Urban Legends: Satanic Sacrifices
Mr. A was over the moon! Obviously not literally, but after many unsuccessful relationships, things finally set the chord after he met Zara. She was the prettiest girl he had ever seen. Her apple green eyes reminded him of the forbidden fruit planted in the Gardens of Eden. Her chocolate brown hair, falling messily on her tanned face, made her look like Aphrodite, the goddess of love. The dark brown freckles, around her face, gave her that exotic look Mr. A was longing to see his whole life. It had only been 2 weeks since they had started dating, but Mr. A was already in love.
This is what he used to do with every other woman he met. Spontaneity was kind of his thing, but he often confused it with stupidity. He broke up with his now ex-girlfriend for someone he met over coffee. Love, for him, was like the noisy and fierce, but fleeting froth of an instant coffee. Sure, you do like it, but the 'instant' gratification is after all temporary. But it wasn’t just her looks that left Mr. A spell-bounded, it was the fact that she was like him in many ways and unlike him in other ways. Sure, the animal magnetism also played its part, but it was her personality that left him speechless. She was relentless, steadfast and tenacious. She was serious about a lot of things but goofed around a lot. With her, Mr. A wasn’t just happy but felt joyous. The first time in his life, he felt that this was something real. Something worth holding onto. Little did he know that Lucifer plays with his puppet by giving him the freedom to reach where he was wanted in the first place.
It was a Sunday and Mr. A was supposed to meet Zara for coffee. She was ten minutes late, but that didn’t bother him, she was always late. He thought he might as well order coffee to pass the time. He went over to the barista and ordered whipped coffee with almond milk, her favorite and an espresso. He wasn’t even finished when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned, and he found Zara, in a white shirt and denim shorts, smiling at him. He realized something at that moment, that this smile was worth millions. They both sat at their table and began sipping and suddenly Zara, out of no-where, blurted out. “Let us go on a trip!” “What? Why?” responded Mr. A “Why not?” asked Zara. “Well, for one thing, I have a job!” “Didn’t you tell me that you have a lot of vacation days left?” Asked Zara in a dismissive yet endearing tone. “Yes, but I’ve saved them for emergencies or in the rare case I go to Vegas!” replied Mr. A cockily. “C’mon! We will have so much fun. You don’t even have to pack! I’ll do all the packing! I just want to travel with you!” “Where will we even go?” asked Mr. A weakly after realizing that this was a lost battle. “I have just the place!” After a day of packing, Mr. A and Zara were ready. Mr. A was surprised that how did she manage to book all the tickets so quickly to which she replied that she used The Tarzan Way app. Although suspicious at first, he came to ease after she swore that all the travelers use this app. They were supposed to board the bus to the destination, still unknown to Mr. A, on the evening of Tuesday. It was a sixteen-hour long journey. Mr. A thought that now he had a real opportunity to know the person he likes so much. He wanted to know everything about Zara, who for some reason never opened up about her past in particular. She also used to go suspiciously silent when asked about her family or friends. The only thing she would talk about was all the places she had visited and all the guys she had dated. This also made Mr. A jealous, but he convinced himself that Zara was genuinely interested in him as was apparent by the trip she had planned for them. During the bus ride, they got into talking and all was going well. They were talking about all the things they would do once they reached there. The conversation was sparkling until Mr. A asked “Where are we going, babe?” “What do you mean babe?” “Umm, nothing I just thought….” “What did you think? That I am your babe!?” “I didn’t mean to offend you.” “Well you just did, right?” “I am sorry.” Mr. A’s heart just sank. He couldn’t believe what just happened. Although he knew this wasn’t a big deal he felt uneasy. He just didn’t understand what happened. Not only what, but why did it happen. He felt this sudden urge to breathe in the fresh air. It was what he would do anytime he couldn’t think. He opened his window and gazed outwards. He could see that the bus was riding on a mountain, and the best-educated guess he could make was that they were going to the Himachal. Where? That was still a mystery to him. As he looked outside, he saw majestic snow-capped mountains standing proudly at a distance. Near to him were smaller hills covered with lush green and dense forests. He could hear the gushing sound of the water, suggesting a river nearby hidden by the canopy cover of the forest.
He thought that this picturesque location was worthy of being captured by the photographic technology also known as the camera. After he clicked a dozen of pictures, he looked at Zara, who was fast asleep. Looking at her face, he felt that she was looking adorable beyond imagination, so, he took a picture of her too. As time passed by, Mr. A dozed off to sleep with the help of the gentle rocking of the bus and the whistling lullaby of the wind. Mr. A woke up after a sudden halt. It took him a while to realize what was going on. They had reached Rakccham and the bus wouldn’t go ahead. It was one hour away from the destination which he had figured out now. They were headed towards Chitkul. But he didn’t care, he again went to talk to Zara hoping what happened was just a silly fight. “Zara!?” “What do you want?” “What do you mean? Are you still angry?” “Can’t you tell?” “I am sorry about that. I didn’t know you hated that. I won’t say that again. I just want to have an amazing trip and that is all.” “Well, so do I, but you have to understand that I don’t want to rush into anything. I don’t like taking things fast when it comes to dating and relationships.” “I can make peace with that.” Mr. A replied as he hid his feelings with a confident smile.
After this unfortunate fiasco, they tried to look for a guesthouse for the night as they now had to walk toward Chitkul and it was already dark. Lucky for them, Shamsher Ji, a local, had a free room in his guest house. A proud tall person with the whitest hair and mustache, Shamsher Ji, was a friendly man. He helped them keep their luggage upstairs. After serving them dinner, he came up to them for any last-minute requests. “No, thank you,” replied Mr. A. “Anything for the lady?” replied Shamsher Ji. “No, that is alright.” As he turned to leave the room, Mr. A asked him “How do you get to Chitkul?” “Why do you want to go there?” a visibly puzzled Shamsher Ji asked in a concerned tone. “Umm, what do you mean?” “Do you not know what goes on there?” “No. What is it?” “It is said that when Lord Vishnu was traveling, he had with him, both Pharishte(good-spirits) and Pishaach(evil-spirits), but as he came upon this land he stopped here to rest. It was during this time all the Pishaachs let themselves loose, ran away and hid. Lord Vishnu, who was upset, cursed them and bound them to this land till eternity.” “It is said”, continued Shamsher in his unnerving voice, “That every Amavasya, the people over there used to sacrifice babies to please the Pishaach, but when the Britishers came they banned this barbaric practice. So, from that year onwards they started sacrificing animals, but they believed that was not enough and the wrath of Pishaachs is upon them. This is why they do not talk to foreigners or even anyone from outside their community. It is also believed that one Pishaach, entices and lures a victim every month to consume their soul.” “Hahaha,” responded Zara with visible derision in her tone. “This is just folklore and gossip. There are no such things as ghosts, or ghouls, or Pishaachs!” “I hope you are right ma’am.” Replied Shamsher Ji as he left the room closing the door behind. “You don’t really believe that guy?” asked Zara. “I don’t know! He was pretty shaken” replied Mr. A “These are just ways and tactics to jack up the prices, don’t worry,” said Zara as she shimmied down on the bed under the sheets comfortably to get the much-needed rest for tomorrow's long walk. Mr. A slipped down under the sheets beside her and tried to sleep, but how could he? After the horrifying tale, Shamsher just recited. He was also aware of another traveler Mr. T who was checked into a mental asylum after he had a paranormal experience. With all these thoughts running wild he decided that what he needs is a distraction. He opened up his camera to see all the pictures he took of the journey. As he was swiping he noticed something weird. “I thought I took a picture,” thought Mr. A after realizing that he can not find Zara’s picture. “Hmm, maybe it got deleted.” He put his camera to the bed stand and closed his eyes to sleep. It didn’t even take him five minutes before he was snoring. The next morning was a hectic one, he didn’t understand why Zara was in a haste to start going to Chitkul. They clearly had more than enough time to visit the place and sightsee. But he didn’t question her. It only took them forty minutes to reach the desolated site of Chitkul. There was something eerily wrong and sinister about the aura of the place.
The people over here were reserved and watchful, and no one approached them. As they entered the main gate of the village, they could hear quiet murmuring. Mr. A thought it was because a young man and a woman from the city have entered into a fairly conservative village, but he soon realized that was not the case. Everyone was keeping an eye on them. Avoiding, Mr. A tried to look for a hotel but to his surprise, Zara had already found one guesthouse. It was a large building with no windows, it was wooden and the paint job was abysmal. With a creaking door and an old manager, it fitted the description of the house in which Mr. T had stayed. After keeping their luggage upstairs, the manager informed them about the timings of the guesthouse gate and the village’s main gate. He also told them that dinner would be ready by nine, and should they miss it, no replacement will be provided. He also informed Mr. A about the Devi Mata Chikul festival, which is held every Amavasya, scheduled for tomorrow night.
Now, Mr. A was feeling the ominous vibe. After inspecting the village for a while, he went to his hotel for dinner. He found Zara sitting at the table, eating something visibly gross. “What is it?” inquired Zara. “What are you eating?” asked Mr. A. “Something local. It is tasty!” “Let me taste it!” “Get your own bowl!” retorted Zara. To his astonishment, it did taste good. After a hearty dinner, he, along with Zara, went back to his room and decided to watch a movie on Netflix. “Shit! There is no network,” said, Mr. A “Really? Damn!” reacted Zara. After a sound sleep, they both woke up to a bright morning. They could hear the commotion and see the villagers preparing hastily for the night’s festival. The day went on by quickly, and as the night approached everyone headed towards the common area. The festival started with drumming, however, instead of being joyous, it was eerily scary and disturbing.
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Mr. A thought that this was traditional and hence it would be rude for him to ask them about the terrifying tune. After an initial round, everyone went ahead and formed a circle around a fire. Both Mr. A and Zara obliged. Mr. A was recording this spine-chilling festival on his camera but as soon as the village elders saw this they approached him and asked him to turn it off. At first, Mr. A resisted but the one old lady came up to him and said.
“Beta, Pisaach camere mein kaid nhi hote” (A camera can’t capture an evil spirit) This terrifying statement compelled Mr. A to stop recording. As the festival progressed both Zara and Mr. A felt that they should not be part of something so unholy, so sinister, so ominous.
Suddenly they brought in Devi Mata Chitkul statue and to Zara’s horror, it had real red hair. As they bestowed the statue on a pedestal, they brought in five baby goats and after a swoosh sound chopped off their heads simultaneously. With blood spattered everywhere, everyone cheered, but this was too much for Zara to take, she started screaming. She stood up and started wailing. She started screeching and ran up to her house, leaving the ceremony and Mr. A there. The old lady upon seeing this gasped in horror and screamed. “Isse toh Pishaach le gaya” (The evil spirit has taken her.) After seeing this chain of events Mr. A ran to her house to comfort his girlfriend. He opened the door, but what he saw was something so terrifying and chilling that he couldn’t move. He saw the bed covered in Zara’s hair which, he believed, she had cut with a pocket knife she had brought with herself. On the wall was the word “Paapi” (Sinner) smeared in some kind of black ink.
As he entered the room he saw Zara standing in front of the mirror, with a knife on her wrist. “Zara!? What are you doing!?” She turned her head, very slowly, towards Mr. A. With chilling calm, and a smirk she replied “Cursed by God! Tell us, oh heavenly child! What do we owe you?” and then violently slit her wrists.