Two minutes to midnight

Jungtina Jamir

It’s a dark night… any other night. Coming home late is usual for me, since a little while ago.  But not alone. Cousin and I are together in the same office so I come home with him. Anyway, walking the silly 3 minutes from my cousin’s home to mine is a pleasure. It’s always quiet and sometimes when it rains I love to get wet to my bones and run like a crazy little pixie. 

A night I don’t recall when: I closed the gate behind me and turned around to walk home. I looked at my watch. It was exactly two minutes to midnight. Coincidence? But the dim light behind me at the gate post just fizzed for a few seconds before it went out. But not before I thought I saw a child’s shadow right next to mine. I budged my head and just smiled. ‘Silly girl, you and your next level of imagination’, I said to myself. 

When I walked out from the office I saw the moon peeping from the clouds. And so I looked up to see where it was this time. Strangely as I looked, some dark clouds seemed to gather and cover the moon. In a few seconds the road home was black (literally). Honestly, it gave me the creeps. I said to myself again ‘Silly girl, you and your next level of imagination’. Being brave and trying-to-be brave are two totally different things. And right then I was trying-to-be.

The words ‘singing in the dark brightens up your way’ came to my mind. I started to sing a song. A gospel song. I feebly whispered a song I thought would accompany me, the 3 minute walk home. Just then I heard that I wasn’t singing alone. There was a second voice. A child like voice. I thought I was dreaming. I stopped singing. The voice stopped too. This time I didn’t say anything to myself.  I somehow managed to whisper the song again. The voice followed again, then I felt this faint scratch on my back. Whatever it was, it was so cold, so cold. I froze for a moment but kept saying to myself again and again that I should walk on. 

I wanted to cry and scream so loud that even 4th mile people could hear me. But I couldn’t make a sound. It’s a nightmare to even think what I saw next. Up ahead I could see a number of skinny people walking my way. Worse, they carried a coffin on their shoulders. I was distracted by a growl from behind. I looked back without a bit of thought. There stood a very ugly big bloody dog, and ya, it was gonna bite me for sure. With the fear of everything that was happening I just ran without thinking. I don’t know what happened to the dog but the next moment I bumped into one of those skinny people I saw. I said ‘please, help me. The dog is gonna bite me’. The horror when the person I was talking to looked at me; a face that still refuses to go away from my mind. With eyes sewn up and a mouth that literally had maggots falling in every breath, it said to me ‘child, you will never reach home’. 

It was now more than 5 minutes since the horror began. I cried right there shaking to bits and pieces. I called for my mom, my dad and wise ol’ man. But no one came. 

My cry was comforted by a hand laid on my shoulder. I was so scared that it comforted that someone was around. But not before I realized that it was the same icy hands that brushed my back before. This child, straight out from the Ring (the movie) stood before me. Her hair covered her face, and she had her hands stretched out to me. She had blood on her nails that seemed to drip like water from the tap. 

I was going insane. I couldn’t breath, couldn’t stand, and couldn’t scream….I wanted to die!! To my horror she called my name. I wasn’t even looking and I had my eyes tightly shut. Next moment she hugged me and I could smell the stench of rotten flesh, and I could feel the blood soaking me red. Then I opened my eyes, lo’ I was in bed. It was all along a nightmare. Just a bad dream! Thank God! I rubbed my eyes and pinched myself to make sure I was awake for real. It was really bright outside and I wondered what time it was. I grabbed my watch on the table next to my bed. And would you believe? My watch had stopped working and it was still exactly 2 minutes to midnight!!!