THE CURSE OF THE ZOMBIE VILLAGE : A HORROR SHORT STORY BY ME.
This is purely a fictional story and my beloved ( late) maternal grandma created it out of her own imagination. She wanted me to write it down and publish it. She always encouraged me to keep writing. Mrs. Swarna Ramamurti, my granny, was immensely talented and had great ideas for stories but never wrote it down because of lack of confidence and constant discouragement from her family. She was the sweetest person who could not hurt even a fly. I dedicate this story to her. I have made some alterations to the original story narrated by her.
Unfortunately, my grandma isn’t alive to read her own work getting published. I am sure she would be smiling right now at me.
13 May 1856
Ranjeet Singh was a rich zamindar ( landlord) owning several acres of land in Balrampur, Uttar Pradesh. He had a faithful servant, Hariya, working for him for the past twenty years. Ranjeet was a bachelor, while Hariya had a family living in a small village called Takiya (fictional name). He had a wife, Lajwanti, and two sons, Shyaam and Balram. Despite the British rule in force, Ranjeet led a peaceful life with Hariya. He used to visit his family only during the festival season.
Once his village, Takiya, experienced a severe drought. His family sent a message, asking for help. Hariya was quite upset but continued doing his duty. Ranjeet noticed Hariya’s sombre mood. He asked him, “What’s the matter, Hariya? You seem to be quite upset. Don’t hesitate to ask me for any kind of help. I know you are a man of principles and your self-respect is preventing you from asking for any kind of assistance. I am not only your employer but also your trusted friend.”
Hearing his master’s words, Hariya burst into tears. He said, ” Saheb (Sir), my village is reeling under severe drought. People are dying from starvation. I need to make arrangements for food for my family and the hungry villagers. How can I neglect my duties towards you and concentrate on my personal problems? ” Ranjeet had a heart of gold. He smiled at him and said, ” Hariya, Don’t you worry. You have served me faithfully for 20 years and you are a part of my family. So, when my family is in trouble, how can I be a mute spectator? Why don’t you take leave for a month and take care of your family? I will send two cartloads of food and some money to survive through this situation. You can come back when everything is normal.”
Hariya had tears of joy in his eyes and thanked Ranjeet profusely for his timely help. Laden with his master’s gift to the entire village, Hariya set out to Takiya on the bullock cart. Unfortunately, it was the last time that the Master and the servant saw each other.
23 April 1861
Five years passed and Hariya never came back. Ranjeet missed his trusted servant. He had plenty of helpers around to serve him but Hariya was more like a brother, he never had. Ranjeet decided to visit Takiya and see why Hariya failed to turn up.
24 April 1861
Ranjeet used a horse drawn carriage, carrying expensive gifts for Hariya and his family. He knew his house because he had dropped Hariya once to celebrate Diwali with his family. It was nearly dusk by the time he reached Hariya’s house. He was shocked to find the village completely deserted. There was no sign of anyone living there. He decided to make inquiries at the next village but it was already late and he was too tired. He wandered aimlessly searching for any sign of life. It grew dark and suddenly the whole village sprang to life. Ranjeet couldn’t believe his eyes. How could this happen? He saw Hariya waving at him from his hut. Ranjeet was pleased to see him. Hariya welcomed him to his house and asked his wife to serve him food. He stood near her and said something in his native language. Ranjeet enjoyed a delicious meal with Hariya and his family. He finished his food and was about to give them the gift, when Hariya said, ” Saheb, It was nice meeting you after five years but now it’s time to say our final farewell.” Ranjeet was confused and merely, ” Why Hariya? Did I offend you in any way? ” Hariya shrugged and took the lantern in his hand. It was then that Ranjeet noticed that Hariya’s face was covered in boils and pimples, his wife too looked horrible and so did his children. Except for Hariya, his wife and children had saliva drooling from their pus oozing mouth. He screamed in horror, followed by Hariya. The entire village seemed to be running after him but Hariya ordered them to stop and let Ranjeet escape safely. People seemed to obey him. But they also looked like monsters. Hariya made his master sit inside the carriage and took over the reigns of the horse. The carriage moved away from the village until it vanished out of sight. Ranjeet was too scared to ask Hariya but the faithful servant spoke, ” Saheb, a great tragedy overtook this village after I came back from Balrampur. As you know, there was a severe drought combined with famine, people had nothing to eat. It was then I arrived with the food cart. Actually, the family of Sukhiram met with a tragic end. His wife, Madhu, gave birth to a still born baby.
Sukhiram could not see his young son dying of hunger. So, he decided to cook the corpse of his wife and survive on it for a few days. He decapitated her body and was boiling the meat when another villager, Sevak, saw him and alerted the villagers of his misdeed. He thought that Sukhiram was dangerous and could pose a threat to the entire village. He summoned other villagers and caught him and his young son, Lakhan. The panchayat refused to listen to his side of story and stoned him and Lakhan to death. But while dying, Sukhiram said that the villagers didn’t even give him a chance to explain why cooked his wife and jumped to an unfair conclusion. He cursed the whole village to die of a pandemic and they turn into zombies feeding on the human flesh. They were scared and begged for mercy but Sukhiram died with his son. That’s why I acted so harshly. I can’t forget your kindness. Had you stayed any longer at my hut, I wouldn’t have been able to control my family. They would have killed you. This is how we lure unsuspecting traveler, feed him delicious food and then sacrifice him to eat him. I am so sorry you had to see me after my death.”
They reached the outskirts of Balrampur and Hariya stepped down saying, ” This is where I leave you. I have to go back to my family.” He got down and disappeared. Ranjeet heaved a sigh of relief and mentally thanked Hariya for saving his life. But he couldn’t see his servant living like a zombie.
The next day, he consulted his family astrologer, Basant Baba and apprised him of the situation. Baba replied, ” Take this holy water of Ganges and sprinkle it on the boundaries of Takiya so that the zombies can never come out to harm you. You have to offer food at the graves of Sukhiram and his family and pray to him to revert the curse. The village will be freed and all the zombies will turn into their spiritual form to return to the other world. Do it on Friday. Don’t forget to wear an amulet of Hanumanji to protect you from any kind of evil spirit. God bless you, son. “
On Friday, Ranjeet reached the outskirts of Takiya by dusk and before anyone could materialize before him, he spread Gangaajal along the boundaries and then moved towards Sukhiram’s grave. He kept the food parcel on the tombstone and prayed for Sukhiram’s soul to appear. Later on, he felt a chill and noticed the souls of Sukhiram and his family. Ranjeet said, ” Please accept my offerings and apologies on behalf of Hariya and the whole village. Kindly help me to lift the curse and liberate their cursed souls.”
Sukhiram was pleased with his sincere prayers. He said, ” You are a kind man and very brave to risk your life. I grant your prayers and remove this curse at once. May all of us cross over to the spiritual world.”
The zombies had gathered around the boundaries and the moment Sukhiram removed the curse, they turned into pure souls. Their aggressiveness was replaced by a divine calmness. Hariya and his fellow villagers expressed their gratitude at being liberated from the curse and granted him a boon that he and his family would never be harmed by any evil spirit, ghost, or any supernatural power or black magic.
Ranjeet watched the villagers of Takiya, including Hariya and his family enter the white light leading to the spiritual realm. Hariya was his most trusted servant cum companion who remained faithful to him even after his death. Ranjeet erected a statue of Hariya in the middle of the palatial lawns.
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