Achluophobia

Fear of the dark…Fear of the dark…
I have a constant fear that something’s always near
Fear of the dark…Fear of the dark…
I have a phobia that someone’s always there

– Iron Maiden

Story 1

That day, my English tuition teacher took a particularly nasty ghost story. She was half-way through the story when Ram asked, “Teacher, Do ghosts really exist?”
My teacher replied, “I haven’t seen one to believe that. But my father has seen one. He once was returning home after a long journey. As you know, you have to walk through the road for quite a bit after alighting from the bus. And you know the road is usually deserted in the night. He was nearing the temple pond out there when he saw something silvery white moving. He squinted and noticed that it was, in fact, gliding across the pond. Something whose outline looked like that of a human. He, being a man of nerve, didn’t panic. However, being a wise man, he decided not to stay there any more and continued his way home calmly.”

Map of the road I had to take
Map of the road I had to take

Whatever the teacher said, it made my bones chill. I had to pass by that very same pond to go back home. And it was already getting dark. Why on earth didn’t I repair my bicycle?
When my tuition was over, it was dark. The street however was well lit with the sodium vapour lamps. But in a short while, the only source of light would be the moon. I had to cross around 1 km of a dark and almost deserted road, along the sides of which lies the “haunted” pond.
Soon I was leaving the light and the din. I mustered whatever courage that was remaining in me and started walking. I felt the cold breeze hitting my skin, ensnaring my nerves into a noose that would strangle me. Soon, the pond was way back. But there was still the deserted stretch of road to cross. I was half-expecting to see a woman clad in white saree and with long flowing hair to jump from behind the bush and waving at me. And I completely expected her to have long canine teeth dripping with blood.
I suddenly heard a woman whispering “Hello” into my ears. That sound was so unbelievably close.
I turned around, just by instinct.
No one.
Not a bee around.

I started shivering by now. Whether it was the cold or the fright, I didn’t know. I didn’t want to look back. I was trying to think of the delicious dinner my mother might have cooked; of the jokes that my dad would crack at dinner; of the pranks that I would play at my younger brother.

I again heard a voice. The voice of a scooter. I didn’t turn back. It approached and the time seemed to slow down. At long last it passed ahead. But before I could heave a sigh of relief, the man stopped. To my alarm, the man was wearing a white shirt and a mundu (a white colored loincloth worn instead of pants).
I didn’t dare to look at his face.
He then asked in a looming voice that seemed to come from the infinite beyond, “Returning from tuition?”
I didn’t reply.
He continued, as if he didn’t expect a reply, “Why are you walking? What happened to your bicycle?”
I could hear my heartbeats now, but I answered nevertheless, “Th…Th….The chain is broken.”
“Your father might have been back from his bank by now. You should have asked him to pick you up.”
I was startled as my heart gave another huge thump which was just short of a heartattack. How the hell did he know that my father works for a bank?
I looked up at his face, again by reflex.

It was Mr. Unni, my neighbor.

Story 2

Two friends decided to watch a movie in the local cinema on a Saturday. They went for the 2nd show and by the time the movie was over, it was midnight.

Unfortunately, there was not a single auto-rickshaw in sight. So they decided to walk all the way home, enjoying the pale moonlight and the tickling breeze.

Sean asked John, “Aren’t you afraid of the dark? You are! You’re afraid of ghosts.”
John said, “Bullshit. Ghosts can’t scare me. If the Grim Reaper comes with his scythe, I will cram it up his ass.”

So on went their talk with their walk and they reached the College Road. It was a treat to be able to walk through the middle of the road, when on daytime, people literally can’t get down from the sidewalk to cross.

John said, “Do you think you’d see a single human being here at this time?”
Sean said, “Considering that you are a monkey and I don’t have a mirror, I doubt so.”
“Bet?”
“Bet it is!”

They went on. Then they heard a bell ring. A man was coming in a bicycle. He was wearing a creased shirt and a shabby lungi (A Mallu version of pyjamas, you could say).
John said, with a truimphant smile, “Ha! Give me my money, loser!”

The bicycle-man stopped near them and asked, “Excuse me, do you have a matchbox. I wanted to light my cigarette”
Sean said, “Sure”, and gave his matchbox.

The bicycle-man didn’t budge, but said sadly, ” I can’t hold it. Can you please light my cigarette for me?”

Sean got agitated and said, flexing his muscles, “You look like some thug who wants to loot us. Get lost or you’ll get something different than what you expected.”

Bicycle-man said, “No sir, I’m telling you the truth, I can’t hold things.”

Sean replied, “Don’t play games? You are riding a bicycle and you say you can’t hold a thing with your fingers?”

Bicycle-man replied rather shakily, “I don’t have fingers sir”.
And he moved his arms towards them.
In place of hands were hooves…U-shaped, like that of a horse.

The next day, there was a traffic jam in college road, when people found two youngsters lying motionless, petrified in the middle of the road.

14 thoughts on “Achluophobia

  1. Hey.. I never retaliate.. Anyone is welcome to attack me without any fears of a counter attack :-).

    Don’t tell me you really drew up the map…
    ‘n whats this extra importance being given to lungis in ur posts…?

  2. Were you a goalpost in college? Were you worse than Bond himself? That is something.

    What do you think about the map? Of course, I drew the map. Bit of Tolkien craze of late 😉

    I don’t give importance to lungis. I described whatever I imagined when this story formed in my mind..

    BTW, lungis are better than trousers. As Jo says, it would give some free air passage around one’s privates 😀

  3. @Maya: Although I’ve mentioned these as stories, Story 1 is a real-life incident that occured to me (of course with some added masala)

  4. Hi Deepak,yes I know some of these things do happen.Infact I have some incidents that I may cite a bit later on in my blog.
    Oh yes,you are officially on my blog roll.:)

  5. Hi Deepak,

    Was jus lazily browsing, when I came across your blog.
    Great Stories, these are…

    Just BTW what`s “Achluophobia”..?

    Hey and once again jus BTW i too am “Unni”, much like your neighbour.. I liked seeing that name in there… 😀

    Regards,
    Srijith
    http://srijithunni.blogspot.com

  6. Thanks Srijith. Do visit again.

    Achluophobia, obviously, means “fear of the dark” 🙂

    BTW, do you too scare the soul out of peoples’ body (Much like my neighbor)?? 😛

  7. Haha yeah? Me too, I’m all about HP.

    Oh because it turns out it was your neighbor and not a ghost haha that’s why. And what do you mean by “tag” people with it? Sorry I’m fairly new to the whole blog thing.

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