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At 12 Noon
At 12 Noon
This is a true story of an incident that took place 70 years ago in a beautiful village called " Bella Vista" in Goa.Two sisters Anna 16 & Julia 9, along with their parents always spent their summer vacations in Goa, a place well known for its greenery, fresh air & scenic beauty.Their house was surrounded by hills on one side & a valley on the other side where there were fields, mango, coconut & cashew plantations. In summer the air was full of the scent of the flowering mango & cashew trees.
On one such holiday Anna & Julia were sent by their mother to get the wheat ground at the Flour Mill. The village had only one Flour Mill that also served the surrounding villages & was quite far off from their home. Transport facilities were not easily available at that time & most people walked across the fields to their destinations. It took Anna & Julia half an hour to reach the Mill.
The Flour Mill worked on firewood. As soon as the villagers heard the puffing & shrill whistle from the flour mill chimney, they brought their paddy in sacks to be de-husked & made into rice.All others who came to grind their wheat & other grains had to wait patiently till the paddy was de-husked & so Anna & Julia waited along with the others for their turn. By the time their wheat was ground & they came out of Mill, the Church bells struck 12 noon.
Just across the Mill was a lush green coconut grove & the foliage was so thickly spread out like an overhead canopy that even the sun could not penetrate through it. It was cool & enticing to walk through & just as they were enjoying the coolness & beauty of the place, a handsome young man appeared about 30 paces in front of them.. He was dressed in a black suit with a white shirt,a bow, a top hat & a red handkerchief in His pocket. For a moment Anna & Julia were stunned & rooted to the spot as the man had appeared from nowhere. He took off his hat & bowed to the girls. Anna & Julia ran in the opposite direction towards the mill. But hardly had they taken a few steps when the young man was standing 10 paces in front of them. Anna now realised that there was something drastically wrong here. She caught hold of Julia's hand & started screaming & shouting for help. But to their dismay nobody could hear them because the puffing & shrill whistling of the Flour Mill drowned their voice.
. In some time which seemed like eternity to them, some people who had finished their grinding came out & saw the girls screaming & waving their hands for help. They rushed to the spot.. Anna & Julia were terrified & could not speak anything. They frantically kept pointing out to the man. But he was invisible to the people who came to their help..As Anna was narrating what had happened & still pointing out to the man, he pulled out a red handkerchief from his pocket with a flourish, waved to the girls & disappeared in thin air. At that moment they noticed that his legs were turned backwards.
The villagers now took the girls to their ancestral house which was not far from the spot. Anna related the entire episode to her grand parents who sprinkled Holy water on them & performed a religious ceremony. The wheat flour for which they had spent half a day at the mill was then discarded. It was now that they were told the story of this young man who was on the way to his marriage ceremony when he was killed on the spot in an accident.Ever since he has been haunting this place. The lovely lush green coconut grove was his property.
Though Anna & Julia felt sorry for what had happened to this young man, they could never erase the scene from their memory. They had seen a ghost at 12 noon.