“Lindana? Who she is?”
““Lindana? Who she is?”” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Shashwat Jain, Pinewood School, India.
“Lindana? Who she is?”
“Help!” cried a frightened voice in the graveyard. It was a dark night, and the strong wind piercing through the leaves of the ancient banyan trees made a scary rustling sound Candace ran with all the courage she could gather. Drops of sweat were descending her frightened face. The deep silence had been disturbed by her panting voice. A ghost-like voice was calling her from the grave of Mrs. Lindana, who was now rumoured to be a witch. Suddenly, a hand came out from the dirt and grabbed her left foot. She stumbled on the dirty floor of the graveyard.
“Candace! Wake up”, interrupted a well-known voice. “Today is your story –writing competition and you’ve asked me to wake you up early. Now get up and wake up Henry too. Both come sown in five minutes.” Candace took some time to understand what was going on. She got up to the window, stretching her arms. It was a bright and sunny morning. White, fluffy clouds drifted across the sky. A strong gust of wind, which blew across her face, made her feel fresh.
Candace Flinn was a fourteen-year girl who loved thrill and adventure. Her eyes were the colour of the deep sea and her sweet dimpled smile could make the hardest diamond melt. She was in the same class with her brother Henry.
They had sprouts for breakfast. At 7:30, they heard the horn of their school bus. “Hey Grave girl!” said Peter when they boarded the bus. “Henry, have you prepared for today’s dictation?” “Well, today is the story writing,’ said Henry doubtfully. “Yes, yes it is,” joined William. “Oh! I prepared for the dictation,” cried Peter. “Did you really prepare for that?” said William. “Uhh,” Peter groaned. A loud gag broke out in the bus.
They reached school at 8’o clock. Their school had a huge building and the gardens blushed with beautiful red roses. The first period was of English. Everyone, or ‘almost’ everyone began to write, someone was writing about how he made everything disappear, and someone’s topic was ‘families and different.’ As usual, Peter took out his ‘Goosebumps’ book and started copying.
After the test, Henry asked Candace, “Candace, what did you write?” Candace told that she wrote about her dream that she got stuck in graveyard, and she was being chased by Mrs. Lindana’s ghost. “What! Lindana, the wicked witch!’ exclaimed William. “Oh, foolish rumours,” replied Candace. Peter joined, “Not a rumour, it is true. If anyone tries to come near Lindana’s grave, a hand comes out and pulls that person to hell.” “Yes, and it is said that the witch lives in the old building near the cemetery. Whenever someone dared to go inside the building, he just disappeared,” said William. “Don’t be chicks guys you are in twenty-first century. There’s nothing like ghosts. You are just being scared of some old piles of dirt and a tombstone,” said Henry. “Ok, let us find the truth this evening. We will go to the graveyard. After all it is just behind our school,” said Candace. “The graves are visible from the window.” “Ok then, we would”, agreed Peter.
There were discussions only about ghosts until they reached home. They had decided that they would meet near the school at 6 p.m. Candace and Henry were very excited. In the evening they both went near their school. Peter and William were already there. They went to the cemetery gate through the old dirt road next to the school. The graveyard was founded by mysterious old villagers, and it was filled with dirty graves, crooked tombstones and ancient trees with owls always howling on them. There were many incidents of villagers seeing ghosts in the graveyard. Now, no one dared to go in that graveyard after sunset.
“Look, that is Lindana’s grave. Let’s go”, said Candace. “We should not go near that,” Peter was very frightened. “Come on, there’s nothing,” said Henry. They all went near Lindana’s grave. Village people had kept a large stone near it to distinguish it from the other graves. “Look, nothing happened. We are standing near the witch’s grave”, said Candace. “Ok now, it’s over. We should go now.” William said. Candace was not scared at all. She had always loved visiting such haunted places and watching horror movies. She stepped on the grave and started reading the inscription on the tombstone. Suddenly, the area around the grave got filled with smoke. Candace jumped off the grave. The graveyard got filled with strange voices. Everyone got frightened. They heard the voice of a ghost calling them from the grave. They all rushed towards the iron gate. Peter fell in the ground while running. Henry held his hand and they got out of the graveyard. They felt that if someone was following them. They ran all the way to their homes.
They were very tired and all their clothes got dirty. Candace was not able to utter a word. She did not have dinner that night and directly went to her room. That night was the only night when Henry and Candace went to sleep before 10 p.m., without watching their favourite television show. Their mother thought that they might have a fight and were upset from each other, and so, they were not talking. None of the children could sleep that night. Whenever they closed their eyes, the scene of the graveyard came to their minds. Candace was able to sleep only after 12’O clock. It was the darkest night for the children.
When the clocks were striking one, Henry heard the sound of doorbell of his house. At first, he thought that it was just his thinking, but after two or three bells, he stood up. “Candace, wake up,” he whispered. “Someone is ringing the bell.” Candace got up and they rushed to their mother’s room. Their faces had turned white due to fear. After all, they did not want to be the dinner of a witch. Their mother went to open the door. For Henry, this moment had more suspense than the climax of his favourite movie, ‘Baahubali’. Mrs. Flinn opened the door. Henry was hiding behind the shoe rack. “Dad!” said Candace. “You have told that you were going for a business meeting, and will return tomorrow,” said Mrs. Flinn. “Yes, but the meeting was cancelled, and I decided to surprise you,” Mr. Flinn replied. “Oh Dad, you just scared us,” Henry said. After some time they went to sleep.
It was now 7 a.m. Henry was not in the mood of remembering the graveyard incident, but Candace was busy thinking what exactly would have happened there. She was no more scared of the ghosts but was very curious to know about it. She was so busy thinking, that in the bus, Henry told her that she was wearing slippers. Peter was busy telling his friends fake stories of his bravery, that how he saved Henry from being eaten by a witch in the graveyard. Candace asked them to visit the graveyard after the school to inspect the grave. Henry and William refused to go there anymore, but Candace was ready to go there alone if they would not accompany her. William asked Candace to forget about that and never go near that graveyard. Candace then did not show much interest in going there. At the school, they had a surprise test in the first period. So, no one was thinking about ghosts. Now, the only thing that they were scared of was a big zero. Candace finished the test first. Peter and William had a tie. They both were on the first question when the teacher snatched their sheets from them.
“The test was very easy,” said Henry after the test. “Well, it was,” nodded Peter. “Oh really, then how many questions did you attempt?” said William mockingly. “Uh… I don’t care about this bookish knowledge. I know everything out of this silly test sheet,” said Peter. Henry replied,” Ok, then tell me…” “Yes, ask me anything,” interrupted Peter. Henry continued, “Then tell me, why did Kattapa kill Baahubali.” “Uh…this is not a question,” said Peter. There was a hearty laugh in the class.
When the school was over, Candace saw two people in the graveyard. “Henry, look,” she pointed at them. “What are they doing there?” said Henry. “I think they might be digging graves for themselves,” Peter broke in. “Look, they are going near the witch’s house,” William joined.”Let’s follow them,” said Candace with a graceful smile. The people entered the old house. The children followed them at a distance. When they entered the house, it was very dark but some light was coming from the room above. “Hey, where did those men go”, whispered Henry. Peter’s face was white due to fear. He did not say anything. Suddenly, they saw a faint shadow coming towards them. Peter’s leg striked a chair and he fell down. “Hey! Who’s there!” they heard a scary voice. They got very frightened and rushed towards the door. “Stop!” someone said. They all wan without turning back. They just wanted to save their lives. They ran through the graveyard without minding anything. This was their second run from the graveyard to their homes.
Henry and Candace went inside their house and quickly rushed to their room, William’s house was just in the next block to theirs. “William, what happened?” asked his mother when he reached home. “Why are you looking so scared?” “Nothing mom, we were just having a race”, said William. “With Henry?” she asked. “Well, no,” William said. “It was a dog.” “Ok, now change your clothes and come to lunch”, his mother said with a smile.
Henry and Candace were discussing about the old house. “Henry, what do you think, who was that person in that house?” said Candace. “Who so ever he was but I am wondering what he was doing there”, Henry said. “And why did those people go into that house?” “We should search about that building. Did you notice that there light was coming from a room?” said Candace. “Yes, I did, but why would a ghost need light?” Henry said. “We will ask people living near the graveyard about the building.” said Candace. “Ok, but we will not go in that house again,” Henry said. Candace was saying something when their mom called them for lunch. They both went downstairs to the dining room.
When they were having lunch, they heard the phone ringing. Candace picked up the phone, which was kept outside the dining room. When Henry finished the lunch, he went outside the room. Candace was looking very frightened. “What happened, Candace?” he asked. “Who was on the phone?” “It was Peter’s Dad”, said Candace in a serious mood. “He was saying that Peter has not come home yet, and was asking if he was with us.” “Then, what did you say?” Henry asked. “I told him that he was playing with us after the school, and we will search him in the park,” Candace said. “Now, what should we do?” Henry said. “I think he might be left in the old building.” “We should go there again,” Candace said. They ran to William’s house and told him about this. They all rushed towards the graveyard.
They went near the old building. “He might be caught inside the building,” said William. “Should we go inside?” asked Henry. “But if we also get caught?” said William. “Look, someone is there,” said Candace pointing towards a hut near the building. Some people were lived in huts near the graveyard. They went to the hut. There was an old man living in that hut. They asked him if he had seen a child near the building. He said that he had seen them when they were running out from the building, and that after them Peter also ran away from the graveyard. They were now relieved that Peter had not been eaten up by ghosts. They were going towards the school through the graveyard, when they saw Henry’s dad. He called them and said that Peter had come home. ”His father called me and had said that Peter had come home, but he did not see him because Peter was playing Clash of Clans in his room on his phone. He got to know this when I called him and phone rang,” said Henry’s Dad. “Ok, now let’s go home. Your SAs are approaching, you have to study.” They went to their homes. When they reached home, they took their books and started studying. They did not think about the old building and the two people who went there.
It was now evening. “Hey, what’s this, Candace?” said Henry, looking at a paper in Candace’s hand. “I found it outside that old building near its window, just when dad came. There is something written on it, but the writing is very bad, and it is also creased. Look if you can read it,” she said. “I think it is a phone number and above it is some word written,” Henry said. “I think it is some word like ‘hell’.” Just then, their Mom called them for dinner, and they slept at 10 p.m., after watching T.V.
In the morning, Henry and Candace woke up late. They quickly got ready, had breakfast, and jogged to William’s house to catch the school bus. In the school, Henry showed Peter the paper Candace had found. He expected him to understand that writing because Peter’s own writing was a puzzle that no one else in the class had even understood. “Bro, you are not able to understand this? It’s just a piece of cake,” Peter said after seeing the paper. He told that the word was ‘help’, and also read the phone number written. “Candace, you found it near the old building, right?” Peter said. “Yes, I think someone might have thrown it out from the window,” said Candace. “It means that someone is trapped in the building,” Henry said. “We should show it to the teacher,” Candace said. They showed the paper to their teacher and told her that they had also seen two men going in that building. She told them not to take tension and leave it on her, and that she would talk to them about it the next day. After the school, they did not think about the building. After many days, they reached home, not running from ghost. Henry took his phone and went out to play Pokemon Go. Candace was very eager to know what their teacher would tell them the next day.
At night, Candace and Henry slept early, so that they would not get late the next day.
It was now morning. Candace and Henry got ready for the school, the right time. In fact, they had to wait for their school bus for 10 minutes. In the bus, there were talks about the old building and the graveyard. When they reached the school, their teacher told them about the paper that Candace had found. She said that there was no ghost or witch in that old building. It was actually a gang of kidnappers who hid children in that building. She told that she called the number on the paper, and found that a child had thrown that paper from the window. His parents called the police and the police found that the kidnappers spread rumors about the witch, so that no one would come near that building. They had hidden small speakers and smoke machine near Lindana’s grave, so that the people would be scared. “You all have a very great job and now no one needs to be scared of the graveyard,” said the teacher. The children were very happy. After the school, the children went in the graveyard. Candace stood upon Lindana’s grave. “Look, now there is nothing to be scared of.” She said. “Hey, where’s Peter?” said Henry. They looked all around, but did not find him. Peter jumped from behind Lindana’s grave, surprising Henry. They saw the man whom they have met in the hut near the graveyard. They went to him. “Look, now there is nothing to be scared of the graveyard. It was just a rumor that Lindana is a witch,” said Candace to the man. “Lindana? Who she is?” the man replied. “I live here only but I have never heard about it,” he said. “Look, there is Lindana’s grave”, Candace pointed towards the grave. They saw that there was nothing, but an empty area in the graveyard. “What! Where it has gone?” said Henry. They ran towards the empty space. “Where did it disappear?” Peter’s face was white due to fear. “I think we’ve got some work. We will not get bored now,” Candace said with a mysterious smile.