa for an afternoon siesta, nodding off fitfully.

Pale caricatures dance woefully in a theatre of wilting night shadows, as I see someone walking in the moonlit rain. The moon plays hide and seek with the clouds sullen and dark. Someone is walking, silhouetting sharply against the lightning and thunder which paints the landscape in contrasting shades of rumbling darkness. The thunder claps, trees bow to the wily wiles of the wind and hurtling raindrops. The pitter patter of the raindrops resound into a gale of unspoken words and thoughts. The skies blacken to a grim dark angered at the hegemony of the clouds grey and stark that hide the true world away. The lightning roars and crackles, not too far as the dance of the elements continues. Nature conspires to set something right.

Despondent, weather beaten and crouched, she walks away from the house, while inside her the shadows of doubt and evil desperately wean on her soul. I can see them following her with lengthening fingers to grasp the evilness she hoards in her heart , a feast for those gnarly shadows of ill boding. They writhingly grow in strength in the inky darkness. The pace of her footsteps hurries in the intense hope of escaping the karma of her thoughts she has so cruelly bought to life. A few minutes it took, but a lifetime is erased in one pistol shot.

The wind howls as if to say to her, “I will follow you wherever you go, listen to my voice as I screech your secrets out aloud.”

“I will gather your misdeeds and lay them bare for the elements to rule on your sins.” She pretends not to hear, striding faster than before, lost in the paths that flood in the rainy onslaught.

Walking in the moonlit rain, hounded by the rainy night, she knows not what lays in store for her. She hurries to deceive all, for a sinister turn of events she has heartlessly bought about, but destiny will not have it that way. What a shame, for I have loved her ardently, my life violently eclipsed forever by her betrayal. It is her, who walks unknowingly into the arms of fate, for revenge of the other kind is forthcoming in its wake. She stumbles and falls. The hands of darknesses push her forward, the waters of the lake rise to carry her away. I stand there watching her float up, lifeless.

I drift like a fog wisp through the gloom and doom of those eerie flashes of light. I know her, I know her not, who is to say? The burden of this moonlit night is not on me.

A mute bystander with secrets, unknown and unheard of before.

The Light beckons now, I take flight.

I wake up with a jolt, my heart hammers in my chest as it thuds away in an awkward rhythm. The nearby thunder of a storm breaks my sleepy stupor as the nightmare leaves me shuddering. I get up to shake off the grim foreboding that has settled on me like a dense cloud. I do not remember ever of having a nightmare filled with such vehemence, sadness and anger. Since childhood, nightmares have been shadows that slip away from the bright mornings to torment me as the night descends waiting for sleep to come again. The black shadows seem to have cast a pall on my being. I feel weighed down and weak. I look around, it is dark, and no one seems to have returned from the trip to the old castle as yet.

It was quite late into the night. I stepped out into the courtyard, worry gnawing away at my mind. No one was around at this hour. Rain water shone in patches on the ground near the gate. A breeze ruffled the rain water in waves as if to shake it out of a stupor. Lightning crackled in the distance, illuminating the sky in silver tones, as the moon hid behind the grey clouds.I saw a figure run past in the corner of my eye. I turned around and there she was, walking towards me in the moonlit rain. Drenched to the bones, face shriveled in eternal agony, staring at me with deadened eyes.

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