A ghost story (with a difference)

By Harish Mathur

 

It was a wild and stormy night in the port of Bombay. This, however, is quite immaterial to our story as the scene is not laid in the port of Bombay. For that matter, the weather was equally bad in the port of Bombay.

The scene of our narrative in fact, concerns it self with the township of Agnar (pronounced Nar), the hometown of my friend and host Akeye (pronounced Key.) Agnar is a small city, nesting at the foot of a hill, and surrounded by a sea of forest and lush vegetation. In the outskirts of the city, just off the main road, there exists a ruined and deserted temple. Local rumor has it that a headless form in deathly white hovered within the temple precincts at night. The last gent who had conducted a verification trip paid dearly for his trouble on account of walking into an open well instead of around it. After this incident, the tourist trade to the temple had declined sharply.

It was this structure, my friend and I proposed to explore.   One night, at around ten we shinnied down the drainpipe (so as not to advertise our departure) and took off towards the temple. Akeye had brought a flashlight in case of darkness, a bottle of rum in case of cold and a bottle of whisky in case of nervousness.

There was never an organizer like my friend Akeye. The distance to the Temple was around three miles as the crow flies, but seemed much more when it turned out that the poor crow had to walk, and roll a flat tire too! You see, we punctured our bike on the first available thorn. When we reached our destination, my heart sank!

The temple was bathed in a forbidding inky blackness, and enveloped in by an overgrowth of  wild foliage that played havoc with my imagination. I had led a rather sheltered life till then, and the prospect of trotting inside the temple unnerved me. The most exciting incident in my life till then had occurred when I was ten years old. An uncle of mine had spotted me smoking a cigar in the kitchen- an offence for which he chased me over a mile of difficult country with his riding crop. 

Anyway, I entered the temple (propelled from behind by my friend) flashed the torch around. Nothing.... Then an eerie noise from behind froze us in our tracks, and we swung around. The temple doors had slowly creaked themselves shut. And then we saw it... a headless form in translucent, deathly white gliding slowly towards us with a muffled oath. I raced madly off in all directions, and jumped out of  the first available window.  Akeye followed suit and was half way through when an incident occurred that turned my blood to ice-the ghost caught one of his legs, and slowly... mind  you.. .very slowly..., started pulling it; just as I have been pulling yours all along!

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