A vivid dream
I could not sleep. I kept remembering about the awful fright I had had that day. I kept wishing that Aunt Mariam would not tell Mom that I had been to the huge, old house down the hill.
I remembered walking down the winding path through the thick woods, hot tears streaming down my cheeks. I kept thinking of Mom cooing softly down at my born baby brother and then turning sharply to scold me for forgetting to do my chores. The rain drops from the drizzle washed my tears. The ground was already wet as it had rained earlier. I slipped many times as I made my way through the winding track to the huge, burnt house.
I was panting by the time I reached the front gate of the house. It stood like an empty sheel, black and burnt from that fire long ago. There was an eerie silence about the place secluded from all sides by tall menacing trees. Only my heart throbbed away as I recalled the village children telling tales of the house being haunted by a girl and her brother who had died in the fire.
It was very dark inside. I groped around for a while to get used to the dark. The place smelt of dampness and mildew. I stood in the middle of the massive, empty hall and stared at the dusty ruin and decay that had gathered. The place was full of dark, shadowed corners covered with cobwebs. I noticed that the left wing of the house was untouched by the fire. I made my way lightly through the debris toward the left of the house.
This room was surprisingly bright. All around there were oil painted canvasses, some hung, others covered with white sheets. I uncovered one to find a water color painting of a girl of about my age, standing pensively, grinning widely by a fountain. It was the sad, wistful look in those expressive eyes that held my attention for a long while. Then carefully I covered it. I was about to uncover another when a dark shadow crossed the room.
I looked up sharply in the dim light. Holding my breath I moved back slowly without turning around. I almost expected a vampire to come out among the shadows. There it was again, huge black wings flapped towards me, screeding loudly. I lifted my sweaty palms to cover my eyes, swung myself around and cowered on the floor.
Lightning flashed into the dimness of the room, thunder cracked through the walls. I got up slowly. Something must have hit my head when I swung around. There was an awful lump at the side of my head; it throbbed painfully.
Outside it was raining heavily and the wind howled loudly. There was something else too. I smelt something strange. It was smoke!
The house was on fire again. From inside the room I could see tongues of red flares. I looked around desperately. Lightning flashed again. Then before me was a rocking horse and a cot on fire. I stood there not knowing what to do. Then the fire went out.
Before me was the burnt remains of the cot and as I gazed, I was horrified to see what looked like the charred remains of a baby boy, black and lifeless.
I sat up, breathing hard, clutching my blanket. Looking around the familiar sights, I sprang out of bed to my parents’ bedroom. There he was, my baby brother sleeping soundly; but my parents were not there. I still smelt smoke and heard fire crackling. I walked into the living room and there it was – the fire.
Across the road, the shop-houses were on fire. I stood there, clutching my mother’s hand watching the firemen do battle with the blazing monster for a long while. Then my mom carried me back to bed and tucked me into bed again.
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