The Smoke From The Forest

The Smoke From The Forest

4 mins 2.3K 4 mins 2.3K

So there I was, perched on my large window pane, with the book of my life. I had waited long enough to read it, and the golden sunlight and balmy wind made it just perfect for the occasion. I opened the book with great excitement and started to read eagerly.

No more than a couple of pages I’d read that I heard a hustling sound in my garden. A snake again, I guess.

You see we live in the suburbs, surrounded by trees and fields and farms. So, we come across a snake or mongoose near our garden, quite often.

I was very reluctant to get up and check, and let my eyes off that book even for a moment. Yeah, I can be a die-hard bookworm sometimes.

But I couldn’t possibly let any creature creep into the house, especially my mum’s room, and let her scream the life out of her. And, in case that’s a snake, the outcomes could be worse. Why, that little lady fears the slimy crawlers more than hell! And one more thing that pushed me into the garden was that dad wasn’t home.

Thus, the book I carefully left the book on my table and swept lazily into the garden with a big frown on my face. I searched behind the large dahlia pots and in between the shrubs but found nothing. Suddenly, I heard the sound again. When I followed it it led me to the bushes. I took the black rod in the warehouse that dad uses to pick up and throw away the snakes with. I wasn’t sure, however, that I would be imitating that action. I bent and looked around the bushes and saw a brown, puffy thing.

The mongooses again! I lightly poked its paw with my rod, and I had expected it to run away in fright, as usual.

But it just writhed and shivered. And by saying ‘it’, I mean the paw, which was the only thing I could see. Suddenly, it pulled itself inside the bush, through a small hole in the fence. The fence being high and the creature's quick movement I failed to see what exactly was I chasing after. But I couldn’t possibly just go back to my reading, because what I saw was weird and, surprisingly, more fascinating.

So, I opened the gate and walked down the cobbled path. There lay an open field before me, and I could see a path carved through the tall grass by ‘the creature’. I followed the track and the ‘paw prints’ looked more like the tracks of a young human or ape. In no time I saw myself hurrying into the thickets, lost and alone. Finally, I came to a place where the tracks disappeared and moved aside a ‘curtain’ of leaves and climbers.

That area was close to the forest and forbidden to enter. Dad had said it was not so, for trespassers had been camping there, as smoke was often seen coming up from a spot just there. So some people did go there to camp, probably. Crazy people they may have been, taken all the creepiness that was around and not a single element encouraging a camp was present.

I saw something that startled me to level ten! There was a herd of brown people, half-laden with animal skins and bark-skirts. They hung stones and sticks around their necks, feet and arms. And I knew exactly what they were-tribal people. But what made them look particularly eerie was their blonde or yellowish hair, which contrasted violently with their dark skin. Weirder was the fact that a younger fellow was sitting in the centre and the older ones were pouring various liquids on his head- milk, fruit pulps, etc as they danced wildly around him.

Suddenly they halted and roared, giving way to a very old woman of their kind come with her cusp full of something and poured it on the boy’s head.

Oh! Was it blood? Yes! A dangerous tribe in front of me, anointing their young with blood! I felt the ground slip under my feet. A chill went down my spine. Then I saw a second kid coming up with little mongoose, whose paw I had, most probably, seen in my garden. That little devil was the creature that ran fast with the poor animal to complete his ritual??

Alas! I could see no poor animal being squished so brutally by their stone hammer. I stepped back silently and ran back to my house, following my own book tracks.

I sat down on the window pane upon reaching home, with my book open. But my mind kept strolling into the garden, flashes of the paw, the field, the tracks, the thickets and that horrible scene danced in front of my eyes. There was no one I could share this ghastly experience with, fearing that they won’t believe, as I myself would find it hard to discover that such a devilish thing lives a few hundred metres away from me...

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More english story from Shreeya Swagatika Rath