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The clock struck twice. The moon had set and the world hid behind the darkness. The town was lying still under the blanket of night. Zingers of wind were disturbing the pin-drop silence that covered the houses like a wet blanket. The villagers were wide awake in their houses with the babies hushed and the animals locked safely. A weird unaccountable sensation gripped the village.
Far away in the woods, within the mesh of spider webs emerged a tall lean figure. With his sight fixed on the horizon, he walked with a mysterious aura around him. His dark clothes kept disappearing in the night but his long silver beard gave away his existence. He seemed to have reached his destination. He halted! Gauged his way and proceeded a little hesitant this time.
Every village has a story. This one had the darkest one. At the darkest hour of the darkest night of every month, the wicked was roused. The duty of creating a hurdle in their ritual was on the eldest member of the village. It was his responsibility for now until the death welcomes him! The only condition he had to follow is to stay alive or his corpse will be their volunteer. What they did not do to stop the distracter. The job was getting tougher and tougher. How many times he had walked the same walk and done the same job! His age was not cooperating with him, yet it was his responsibility to take care of the village and the villagers. His thoughts were flowing in all directions. A loud ‘crack’ took him out of his blank state of mind. He composed his mind and moved forward.
He reached his place which he previously spotted and ‘cleansed’. The place gave a full view of the site. He could not avoid looking at them. Their red-clad chief standing in the center near the fire. He was holding a weird looking shape in his hand and his other hand rose up high. Something shone in the yellow light. He had reached just in time! They have just begun. He sat down and locked his fingers tight and focused entirely on the act.
They had sensed his presence. They knew what he was doing. The game was on. They sent in their troops. Few of them began to crawl towards him, making all kinds of noises. Trying to distract him. But, he was too matured for their immature games. Their noises changed into acts. The growling and roaring now changed into the calls and forms. They took the form of their loved ones, villagers! Called him in their voices! When he did not budge, they appealed to his temptations. They fed his anger, envy, and lust!
At the sight of his fun-filled days with his dead wife, he quivered. The crawlers grew stronger on his weakening emotions. They were reaching closer and the barrier he formed was getting weaker. His exhales were coming out in gushes! The entire episode seemed to be endless! After what it felt like an eternity, the crawlers began to retreat and the woods exploded with loud roars of their chief.
Not believing in his ears, he opened his eyes and witnessed a glimmer appearing within the mountains. He had won! He had fought the most gruesome fight of his life and he had won! As the night – crawlers retreated in their shelters, he crumpled on the earth. With beads of sweat on his forehead and a content smile on his face!