THE WITCHING HOUR


"The Darkest Hour Of The Night Is Just Before The Dawn", Write an original story based on this statement. #TheNight This post is part of Indispire 51



"The witching hour," Maya typed into her laptop keyboard, intending to write her long pending article atlast. The writing prompt couldn't have come at a better time, she thought; it always came at 10pm sharp, on thursdays, in her favourite blogging community. She usually skipped the prompts as they were never of real interest, but today, she got just the prompt she was waiting for so long. A dark prompt, something she loved writing...researching, experimenting all too often - her favourite genre. She had whole lot of things to say on the topic especially as she had learnt quite a bit on the subject and it was so important to get it out ~ let the whole world know of the reality as people were still so unaware. Of course, there was more to learn as this journey was never an easy one anyways. Just as she tried to type the next few lines in her keyboard, the cool breeze blew again.

Although, it was February, and not really hot like it usually happens in Bombay, where winter is practically non-existent, Maya liked to keep her windows open. With her house not far from the railway station, the distant sound of trains coming and going was comforting in a way, as she lived alone. Her eyes went briefly at the wall-clock doing its usual tick-tock tick-tock. Gosh..it was almost 1.30 am, she needed to change her habits, she thought. All these weird timings, of her late night scribblings, had completely altered her sleeping habits; and it was certainly not healthy, she mused to herself. Sigh, with the days busy as always, night was the only time she got, to pen down her innermost thoughts on her blog. She absolutely loved blogging; it was the most ideal way to express her thoughts out to the public on topics she was so passionate about. So, even with barely enough time on her hands, Maya would very often find herself scribbling at late midnights as she was doing today. As the breeze blew again, the noise slowly started too. It was an odd squeaky noise that was coming since the last few nights, she had observed, from underneath her bed. She had ignored it at first, but it was too distracting. During the day earlier, she had even tried checking if there were any insect nesting that caused it, but had found nothing unusual. As though several bats were whispering and flapping their wings all that once, the noise grew louder and louder. Too distracted, Maya stopped typing and simply gazed at her monitor blankly. Damn, she had to finish the article, but the annoying noise so persistent didn't help; she began punching at the keys again - this time determined not to get distracted.

The noise continued, but its volume somewhat reduced to a low buzz on its own. As though, it let her work while at the same time kept her aware too that it was still there. Convinced that it must be the wood creaking ( her bed was getting old anyways ) or perhaps some hidden insect, Maya didn't pay anymore attention to the weird noise. Instead, she went to the windows - shut them and sat in front of her laptop again. She then seriously started writing rest of the article, hoping she could finish, proof-read and submit it on time.

Engrossed totally in her script, the sudden chilling blast of air right next to her, was unexpected for Maya. She paused her work instantly. And then as if on cue all of a sudden, the noise started growing louder too that same weird noise that came from underneath her bed. This time, accompanied by one or two strange grunting sounds as well. Maya had been working the past one hour, but the icy cold feeling next to her made the hair on her neck stand up. It wasn't the cool breeze that was blowing earlier. This was different. It was static. She had closed her windows too earlier, so it couldn't be the breeze at all. There was no draft or openings either, that could let any wind in. Moreover, it had become standing as though a block of ice was pressed next to her. She glanced at the wall-clock. It was past 3. It was 'the witching hour', she realized, the topic she was writing about. Never the one to be frightened so easily, cold sweat broke out nonetheless, making Maya realize that something just wasn't all right in the room. And to her surprise, just as suddenly the icy cold feeling had started, it disappeared as fast as well. And the noise too stopped. It was suddenly very quiet; eerily so, as though nothing had happened. Shrugging herself for over-imagining things, Maya shook her head and decided to call it a night. Writing the horror genre was making her hallucinate stuff, she thought wryly. Although, the icy cold blast did feel very real, some part of her mind lamented. Anyways, enough adventures for the night, she thought sleepily; and after setting her laptop in hibernate mode, Maya curled up in her bed ~ a long day awaited ahead. Her droopy eyes finally closed shut ~ welcoming sweet dreams.

-0-

The stroking of her hair, woke Maya from her sleep with a jolt. Long strokes, as though someone had un-braided her hair and was playing with it; pulling it up together in a bunch and twisting gently. She tried to move, but to her surprise wasn't able to; however, the stroking continued in a gradual, but hurried speed. It didn't hurt, it was comforting in a way, but only she knew ~ this was really really weird. She lived all alone, so this should not be happening at all. Who was stroking her hair, and why she couldn't move her body ~ she was wide awake after all! And the stroking didn't feel human too. It felt as though someone with long claws were stroking her hair, for she could feel the sharpness unlike a human hand that were much softer. Alarmed, Maya lay still. She could feel several claws now, stroking her hair all at once - tugging and pulling it up in a bunch, as though someone was trying to gather her hair and twist it in a bun. She didn't dare look who was behind - she couldn't move her body anyways, not even her face.... Her eyes shifted towards the clock on the wall. It was doing its rhythmic tick-tock tick-tock. So glad she was, that she could move her eyes at least, Maya saw it was little past 4am.

The Darkest Hour Of The Night Is Just Before The Dawn, Maya remembered the script she was writing on earlier ~ her article on 'the witching hour' ~ that occurred generally between 3-5am; and dawn was still away! Panic crept into her now. Had her script turned for real? Her eyes shifted towards the window and to her horror, she saw it was wide open. She had latched it properly, she remembered. Who had opened it? And why the hell she could not move? Maya struggled, but she realized, she could not utter a sound even. She was paralyzed; both her body and voice. Was it sleep paralysis, she read so often in her various psychical researches? But she was so aware of her surroundings. It couldn't be, she told herself trying to struggle again. Then from behind her, she started hearing low grunts. As though a pack of pigs were snorting and grunting right behind her bed. Maya felt very uncomfortable with the room slowly filling up with bad odor. She had difficulty breathing, with the stink nearly blocking her nose. It was the stink of rotten flesh and it grew stronger by the second. Once or twice, to her horror, she also felt some of the sharp claws at her neck, as though someone was trying to squeeze it....though not forcefully yet, while the rest continued to tug and pull at her hair. Paralyzed with fear, Maya knew her life was in danger. If only she could move, she struggled more but failed.

A flapping of wings distracted her and her eyes went again to the window. It came from the windows ~ the sound. A flap...flap....and then many flaps all together. They all started coming in through the window; black birds...that looked like raven only these were larger, darker and more scarier. Black birds were a sign of something very evil, Maya grew alarmed. One after other, more followed. All flew in, and went somewhere behind her bed where all the grunting noise and stroking were coming from. Only she could not look what was behind. The claw-like stroking on her hair continued....with more and more intensity. Maya felt all her energy slowly drained from her ..sucked out; she had difficulty thinking properly now.... leave alone breathing or moving. She was growing weaker and weaker, and lay limp in her bed unable to do anything feeling totally helpless. A whole flock of black mysterious birds had flown into her room as though attending a feast. A feast!!!
Startled with fear, Maya realized suddenly what feast they had come to attend. Hers! She was being sacrificed. She felt the claws on her throat again, and this time they pressed forcefully. Help...help...Maya thought, wishing fervently she could escape this horrible nightmarish situation she was in. Only this wasn't a nightmare, she knew very well. This was very real and there was no one to help her. Her life was being squeezed out, with the evil birds ready to make meal out of her. She had to help herself! Oh good Lord..she had to help herself, Maya thought again, as she struggled more; forcing herself to get up with all the energy she could muster, in her limp paralyzed body. But this time, to her utter horror, sharp pairs of claws were holding her down in her bed pinning her almost and pricking at her very skin. There were many of them countless. "Let me go," Maya thought weakly, not being able to speak, but hoping they'd show some mercy on her; "let me go....," she pleaded again in her thoughts, I didn't do you any harm so why this? She was loosing consciousness, because, she could barely keep her eyes open any longer. Weak and defeated, she knew she was going to die. It felt like an eternity of suffering, she was going through. The grunts were loud and deafening, she couldn't take it anymore. It was now or never. Do it Maya, do it, with as much force as she could, she made the last attempt to get up, using all the will power she had. She pushed and pushed herself mentally to move. Finally, she could feel her body moving a bit, because, with all the will powered energy she used, when she opened her eyes she found herself sitting on her bed sweating profusely.

It was bright morning, with the birds chirping outside and the sun-light too had filtered in through the shut window-panes, and on seeing it Maya blinked, wondering how on earth were the windows shut again. She quickly looked behind her bed, nothing was there. Where did all the black birds suddenly vanish? She touched her hair, it was still in the plaits she usually tied her hair into, before sleeping. Was it a dream or nightmare after all? It was crazy alright whatever it was, she thought, glad that it was over and there was no sign of it ~ anymore anywhere. Feeling little relaxed now, Maya got up and went to the window. As she opened it, the familiar cool breeze from the sea nearby welcomed her. The distant sound of the local trains too whizzing past greeted her, re-iterating that it was just a bad dream. As she began moving to get ready for the day, Maya's glance fell on the window landing below; she then spotted the black feather ~ of a bird! Not one, but there were several of them, lying. A chill went down her spine.



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( Images - Gryphonseggproduction | http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witching_hour )
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14 comments:

  1. Wow! Its so well written!! Last line sent a chill down my neck too!! :P

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  2. awwwwwwwwwwwwww.. its scary :o

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  3. Wow! Thrilling! :)

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  4. uhhh...chilling and thrilling! :) couldn't take my eyes off the screen once I started reading...it was interesting from the very first line. So wonderfully written, Nandini

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    1. i'm glad you liked it :-) thanks dear

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  5. A crisp and intersting Narrative... Well composed!

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  6. Wow......super story... :D

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