13 Apr 2014

The Frangipani Tree

"...And they say, that if you are not on your guard, they creep up to you and lure you to take something from them. Once you take whatever they offer, they grab you by the neck, and feed on you, with the frangipani smell lingering around, at night.So next time Mehek, make sure you don't come late at night, from under the frangipani tree." 

Rachna finishes the story with a straight face and lets the effect sink in. 

"Oh please, they should directly finish the person off instead of dragging them along with them.What bullcrap! Why go through so much trouble? They are spirits, not gymnasts or theater artists! And I have never felt anything when I walk past that tree. It's ridiculous." Mehek scoffs. 

"Mehek, don't you see the movies, those who don't believe the existence of spirits are the first ones to be ambushed and get disappeared?" Ankita smiles cheekily, nudging Mehek  in the ribs, who glares in return, "And that is the reason I should be scared? Because you will find me in such a situation? Ha! That's highly unlikely! What am I? A ghost hunter?"

"But Mehek, you don't have to believe them, just respect their existence. These things, entities do exist. And I am sure we all have, at some point experienced their presence, so don't get so defensive." Anandita intervenes, being Rachna's sister, she knew how Rachna tended to sensationalize stories and Mehek was cold-steel logical, never a good combination.

"Ugh, come on! Please, give me a break! We are just talking right, we don't have to believe or not believe! You guys should really stop taking these things seriously!" Mehek reacted, getting pissed off for no apparent reason.
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"Okay, okay relax! It's just a story, you don't have to get so mad at us!" Rachna tries to cut through the tension. 

"You are right. I am sorry. I didn't mean to snap at you guys. It's just that I am a little stressed with work..and...so sorry!" Mehek gets up, hugs Rachna, Ankita and Anandita one by one as they all get ready to disband the party. 

Rachna follows Mehek as they descend the stairs.

Rachna: I didn't understand though, why you got so mad at me?
Mehek: It's just that you were getting too personal.
Rachna: Personal? How?
Mehek: You know nothing about Yakshis, do you?
Rachna: Hey I know! That's how I told you the story.
Mehek: But you forgot the basics - like how they look and how they really attack.
Rachna: Really? As if you know, huh?

Mehek stopped and turned to face Rachna. "You know why they choose frangipani trees?"
Rachna <shrugs>: I don't know, because they smell nice? The flowers I mean?
Mehek: Yeah and?
Rachna: I don't know. Yakshis are women, right? So, I don't know, why are you asking me?
Mehek: They choose it, because the frangipani flowers are cursed, like Yakshis, they die by the light, they breed insects within them, they are beautiful, but once you touch them, they shrivel and die. Yakshis were cursed too, to survive like half human, half dead. They always lurk around that tree.

A shudder runs through Rachna.

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Mehek bends down and picks a fallen frangipani flower and offers it to Rachna. Her dark black hair frees itself from the hairband and leaves a trail of smell of frangipani flowers around the both of them. Rachna freezes beside her in horror. Uncertain thoughts flit through her mind. How long had they known Mehek? She never hung out with them during day time, she never really cared how late she would come back, she would always be so defensive when it came to supernatural. I am over thinking this. Mehek can't possibly be! These things don't really exist, do they? Should have heard Anandita, must not have told this story. 

Mehek: Hey you all right?
Rachna: Yeah yeah, see you tomorrow then! 
Mehek: I am sorry if you felt bad or something. See you!
Rachna: Kay...

Rachna turns around to leave, as Mehek walks away too. But Rachna couldn't hear her walking away, she was too scared to stop. Reaching the doorstep of her house, Rachna hides behind the door and peeps out to see Mehek, standing under the frangipani tree, talking to a woman who descends, no slithers down, and hugs Mehek. She is a tall beautiful woman, with long lustrous hair, like Mehek and has her hair strewn with frangipani flowers. A snatch from her grandmother's tale flashes through her mind. Notice their feet carefully, they never touch the ground. 

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PS: Inspired by the story "Mixed Blood" by Ravi Shankar, which was part of the Indian Ghost Stories, edited by Ruskin Bond, published by Penguin Books.
PPS: You can read my review of the book here


phatichar said...

Whoa.. super. :)

Wings of Harmony said...

phatichar: Yay! Coming from you, The Spook King!, it's such a great feeling!! Thank you! :D

Ananya Tales said...

Beautifully expressed !

Aditi Ray said...

damn u MSM, u'r stories r getting more like phatichar's ! :O
but I loved it !
and I srsly hope they r not true... cz I too pass under the frangipani tree at night, and i collect those pretty flowers too ! :|
plz tell me they r just stories ! :|

Wings of Harmony said...

@Ananya Tales: Welcome here! Thank you so much! :)

@Ray: In the real story, the Yakshis stay on the top of the Palm trees, no frangipani involved to scare anyone, except to increase their allure. Also, it is a story, just a story. :-* :D :D

Soumya said...

Ohhh that last line gave me goose bumps. Very lovely! :)

Keirthana said...

OMG! It was so scary for me reading it when I was along at home. Very beautifully narrated.

Btw, did I tell you? Your header is simply awesome.

Wings of Harmony said...

@Soumya: :D Thank you! It's fun to try scary, but I loved your vampire story, the most! :D

@Keirthana: :D :D So sorry to scare you!!! :D But thank you!!!

Oh, thank for noticing the header, it's completely me, finally! :D

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

Well at least they are co-habiting humans, we could establish bilateral ties, could we not? :D

Blasphemous Aesthete

Wings of Harmony said...

@BA: Hahaha, they are clearly misunderstood, they just eat once at a time, and don't really discriminate. :P We can definitely try and establish bilateral ties. :D

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

You go first, I'm not that eager to be eaten :P