The inner mind laughed at her.
Her ego said, “Look, I won over you when you fought with your mom”.
Her anger said, “ Ha ha! You had challenged to throw me away from your life. But, look, you had to invite me today”.
Her patience said, “ You deserve this! I asked you to befriend me. But no, you remained stubborn”.
“STOP!”, yelled Nancy at her own self. She jumped onto the bed, banged her head to the pillow and remained silent, staring at the roof!
Nancy had fought with her mom over the phone. Her parents were at the airport. She had wanted to join them on their trip abroad, to her aunt’s house, but her college was the barrier. She was feeling bad for her behavior and realized that it was for her good only.
Rocky,her dog pounced on her. His tail was wagging. His eyes gleamed of the unconditional love.
No sooner did she end her call with her mom than all of a sudden, the wooden furniture in her room disappeared!
There was eerie silence all around. Rocky and Nancy both hugged each other tight. Rocky could feel the anxiety in Nancy. He was trying to console her.
The windows looked creaky too. Hot air blew severely.It was night and Nancy couldn’t really make out how such hot winds were blowing. She chanted Lord’s name and closed her eyes, trying to forget the reality. With great difficulty she managed to sleep, but ended up having worser dreams.She woke up in the midnight and was surprised to find the furniture back. The breeze from the window was chilling cold. “Was it hallucination?”, she wondered and dozed off.
It was just the three of them in the mansion. Gangu Tai, Rocky and her.
The dawn broke.
Nancy woke up.The last night’s incident had gone off her mind. She was back in her self.
Like always, she did her every morning’s mundane chores and set to the college on her two wheeler . She stopped midway, waiting for her friends to join her. Emily and John were her best friends since childhood. Nancy, wanted to explain to them, her previous night’s experience. However, she decided to keep mum.
“Let’s bunk the first hour! It’s that boring class”, said Emily.
“No ways! I want to be there. We have exams coming up and I don’t want to mess with the attendance”, said Nancy.
“Oh C’mon! Bunking one day wouldn’t make you absent for the whole year”, said John,smirkingly.
“Guys! I have decided to attend the class. You can bunk if you want”, she said and kept moving forward fast.
John and Emily, stayed back and decided to bunk!
This would always be the story. Though they were together since childhood, their ideologies were different. Nancy would be adamant with her decisions.
It was summer. The dried leaves had fallen on ground. The sun was out and would start to be scorching anytime soon.
Nancy rode at fast pace as she was already late.
Just, when the college was a few metres away, the leaves on the road, started to rustle. The rustle wasn’t normal, it was a fierce scary rustle.
She couldn’t come to terms to what was happening.
She lost balance and fell on the road and hurt herself badly.
The people on the road, ran towards her and helped her.
“Didn’t you see the leaves rustle fiercely”, she questioned them, even before looking at her bruises.
“Yes, there was a mild wind and the leaves rustled . What’s new in that”?, asked a person surprisingly.
“No. It wasn’t normal!”, she yelled, unable to process what was happening with her.
People started to murmur.
“It’s better you go back home and take rest. You look weak”, said another.
They helped her get back into the vehicle, helped her collect the fallen bag and a couple of other items and she was set to leave.
Yet again, she decided to forget whatever happened and moved towards the college.
She was late by half an hour and the lecturer had already gotten into the class.
“May I get in sir?”, she requested.
“You are late by half an hour! You could have bunked the whole hour, why only half?”, asked the lecturer with a frown.
“Look!”, she showed her bruises.
“This is why I was late sir”, she said pleasingly.
“Oh my God! I am sorry! What happened? Are you alright?”, he enquired.
“I somehow lost balance while on road and fell off”, she explained.
“You can go back and take rest if you wish”, he said.
“No sir, I am alright”, she said and occupied her seat.
Everyone enquired with her and she didn’t tell what truly transpired, to any of them.
She was eagerly waiting for John and Emily. She couldn’t contain it anymore.
They were back for the second hour.
Even before they could occupy their seats, she hurriedly went to them. She grabbed them to the library.
‘MAINTAIN SILENCE’, the board read. But she couldn’t.
She was teary eyed.
John and Emily were shocked at her state.
“Bruises, tears!No this doesn’t suit you. Tell us what happened”, they asked in unison.
“Guys! Listen! I don’t know what is wrong. Weird things are happening with me”, she said worriedly.
“Weird things?”, they asked surprisingly.
“Yes! I was about to tell you today morning. But somehow dodged it,thinking it was just hallucination. But after what happened just before I reached college, I am sure there is something wrong”, she said.
“Why are you beating around the bush? Just tell us what exactly happened”, said John.
“Well! Yesterday night when I was on the bed, the wooden furniture in my room disappeared. There was a very warm breeze from my window, that too at night. Even Rocky got scared. I thought it was just hallucination and slept off chanting Lord’s name. But today yet again, after you guys left in the morning, I saw the leaves rustling fiercely. They looked scary. Out of fear, I lost my balance and fell off”, she said,crying.
“Lol!! This is truly hallucination. It can just happen in movies, Nancy. Either you watched some horror movie or you are missing your parents way too much”, Emily laughed.
She hadn’t expected this behaviour, atleast not from her best friends.
“Please try to understand me. These things are real. I know they sound filmy. But they aren’t. Trust me guys!”, she pleaded.
“Okay! Next time something like this happens. Either call Gangu Tai or make a video call to us”, John said, convincingly.
“Ok”, she said in dismay.
She decided to handle it all by herself.
She went back to the classes but couldn’t concentrate.
Somehow she managed to stay till the evening.
She then rushed to her home.
Rocky, her happiness booster, was waiting to pounce and welcome her home.
He did and she cuddled him, like always.
“You are the only one, who truly understands me”, she said,kissing him.
Rocky turned pale for a moment, but later hopped around her and made her smile.
Yes, his happiness was infectious.
She had snacks and was up infront of the laptop watching her favourite TV series.
When it was time for dinner, Gangu Tai prepared yummy hot dishes for Nancy.Both of them sat on the dining table, and started to have food when all of a sudden Rocky came and started to bark.
“Oh sorry deary! I forgot to feed you today. How can I be so mean”?, she said and served him his food.
No, Rocky didn’t agree.
She knew Rocky was hurt badly. He wanted her to console him lovingly.
She got up from the dinner table and decided to take him on a small walk around the house.
He was ecstatic. He knew Nancy very well. One sad expression and she would be ready to do anything to make him happy.
Both of them, got out of the house.
The clouds around the crescent moon looked dark. It looked as if it would pour any moment. She decided to complete a quick walk, before it would start to rain.
To her utter disbelief, she saw a big brown shadow on the ground. This wasn’t the usual black shadow, it was an unusual brown one,which scared her more.
She turned back and the shadow fell on the other side. She turned around yet again, but couldn’t see anyone.
Rocky started to bark loudly and Nancy screamed her heart out.
Both of them went back running.
Nancy was panting.
On the dinner table, Gangu Tai seemed missing.
“Gangu Tai!”, yelled Nancy.
There she came hurriedly.
“What happened Nancy? Why did you call me out so scaringly”, she asked.
“You were just having dinner when we left and I got scared seeing you not here now”,said Nancy.
“I just completed my dinner and went to wash my hands Nancy. Why are you worried?”, she asked worriedly.
Nancy described the series of events.
The response from Gangu Tai was the same. The same old story wherein no one believed what she experienced.
“Both of you, have food and go to sleep. The bruises of the morning are making you behave this way,Nancy. Take some rest and everything will be alright”, she said patting Nancy.
Nancy gobbled and so did Rocky.
She then went to her room and banged the door.
Rocky started to bark, yet again.
She opened the door, took him into the room and started to weep uncontrollably.Poor little Rocky, watched at her, helplessly.
When she stared at the floor,there were insects all around. She took mattress off the bed. She stood there like a rock, in a shock. There were bed bugs,crickets, cockroaches and all possible little creatures.
She didn’t dare to call her parents.
She went out of the room to get Gangu Tai. She decided to video call her friends too.
“Gangu Tai. Gangu Tai”, she went running, out of the room and grabbed Tai to the room.Her friends were on video call too.
“Oh my God! How did so many creatures creep in”, John exclaimed.
“Yuck!They all look so scary”, said Emily.
“This is what happens when you don’t close the windows. I guess you missed to close the windows when you left in the morning today. Don’t you know, there is garden on the other side. All these would have found an easy way to creep inside your room. You can sleep in my room today. I shall clean this tomorrow”, said Gangu Tai.
“Why do you always relate things? This could just be coincidence.There is nothing abnormal in creatures creeping inside your room. Go and sleep”, said John.
Well, she knew the truth. Not everything could be coincidence. She decided not to take any one’s help and decided to deal this, herself.
She went to Gangu Tai’s room and slept there.
In the morning, by the time she was ready, her roomed was cleaned.
She took out a page from her empty book and scribbled something on it. She then kept it on the table beside the window.She believed, someone would come and read it.
She hurried to the college, met John and Emily on the way. She talked with them normally, not narrating anything of the previous night’s experience, because she knew they wouldn’t believe her.
All the three of them went to the college.
In the evening, when they were all ready to go back home. It started to pour heavily. Rains in summer, seemed so strange.
John, Emily and Nancy put on their raincoats and decided to ride fast home. The rain was too heavy. The road was barely visible. Nancy was waiting to reach home, to see if her letter had got any response.
At the junction where they usually met, she waved a goodbye to John and Emily and went towards her house.
The moment they left her, the rain that was falling, stopped making her wet. She could see the rain, yet wasn’t getting wet. She was feeling hot indeed.
She didn’t know how to react.
She rushed to the house.
She carried Rocky to her room.
“You are the sole witness to what is happening to me. I want you to be there with me always. Don’t know what will happen to me. But promise to be by my side”, she said.
Rocky had tears in his eyes.
To her surprise, the letter had fallen on the floor, indicating someone had removed the weights placed on the paper and had read it.
She was curious.
“I shall meet you tonight in the same room, under the same roof!”, the letter read.
It was inked with blood.
She got scared. Gangu Tai was on leave too. In the letter, she had requested to meet the trouble giver and solve things mutually. And the person had infact agreed.
Every ticking second on the clock, increased her heart beat.
Rocky was silent too.
She decided to record all the happenings. On one corner of the room, she placed a camera.
Time ticked. It was nine. It started to pour heavily. The wind started to blow, a warm wind yet again. She saw the arrival of the little creatures. Lightning stuck. The wooden furniture disappeared.All that, that had happened to her in the past few days, repeated. She kept chanting Lord’s name. She was on her bed, with Rocky in her arms, the only companion in her journey of the scary events.
Wait, everything had repeated.
Now, she figured what would be next. The SHADOW!
She shivered, in fear.
Yes, there appeared the shadow, on the wall of her room.
She was about to lose her cool.
The shadow disappeared and there swished a huge tall character.
She hugged Rocky tight. Rocky was also wailing,unable to see Nancy’s state. But he was helpless.
Nancy was shocked at the sight of the character. It had the face of a human, but features of a tree. The hands looked the twigs, the body looked like a trunk, the legs looked like the roots. The dress was nothing but leaves. The character was fierce.
“Whoever you are! Please tell me what you want, why are you targeting me from days? What bad did I do?”, she questioned, weeing uncontrollably.
“You have no mercy. You will have no peace. You will struggle all your life”, said the character.
“Please get to the point. Tell me who you are and why are you cursing me this way”, she requested with folded hands.
“I am Vrukshapalaki, the messenger of VrukshaRani,the caretaker of the trees on this planet. Little yards away from here was acres of land filled with beautiful forest, owned by your parents. The whole of it is being destroyed now, to build a big house in your name. The owner of the forest went to the Rani, requesting to save them all. Many have already fallen. Others are fearing for their life. That’s why I was sent here, to teach you a lesson. You better talk to your parents and stop them from the disaster.Else all the things that happened to you will happen for everyone in real. There will be a catastrophe”,the Vrukshapalaki said.
Nancy was in loss of words. She couldn’t believe that her parents would end up doing such a heinous thing.
Vrukshapalaki’s eyes were boiling with rage. The leaves on her had dried up. The roots were devoid of water. The twigs looked weak. The character looked exactly like how humans had treated the trees.
“I’m sorry!”, she said.
“No sorry would work. The trees that have fallen have gone forever. The experiences that you had are a consequence of all this. You are
responsible for the change in the weather. You wouldn’t be able to distinguish between seasons if this continues. Just look back from the day one. All the experiences. Weren’t they horrible enough? Yes, that’s what happens to the other creatures as well. You have made many homeless. They will choose your house. You might call me ghost. But you are my creator. You invited me, unknowingly. You better learn from the mistake and stop committing the same sin.”, she warned.
The words start to echo in Nancy’s mind. Every single word sounded true. She looked at the calendar. It was the month of July.
“I promise to you, this will stop. I will be their caretaker. I will be you, when someone attacks them. I shall be their saviour. For the damage that’s already done, tomorrow, on July 5th I shall plant hundred more trees and shall keep planting more. Believe me. If I miss out on my words, you shall act as you wish”,she said, wiping the tears.
Even Rocky barked, showing support to Nancy.
“I shall mark your words! Next time there is something unseen happening, events would be worser. Beware”,cautioned Vrukshapalaki and went away.
Nancy immediately dialed her parents.
They decided to remain adamant.
That’s when she decided to narrate the series of events. She even showed them the video. They felt pity and realised the mistake. They joined hands with their daughter and promised to protect the kingdom of trees.
To all the others who didn’t agree to her, she explained to them with proof and warned them not to cause harm. They sympathised and agreed to her.
Nancy cuddled Rocky tight and wept. “Rocky, probably you were the only one who relieved me of my pain. I connected with you, more than any other human being”,she said.
She remembered the day, she had picked up Rocky from the street, lying all alone, whimpering, waiting for someone to pick him up. The little puppy, had now grown up and had taken the moral responsibility to make Nancy happy whenever she was gloomy.
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