A boy was walking on a bridge. His name was Joy. Looking towards the river, his smile widened. His soul was diving in ecstasy looking at the river. He was returning from his evening school. The sun had dried oﬀ due to cold and the light was playing hide and seek behind the mist.
He was continually walking in hopes of reaching his destination. There was a jungle in his way which ended up in a graveyard. After the graveyard, there was a wall and then the residential houses. People feared taking that way during the night. Evening schools had also made their timetable accordingly. He didn't know why they feared so much.
He used to see two watchmen, sitting there daily. They were old and used to sit in the same position. Out of the two, one watchman was in the jungle and one in the graveyard. It was said that they also went away after 7:00 PM. There were two lights on the way through the jungle and one in the graveyard. He was walking through the jungle - he light constantly becoming weaker. He was walking alone. He had no friends. He crossed the jungle and entered the graveyard area.
“Why nobody wants to play in such awesome weather!” he thought.
Sitting on the bank of the river and looking at the shining sun, he had often prayed for a friend to play with. He believed in God and he was sure that he would get such a friend.
As he was about to cross the graveyard area, he saw a man sitting close to a grave. He halted for a second and again looked at that man.
“Someone might have died. He might be in deep sorrow,” he thought and crossed the graveyard to enter into his colony. The clouds were covering the sky and the darkness had finally arrived. After reaching his home, he threw his bag on the bed and asked his mother.
“Who sits there in the jungle?”
“Why? What happened?” his mother asked.
“Nothing, he never moves here and there and sits there frozen. I always find him glued to the same place. He is a watchman and he should stand and walk around,” he said to his mother.
“Maybe he was resting during that time,” his mother said while giving him food. He thought that was a possibility.
The next day he went to school during the day. The sun was looking at the earth with shining eyes and the clouds had completely dissolved in heaven. Joy was crossing the graveyard when he suddenly looked towards his right. He witnessed the same person sitting in front of the grave. He tried to go close to him to ask why he was crying. As he was standing and looking at him, he felt a hand on his shoulder. With a shock and fear, he turned to see a boy in same school uniform as his.
“Are you in my school?” Joy asked.
“No, you are in my school,” he said laughing.
“Okay, what is your name?” Joy asked.
“I am Peter,” he said while extending his hand for a handshake.
“Hello, I am Joy,” Joy said.
“Nice name,” he said and both started walking towards the school.
“I never saw you earlier,” Joy said while walking.
“Yes, I joined last week and today is my first day,” Peter said.
“You are in which class?” Joy asked.
“Just next to yours,” Peter said.
“Everyone here is white, why are you black?” Joy queried.
“I am a foreigner, that's why I am diﬀerent from others,” Peter said.
They kept on talking to each other and kept moving towards the school. As they reached the school they went on in their classrooms. Joy liked Peter as he was the first person who talked with him so much.
“I think God has listened to my prayers,” he thought while sitting in his class.
Joy used to sit alone in his class because he was a bit diﬀerent from the rest. Everyone else used to think that Joy didn't want to be with them and Joy used to think the same. During the recess time, he went towards the class next to him. He saw so many students but was unable to trace Peter. Suddenly a hand rested on his shoulder and with a shock he turned back.
“Were you looking for me?” Peter said with a broad smile.
“You want to kill me or what?” Joy said with one hand on his heart.
“Maybe!” Peter said with a cunning smile.
And then they both went back to their classrooms. After school, they went to the canteen and started to chat again. They used to sit on a bench, which was at a distance from the classroom and canteen.
“Where do you live?” Joy asked Peter.
“Have you seen a road which goes left when we enter into the graveyard?” Peter asked.
“Yes, that lonely road,” Joy said.
“Yes, after going straight, taking that road you will reach my home.”
So Joy and Peter become good friends and they used to spend time together. They used to play together after school time. But because Joy's mother had told him to come as soon as possible, they both used to come back before dark.
“Don't you fear the dark?” Joy asked Peter one day.
“No!” Peter said, looking at him.
“You are brave then, I fear a lot,” Joy said.
“It's okay; it depends on person to person,” Peter said.
The winters were now at their peak and because of it sun ended its duty early. Those dissolved clouds had now rejuvenated and darkness now hugged the atmosphere early.
Peter used to play and let Joy go early. Every day while going back, Joy used to see that person crying. But Joy never went close to that person. And talking about Peter, there was something strange about Peter as well. He never talked to other boys and girls. He only played with Joy and then used to go back. He used to catch the road which went to the left and Joy used to wonder what was there at the end of it. The graveyard was so long that it was impossible to look from one point till the end. But because of Peter, now Joy wanted to know about it. He wanted to visit his house and meet his family.
“Where that road does lead to,” Joy asked his mother.
“Which road, son?” his mother asked.
“The road which goes towards the left when we reach in the center of the graveyard while coming back from school,” he said while looking at his mother's face.
“I don't know, but why are you so concerned about it,” his mother inquired.
“I have a friend and he takes that route daily,” he said.
“I don't know just ask him then”, his mother said.
“I also saw an uncle sitting in front of the grave and crying. He does it regularly,” he said.
“Don't disturb him, their loved one might have died,” her mother said and again gave him food to eat.
“But my friend is black!” he said suddenly.
“He might have come from somewhere else and now staying here, by the way, what's his name,” his mother asked.
“Peter scam..oops I mean spam..something like that. I only remember Peter.”
“Okay, now have your food.”
The whole night Joy was busy thinking about Peter and the road.
“Tomorrow I will ask him about his family,” Joy thought.
Next day Joy went to school but was unable to find Peter.
He started looking around for him but failed. He was very much surprised. He thought that there might be some problem. He waited for a few days. Then suddenly one day Peter appeared from nowhere.
“Hey, where you have been?” Joy asked.
“I was at my home,” Peter said in a sad mood.
“Is everything alright there?” Joy asked, looking at Peter's sad mood.
“My father is not well,” he said.
“Why, what happened to him?” Joy asked.
“He is suﬀering from fever,” Peter said.
“Where is your mother?” Joy asked.
“She died 8 years ago,” Peter said and the bell rang.
Joy went to his class, but he was touched after realizing that his friend lived without a mother. For next half, he was thinking about his friend and as the bell rang, he ran towards Peter's classroom. But Peter was not there. He thought that because of the grief he might have left early. He sat on the bench where they both used to sit and talk. The sun was about to switch oﬀ and clouds had started juggling with the light. Joy was still thinking about his friend and he was unaware of the ever continuous time. Soon he broke the walls of thoughts to realize that it was already late, so Joy started walking back towards his home.
The sun was erased from the sky and darkness had emerged. Joy was a little scared. As he crossed the bridge, he saw that jungle- watchman. He was still sitting in the same position. Joy looked at him, but he was not moving. Joy went close to him and as he was about to shake him up, the watchman stood and started laughing. Joy fell down scared and started running towards his house. As he fell down, he started bleeding from his right thumb, but as he was in fear he continued running.
The clouds were hovering around the dead sky and the breeze was becoming wild. Joy was running and after some time he stopped. He wanted to catch his breath. But as he stopped, the lights suddenly switched oﬀ. He was still in the middle of the jungle and the darkness was at its maximum. The constant howling of animals was increasing his heartbeat. With the lights oﬀ, now Joy was very much scared and was about to cry in fear. The wind suddenly took a harsh note and became wild. Joy's fear was at its peak and he started running. His left leg struck to another stone and his toe started bleeding. But at this time he was in deep fear. He crossed the jungle and reached the graveyard. The silence was at its peak and even the wind was screaming aloud. There was complete darkness and Joy didn't have any idea about his path. As he was rushing through the graveyard, he heard a noise. He saw towards his left. He heard someone crying at a distance. He could also see the fire. He started moving towards that direction.
“Maybe our colony people have burned a fire to mark the way,” he thought and started running towards that direction.
That was the same road his friend used to take always but in the dark he wasn't able to see. He was still bleeding. He started running towards it. The wind suddenly stopped and the atmosphere became normal. The howling stopped. Joy could still hear the crying. Joy could even hear footsteps.
The darkness was blinding Joy's vision. But with the fear overpowering him, he was moving towards the direction of fire.
“I have heard this voice somewhere,” he thought and in fear he still walked in that direction.
He kept on moving for half an hour and suddenly the fire went off. He stopped in disbelief and could sense something horrifying. He started to cry in fear. His heart beat was pacing as if it were going to fail.
The crying sound was increasing and coming towards Joy. Joy had lost control on himself and he was shivering badly. Joy started running in the opposite direction and suddenly struck something and fell oﬀ. He was shivering in fear. As he stood a hand rested on his shoulder. In fear, he turned back to see the face. But there was total darkness. Suddenly there a big lightning flashed and Joy fainted at the scene.
Next day Joy's mother went to the school looking for her child. She asked every student about him. One of his classmates said, “I saw him sitting on the bench there. He used to sit there every day.”
“Yes, he used to sit with his friend,” she said with tears.
“Friend, no aunty he used to sit alone,” one boy said.
“Alone? No. He used to say that he had a friend Peter who studied in the adjacent class,” dhe said in disbelief.
“There is no Peter in our class, aunty,” another boy said.
And now she was terrified. She started running towards her house. As she was crossing the jungle, she could see the blood on the way. She was scared and was full of tears. And as she was about to cross the graveyard she saw a man crying. She recollected that her son used to tell her about one uncle crying in front of a grave.
“I guess he might know something,” she thought. She started running towards him.
As she reached near to him and about to ask him she looked at the grave. 'Peter Shan' it read and she was shocked and literally started crying.
“He was my son. He was in 8th class and studying in the school, which was next to the jungle. One day I was very ill and he came back early. I told him that I will be back soon. I told him to prepare noodles for himself. I forgot that I left the gas cylinder open. And when I returned there was all fire,” he completed and started crying again.
“I could hear his last cry but as I entered inside everything was over,” incessant tears were flowing from his eyes.
She left the place immediately.
Next day in the school, the teacher introduced a new student, “Dear students this is our new friend Skeet. She will be now a part of our class.”
Skeet tried to talk to everyone in the class, but found them boring.
“They don't like to have fun. They are so boring,” she used to think.
During recess, she went to the other class but didn't find any friend.
“Oh my god, everyone here is so boring, I will change the school,” she said.
She started walking towards the bench, which was at a distance from the class. She sat on the bench and started eating her lunch alone.
“Hi, how are you?”
A voice surprised her. She looked and saw a boy in school uniform was standing close to her. He had a ball in his hand. Looking at the boy, it was clear that he liked playing.
“Oh, I finally got someone who can play with me,” she thought.
“I am fine,” she said.
“Do you like to play?” he asked.
“Yes, I love to play and love to sit on the river bank so that nobody can disturb me while enjoying the weather,” she said.
“I also love to enjoy the weather,” he said.
“Oh, great then we will make good friends,” she said extending her hand for a handshake.
“Sure!” he shook hands.
“I'm Skeet, what's your name?” she asked.
“I am Joy!” he answered with a cunning smile.