I was hardly fourteen years old when it happened. To this day, even a flash of that day’s memory terrifies me to the very core of my being. My parents, six elder siblings, and I lived in a big and grand house. The courtyard alone was the size of an average home. For culinary purposes, we had buffaloes, chickens, goats, and pigeons as pets.
It was an unusual day, to begin with. The sky was littered with overcast clouds. The brilliant blue of the heavens was faded. A rumbling sound above made the windows shiver and rattle every now and then. Everyone stayed indoors, and I was ordered to do the same. Mother warned me about going outside to play; she explained how painful lightning strikes can be. Or how I could catch pneumonia if I got drenched in cold rainwater. Being a child, I was irresistibly tempted by the unusual weather. There was a banyan tree in the courtyard that I used to climb. I remember thinking it would be enjoyable to sit on one of the branches and feel the rain seeping through the tree’s dome. Over the years, my nightmares have been fueled by a child’s innocent decision.
I sneaked out of the house and into the courtyard. It was as if the sky was furious and raging on earth. Roars of thunder punctuated the many sounds of our farm animals. They were all clearly scared. I climbed up the tree and seated myself on the branch. My legs dangled as I waited for the rain to start pouring. And then…it happened.
Chickens, goats, and buffaloes began to scream. My vision was obscured by the dense branches of the tree. But I knew that something horrible was happening. There were blood-curdling sounds of ripping and tearing, like a butcher thrusting his cleave into the meat. I sat there, paralyzed by a most agonizing fear. My heart jittered inside my chest as if it was trying to break out. Numb and terrified, I hugged the trunk of the tree. But the cold and lifeless tree trunk did not give me the solace that I found in my mother’s loving arms. I wanted to get to my mother. I tried to muster the courage to climb down from the tree and run inside. But my entire body was shivering, and I couldn’t dare to face whatever was causing that much pain to the poor animals. They screamed and wailed, begging for mercy, for help, perhaps even for a quick death to escape the misery. My mind blocked all attempts to visualize the physicality of whatever was happening to them. But for the years to come, my dreams and nightmares were to recreate that supernatural slaughter of our cattle. And then…the world grew quiet.
It was as if the world was silenced while the cattle were being tortured and murdered. I cannot recall any sound of thunder or rumbling clouds for the life of me. But they were back on. The gentle sound of raindrops tapping on the leaves somewhat calmed me. My heart began to grow a little less erratic. My jagged breath became smoother. Soon, it came to me that it was alright to climb down and run into the house. I will never forget that casual glance at the tree base, which brought the most horrifying scene my eyes have ever beheld. A pool of crimson and bubbling blood slithered around the tree. Vapors of steam hissed out of the surface. My silent scream was heard by no one but my terrified heart.
Clamping my eyes shut, I began to pray that a grownup would soon emerge from the house and rescue me. I hoped against hope that it was all a bad dream and that I would wake up at any moment. Then, something genuinely peculiar happened, something completely unexpected. I heard the sound of someone weeping nearby. They were definitely in the courtyard. My heightened senses detected it as the sound of a woman’s crying. She was in great pain and agony. I could sense her tremendous anguish in each sob. It was a child’s innocent compassion that made my fear instantly dissolve.
Finally, I climbed down and carefully avoided stepping into the puddle of steaming blood. As I looked up, the most spine-chilling scene met my eyes. The whole courtyard was showered in red, and the chickens, goats, and buffaloes were drenched in their own blood. Their entrails were spilling out of their ripped bodies. A stench most foul overpowered my sense of smell. I remember becoming dizzy and nauseated and would have lost consciousness if a woman’s wail had not pierced the air. Searching for the sound, I instinctively headed towards the thatched shed. Behind this shed were the stairs to the roof. Black clouds had covered the sun completely. Hesitatingly, I crept towards the shed. Upon getting near to its front, I froze in my tracks. I saw the shadow of someone standing behind the hut.
I inched towards the back of the hut. The sound of weeping grew louder. As the wall between the woman and me was removed, I witnessed her for the briefest of moments. Immediately, I passed out. Her face was ghostly pallid and partially curtained by the blackest hair. She wore a white cloak, ragged and stained by blood. Her shoeless feet were pointing backward. Blood-shot eyes peeked from behind her hair, and trickles of blood oozed from her eyes instead of tears.
My mother shook me awake, hugged me tightly as I opened my eyes. I never bothered to tell anyone the truth. They all made up all kinds of rational explanations for what happened. The blood weeping woman continues to haunt me to this day. Who was she? Why did she kill the innocent cattle? It amazes me, and at the same time scares, me to think that that devil spared a helpless little child.Recommended1 Simily SnapPublished in