Late from Work
“Late from Work” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Sarvesh Sofra, St.Edward’s School, Shimla, India.
Late from Work
The time was around 12’o’clock. I was late from work. Home was only 4 miles away. I was relieved. This road that I was travelling onto…I had heard some strange scary rumors about it, but I never believed them to be true. But that day I had an uneasy, unsettling feeling that something bad was about to happen. As I was walking, I started hearing footsteps behind me. I stopped and looked behind. There was nothing except darkness there. I started walking briskly. The footsteps followed me. I turned behind time to time to check if anyone was there but I couldn’t see anything because of the pitch-black darkness.
I felt fear growing inside me. A voice came from behind me, ”Varun, stop right there.” I had never been so scared in my life. Who was there behind me and how the hell did it know my name? I turned behind and I saw someone in a red dress. I couldn’t see their face. I blinked and in one instant that person was right in front of me. I turned behind and started running blindly. I started screaming. I shouted the name of the god I never believed in. I suddenly blacked out. When I woke up, I was right in front of my house.
I lived in a dusty old apartment with my roommate. His name was Sebastian. He was supposed to be out of town for a few days. He had gone back to his family in southern India. I lived in Shimla, a town in Northern India. I went inside; I was too shocked to do anything. I just jumped on to my bed and tried to sleep. The time was around 3am. Thank god it was Sunday the next day. I was too tired to think anything about today. I slept till 10 next morning. I woke up and went down to get breakfast. I thought about yesterday and told myself that I would forget all about that and act like nothing had happened.
I jumped up on my couch and switched on the television. After a while the television lost the network. Frustrated, I threw the remote on to the television. I went to the toilet and when I returned, the remote was nowhere to be found. I heard a sound indicating something had fallen down in the kitchen. I remembered last night’s incident. I was scared shitless. I again heard somebody call out my name. I ran out of the house. What was it and how the hell did it get into my house?
The time was around 5pm the same day. I was inside a temple. I told the pandit (priest) there about what had happened with me. He gave me a locket and told me to get inside the temple for the night. The time now was 8pm. As nothing queer had happened till now, I decided to go back home. When I told my intentions to the pandit, he got really angry and tried to stop me by force. I punched him and ran out of the temple. As soon as I entered my house, I noticed a smell like rotten eggs. I went to my bedroom and tried to sleep. When I woke up, someone was standing right in front of me. Its face was black. I was too scared to even scream. The thing pushed me back and vanished. I ran for the door, but it was locked from outside. The thing grabbed my neck and tried to choke me. My entire life flashed before my eyes. I shouted god’s name and the thing vanished. I quickly tried the door again. Surprisingly, it opened. I ran to the temple.
The time was around 12am. I was hurrying to the temple. As soon as I reached the temple, the priest saw me and sensed what I had been through. He told me that I was in grave danger and to save me, a ritual had to be performed in the cremation ground. He gathered three priests and we all set off for the cremation ground.
He made me sit and started a fire. He told me to not to pay any attention to the surroundings and no matter what I saw, I was not to leave the side of the fire. The ritual started and the priests started chanting various mantras. I felt that someone was standing behind me and I turned back and saw a lady wearing a red dress. I blinked my eyes and she vanished. I looked over to my left side and saw my mother. I was about to get up but then I remembered the priest’s advice. I looked over to the right and saw my whole family there with their heads chopped off. I started crying. I closed my eyes and cried until the ritual ended.
This incident scarred me for life. I still tremble in fear when I tell this story. It’s all superstition until it happens to you.