True Tale of the Supernatural: Mating With a She-Devil
Visiting the Palace
I confess I do not much believe in the supernatural but there are some incidents which when related later are difficult to explain. In central India, there is a city by the name of Indore. This was the capital of the Holkars, a dynasty that ruled for close to 200 years. In battles with the East India Company, the Holkars were defeated and they had to agree for the company to set up a cantonment at Mhow, about 20 miles from Indore.
Mhow for years has been the linchpin of the military in Central India and houses the famous Infantry School and the College of Combat. I was detailed to undergo the YO's course as a subaltern. It was a busy schedule and the only day off was a Sunday.
Having a nose for adventure, one Sunday I decided to visit a landmark near Indore called the 'Phooti Kothi' or the broken Palace. This is a building made by the Holkars but was never completed and has been left in ruins for over 200 years. Why this building has been left in this dilapidated state has never been explained but many say that it is a haunted place.
About two decades back Mhow and Indore had a quaint form of transport, a small horse-drawn carriage called Tonga. The Tongas are not seen now having been replaced by cabs and auto-rickshaws.
I decided to hire a Tonga mainly for the thrill of riding in a local conveyance. I instructed the driver to take me to the Phoothi Kothi. I selected the tonga with the most sturdy horse and driver.
“ Where to sir?”, he asked and then added, "Sir, you are an officer, my name is Salim Khan."
“Anywhere” I replied, “Out of the city perhaps but why not the disused palace-the Phoothi Kothi?"
I settled into the rear seat and motioned the driver to get going.
Tonga traveled at a brisk pace and we soon passed the main city. The crowds of the city gave way to the sparse countryside.
Ah! What a refreshing change!
“Where are we heading Salim?” I asked.
“No, where in particular “he laughed, you wanted a ride, sir. Is it not?”
I noticed that the road was pretty bleak and we were traveling along a windswept plateau. No vehicles were insight
However every now and then the horse seemed to throw up his head and sniffed the air suspiciously. There was a nip in the air and the cold wind brushed my face reminding me that it was the month of December. I was really enjoying the drive and the weather.
Soon the road became more desolate and bleak giving me a feeling of intense pleasure. As we rode, I saw a path that appeared little used and forlorn. I signaled Salim to stop the Tonga.
“What is it sir?” he asked.
“Can we go down that road?”
: Ah, sir, certainly, we can. That road leads to the Phooti Kothi”
“Oh yes, "I replied, "that's the place I want to go to”
“Yes Sir, It is an old dilapidated structure built years ago by the ruler of Indore. Phooti Kothi means ruined mansion.”
“Tell me more, Salim”
“Huzoor it’s very old. Also, this building has no doors and windows!”
“You mean it’s like a mausoleum?”
Salim laughed, “It’s not like that. It’s a proper mansion, and there are windows and doors, but they don’t exist; only the openings remain”
“Yes, Huzoor. Legend tells us that the wind was so strong that it blew all the doors and windows away. But sahib it’s all a myth. Actually the British the Goraji did not allow this building to be completed.”
“Salim. I would like to see this mansion”
“How far is it from here?”
“About three miles”
The horses appeared to have become restless. I wondered why. “Salim,” I said impetuously “you wait here. I would like to stretch my legs. So I shall walk down to the palace, have a look and come back”
He was reluctant to stay. But the restiveness of the horse and my air of finality acted as a fait accompli. Salim patted the horse “I wonder sir, why he is alarmed. But you go, sahib. I shall wait, but come back soon.”
“Don’t worry” I laughed.
I jumped off Tonga and started walking along the disused road. With a light heart, I tramped forward. The road was desolate and all-around a stillness reigned. I tramped for some time without seeing a man or a house. After a few minutes, I sat down on a ledge to rest and looked around. I noticed that dark clouds were drifting rapidly in the sky. The wind appeared to become colder and all signs presaged a thunderstorm. I got up quickly to finish my tour. But just then the sky grew darker and blacker shutting out the sunlight completely. Great drops of rain began to fall. Then the fury of the storm broke upon me. Lightning flashed. Thunder boomed and rolled and boomed again. The great drops of rain soon turned into a solid downpour.
I felt disconcerted and regretted leaving Salim and the Tonga behind. I veered from the road and headed towards a clump of trees for shelter. But they proved inadequate. The rain was now falling thickly and I could scarcely keep my eyes open. I thought it best to get back to Tonga. I ventured out of the clump and began to run back in the direction of the Tonga. The rain and the impending gloom disoriented me. I realized this after a few minutes of my exertion. I stopped. In the vivid and almost incessant rain accompanied by flashes of lightning, I saw the outline of a large and imposing mansion right in front of me. I was delighted. By instinct, I knew this to be the ‘Phooti Kothi’.
Mating with a she devil
I stopped only for a moment to survey and ran towards the main passage. As there was no door I slid inside. It was dark and dismal inside and I could not suppress a shudder. Safe from the rain I wiped my face and eyes. It was a minute or so before my eyes could get accustomed to the gloom inside. I lit a cigarette and eyed the burning tip. So alls well that ends well! This then was the ‘Phooti Kothi’. The all-round patter of the rain accentuated the silence inside. It was wondering what to do next when unmistakably I heard the neigh of a horse ‘Ah’ I thought ‘Salim has come after all.’
Happily, I walked towards the door and looked out in the deepening gloom. There was no Salim and his Tonga. However, through the fierce mist, I saw a large Victoria speed towards the mansion. The carriage seemed to glide along the ground. But at that moment I laid no stress on this and passed it off to an optical illusion. Before I could think anything further the Victoria pulled by a set of coal-black steeds pulled up in front of me. I mentally wondered at the speed of the carriage. As the carriage stopped the sky appeared to darken and a violent crash of thunder and lightning shook the sky. I looked out for the driver but could see none. Perhaps he had got off without my noticing it. I wondered how the driver had vanished or there was no driver at all.
I involuntarily shuddered and took a step back, more by instinct than anything else. Afraid? I asked myself. No. I reassured myself. I never get scared. In a moment the carriage door opened and a slim and svelte lady dismounted and came towards me. The lady wore a black gown with a scarf covering her hair. She moved with power and grace. But again did I noted that she did not walk but glide along the ground? I again put this down to an optical illusion, perhaps compounded by the thunderstorm. I stood rooted to the spot as the lady neared me. I wanted to step back and be away. Instinct told me to be away as this apparition was too powerful. But some invisible force held me where I was.
The lady brushed past me and entered inside. Ere she entered the heavens gave way to a devilish display of thunder. It seemed to boom again and again. Each boom seemed to shake the very ground on which I stood. I looked over my shoulder and saw the lady stand in the center of the hall. Gathering my wits and with the thrill of an amorous encounter, I walked up to the lady and stood about a meter away from her. Putting on my best manner I wished the lady “Good evening, Maam”.
She did not reply, but took off her scarf and shook her head. This led to her hair down to her shoulders. She smiled and this simple act heightened her sexuality. In the semi-darkness, I could not make out her features. But her animal magnetism permeated through me. I took a step forward and she held out her hand. As I caught her hand I realized it was terribly cold and almost lifeless. I felt a shudder and wanted to be away but again was rooted to the spot.
Believe me, I was getting scared but the lady took a step forward and kissed me full on the lips. I was shocked as her tongue snaked out that it was icy cold. I was getting more scared as the coldness of her tongue hit me like a sledgehammer. I wanted to draw back but an invisible force held me enjoined to her. We kissed for what to me appeared an eon. I could not escape held rooted to the floor by an invisible force.
In between, I felt an icy hand caress me. In the gloom, a spell was cast on me by the lady. Despite her body being icy and cold I was irresistibly drawn towards her. When she undid her gown it slid down in a jiffy and for a moment I was witness to a body with lovely breasts. But at the back of my mind, the thought repeatedly came to me that her body was so white as if it had no blood.
She was like an enchantress who had me snared. I was struck by her prodigious strength as she pushed me down and willy billy despite the fear my body responded. Some hypnotic force drove me to the extreme. Everything seemed to burst out of me and I felt like floating on a cloud. The cloud on which I sat seemed to shoot upwards. Again I felt myself shoot upwards towards the stars. They appeared so close that I could pluck them from the sky. I was drawn further and further, deeper and deeper to a series of catalytic orgasms.
I was drained, I made a consentaneous effort to rise, but some invisible force held me down. I wanted to be away but something had taken hold of me. In spite of myself, I trembled and shook like a dying tree as I felt my lifeblood flow out from my body. An icy coldness gripped my breast as if a hand had encircled my heart. I collapsed forward oblivious to the surroundings.
‘Oh lord’ I thought ‘I am dying’
I can recollect now that the lady was kissing me and I lay under her. Her face even now is transfixed in my mind. She was fair as fair can be with long tresses and eyes like pale diamonds. She had brilliant white teeth that shone like pearls against ruby red colored lips. Somehow I knew that she was wicked. I closed my eyes in dread and ecstasy and waited with a pulsating heart.
Dimly I heard a wolf wail and howl. Just then crisp voice cut across the hall and the silence ‘Huzoor, huzoor…..’
I felt someone shake my shoulder violently. I opened my eyes. It was Salim. He stood like a savior holding a torch. I looked around there was no one. Where was the lady?I got up slowly and tiredly. The room was empty. My heart was beating violently and I realized I had been saved in the nick of time.
‘Salim, how did you get here?”
Salim looked at me quizzically.
“ Sir, when you did not turn up for along time, I came in search of you”
The rain had stopped now and it was quite dark outside. Salim continued “I thought you were here and came straight to this Kothi. Huzoor I felt frightened for you”
Salim paused for a moment “Perhaps, you will not believe it but they say that sometimes this Kothi is haunted.”
Haunted! I shuddered and quickly left along with Salim. Haunted!
I wondered if I had mated with an apostle of the Devil.
I crossed my heart as Tonga sped towards the officer's mess.
The story, however, does not end here. At the end of the course, I decided to pay another visit to Salim. Accordingly, I drove to the stand and briskly walked to parked Tonga’s.
“ Where is Salim?”
“Sahib, you don't know?” They asked almost in a chorus.
“Know what?” I replied
One of the more enterprising Tongawalla’s spoke” Sahib, Salim is no more. He died yesterday”
I was taken aback “What happened?”
“Sahib while driving Tonga he had a heart attack. His body was found outside the city.”
“Where?” I asked dreading the truth.
The man scratched his chin “It was near the old disused palace, the Phooti Khoti. Wonder what he was doing there”
That's the end of the tale. Even now I wonder whether it is true or a figment of my imagination. The death of Salim?. It could have been a simple heart attack. However, at the back of my mind, a sixth sense tells me that I was lucky to be alive and even now I shudder when I think that perhaps I mated with a supernatural force, a lady apostle of the Devil.