By Abdul Quddus from Bhains Colony
Dark, dark night. The full moon flitting through dark clouds, giving vague light every now and then. Low branches, wilderness, the leaves crushing under your feet, each sound scaring you. The howling of the wolf or is it the hooting of a harmless owl? Your heart beating wildly, pounding in your ears. Each step feels like hundred, every second an eternity. The wind rustling the leaves, whispering secrets of the woods, eerily comforting you. Every sound magnified like a whiplash in the stillness, causing your heart to pound more which you didn’t think it was possible. You start running to go faster but the wind makes it sound as if some one is chasing you. You run faster, look behind, nothing but the trees rushing in as if following you, mocking you, telling you, no matter how fast u run you can’t run away. You see a light shining ahead, your heart fills with hope, you leave the track in your haste to reach it, the moons hidden again, but you know that all you have to do is follow the light.
The dark shape of trees and the flickering light ahead, a sign of hope of company. It starts to rain slowly at first but steadily increasing its pace. The rhythmic sound of falling water. Water dripping off your hair, you are soaked through, it must be raining faster than you thought, your senses are numbed with… is it fear? But fear of what, there is nothing around. But yes, that’s what you are afraid of the nothingness, the helplessness. The rain is clouding your vision, the light seems further away, you thrash through the branches obstructing your way. You try to go faster, but its harder in the woods, something or the other impedes your way. If possible, its raining faster. Lightning! You can see ahead. The trees look like huge monsters bending down to grab you. You are grateful for the dark again. You are prepared for the sound of thunder but it doesn’t. The light ahead seems fainter, you are not even sure if it actually exists or whether you are just hoping that it is, you start to lose hope, what little you had left. The fear is spreading, tingling through your veins, goose bumps up your flesh. Another flash of lightning, you stop dead in your tracks. The wind is howling now, no more whispering secrets, but howling like banshees. You cover your ears, you notice something warm, you must be crying, the tears mingling with the rain. You sit down, exhausted, crying louder. A crash, thunder? You put your head between your knees. Something is on your arm, crawling? slithering? Towards your shoulder. Your breath is caught, the movement stops your hearts in your mouth. Should you lift your head… Do you even want to know what touched you? You tell yourself it was a falling leaf. Your hearts beating again. Thunder. Your tears come faster but no sound. The crushing sense of despair. Alone, helpless, lost. You close your eyes. You lie down, rolled up in a ball. And you give up. No point trying further, it’s too scary to face. The wind howls, water sliding down your body, the soft mud under you, and you give up, thinking that it’ll end.
But it doesn’t. It doesn’t get better. It doesn’t get worse. You can’t see or hear a thing except feel the rain crushing down your body. The movement reaching for your throat, you start choking. You let out a faint murmur and the movement stops, it disappears. You feel relieved for a moment suddenly remembering the woods. The rain subsides. You feel something crawling all over you. You frantically try to get it off you, scratching and bruising yourself in the twigs around you. You look at yourself and there’s nothing there except for the bruises you’ve inflicted. You suddenly realize that it is no longer dark. You look in the direction of the light to check if it’s still there and you realize that you are where the light was. You look around to check if you’re still alone in the gloom. You try talking to those around you and soon become conscious of talking to the trees. You turn around and walk away to the laughter in the background. It gets darker. It starts to rain again. You close your eyes and spiral on.