Fearless ( A short Story )
Where's he gone ? What's happened to him ? When friends provoke someone, what a little boy can do ? Let's proceed to know it all.
Ravi, Shiva and Ramesh are best friends. They go to a city park daily in the evening and hang out there for hours, either playing or gossiping. As the evening progresses and darkness engulfs the park, a cool and pleasant sensation surrounds the mind.
It is refreshing to smell and touch the grass, and feel the water drops that fountains in the park sprinkle all around. During this time, they discuss multiple things. Today's topic is fear.
Fear is an emotion that nobody is really free of. Some fear exams; some fear parents; some fear teachers while some others fear heights. Everybody is gripped with one or the other kind of fear.
" Do you fear darkness ? " Shiva asks his friends.
" Yeah, I get frightened every time I've to venture alone at night, " Ramesh says, " I'm always scared and pray God to save me from the nocturnal spirits flying in the dark. "
Ravi is a slender boy, just twelve and half. He speaks very bluntly and is very obstinate while playing games or engaged in conversations. It is not obvious to his friends whether he is courageous or not, but a facade of determination is reflected in his eyes. Though Shiva is well built and the strongest among them, even he keeps silent when occasionally Ravi bursts in anger.
" You didn't tell, my friend, what do you say ? " Shiva turns his face toward Ravi.
" I'm totally fearless. Darkness is as good to me as daylight. Why should I fear darkness ? It's a natural phenomenon and is just the absence of light. It's like the earth turns her face, and the sun is shining on her other cheek, " Ravi boasts.
Ramesh and Shiva suppress their giggles when they hear the Ravi's response. They are convinced that this weakling is not telling the truth. At this age, how can a boy overcome fear of the dark, ghosts and spirits ?
They keep silent for a while. Shiva is in a mischievous mood now and is thinking something to strike fear into this skeleton of a boy, who is so arrogant in his demeanor.
In a short distance, there are ruins of a Moghul Period Monument. Children play there' hide and seek' in day time, but in the dark, this structure looks like a demon and children are scared to go there.
In daylight , children flock to this place as if iron pieces getting attracted to a magnet, but they all desert it when the darkness spreads her awful smile all around. Now it is stark dark and almost midnight.
A cloud of bats is hovering above. The clicking sounds of insects celebrate the night. The night appears like an old witch, casting her spell all around !
" If you don't fear anything and anyone, can you go there alone, near the ruins of that monument, climb the fifteen steps, and sit upon the tombstone there for a minute ? " Shiva throws a challenge. He is dead sure that Ravi will not dare go there and accept his challenge. This way, he wants to win a battle and wrest some shine out of this outspoken lad.
This is an unexpected move, and Ravi is startled to find himself in a dilemma. He is , after all, a little boy. He is fond of hearing night time stories. His grandmother always obliges the children, but she knows only ghost stories. Ravi has heard so many stories from her mouth that he is so fearful at this moment of real test.
He Is now cursing his bad mouth for uttering nonsensically and thus inviting this wrath upon him. How foolish of him ! He swears in his mind that he will mend his ways and not indulge in prideful talk any more. But, what can be done now ?
He thinks of surrendering before them and adorning the outfit of cowardice. There is intelligence to refuse flatly to this show of bravery and have a sound sleep in the bed. No, this is not good, this way, I 'll forever remain in an inferior position in the eyes of my friends. This thought grips his mind strongly.
He is a mixture of emotions now. He is full of fear and at the same time tries to gather courage to face the challenge thrown at him by his sly friends.
" What do you say ? I 'll go near the scary place, climb the fifteen steps and sit on the tombstone, not for one minute but for full half an hour," Ravi retorts. Though he said these words, he knows honestly that he is now most fearful. His heart is pounding, and he can feel his each heartbeat so clearly.
His friends are stunned. They are now filled with remorse. After all, Ravi is a little boy like them. He is also their best friend. How can they be so cruel that they are making him to venture in the very spooky sight. Though they are themselves afraid of going there, they have created very difficult and scary moments for their friend. Shiva is mellowed now.
" Ravi, I was just joking. You shouldn't go to such a ghostly place ? Let's go home for sleep, " Shiva says and walks ahead.
" No, I 'll go there and sit on the tombstone for full half an hour as I have said. I can do this very easily. " Ravi is adamant now, his fists stiffen. He is wondering how he is exhibiting such courage when knowing full that he is so afraid of darkness lurking in the desolate monument.
" No, this is not good, Ramesh and I 'll go along with you in that monument," Shiva proposes.
" No, my friend, I can do this, I 'll go alone and do exactly as I have said, " Ravi goes on saying. He is so determined now.
His friends know that Ravi is always so stubborn, and he will do exactly as he says. Ravi walks slowly toward the shattered building, which has become his battlefield now. His heart is beating so fast that he feels that it will come out of his mouth.
Fear has overtaken his whole body now. But, he is moving, a little courage in his mind and God's name on his lips. Not even in his dreams has he thought of walking alone in the darkness.
As he nears the first step, all scary stories he had heard from his grandmother flash before his eyes. Each step he climbs, and each ghost of the story strikes his mind, but he keeps moving on. Tremors set in and his legs tremble.
He is overwhelmed with the darkness all around, but he keeps his gaze fixed on his steps. Though shivering, he is piercing into the bosom of darkness.
Shiva and Ramesh see him walking and vanishing into the dark. They are also afraid, afraid themselves and afraid of the imminent fate of their best friend. They think, what will happen to him ? Will some spirit or ghost overpower him and drink his blood as they have read in the ghost stories. Shiva thinks for a moment going there himself and saving his friend, his best friend. But, now he himself is scared.
He sees Ramesh, who is so dumb that he is trembling with fear even having company of a friend. Ravi, on the other hand, is all alone and moving in a nocturnal place, that is full of fright with bad spirits haunting in the darkness.
Both of them wait and wait for elapse of half an hour. Ramesh sees his wrist watch with fearful eyes. Half an hour has already passed, and now fifteen minutes more have also passed. But, Ravi is not visible in the sight. What has happened ? Shiva's thought scares him very badly. He is repenting for sending his best friend to such an eerie place.
Ramesh again looks at his watch. Now one and half hour have passed. What is going on ? Something bad has happened ! They wait and see pointedly in the direction of the spooky place where their best friend has ventured some time before. O God ! What has happened ? Two hours have passed and Ravi is not coming back.
" Ramesh, what do you think might have happened to Ravi ? " Shiva asks. His eyes widen and hands tremble. His heart is beating so fast.
" I don't know. These dark places are really killing ! We shouldn't have done this to our best friend... " Ramesh is about to sob, his body is shaking. Some tears roll down his face. Many bad thoughts hover over the ether of his mind.
" Let's go home now. Ravi is not coming, and we have no courage to go there and find him, " Shiva says. Both of them walk toward their homes, lost and devastated.
" Where're you going friends ? " , a voice is heard from behind. Both of them are frightened badly. " Not half an hour but for full two hours I sat there, my friends. I've kept my word. I've done this. You can also do this, " Ravi says, looking like a proud emperor, who has vanquished the enemy.