I used to stay in the Boy's Hostel of our College when I was studying for my undergraduate course in mechanical engineering. I have to travel for 5 long hours to reach my hometown. Every weekend I used to pack my bags and board the bus to my village. It was during one of those visits that a strange incident happened to me.
It was already dark when I got down at my bus stop. A walk of 20 minutes through a muddy road still awaited me before I reached my house. It was a dark, moonless night. The sky was covered with clouds and a cold breeze was blowing making me shiver. It has rained a few minutes ago as I can deduce from the water dripping from the leaves. I started walking on the muddy road. As it was already 10 p.m, the road was desolate as everyone living in the vicinity may have took to bed. As I was in a hurry to reach home, I hastened my pace and walked as fast as I could on the muddy road.
"It's not safe to go this way on moonless nights," I was jolted by a female voice.
I turned to see a beautiful girl smiling at me. She was about an year or two younger than me. I assumed her to be a collegian who was returning home for the weekend like me and was trying to play pranks on me.
"Why should I be afraid?" I tried to return her in her own coins, "I am a man but you are a girl. You are the one who should be afraid."
"Don't you know that blood thirsty ghosts roam about freely on such moonless nights?" She said as she came close and walked along with me, "they are interested only in drinking your blood. They won't mind if you are a man or girl."
Her voice was as sweet and charming as her looks. I was being drawn to her beauty and liveliness with each passing moment.
"If it is not safe, what are you doing here?"
"Waiting for you to escort me to my home."
I burst out laughing.
"So that was it!" I said as I got hold of her trick, "actually, you were afraid of going all alone. And that's why you tried to frighten me with a silly story so that you get a company."
"No," she waved her hands in negation and I noticed two bangles in her hands on which two snakes were carved. "It is true."
"I am frightened to death." I said as I raised my hands in surrender, "Now tell me where do you live?"
"Over there," she pointed towards a turning a few feet ahead.
I walked with her to the turning but deep within I wished to spend some more time with her.
"Shall I accompany you to your doorstep?" I asked expectantly.
"No, thanks." She smiled and walked ahead.
I kept staring at her for a while till she vanished in the dark and then made way to my home.
My cousin Chandan who was a college drop out used to stay with us during those days.
"Chandu," I asked while we were sitting in courtyard after having dinner, "do you know a girl who lives somewhere over there? She seems to be a collegian."
"Half of the girls in this village are married and the rest half are school drop outs." Chandu shrugged, "there are no such college going girls here."
"Fine," I poked him again, "but you must have seen her. She is a tall, svelte and gorgeous girl with dark, waist lenght hair."
"Where do you say she lives?" Chandu was excited by the mere mention of a beautiful girl.
"Over there," I said pointing towards the turning.
"Oh my God!" Chandu slapped his head, "The burial ground is over there. It is being said that the restless spirits take human form and roam about in search of their prey during such moonless nights. You must have seen a ghost. Because no human girl lives on a burial ground."
I burst out laughing.
"She too tried to fool me with such a prank!"
Chandu started shivering and dragged me by hand inside the house.
"I will prove it you in the morning that she was a ghost." He said as he tightly closed the door and feastened the bolts.
"Because ghosts neither have shadow nor have footprints."
My smile vanished as I remembered something weird about her. While we were walking on the muddy road we passed by a lamp post. The light coming from the lamp post from behind us made a shadow of me in front but not hers! I was so lost in her beauty and charms that I didn't give it much thought.
I picked up a torch and ran back to the muddy road dragging Chandu along. As it has rained that night before we have stepped on the muddy road our footprints ought to be visible clearly on it. There are not much chances that anyone else would have walked upon the road after us as it was already too late. As we approached the road both of us gasped out of horror. The prints of my shoes were clearly seen on the road but there were no other footprints whole through out the road!
We kept dumbly staring at each other for a few moments. But then we were brought to senses by a tinkling laughter which I recognised as hers.
"Hurry up!" Chandu pulled me by hand and dragged me back to our house.
After that day, I avoided taking that muddy road on nights especially during cold, dark, moonless nights.