Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Forest Killer - A Short Story

“What the fuck man??!” exclaimed Rohit staring at the human skulls ceremoniously piled up on the ground.
Neither of his three friends said a word.  They just stood there, looking at it, their faces turning white with fear.  To them, the place just hit get-the-fuck-out-of-here creepy on the creep-o-meter.

Three hours ago, the four of them had abandoned their broken-down car and had began walking through the forest.  Along the way, there were at least 5 instances where they came across dry bones lying scattered on the ground.  It had to be the bones of some animal for sure!  Or at least they told each other so.  Each time they came across these bones, they would unconsciously start walking faster.  And just when they had started to forget all about it, they came across this:  a fucking human skull pile.

“I vote we go back to the car!” exclaimed David.
“And do what? We are gonna starve to death out there.  We haven't seen a soul in the last 2 days!  If we keep walking, we will come across some highway and get the hell out of this place!” said Charles.

Charles was right.  They had no choice but to keep walking and hope they cross civilization.

Another 2 hours of walking later, they saw someone walking far away in the forest.  A man.  Long unruly hair and thick beard.  He wore a saffron dhoti.  A swami.

Without another thought, Rohit called out to the swami.  The swami turned to look at the 4 friends and then hurried to them.

Rohit explained to him that they were lost.  The swami told them,
“Not safe here.  Night, madman kill you.  You must come. I take you to safe place.”
“Did you just say some freak is going to kill us??” Rohit exclaimed.
“Hurry.  Night not safe. Come with me.” The swami said ignoring Rohit and then turned around and started hurrying away without another backward glance at them.
“Oh great! Was that what all those skulls back there was, man?? Victims of some psychopath killer??” Rohit shouted, but the swami continued to ignore him and hurried away in small quick steps.

Charles ran up to the swami and asked him how far the nearest highway was.
“Highway, there.” the swami pointed towards where the sun was setting. “One day walk. No time now.  Not safe.”

The four friends quickly decided that with this shit about the crazy psychopath running around in the forest, it probably was a good idea to spend the night with the swami and continue on their way the next day.  So, they started to follow the swami.

The swami looked like he was pushing 70.  He was really thin, but full of energy and kept walking at a consistent fast pace.  The four friends struggled to keep up with him.

“I hope this safe place isn't far away. whispered an out-of-breath Santhosh, the fourth of the friends.

It had been 2 hours since they started to follow the swami and it was starting to get dark.  Even though he didn't voice it, Charles too was starting to feel a bit restless.

Then, all of a sudden, the swami stopped in his tracks.
“What?? Is it the fucking killer?” Rohit whisphered.  He was at the rear end and couldn't see what the hell was happening.
“No.  Its a river.” Charles said to Rohit.
“Safe place other side of river. River very dangerous. I take only one of you at a time.  Put feet where I put. Very dangerous river,” the swami said.
“Ok, I will go first,” said Santhosh going ahead.

With the passing of every minute, it was getting darker and darker.  Swami instructed Santhosh one last time to slowly mimic his movement, and a minute later, they both disappeared into the darkness.

The three friends sat on the bank and waited for the swami to come back.  It was a pretty cloudy night and by then it had gotten so dark that they could not see the other side of the river anymore.
After about 10 minutes, the swami came back.  He was dripping wet.
“Ok, come.” he said.
David went next.
Charles and Rohit waited for them to come back.  After a few minutes, they heard a cry from the other side of the river.
“What the fuck, man??” Rohit exclaimed jumping up on his feet.  There was his signature quiver in Rohit's voice.
“David??” Charles called out towards the other side of the river.  There was complete silence.
Charles was about to call out again when Rohit grabbed him by his arm and whispered,
“What the fuck you doing, man?? You want to get the psycho-killer’s attention?  I have been having this weird fucking feeling that we have been followed since the time we left the car!”
Charles didn't tell Rohit, but he was starting to get all kind of crazy, scary thoughts in his head.
They heard the swami come over.
“Ok, come” the swami said.  He sounded a bit annoyed this time.
The clouds had began to clear, and in the moonlight, Charles could see dark patches on the swami's dhoti.  Could it be blood?
“No time, hurry” the swami said looking at them.
“Okay.  My fucking turn!” Rohit said getting up, but Charles stopped him.
“I will go this time.” he whispered to Rohit.
Charles then secretly removed something from Rohit's bag's side pocket and carefully placed it inside his trouser pocket.
“Ok, be careful. Very dangerous river.” the swami said and then they both stepped into the river.

The river bed was slippery and Charles slowed down the swami. Upon reaching the other side, they began to walk some more.  Suddenly, the swami stopped.  Then turned around to face Charles almost as if he sensed something wrong.  He then bent down to pick something off the ground, and Charles withdrew the Swiss-Knife from his trouser pocket and stabbed the swami in his side.  The swami let out a cry and fell on the ground writhing in pain.
“That's for killing my friends, you sick psycho!!” Charles shouted at the swami.

“Charles?? Is that you man?” said Santhosh who had come running when he heard the noises.
Charles looked at Santhosh in shock.
“What the hell happened??” said Santhosh looking at the black groaning form on the ground.
“I... I thought he killed you! I heard a scream!”
“What??  Scream? It was David.  He fell down and broke his leg!”
“Oh shit!” Charles broke down and sat beside the swami who was no longer moving.
There was a few minutes of silence as both of them sat beside the swami's body in shock.
“Where's Rohit?” Santhosh finally said.
“He's still on the oth.....”
Charles' reply was cut short by screams from the other side of the river.  The screams had Rohit's signature quiver to them.  As Charles and Santhosh stood helplessly, the screams continued for about another minute or so and finally ended with a loud thud.


****

- Created by Rejo John and Manu Prabhakaran.
[November 4, 2013].



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