”Why is Gautam doing there? ” The place he was standing looked like a forest that doesn venture sunlight into. Every tree stood tall and mysterious, like it held a centuries-old secret. Their knotted arms stretched to the sky like skyscrapers, and their massive roots spread to the ground, twisted like intertwined snakes. Torches stowed on the trees to illuminate the light, which terrified Preeti. Ravens perched on the branches, gurgling, their cruel eyes looking out for feed.
But what scared her more was her husband. Every moment of Gautams actions made Preets skin crawl in fear. He girdled the trees bark with his bare fingers like a monster, shaping it into an occult symbol. Blood dripping over his arms seeped into his shirt, but he did not intend to stop. His eyes colour changed to blood red. He looked possessed, and Preeti knew it.
Sweat drenched Preetis body despite the chilly weather. She was terrified when she saw a ghost running with nothing but anklets, mortified when the woman banged on the car door, demanding to open it. But all this time, she had hope that her husband was with her. But seeing him in such a state scared her.
”Gautam! please don leave me alone. ” Preeti cried in pain, running for him. The more she ran, the farther she felt the distance. Her Sari folds shuffled through detritus and wild twigs, causing her stomach to hit the intertwined roots of a giant Banyan tree. Preeti gasped, holding her stomach as pain shot straight into her belly.
”Devi Maata..What sin I have committed that you are punishing my unborn child. I have never harmed a single person in my life. Why me! ” Preeti cried, her wailings reaching the heavens.
This is not a time to calm down, Preeti realized. Her husband needs her now, or the possessed monster will completely take over him. Taking the support of the nearby tree, she got up to stand.
”Please give me the strength! ” She weakly pleaded the Gods, dragging her weary legs. Before she took a couple of steps ahead, she felt someones presence behind her. Who is this? Every muscle in her body went rigid as she turned. For some reason, she felt more scared than relieved to see her husband. His eyes also returned to normal.
”G_autam…you..here…how. ” She asked, taking a step back.
”What the hell are you doing here, Preeti? I told you to stay in the car. ” Gautams choppy breathing and sweat-drenched shirt looked like he had run a marathon.
What did he say? Preeti looked like a lost child, unable to process his words.
”I saw you there. ” She pointed her eyes to the tree where Gautam stood, but there was nothing but emptiness. The trees disappeared into nothingness, and the forest never existed. It was just a dirt-laden road with fine trees. What just happened?
”Blood…there was blood. I_I saw it.. ” Her teeth chattered, hands trembled as she grabbed Gautams hands and was surprised to see they were clean. They were free of blood stains. Was everything that happened just now her illusion? ”I swear.. I saw you near a tamarind tree. You were girdling a trees bark, Your eyes blood red…and..and..an occult symbol… ” She stuttered with words. ”and…blood on your_ ”
Preetis words pushed back into her throat as Gautam gently hugged her.
”Don talk. ” He whispered. ”You are tired. ”
”You don believe me, right? ” She hugged him back, resting her head on his shoulders. Finally, she felt at home. Why would he believe her? He would think its another illusion. All the creepy things she witnessed were real one moment and disappeared into thin air the next moment.
”I believe in you. ” Gautam had a reason to. He snubbed Preetis words if he had not witnessed something paranormal moments ago, just like Preeti.
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