By Neel Anil Panicker

“One for sorrow, two for mirth, three for…”

‘Shh…did you hear that?’, Edward pointed his little index finger towards the bushes.

Instantly, two pairs of eyes turned around, and followed his bidding.

Pin drop silence followed; all could hear was one’s own breathing, and the faint staccato croaking sound of a frog.

It was Raghav who punctured the air with his high decibel voice. “There’s nothing to hear, you stupids. Come let’s play before it gets dark.”

Edward waited for a second more, then looked at Sid who too nodded his head in affirmation. The duo turned around and shouted in unison, “Yes, let’s play. Anyways, don’t we know there’s no such thing as a ghost”

“One for sorrow, two for birth, three for joy, four for a boy, five for…”

‘Ruuuun….ghooooost….’ . It was Edward who first shrieked. Watching him, Raghav followed. And looking at the two, little Sid too joined suit.

And then they were all running nay sprinting__sprinting, tumbling, sliding, falling and rising. And then again they were on their toes, running, running as if they had seen the Devil itself___running raster than the fasted man on earth, running as if their lives depended on it.

And keeping them company, at their heels, was the wind, and the rhythmic words that it carried___’five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret…’

The eerie voice, which had by now taken on an earnest hue, the tone piercing through the wintry evening, making a buzzing sound on the ears of the tiny toys all through, ___ pleading, goading, requesting them to stop… ‘my children, my love, I am here to draw you to my beautiful kingdom. Come, don’t run, or you will get lost in this Earth. Beautiful heaven awaits you. Come my dears…’

A week later the troika met at Edward’s backyard and lit a candle. And then they placed their palms one by one atop the flickering flames and swore aloud, their eyes closed, their lips moving in sync, “Forgive us, oh my dear Lord, we promise that we will never ever enter Uncle Tom’s Garden”.

#neelanilpanicker #firstlinefriday #FOWC #TTC  #fiction #shortstory  #350words

FOWC with Fandango — Draw

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