SHE ATE MEN

Reads: 485  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
It's a suspense which has a story in another story. One story opens up into another to solve the suspense finally. Find out about that woman who ate men.

Submitted: June 02, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 02, 2012

A A A

A A A


 

The train was moving at a constant pace.It was a passenger whose wheels were making a dull but explosive sound while moving on the tracks. Salman was looking out of the window feeling the powerful wind on his face. We had crossed what not in that long journey, from cities where men still lived to the ruins which had a history of some men who had lived there once, villages and small towns with those kaccha pakka houses, railway crossings where people in their rickshaws, jeeps and scooters were waiting for us to cross. Then there came the fields where women in bright colors were sweating along with men. It had been miles and hours traversing these fields and forests. Trees kept on changing their shapes, some were too far away hiding the sun behind and some were too close. For a time being I felt as if it wasn’t the train which was moving but it was the scenery outside. This day too had passed like the other two days and we could see the sun sinking down the horizon behind the line of trees far away. Luckily we had nobody left in our compartment except an old man who seemed to be interested in us the least. “It must be raining when we would reach there", Salman said loudly, addressing all of us. For quite a time we had stopped talking, falling short of a discussion. Aman got another chance to bug him. “And how do you say that Mr. Weatherman?", he asked mockingly. Half of his words were lost in the tornadic and loud wind. “Look over there. You see that portion of sky there?" For a change everybody turned their heads except Javed who never cared about such aimless discussions. "Yeah right over there, the sky is darker. Those are the dark clouds and it’s raining there.", Salman fought back. "So?", Vicky said impassively. "So? Since Kandausi lies in the same belt, there is a great probability of raining there too.", reiterated Salman but a bit irritated this time." Who knows there would be raining there or not. What if we might get late?", I addressed everybody.  I tried talking to Javed, " Doctor Saab what do you think?". Javed was a reticent fellow and as expected he didn’t answer me and kept on wondering, looking out in the dark. “Mr. Weatherman keeps on making wild guesses." ,Aman mocked Salman again. “Ass, you ought to shut up. Nobody here knows better about this place than me.", Salman proclaimed boastfully.  "Really? Are you familiar with the villages around?", Vicky asked him charged up. “Yeah, I have travelled here quite a lot since childhood." Salman's voice drowned in the loud thunder of lightning outside. I saw that it had started drizzling and the chilly wind brought jitters to us. We were shivering. The train was moving with the same pace and I avoided looking outside where it was pitch dark except when lightning struck and its sound amplified the noise of the roaring engine. All of a sudden we got a jerk and the engine halted.  Apprehensively we popped out our gaze to find that our train was standing on an unknown station. A thin strip of a so-called platform with may be one or two fractured benches were lying barrenly in front of us. I wondered if ever a human being boarded from this station. Pitch dark, uninhabited in all wilderness, this place made us feel anxious as well as insecure.  "What place is this?", I asked Salman who just shrugged showing his lack of knowledge. “I thought someone knew this place since childhood", Vicky said cynically. "Are you crazy? Can you see outside in this darkness?", Salman fired back. Even in such a cold weather I observed tiny droplets of sweat on Amans' forehead.  “Why do you think that you are so all knowing?", he scorned at Salman. His voice had a tinge of nervousness. It was only Javed among us who didn’t look much worried yet. “Why are you people fussing over such a niggling issue?"I said.  “What the hell have I done? Sick guy, raging for no reason.” , Salman pointed towards Aman. Unmoved, Javed uttered properly for the first time in our journey, “I guess this place is Mehtabpur." " Mehtabpur?", Salman looked at him doubtfully. " Yeah Mehtabpur, and what worries me right now is that I have heard queer stories about the jungles around this district as well as the neighboring ones."  "Looks Doctor Saab has got an adventure for us." , said Vicky. “Doctor, first you speak less and when you open your mouth, you always make me feel nervous.", Aman said in a trembling voice. Doctor Javed laughed heartily and said, “Don’t worry. No bandits are coming here to kill us all. Actually these are just stories which I used to hear from my uncle who was posted here once."  We were quite interested in this suspense.  “It might be funny or scary but yes it is an intriguing story." he said. I felt as if someone was looking at us and catching in our conversation. I looked up and saw in darkness that the old man who was lying on the upper seat too had popped out his face from his blanket. "I heard you saying stories", I said. “Yeah, actually there are many rumors about the same person. Everybody has a different story to tell." We all kept silent to hear him. The eerie silence which was intimate to Mehtabpur was being broken only when clouds struck. " I heard that there is a woman who first traps men in her charming ways, only later to kill them, castrate them and eat their flesh." “Err... She eats them? Is she a woman or what?" Vicky said with mixed emotions. “Does she belong to Mehtabpur? They should catch her and burn her alive or maybe hand her over to the police." , said Aman. The old man seemed to have a desire to speak something. He was not lying anymore but sitting on his seat. “No, she doesnt belong to Mehtabpur for sure. Nobody knows from where she comes. It is said that she meets men during such nights in the fields or the forests. The next morning they are dead." “But when they are dead then who is there to tell all this?", I asked to console myself.  “Well I don’t know much about this. May be it’s just a tarradiddle which has acquired this shape due to rumors. That woman might be a myth. God knows better."  “I know she isn’t a myth. She isn’t for God's sake."  This strange voice chilled us. We raised our heads to look at that old man who said this. “Chacha did you say something?", Vicky inquired. “I know her really well. That woman, she is not a myth son.", the old man said with an unusual smile on his face. He looked lost which affrieted us a bit. For a moment there was a pin drop silence until the engine started again tardily. It exhilarated us a bit. The old man who looked loony as well as nutty said while coughing, "Long time back I was a ranger in the forest reserves of the regions around. Mehtabpur had dense forests then, lush green with all the wilderness, thorns and bushes, tall and huge trees and not to forget the ferocious animals. It was always too late to realize when you found one, wolves roamed there freely with hollow eyes preying on most of the living things which entered these forests.  It was so dark and murky there that the villagers except some rarely visited there for wood or anything else. They said that there was some evilness residing in that darkness, an evil spirit may be, which brought gloominess to such greenery. They used to tell me, "Babu ji, you are an educated man. We know you won’t believe it, but we can swear on God that it is that evil bitch that is responsible for all our troubles."  Every week or two a rotten dead body was found in the forests which caused a wave of tension and fear throughout Mehtabpur. Even people of Siwan Nagar and Khandpur , the adjacent districts ,began assuming that hypothetical woman as the only cause for deaths in the jungles around. I was not a superstitious man, always told them that it was not a woman but the dreadful wolves." "So she was all hypothetical, wasn’t she?", Vicky interrupted. The old man by now had come down and continued while looking out of the moving train,  "I believed that it was just a story which was  a consequence of some old folklore until that very night when I had lost my way in the forest and it was already too late to find my way back. That night the forest was unnaturally silent with occasional hissings of snakes and lizards and the croaking of frogs.  A full moon was hiding behind the clouds and a cool light wind swayed in the air. I could smell the moist earth since it had drizzled in the evening. What made me feel secure were a torch in one hand and a rifle in the other. In some time I found an appropriate place for my tent. I tried to make some sort of a bonfire outside to keep the animals at bay. Soon I was in my tent, lit a candle and tried to sleep by changing sides when I heard someone crying for help outside. For some time I ignored it, but its shrill made me restless and anxious. I got up with my torch and rifle, moved out to look for this female outcry. And then a thought struck me which chilled my spine for a few seconds. "This must be that woman", I thought to myself. I gathered courage and did away with this thought. I kept on moving and reached the nearby road which connected Mehtabpur with the state highways. This road was haunted really, very few vehicles travelled across it in weeks. I stood there for a while listening to this shuddery noise and trying to find its source when I discovered to my shock as well as fright that there was a girl standing in the middle of that road. Her hair was loose open and she was moving back and forth, uttering incomprehensibly. I observed her for a while and concluded that she might have lost her way like me and  is too scared or probably she is drunk and has lost her wits. Considering her life to be in danger I moved forth in the dark and forcefully tried to take her to my tent. She resisted with all her force but it didn’t affect me. She kept on crying violently and her frantic crying created a wave of hysteria throughout the forest. Finally I brought her to my tent and made her sit in one of the corners in the dark. Now she was weeping silently. “Why do you cry?”, I asked her and took out water from my bag. Till now I had not seen her face properly. I came close to her with water and the candle in my hand, saying, “You need not worry here. You are safe here. Have some water.” When I said this, the light of the candle glowed one side of her face. Oh! What beautiful creature she was, I thought to myself. Those dark,  lovely eyes and the fairness of her gorgeous skin casted a spell on me. Her radiance tempted me. But all this temptation was transformed into a sudden trauma and stupor when I glanced on the other side of her face which was burnt critically. Astounded by this severe horrifying flaw I trembled with fear and the candle fell from my hands. It was dark now. I asked her nervously, “Who are you?” She laughed sardonically in the darkness which intensified my fear and increased my heartbeat. I was motionless when she said mockingly, “So you are too like them. They all got scared as if they never saw something worse than this.” “Are you the woman they talk about?”, I murmured.  “I don’t know what they talk about.”, she said. “They say you hunt them and kill them.”, I said , taking a risk on my life. She laughed again and said, “Really? Do I kill them or is it their own fear which causes their death?” “What do you mean?” , I asked nervously. “They see me and get mad. Some die then and there in shock and others run away to get lost in the forest.” “You seem normal now. Why were you crying?”, I asked her. “How would it feel to be all alone in these forests roaming here and there hungry? I too fear like you all.”, she replied. Now I had regained control on my nerves. I said, “So why do you live like this?”  “I have no option. Wherever I go they run from me. It is better to live with these animals rather than those who treat me as an animal.”, she explained. “But how did this all happen?”, I said while lighting the candle again. “Don’t light it. I don’t want to scare you anymore.”, she said. “No. I won’t get scared now. So who did this to you?”, I asked her again. I could see her full face now half burnt but yet mystifying and sorcerous. So she began her story, “ Well my name is Kamla and I don’t belong here. Some 150 miles away there is a small town, Chandarpur, I was born there. I still remember how much my parents loved me. My father was a laborer who used to work all day and bring jalebis in the night when he came back home. We were a poor but one happy family until I grew up and became a burden on them.” “Why?”, I interrupted in between. She continued, “Because I had grown up. You become a laughing stock of the town there if the girl isn’t married before puberty. Baba had already borrowed a lot of money when I got ill once. He couldn’t arrange for the huge dowry demanded, which was a custom there. So when there was no way out and he was all broken up, he got me married to a zamindar who owned most of the lands there and could buy anybody. That old but perverted monster was infamous for bringing uncountable brides to his so called palace and I was one of them. Whichever poor girl rejected from submitting to him was beaten brutally to death. Like other female slaves there, I too became a toy for the barbarous games he played on me. For many days I kept quiet until his heinousness and atrocities crossed all limits. One night I hid a sharp needle in my hand. As usual he dragged me to his bed and forced on me. To teach him a lesson for life I pierced his privates with that needle. He immediately fell off and writhed and groaned in excruciating pain. I was laughing at his misery when his rented goons came in and dragged me in the courtyard. They beat me brutally and set fire to me. I ran outside crying for help hysterically until I jumped into the river which passed our village. Somehow I reached the other side but till then this news spread everywhere. In fear of getting caught I kept on running from one village to another pleading people for an abode. But I was never welcomed anywhere. They were either contemptuous or too scared of me. Finally after a very long striving I reached here. I thought I could run away from my past but perhaps these stories  follow me everywhere.”, she ended ruefully. I saw tiny drops of tears on her cheeks. “Poor creature”, I thought to myself. Now she had all my sympathy. Her pain had softened my heart. I felt like crying with her. I kept quiet for a moment and said, “Well, please don’t cry. It’s all over now. You need not worry anymore.” “But it happens with me every time.”, she said. “No it won’t happen again...”, I consoled her and our conversation continued. We kept on talking on any random subject. She was witty as well as intelligent. Her radiant personality enchanted me. She kept on talking and I kept on listening her sweet voice. When I said something silly she laughed calling me cute. She had that charm which made me forget myself. In between somewhere she asked, “ So you found any girl in Mehtabpur?”. “ Not yet.”, I said. “Not yet, really?”, she winked at me and laughed again. Her burnt side which I took as a flaw earlier made her look more beautiful now. I was in love with her imperfection. Our aimless talks continued for the rest of the night and I never realized when I slept. I woke up late the next morning and found out that she was not there, so I went  looking out for her. I shouted her name loudly. Madly would be more appropriate. She was nowhere nearby. I searched for her everywhere in the forest. I wasted many days and nights on that very road where I had found her but in vain. By now people in Mehtabpur had got the clue of my meeting with the woman they feared most. “ Babu ji, didn’t we tell you? That bitch has cast a spell on you too.”  “Don’t dare call her a bitch”, I used to tell them in exasperation. By now all the villagers had begun thinking that I got insane in love and yes I was. I got ill in this shock and distress of not meeting her again. Someone complained about me and I had to leave Mehtabpur at last. I left those forests but her charm followed me everywhere. Her loud laughter made me crazy. I decided to go as far as possible from this region. I kept on moving for months until one day the train in which I was travelling stopped at a station. To my shock and surprise it was Chandarpur. I couldn’t stop myself from getting down. Hastily I moved towards the town. As told by Kamla, it was more like a small village. I tried to trace her family but nobody knew about them. Perhaps a lot of time had passed. Finally I came across a very old man who was smoking his hookah under a tree. “ Baba, do you know Rajat Singh?”, I enquired about her father.  “ Who Rajat Singh? I remember one who isn’t alive anymore.”.  “ He had a daughter named Kamla. Are you talking about the same Rajat Singh, Baba?”, I asked him. “ Yes, Kamla, I knew her. Poor Rajat died with her wife immediately after her birth. God forgive me, but she was a whore. She took pleasure in ditching men, drove many of them crazy.” I was confused by now. “Where is she now?”, I asked the old man. “Son she is no more. Some eight months back she came back only to trap another prey in her clutches. But this time she couldn’t succeed. That young guy had a very bad temper. When he realized that she was just playing with him by telling sweet stories, he got mad. He caught her with the help of other villagers and buried her alive.” “How can you say that? She was innocent. I still remember what she told me. Even if we suppose that she was loose but what about her burnt face. That can’t be a lie. It is in itself a clear proof of her innocence. How can a man get crazy for a woman with a burnt face? It is all rumors what you say. My Kamla was innocent...” , I defended her with a half heart  realizing the hollowness in my argument. The old man laughed and said while smoking, “Well son I must tell you that her half burnt face was a consequence of her deeds. This girl from her early youth had a very bad habit of telling lies and fabricating stories. She married the zamindar of this region who was a young and handsome fellow, only to ditch him later. The zamindars’ men caught her and set fire to her. Unfortunately she escaped then.” My head was spinning now. All things got mixed up in my head. Frustrated, baffled and crossed I returned to the railway station to board the next train. On my way this thought struck me that it has been only eight months since I left Mehtabpur. Eight months. This means that Kamla left me and went back to her village and died there finally. I was one of her prays, and this thought brought jitters to me. “Thank God, that she left me that very night.”, I thought to myself. Today too when I think about her I still get lost in her charm for a while.”, the old man finally ended his long story with a smile. We were all looking at his face as if we wanted him to tell us more about this. Even Javed looked interested. Salman , Aman and Vicky were speechless. The train was moving as usual. It was too late now but we didn’t feel to sleep at all. I broke the overwhelmed silence, “ Chacha, I just don’t understand the reason for her lying and trapping men?” The old man kept quiet. It was Dr. Javed who answered to my doubt after clearing his throat, “Well, maybe she had this psychological disorder which made her a compulsive liar. It could be her traumatic and lonely childhood, lack of parents or something like that which made her abnormal precisely. I am not sure but this can be the case.”  “Interesting!”, Salman exclaimed finally. “Interesting? It’s crazy...”, Aman continued while Vicky closed his eyes. We got so busy in our post story discussion that we didn’t realize when that old man left us. To our shock he was found dead in the trains’ washroom the next morning. Someone stabbed him last night when he left us. This mystery was solved only when we reached Kandausi, finally. On inquiry we got to know that that old man was not as old as he looked in last night’s gloominess. He was a trickster and a cheat who had befooled many. Police was running after him since months and so were the many goons who got trapped in his tales. Some local goon caught him last night and killed him. We all got confused and flummoxed. “What was that?”, Vicky said.  “That bastard was just playing with us.”, said Javed staring nowhere this time. I took a deep breath and addressed Javed, “Well Doctor Saab, I just wanted to tell you that to be a good story teller, first of all you need to be a good liar.” Everybody laughed except Javed.

 

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.

\"\"


© Copyright 2020 shaarif. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

More Mystery and Crime Short Stories