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It was evening when Aabesh was returning home from his office. The dim light had been dying out of breath, choked by the frosts that made the atmosphere even more quiet and mysterious than the usual days. On his way, there was a lake by the side of which, there was a park for children. This park shortened the distance by fifteen minutes. As always, he took that route to reach home faster.

To his surprise, the park was deserted and pitch dark by then. Aabesh could make out a reason for the loneliness but couldn't understand why were the lights off?! The heavy fog had thickened the air so much that even the closest things couldn't be properly seen. He called out for the guards but no answer came. The gates were open so he had entered but was in a dilemma if he had done right. He stumbled many a times on the rocks and on the shrubs on his way. To his misfortune, he false stepped on one of the rocks and fell on the rocky path. He groaned in pain and damned himself for being so silly. He was badly hurt, probably his face. Just then he heard a feminine voice and asked for aid. The voice came closer and she grabbed his arms in order to help him get up. She made him sit on a bench nearby, resting his right hand on its arm and inspected his injury. In that thick fog and darkness, Aabesh had glimpse of her beautiful red lips and felt her soft fair hands on his face. He felt at ease at this caressing in such an isolation. While checking his injuries, she informed him about the short circuit, that she lived nearby; at the opposite pavement and that she had come in search of her earring when she heard him yell. She took out something, probably cotton and antiseptic lotion that she dabbed on his wounds. He moaned in pain. She asked if that hurt. Aabesh replied in utter courtesy that it didn't. She muttered in response that it wouldn't hurt like the heartbreak. They both smiled a bit. Aabesh thanked her for the help and offered to help her in the searching. She insisted that it wasn't needed as she has lost something even more precious than the earring. Aabesh couldn't stop himself but asked what was that. She grew serious all of a sudden. Without speaking a word she got up. He asked her name but she was still silent. She then turned back and went a few steps when Aabesh called her back and insisted to drop her home. All that she said in response was, "Fare you well, Aabesh."

Wait, how could she know his name? Aabesh was startled. He asked her about that. She then turned back at him, gave a weird smile and burst into laughter. He was even more surprised when he heard her laugh. The clear subtly ringing laughter was very familiar to him. He had heard it before. He knew whose it was but couldn't collect his memories. A strange silence spread throughout the park. Aabesh tried to get up. He pressed the arm of the bench with his right hand when he felt it wet. He felt as if it was some viscous fluid and tried ro smell it. To his surprise, it was blood. He panicked and yelled again. The voice viciously laughed again and spoke that his hands were then red, reddened by the new paint of the bench that was painted with the colors of his crime. Fear ran cold through his spine and he began sweating. Thinking that she was there, he tried to grab her hand. To his astonishment, it was the other arm of the bench. She spoke from the thick air again, "Chinte parcho Aamay?" (Do you recognize me?). By that time Aabesh was too scared and shouted aloud, "Who are you? What do you want from me? What have I done to you?" The voice giggled back in the air. Aabesh began walking briskly in order to leave the place. As he reached the gates he found them all locked. He repeatedly slammed the gate and tried to open it but all his trials went in vain. The laughter grew louder and louder. All its sweetness had vanished and it seemed to be more wicked and cruel. "You should have thought it before coming here today. Don't you remember that day? Four years ago, it was an evening of a similar kind, isn't it?" The voice seemed to come from somewhere near the bench. Aabesh turned back and saw that bench. It was the same bench, same place where the lady laid, her red lips were visible in a flash of light, smiling. There was blood everywhere. "Do you recognize me now?" The air murmured again.

Aabesh stood cold in fear. He couldn't hear himself anymore. He recalled what he had done. He was profusely sweating then. Tired and scared, he wept like a child begging for an apology as he sat on the stairs of ladder and slide. The stars had begun twinkling and there was some light of the crescent moon. From the dense foggy air the voice then whispered into his ears, "I forgive you Aabesh. You may leave now." One of the gates screeched open. Aabesh hurriedly got up and rushed towards the gate like a scared prey. He jumped out and step on something slimy. In the beginning he thought it was mud but as he tried to lift his legs, they sunk deeper into it. He felt a cold gush of wind hit him as he fell into the swamp. He struggled and screamed for assistance but all his trials went in vain. He couldn't help it but went deeper into the swampy lake.

The entire locality had gathered at the park on the following morning. There came police and forensics to understand the case but none could make any sense. The heavy fog had made it difficult to repair the short circuit. Hence, the entire grid was out of lights. The victim's family lamented at the loss of their one and only son. The body was taken out with lots of efforts. Such a mysterious case had happened only once in that locality. Four years ago, a lady was found dead in the swamp under mysterious circumstances. Everybody was shocked at the repeatation of the same accident. On the newly painted bench Aabesh's office bag laid. While everybody was gossiping at the park, on the opposite pavement, there stood the mysterious lady draped in shawl. Her apple red cheeks were soaked with the tears of heartbreak that she wiped and smiled once again.

© Subhajit
commented by
pictorially realistic....good
commented by
Thanks a lot

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