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The Champawat Horror

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A Tragic Alarm

Chapter 3

Sarai was heading through the forest and past the long, thick and very uncomfortable leaves, bushes, trees and tons of underbrush. Sarai couldn’t see anything out in the dark, but she knew where she was going, because she’s been to the river many times before. Sarai loved humming songs and listening to sounds of nature, but since it was night, barely anything was to be heard and she wasn’t used to going to the river during dark hours. As Sarai was making her way halfway to the river, she slowly started hearing sounds from the bushes near her shaking as if something was in it. Sarai stopped walking and looked around, but it was so dark that the only thing she could see were the shadows of the large trees surrounding her and she barely noticed that the bushes were near her.

In just seconds, something ran behind Sarai, and even though she couldn’t see it, she suspected that it was something massive. “Mama? Mama, are you there?” Sarai was hoping that it was her mother, but no response was heard. Sarai continued to walk to the river and soon as she made it, she began to put the giant container into the river and picked it back up. The container was full and Sarai was ready to head back home. As Sarai turned around with the water she fetched, she started walking back to the village. Sarai was nervous and uncomfortable, but things started getting worse when Sarai started hearing heavy purring. “Mama! Daddy! Is that you?” Sarai stood under a tree and noticed that thick blood started dripping from the tree she was standing under. As it fell on her hand, she looked at it and slowly started raising her head up to see where it was coming from. Within seconds, she found herself face to face with a massive Bengal Tiger in a crouch position. The Tiger was staring into Sarai’s soul and Sarai stared back in fear. Sarai screamed and the animal aggressively pounced on her. Sarai began to violently screech, but the river was at a good enough distance from the village that no one was able to hear her cries as the beast was mauling her.

The next day, villagers started getting worried. Sarai never returned to the village last night and her mother was knocking on as many doors as she could and she even knocked on ours asking my Mama and Papa about her. “Have you seen Sarai?” “Well, she came over here last night to bring some food for Rajesh, is something wrong?” “I’m starting to get worried! I sent her to the river last night to fetch some water and she never came back! She never just goes missing like that!” “Why would you send your own daughter out at night?” “She’s been to the river many times, and I thought that she would be fine if she just went to the river for a quick fetch of water!” “You need to go find her!” Papa said. “Bring some of the villagers to help you look for her though, just in case something happens!” She ran to find other villagers to help her look for her daughter.

It didn’t take long, but at least 30 villagers went with her to search for Sarai. This was a situation that gave the village a small wakeup call that she could either still be alive or something terrible happened.

They were searching through the forest in broad daylight, but were hearing nothing from Sarai. “Sarai!” Her mother yelled. “Sarai!” The other villagers were yelling out her name and searching behind trees, bushes and shrubbery. As the mother was searching, she was heading down in a certain direction and she started smelling something awful. “Sarai!” As she walked by a tree, she turned her head to the side and found the remains of her own daughter. Her bottom jaw was completely bitten off and her stomach was completely ripped open. Flies were surrounding her body. The mother screamed in such devastation and kneeled to the ground. Tears started pouring down her face as she was in front of her daughter’s corps. The scream attracted villagers to come and they found the mother crying with Sarai’s disfigured body.

The news about Sarai’s discovered body terrified the village and led a ton of villagers to meet outside and discuss about what could’ve happened. Villagers were frustrated and devastated as they were trying to figure out what happened. Me, Mama, Papa, Ansh and Shaurya were even there. Many villagers were gathering in one area. “This is a situation, a situation that has woken up our village and is giving all of us a devastating call!” The man in charge of the village said. His name was “Kilfuk.” He was the person that was in charge of forming the entire village and the man who helps many people here. “A little girl was found…. dead.” Villagers began to gasp. “Who could’ve done such a thing? WHAT could’ve done such a thing?” “We need to protect our kids!” One of the villagers yelled and other villagers cheered in agreement. “From what, though? What was this threat that took away a little girl’s life?” The people were going back and forth in fear on trying to find out what could’ve happened.

“Tiger.” A man in the crowd said. The people turned to the man and some started swiping the side of their ears. “Tiger killed little girl.” He said as he stared at Kilfuk and he looked back at him. “It comes out at night, and dats when it move. When it move, it hunt and when it hunt…………...it kill.” The man said as the villagers were completely silent and started getting alert. Kilfuk tried to go against the truth. “There are no Tigers here in the Kumaon area.” “You’re facing against de truth, sir! Tigers travel through India’s forests, and-dey-never-stop!” “Where exactly are you going with this, sir?” “De Tiger is no monster, sir, it’s an animal and an animal like dis………is perfectly capable of adapting in these areas. It’s like a killing machine, you will never see it coming.”

The people started getting concerned very quickly. “What if it is a Tiger?!” Someone shouted. “We’ll all be killed!” Someone else shouted. Then a lot of talk was being heard all at once and it was very difficult to understand anyone. I ran back home and began crying knowing that Sarai was gone forever, but the others stayed outside. Kilfuk shouted to get the villages’ attention. “Dhyaan! You made yourself pretty wise, sir.” Kilfuk said to the villager. “As a village, we will all avenge the death of young Sarai! We will find dis Tiger, and put it in its rightful place! In a few days, we will send as many villagers as we can to kill the beast! We will not let any more of our citizens of this village die in the jaws of this creature!

Tell your family, your friends, and all of your loved ones that in a few days……. we have a big kitty in our grasp….!”

Later that night, I was in bed crying and trying to forget about Sarai being gone, but it was very hard for me to just let it go. It was around midnight and my sister, Ansh walked in the room to check on me while Shaurya was asleep. “Aryan? Are you okay?” I turned around and faced her. “I’m sorry about Sarai…. she was a very sweet little girl….” I began pouring even harder and leaned toward Ansh. Ansh held me and hugged me. “She’s gone…” I said. “It’s okay, Aryan.” “What killed her? What did this?” “I don’t know, Aryan, but the village will help us. I’m sure we’ll find out what happened.” Ansh then slowly let me go and we both held onto each other’s hands with both arms. “Let’s say a prayer for her….” She said. We both closed our eyes and put our foreheads against each other and prayed in Hindi for Sarai. After our prayer, Ansh kissed me on my forehead and got up to leave the room. “Goodnight, Aryan.” I was still upset to barely say goodnight, so Ansh just ended up leaving the room and headed downstairs. She noticed her father was awake and standing in front of the stairs as she was going down. “Why are you awake?” He asked.

“I wanted to check on Aryan, Papa.” “He needs to stay in his room and not receive company for a bit, you know that.” “Papa, Sarai was killed and he’s worried about Uncle Rajesh! He didn’t do anything wrong!” “He ruined our family dinner nights ago!” “But, you never thought about him closely like the rest of us did! Whatever killed Sarai could do the same to our family, maybe the whole village, Papa!” Papa stood in shock and tried so hard not to deny what Ansh said. “Go to bed.” “Papa, listen to me- “Now!” Ansh went silent and just went upstairs to bed. Papa felt some signs of guilt and sorrow inside of him, but he didn’t know whether to express it or not.

Later, it was still dark outside, close to 6am when a few villagers went off in search for possible Tiger nests near the village. They thought that if they ever ended up finding the nest, they would know where the Tiger stays and the village would be ready to go after the animal once the time came. They were both walking and making their way through Indian underbrushes and thickets while holding torches with them in the dark. “So, what’s de plan again?” “We’re looking for Tiger nest and once we find it, we tell de people and send others to kill Tiger.” “But, it’s night, what if de Tiger is close?” “Burn it.” “What if it tries to kill-” “It’s you or the Tiger….” The villager then looked at the other in fear and started getting worried for his own life. “Keep eye out for nest.” They both slowly kept making their way through the forest. After moments of searching, they felt like they were both getting close.

They then encountered a large and thin tall grass field that expanded around 30 yards. As they were nearly halfway in the field, paranoia and fear started to sink into the both of them. They both stopped and noticed that a certain spot in the grass field had the tall grass slightly shaking. The grasses motion in that spot was completely uneven compared to the rest of the field, and they both knew that something was there. “They both held their torches in front of them and slowly walked to the area where the tall grasses motion was high. In just seconds, they heard rushing in front of them that occurred for around 5 seconds. They both looked at each other in concerns. As they took a couple steps forward, they came across a rifle that was laying in the field. One of them picked it up slowly and started suspecting that something bad had happened in this field. They moved a bit further in the field and out of such surprise, they came across a Leopard corps in the middle of the field. The body had a giant wound through its neck and blood dripping from its mouth. They both knew that this would lead to a very big call for the village.

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