The big gigantic Rosewood tree. It was the virtual boundary. I’ve known that way for years now. ‘Keep the tree to left and just walk strait in the tarmac. Never take the uncanny path to the left of the tree.’ That’s what I say to myself when walking there alone to keep up the spirit. Never look up into the branches of the tree. The legend is that ‘there resides the blind old woman with her presa canario.’ What they feed upon..? I have no idea. But once when a kid went missing from the neighbor village, a sniffer dog traced that kids scent from the village to this Rosewood tree. The dog then just went wild, broke the leash and ran in to the forest. I was framing up that scene in my head. Because I never saw that happen. It was Vineeth, who was aware all these stories. He said that his spooky aunt said that to him.
Today while walking home alone, I was trying hard not to think of the tree, but in vain. As I approached the last curve before the ‘hot spot’ the tree appeared. I was walking downhill and no one was in sight till the down side. And there was this sudden gust in which the tree appeared to turn towards me, sending chills into my nerves. Skeptically I raised my eyes and looked into the branches. I found no one and it was comforting. A squirrel came hopping down from the tree trying to grab something on the ground. Sensing some movement around, the cautious squirrel hopped back over the tree and disappeared into the branches.
When I came near the tree I felt an unusual haul towards the path. The ‘uncanny path’, to be precise. I was looking straight down the tarmac. Voices in my head screaming ‘do not turn’. But my feet turned towards the path and I took the untaken path. I felt a sudden coldness around me. A slight increase in the pressure, pressing up my ear drums. I could hear the blood pumping inside me. The chirping of the crickets kept on increasing as I walked down the path. I shut my ears with my palm. But as I shut my ears, the chirping grew louder and louder. I suddenly realized that the chirping was from somewhere inside my head. It felt like the chirping will keep growing and implode within my head. Fearing the worse I took my hands of ears and the chirping stopped, so sudden and so shocking.
Then I was walking over the dried leaves on the ground. The crunch of the dried dead leaves felt so loud that it would wake up sleeping dead. The path ended there and I was inside thick woods where sun rays hardly penetrating the leaves of tall trees. I looked back in the path and I saw someone walking down the tarmac and had a sense of relief. It did not last long as he disappeared in that hill top mist.
I was walking downhill in the woods. At the valley below I saw a group of people walking uphill towards the other side of the valley, probably from the graveyard after a funeral. Suddenly I started sweating in the cold evening. The sun hid behind the mountains and it was already twilight. The wind slowly increased and I heard branches of huge trees in the hill top giving way and falling. There was grunting noise of old wood all over.
There in the slope I saw a deserted shack. It appeared deserted with almost no roof and there was a small pond nearby it. I stood still, confused, not knowing what to do. There was a sudden splur in the pond and a rat snake appeared from the pond with a half swallowed frog in its mouth. It came out of the pond and trying to swallow it. From behind the shack appeared a dark presa canario and went into the shack. It went as if it did not notice me. There was some movement behind the shack, and as I feared an old lady with a long walking stick was trying to find her way back into the shack. She appeared to be blind as she was waving one hand in front as if trying to find the walls of the shack.
She suddenly stopped, turned towards my direction and appeared confused. Her eyes widened and stared towards me as if she could look inside my head. Then she suddenly giggled in witchy wicked way and laughed so loud beating the ground in front of her with her long walking stick. That conferred a primal fear within me. Hearing the sound the presa canario shoot into the forest in fear. Sensing the wickedness the deaf rat snake dropped its catch and disappeared into the woods. The half dead frog limped its way back into the pond.
I, totally bewildered, started running into the woods downhill. I felt as if someone is rushing behind and almost caught me. I ran as fast as I could in dismay. I unexpectedly tripped over something and fell rolling into the mud, scratching my elbows and arms. I stood up bleeding only to find me in middle of the graveyard. There at the end was that presa canario standing, staring wildly into me with a drooling tongue. Now again I started running, uphill, on the other side of the valley. The dog started howling and ran towards me. The twilight ended and it was almost dark then. I saw lights from a distant vehicle on road above. Below the road there was a concrete rivet about 30 feet tall, with holes and hand holds to climb upon. I believed that the dog couldn’t climb on it, and started climbing it. The dog stood right below and was howling at me. For me the wall appeared never ending.
It appeared as if I was climbing out of a very deep and dried well, with a hungry alligator at the bottom waiting for its prey. But to my adversity, I slipped. I fell back, and felt as if I was in air for a very long duration and hit the floor, only to wake up from my dream. Phew…! I was dreaming all this time, and just fell off my bed into the floor. I was drenched with sweat and I could feel my heart still pounding. I couldn’t sleep back again. Upon closing my eyes only the rose wood tree and the uncanny path appeared in front of me. I spent a long night awake and dazzled about the nightmare.
The next day was weekend and my pal asked me where we want to spend the day. I knew exactly where I was going for the weekend. Yes. Right into that untaken, uncanny path, just to see for sure what lies there and to never be scared of walking that road again.