Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Night Stalker

The legend of the Night stalker is quite common in rural area of Bengal. There the entity in known as a Nishi, a creature born out of pure rage and evil.....this is a story from the pages of rural Bengal.

Then rainy season in the best time of the year in any agro-based region. The farmers eagerly wait throughout the year for the rain to come down and wash away the sweat from their yearlong toil and ensure sustenance for the coming year. That year the rains were late in coming and most of the villages were on the verge of drought and famine. The fields were parched the the crops were withering away under the glare of the sun. The farmers were naturally depressed. Suicide rates in villages are the highest during this time of the year, when the rains fail to come and for some the mere anticipation is just too much to bear as most of rural Bengal in neck deep in debts from money lenders. This certain farmer was a an old bloke. His wife had passed away a few years back and he had no one help him out in the fields. He owned a very small plot of land and that too was bought with a loan from the local lender. His dues were piling up and the weather was not helping. His crops were almost on the verge of failing. The money lender was at his back, all his pleading were of no use. They threatened to take the land away in the payment was not made within the week. The farmer made up his mind that he would never be able to pay up so he decided to pull of a small robbery job at the local merchants house. But the robbery went horribly wrong, the guards were alerted and they managed to wound the farmer but he fled into the forest and that was the last anyone saw of the farmer. The farmer suffered for two days in the jungle without food and water and died a painful death from his wounds and the combined onslaught of the forest creatures.

The money lender was a wealthy man. The interests from the loans were so high that he was as wealthy as the landlords. But he was not a kind hearted person. He had an army of ten armed guards to protect his house and his belongings and always carried two along to threaten farmers into paying up. The robbery attempt at his house made him loathe the villager even more but nothing could be done, after all they were his source of wealth. The village was connected to the town by a forest path which most of the villagers covered during th daytime. The night time was just not right for travelling the roads. It so happened that one day, while returning back from the town the money lender got delayed on the road and by the time he had reached the forest path if was absolutely dark. The path was narrow and the forest seemed to come alive around it. The full moon was sometimes visible through the trees but most of the path was covered by shadows which resembled strange forms which danced to the lead of the breeze under the moonlight. The horse drawn carriage had a small source of light at front and that was the only guiding source for the carriage driver. Ten minutes into the path the carriage came to a grinding halt. The money lender became angry at the delay and more so became scared. He did not wish to spend even an extra second in the forest. The cry of the animals at night resembled cries of humans in strange ways as if crying out in pain and agony. The trees seems to come alive. The carriage driver said that the wheel had come lose and needed a bit of tightening. The man could hear the driver hammer away to glory at the lose wheel. After a minute or so the hammering stopped. The man thought that the repair work must be over and it was about time also. The man stick his head out to have a look but found no one around. The horses and the driver were gone and he was left alone in the middle of the forest in his carriage. The climbed out and called the name of the driver. But the only thing he could hear was the steady creaking if the crickets. He could not spend the night just sitting in the carriage. He took the lantern from the front of the carriage and decided to walk the rest of the path. It must be an hour more bu foot, he thought. I can make it at one go.

As he walked along he could hear the cries of the forest dwellers. Then all of a sudden among the various sounds he could clearly make out the sound of a man's voice. The man was calling out to him from the middle of the forest. At first he thought it was a an animals voice...at trick of the forest perhaps. Then it was heard again. Clearer now. Much more clearer. Then again he heard it. This time it felt as if someone was whispering it to his ears. He had heard the voice before. He turned back to see.........

The money lenders body was found after two days at the bottom of a shallow pond. They say that nobody could look at the face of the body, people had a hard time believing it was human.
Even to this day nobody takes the forest path after dark..........because the Night stalker waits and watches.

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