The abandoned warehouse

Stuti was walking in the direction she was asked to. Her two year old tagged along and sometimes she carried him in her lap. The road as if had no end. After Avinash's death she was fighting all alone with her tormentors to get her deserved share of property. Not for her luxury but her son's future. She could do anything imaginable for his well-being.

Stuti, Avinash and little Rishab were happily living in the city. But just an year back, Avinash was detected with cancer, all their money went into his treatment but it could not free him from the claws of death. Before breathing his last, a devastated Avinash had mentioned about a property in the Haryana village he belonged to. But his family, villagers and the Khap had never approved of their marriage, given to their age old rotten social taboos. Yet Stuti knew, she had to fight. For his son, his education and his future.

Coming to the village was easy but getting her voice heard was not. From death deterrents to getting embossed as a witch who has devoured her husband she had it all. But each day made her stronger and stronger. She would see the end of it. When all this drama was taking place, a local politician met her and asked to reach him secretly, he promised " he would help". It was not that she did not smell fowl. But when your back has touched the wall, you cannot do anything better than taking a chance.

She walked and walked, on the unknown lanes of a Haryana village. It was nearing dusk and she could see the dilapidated temple the politician had mentioned. But where had her stride brought her too? The village looked back at her from a distance that seemed several light years, there was no sign of life across acres of land. Stuti knew she was in danger. Rishab had already turned cranky, he was hungry. She quickly fed him and soon he retired in her arms and embraced sleep, given to the exhaustion the little one had to put up with. Stuti's vigilant eyes scanned the area around. Where could she hide before the goons appeared? And soon she spotted an abandoned warehouse on the extreme right of the road. It looked more than scary but she knew she had no choice. Slowly she walked and hid herself in an elevated platform, from where she could scan the surroundings but there was rare chance for her to be spotted. The sun had hid under the unknown layers of darkness and the moon illuminated the area. The unmanned remains of the spooky warehouse hid her from any approaching danger. Her heart thumped heavily, but she held the sleeping child tightly, ready to flea in case of any unforeseen adversity. More than spooky tales she was scared of wild animals, snakes that might were seekers of refuge in that untouched building. Her senses were alert like a beast. After sometime she could see a SUV approach the temple, she knew they had come. She could clearly see the men, scarier than the place she was in. They voraciously scanned the area and were visibly annoyed when they could not see her. After 10-15 minutes of scanning she could hear one of them speak "shall we search that warehouse?" "Are you mad? That building is haunted....don't you know of the fire incident that claimed the lives of 50 workers...they say...that even today in the darkness of the night, those workers visit the warehouse.." replied another. "Oh...then she will have better company if she hides there...what do you say?" said the third goon. An then Stuti could hear an unforgiving uproar of wolfish laughter, followed by the vehicle's sound as it sped away. Stuti had drenched in perspiration, in-spite of being a modern woman, the darkness of the lonely night, the grave silence and that warehouse made her spine chill. She closed her eyes and started chanting hanuman chalisa. And in no time, oblivion engulfed her consciousness catalysed by the tiredness of her body. When Stuti opened her eyes the early morning sun had touched, clearing her vision and thoughts. Rishab smiled at her and demanded water, which she gave him. Suddenly she realised that surrounding her were many human skeletons. The remembrance of that fateful day, when workers were engulfed in the hungry tongue of fire. Yes they were all around her, but not to hurt. She smiled and walked away. In her mind she said "no ghost is scarier than mankind."

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