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  • Writer's pictureTanushree Jain


The cold winds were blowing in the windy night. The cherry tree was swaying in the middle of the vast field where once a deadly battle had taken place. Thousands of soldiers had sacrificed themselves for their nation in that victorious yet tragic battle. It was half-past eight, and I sauntered around in the deafening silence. As I walked towards the tree, my hands brushed against the soft, wet grass. A slight petrichor hung in the air after the evening's thunderstorm.

The tree in itself was unique. The branches spread out in a canopy and twisted here and there to form weird shapes. The dull pink flowers that adorned the tree once could have been of the brightest shade. The leaves made a soft carpet below the tree that looked grey in the moonlight. If you observed and looked at the tree in one image, you could see a thousand faces staring right at you. Some sad, some angry, and some just expressionless. The locals believed that these faces were of the soldiers who had died in the battle. Their souls had never really left the field and were stuck in the middle, screaming for help.

One particular face that interested me was that of a man around his twenties. It felt like he was trying to tell me something, yelling it, yet I was not able to decipher it. He seemed so familiar, maybe it had something to do with how the leaves carved his face. His broad face was like that of my father.

As I made myself comfortable with the surroundings and sat down against the tree, I saw fireflies dancing above some scrolled paper buried near the roots of the tree, peeking out in between the blades of grass. Curiosity taking over me, I took it in my hands. It felt rough and under my phone's torchlight, it was turning a sickly shade of yellow. The writing in it seemed as if someone had written it in a hurry. It read- "I need your help. My name is Mr. Sinoldi Xanoe. They are holding me hostage for one of my descendants. For you." What an unusual name was that, I wondered. And who had written this? There was no one present in the fields. Suddenly, I heard the rustling of leaves behind me. I turned around but saw no one. Turning back I looked up, and suddenly saw a person in a white gown with long black hair. I was about to scream when I saw a bracelet on the person's hand. It was my seven-year-old sister.

Taking a deep breath and trying to act as if she hadn't scared the life out of me, as calmly as I could, I said," You failed, I am not scared."

"Whatever, you are not a good liar you know. I just came to tell you that mum's calling, it is getting late."

"Did you put that scroll here?" I asked.

"What, I just came up and saw you looking all confused and panicked, so just spooked you. Are you alright?"

"Fine. Let's go, or else mum will start worrying."

Soon we reached our guest cottage, and I was sitting near the fireplace drinking hot chocolate, feeling the warmth spread inside me. As much as I tried, I could not extricate the words of the letter from my brain. Something about it was intriguing. My eyelids felt heavy, so I decided to think about it tomorrow in the bright sunlight rather than in the spooky moonlight.

As I drew the curtains of my room, I looked outside my window that oversaw the field. It all seemed quiet. I took a deep breath.

I woke up around dawn and felt hungry. As I went towards the door in dim light, I saw, through my window, a figure rising from beneath the trees, turning towards my house. Panicked, I searched for any liable object that I could use for defense and found a baseball bat. I turned back, and the figure seemed to have vanished as dawn came and, the rooster crowed. I shook my head. It was probably some kid playing a prank on me.

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