Monday, August 14, 2006

The Exorcist

The nightmares became more frequent. Seemingly unconnected images - An abandoned well shrouded by creepers; the chopped head of a hen shuddering to death in a pool of blood; a galloping horse; a deserted house and the gory face that shocks him into waking up. He first dismissed them as silly. A stint in the Army, albeit brief, had taught him better than to believe in the existence of ghosts. But the eerie regularity of the dreams made him take things seriously. What puzzled him more was the painful feeling in his abdomen that seemed to worsen day by day. While he outwardly rubbished the idea of a connection between his bizarre dreams and his physical discomfort, he subconsciously sensed a link.

After much deliberation he decided to do what he’d been dismissing as stupid- approach an exorcist. A brief research yielded the desired information. In the outskirts of the town there was a copse where an experienced exorcist was believed to be living. The myth was that he was 400 years old and that he had vowed to exorcise all the demons from this world in retaliation to his mother’s supposed murder by a demon. He apparently stayed isolated from the outside world and had no relatives. Anyone wanting to avail his services had to leave a goat tied to a particular tree in the thicket along with a piece of one’s clothing. If the exorcist was pleased, he’d do what was necessary. Having gathered the information, he finally decided to give it a try.

On a new moon day, he left for the woods with a goat, a piece of cloth and a torch. When he reached the periphery of the copse it was pitch dark and the trees were perfectly still as if in mourning. He could hear wolves howling far away that tempted him to turn back and run away from there. The torch cast eerie shadows of the trees and many times he was scared by his own footsteps. The darkness devoured the faint light emitted by the torch like hungry lions. But he held himself together. He slowly inched towards the tree. The goat, by now, having sensed something wrong, bleating wildly, started running amok. He was briefly stunned by the turn of events but recovered quickly. In one leap he caught the goat by its hind legs and forced it to submission. When he finally gained possession of the animal and turned towards the tree, his heart congealed. Standing there right in front of him was a lean figure that emerged from the darkness to reveal its fragile form. The man seemed to be in his nineties. No wonder he was believed to be 400 years old. He wore a garland of large beads with a skeleton head as the pendant and held a staff in his hand. The decrepit man motioned him to follow.

After about ten minutes of stumbling about in the darkness, they suddenly arrived at a clearing at the center of which there was a hut. Inside, the sacrificial fire was raging. The exorcist didn’t speak a word. Unmindful of the visitor’s presence, he started performing the rituals at the end of which the slain goat was offered to the sacrificial fire. Finally shifting his attention to the visitor, he sprinkled holy water on him from a jar.

Apparently the ritual was complete. The visitor then thought it wise to leave even though he was skeptical about the effect. There was no indication of anything happening to him when the ritual was in progress except that the pain in his stomach was becoming unbearable. His return journey saw him run throughout, stopping briefly a few times only to check if beasts were chasing him. And when he finally reached home his legs gave away. He slumped on his bed tired from the nerve-wracking experience. His eyes drooped involuntarily in spite of his pain. And then the images started flashing in his inward eye. Then he stirred and turned to his side.

He let out a loud long fart. The ghost was banished forever.


Blogger madatadam said...

brilliant :)

August 14, 2006 12:59 PM  
Blogger The Regular Joe said...

oh really?

August 18, 2006 9:08 PM  
Blogger Casablanca said...

One of the many excuses men give for farting :p

August 21, 2006 12:22 AM  

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