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Last Year’s Christmas Changed My Life.

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It’s Christmas today. And look, which part of the city I have come to. It is the North Parganas, and I am even roaming in the streets, which at a point in the near distance, will lead to my old, sweet home.

I left this place on the 25th of December, last year. Well, I will be honest. I have been paying moderate visits to my neighbourhood, or as and when the humble cries fall into my ears.

Solitude, on the day of festivities, has always been a companion. But it hits me today, harder than ever. Both of my parents, excelling in their medical careers, somehow managed to take a little time out for me. But I can’t blame them. They have people, diseased by severe conditions, to save. Unlike me, who has permanently ceased to breathe.

I miss my parents. The probabilities of all three of us getting together, anytime in the future, are scarce. And I have turned devious over the last few months. It is better that I don’t meet them.

However, their hasty escapade from the city, shocked me to the core. They held their patience for a mere period of twenty days, and I must state, I laboured to contact them in every way I could. The police discovered me in the community pool, and after following a small investigation, they vaguely announced the half-baked details about my death. My parents believed the nonsensical facts, and they set out to find peace in a different city.

Only I know, what terrible an incident I underwent on the eve of Christmas, last year. Not a kid, but I was entering the second phase of my adolescence. My parents worked in the emergency ward, and obviously, holidays were not gifted to them more often. Christmas to me, was similar to any other regular day, and I stayed alone at home with my caretaker, Gopa kaki. However, she too, had to leave for her daughter’s operation a week before. At the end, it was just me wandering about the rooms, all by myself.

For a 16-year old girl, it was hard to invite friends into the house, especially in a society where I lived.

I dedicated myself to online entertainment, which helped me to cope up with the loneliness. Be it the web series or multi-user dungeon games, I had it all.

It was about seven in the evening. I had absorbed so much of visual and auditory data from the virtual screens that two of my wholesome sensory counters, responsible for them, were exhausted. One had its eyelids drooping, while the other had its ear drums wired with an entrenched pain. Still, I was ramming both of them onto my phone. Doing so, I came across a website, having an eerie name, “The Inverted Tricone”. As soon as I entered it, I found various articles, with many fascinating topics – all revolving around the concepts of spiritual engagement by means of occult. One particular caught my utmost fancy, “Play with a soul to get answers”. It actually had a cover image of an inverted red-bold Tricone, drawn inside a white-ash filled square. The square also had two black lines forming the diagonals over it. Clicking upon the geometrical figure, and passing a gulp down my throat, I saw another page opening on my laptop. It had some twenty experiments, all describing the procedures to connect with a strange spirit.

I found them quite amusing, but highly irrational. Everything leaped over my head. Reading the entire page, I fell asleep. After an hour or so, I sensed pressure on my left toe, and someone pulling it with a rapid force. I woke up to an extremely conscious state of mind. Nevertheless, I sled all the bad thoughts away, which majorly was a result of the spooky articles I had consumed recently. As a reckless teenager, I wanted to prove it to myself that all of the theories were nothing but hokum and flat-chipped pieces of mythology.

I started preparing the ground to conduct one of those experiments. I carried the one, with the title “Candles don’t allow water to sink in”, wherein, I had to use the wax-droppings of a red-coloured candle to draw an inverted Tricone. Then make a square around it, using charred pieces of cotton. There was nothing much to worry about the scolding part. Again, I was the only talking being at home. I borrowed the supplies from the kitchen. In addition, I had to draw a big circle with water droplets, which would signify the perimeter of the circular space, I was about to perform the experiment at. I had to pour the red candle’s wax on each drop, causing it to float.

Finally, it was time for the rituals to begin. I sat with my legs, primed according to the instructions given, and a knife with a red cloth wrapped around the naked blade. I positioned a white, burning candle on my extreme opposite, and placed the knife in between us. At the final step, I was supposed to ask questions, and rotate the knife. If the answer was a “yes”, the knife’s blade would turn to me, and if it was a “no”, I would have the knife’s base facing me.

All these sinister seeming tantric set-ups had me laughing to a long minute. Yet, I began with my dumb set of questions. “Will I pass my mock exams?” As I swung the knife into revolutions, I found it flinging towards my side. “Will I get a new phone the coming year?” Again, a yes! Whoever was giving me replies, that spirit had a definite intention to uplift my morals. This time, I put, “Are you near me?” The knife fixed itself horizontal in the middle, and it confused me. It did the exact same to the next couple of questions. That was enough to wash all my fascination about the game. So I blew out the candle’s flame, and moved outside the circle.

Perhaps, the last mistake of my life. I figured a heavy rush of energy around me, as if someone had sucked all the warmth in the room. At this stage, I knew that I might be making mental images, so I decided to proceed straight to the kitchen. But I was stooped by this strapping, intangible force, which dragged me back into the circle. The candle was ignited again in a spilt second.

Immense volumes of air surrounded me, and strangled my neck. I was forced to mouth the words, “Do you want to kill me?” No sooner I uttered the words out, I saw thick blood falling on my shoulders; icy, cold air piercing the skin of my neck. And I fell to the floor.

All I remember, was gaining spiritual conscience to the rubbles of concrete. I could see the sun, but perceive its good heat only through the eyes. As if a century had passed, with me lying in an unbroken slumber.

I was in the society compound, and realised that a crowd of people had gathered around the pool. I located my parents, standing by the police jeep. A few minutes later, two divers brought in a human body and the police laid it onto the coarse, linen slate. I ran towards it, and looked in the face of death. It was me, with my eyes wide open, narrating a tale of horror.

I heard malicious whispers, ringing loud in my ears. I looked around and found a group of grey amorphous forms standing in a corner. Only their faces were prominent. “Kill as many as you can. Kill!” I failed miserably at my attempts to resist the urge to listen to them. They sort of swallowed me into their smoke and dust, and we all flew into a different paradigm, existing parallel to this mortal world.

Coming back to the present, I hear the same whispers again. I am trying my level best to block them but I am unable to. They are getting louder, and infusing more malice in me.

Yes, it is Christmas today. Finally, I have the opportunity to celebrate it with my own friendly neighbours. The ones, who convinced my parents that I had grown mentally ill because of spending profuse amount of time alone.

I observe the beautiful lights, firmly mounted on the poles, door frames and roof of the windows.

I reach my old home, the Mangala Complex, and as I enter the main gate, I smile. Nostalgia has a way to get in your mind. I directly head to the building, wherein, another victim of mine is waiting for me to answer her questions. 

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