The Horrid Past

Hey all! Hope your weekend was fabulous. Sorry I took a little long time to write the next installment. Here is the fifth part for your kind read. I am adding the first four in case you want to reread the story from the beginning. Let me know your thoughts.

PART 1 26-Oct-18

The sordid emotions from the past kept visiting her deviant mind making her restless and more she tried to detach from the horrid thoughts, it surged back with a renewed purpose. She did everything to detox her overthinking mind – read, played, danced, binge ate but nothing worked. The past never left her, often staring at her with a mischievous grin. Tired of its unceremonious visits she decided to accost her morbid soul. She hustled, screamed, pleaded but all she received was a silent stare with that infamous smirk mocking her helplessness. How she wished she had an option to denounce everything, go back in life and erase the past. Would she be able to conjure strength to confront the past?

PART 2 26-Oct-18

She could never forget that defying moment. The vivid imagery was engraved permanently on her mind. That fall evening when the gelid breeze was blowing from the north, sweeping the pale, green leaves along. The day was turning gray and the fast vanishing sun was casting tall shadows of trees on the cold cobbled streets. She walked with some purpose meandering the pathway lost in some deep thoughts. There was a weather warning, the storm was about to hit the port town. She could feel the gust of wind gradually gaining speed. She turned her attention to the dial, it was past 7:30 PM. If it was not for her demanding work, she cursed under her breath and paced herself a tad less than a dash. As she curbed along the path she witnessed a gray shadow hustling with a limp. He turned and looked at her for few moments before turning around and dissolving in the cold pewter evening.

PART 3 27-Oct-18

That face she could never forget for a lifetime. The cheekbone dropping deep, giving a ghostly touch to his aghast look. The unblinking hollow eyes fixated firmly on his frame and his glance sharp and narrow. His lips were thin without any expression and the long coat he draped appeared worn out and dilapidated. The gaze was brief and he turned around dissolving in the oblivion. By now the wind had gained momentum. The occasional thunders, the gentle drizzle all suggested the arrival of a bellowing storm. She pulled her focus back and regained her lost pace to reach her dwelling with urgency. And then she saw someone lying on the ground. There was no movement. The body lay still, immovable and lifeless. Her feet froze, beads appeared on her cold temple unceremoniously. In a complete subconscious state, she approached the desolate person. Little she knew this moment would change her, redefine her and accost her for that day and beyond.

Part 4 28-Oct-18

From closer proximity she saw the body of a girl lying insentient with her face down. Beside the awkward placement nothing looked wrong. The long brown coat was still perfectly fitting her, the black boots looked elegant and her golden tresses looked unscathed. There was nothing on her or near her that suggested any harm. Brenda knelt down to observe her more closely.

“Are you Ok?”

There was no response. She held her arms and shook her but didn’t get any feedback. She mustered some courage and turned her over to expose her countenance. Her eyes were closed and her petite face exuded radiance. Despite the insanity surrounding her lifeless stature, she appeared to be at calm.

Brenda started shivering. The fear of the unknown engulfed her. And then the torrent of downpour arrived as if the sky opened a massive deluge. The wind also gained pace confirmed by the swaying of the chestnut oaks. She got up in haste and retraced her steps back. Then she turned around and dashed. She kept running until she came to the main intersection. The rain had drenched her from head and toe. Though she had an umbrella on her she failed to notice its existence. The storm had peaked by now and the street looked desolated. It took her few minutes to realize the grave mistake she committed. Maybe the girl had life in her. Maybe she could have given her first aid. The untoward thoughts surged back overpowering her already devastated being. And in a state of stupor she turned around and ran back. She reached the position where she left the girl and looked for its existence. The street was pitch dark and the rain was blinding her vision. She stretched her eyes but failed to notice the girl. She put the torch on her phone to illuminate the area but that didn’t help either. Not even a scintilla of what she noticed just few minutes ago existed. She climbed the boulder next to the street, she looked on meadow on the other side, she combed the pathway inch by inch, but besides the coldness and a constant eerie nothing existed. The girl had vanished. Aghast and despaired, she walked back to her apartment with dropped shoulders and a disheveled heart.

Part 5 11-Nov-18

She had a restless night. The past evening horror was pasted all over her mind. Next morning she scanned all local TV channels and newspapers but couldn’t find trace of any untoward event. She took the day off from work and used the time to reorient her mind. Sharing with her best friend sounded tempting but she refrained, for she was too ashamed to expose her guilt. Calling parents was not a good idea, particularly when her own thoughts were convoluted.

A month went by but life was never the same for Brenda. The fateful evening kept revisiting her. And no matter how much she tried, the benign face of the petite girl clouded her mind. She knew the moment would stay with her forever and hoped that time would heal her anxieties. And with that thought she got back to her life rhythm, slowly but surely until one Saturday evening.

This was the first time since that incident she went for a girls night out. It was a lively evening. The girls, the Castro Pub, the drinks and the gossip, everything around was a blessing. She was glad she stepped out her apartment. The blithe was distinct and visible on her face. After few hours she stepped out to use the restroom. Right at the alley before she could turn she came tete-a-tete with the person she saw on the cold street of Chicago. Their eyes met for few seconds and he scurried away with the same distinct limp.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

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