It was a dark night. The dogs cried as something vociferous had just passed by them. Their unrest was felt even by the sleeping babies in cradles, the mothers who were tired and slept along with them, woke up to the sound of their babies crying. They immediately took their baby out from the cradle only to comfort them, rocking them to and fro, close to their chest, a mother’s warmth can do wonders, they say. But the babies won’t stop crying. This happened in every house in the small riverine town. Lights were lit across the town as everyone got up. The men of the house took out their torches and lit them with the courage they had to, their families meant everything to them, their families wanted them to protect them. They called out each other’s name as everyone was familiar with everyone in the town. It was a small town, closely knit, strongly held. What it could be in the middle of night, asked Mr Krazinsky. Maybe an owl had set the dogs howling, assumed Mr Reggie. Or it could be “Her”, an old, ancient voice came from the back of the gathering. But wasn’t she killed Mr Roary, said one of them. We never found her body. It was if she had vanished into thin air, said Mr Roary. Who is “Her”? a young boy had asked. His mother quickly lulled his voice. Shush, come back here. Don’t you have to sleep? But mother, I want to know who is “Her”? a curious little kid had just stunned some elders. They were silent for a moment. The sight of her was in their eyes. This night would be a long one, Mr Roary had remarked. The mothers quickly took their younger ones and they all went inside the already dilapidated church, where their prayers were answered, where the lost were found, where the dead were departed. The other half of the community, the women, held their hands together and started to pray. O Lord give us the strength, give us the strength to fight the unnatural, the devil is upon us, he is catching onto us, protect our babies, protect our husbands, brothers and fathers, protect us, help us. It was almost as if they had started to lose hope, prayer was the only thing that was keeping them sane. The men closed the doors. Bolt the door very firm, they said, we will knock five times when we want you to open, do not open the doors even if anyone calls your name, we will be alright as long as you don’t open the doors. They took their torches and every weapon they could find. Pitchforks, shovels and Mr Roary took out his gun, the only gun in town. What Shall we do? asked everyone from the elders. Let’s join hands and pray to the lord first to give us the strength to tackle “Her”. Let’s first move to the river, let’s see if the dam is intact. They cautiously moved towards the dam that was built even before Mr Roary. I wasn’t born when the dam was built, he would tell the children when they would try to ask him about his dam, while he smoked tobacco under the shade of the enormous Mango tree, that too was there before him. The kids would call Mr Roary ” The White Seal” as his teeth all his teeth had fallen down, his beard touched his chest and he barely moved. He was seen on most days near the Mango tree or near the dam. As if his routine was fixed, his focus points were two. The men slowly inched towards the dam. One of them carefully climbed down the dam to check for any damages. I don’t see any, he shouted from below. Did you find anything strange there? Mr Roary had asked. Nothing Sir, the man said. Wait! Wait!, there is a piece of cloth here. How does it look?, the temperatures were rising, the cold of the night had slipped under their noses, sleep ran away like a frightened rabbit. It looks old, torn in between, I cannot see, there isn’t much light. It’s HER. Mr Roary screamed. She was here. Quickly Alex, Shut down the valves, we shouldn’t drink the water. She must have poisoned it.
This is a small piece I just wrote after a long time, would really love your feedback on this. I’ll continue this story as the reader, you may want. Your inputs are highly valuable.