Tony had been carrying me for far too long. As the night advanced, we decided to stop and as always he managed to set up a bonfire. By the time I decided to go by the river and wash off the remaining blood from my body. My injuries were almost healed so I managed to make my way through on my own. We had not communicated almost for the day. Maybe it was because this entire situation was too awkward.
I ran my hand through the cold river water. I quickly poured the water over my injuries, it pacified me.
The smell of blood had made me mad all day. What about Tony? No… nothing about him. The more I thought of him, the more my fears arose. This was too confusing to fathom. Something was wrong, too wrong. I continued to clean my injuries again for the last time. Rising on my feet, I returned back to where Tony was sitting beside the fire. His eyes staring in the depths of the warmth.
“Are you okay?” He asked.
“Yeah. I’m almost healed.” I replied.
The awkward silence creeped its way again. After a minute or so our silence was filled with a rattle. A dangerous rattle which was making its way towards us.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“I don’t know.” Tony was worried too, looking for the crux of the voice.
A figure appeared from the bushes on our right. The rattle came again as the figure inched towards us I could sniff at its weird body. The torso and head was human but beneath that was a slumpy large tail which dragged ‘her’ ahead.
“Who do we have here?” She asked finally coming in the light.
“Who are you?” Tony asked.
“Vampires.. Very well. I’m Shivani. A Nagin.” She said.
Wait I know what she was talking about.
“Isn’t Nagin supposed to be in India?” I asked.
“Yes girl. I’m an Indian but I moved here some 30 years ago.” Shivani replied.
“30 years? You look so hellish young.” Tony said.
Shivani squeaked out an obnoxious laugh. “Do you think only vampires can live forever?” She said still smiling.
*Nagin or desirous snakes are gifted with a boon. They can change into any form at any time. They are originally snakes, but can grow as well as diminish in size. Many legends tell about their revenge and strength.*
“Well. Shivani… I know Nagins ’cause I’m half Indian. My father was an Indian.” I winked at her.
“I’m glad to meet my fellow after so long. But we don’t get vampires in India, do we?”
“No. He’s my vampire father.” I said pointing at Tony.
“I saw this smoke and came here to check if something was wrong. But.. Maybe there’s no trouble here.”
Shivani said staring at me.
I gave here a warm smile.
“Wait.. Do you know the way to go out then?” Tony asked.
“Of course. You are on right path. You’ll need 2-3..”
“Days?!” I interrupted.
“No… I meant weeks.” Shivani replied smiling and then vanished into the wilderness.
“Wait.. I get this now. Why couldn’t we just exit from the way I entered here in the first place?” I asked Tony.
He smirked at me and said,” You won’t find any way to go out from there. This is a magical forest, as I told you earlier, there are hundred ways to enter but no way to exit.”
“Maybe you are wrong now. There is one way to exit.”
With the daylight, we set past with a new hope to reach our destination. The river which had been flowing along us now drifted apart. The sunrays made their way to the ground creating a Tyndall effect.
“Isn’t sun fatal for us?” I asked noticing the rays falling on my skin.
“It depends. Some get affected while others don’t, sun has no effect on me.” He said without even glancing at my side.
“I hope I’m the same kind too.”
The uneven ground had passed and now we were walking on a smooth path which favoured high speed. The cacophony of birds was no more and evidence of life abated in this part of the forest. I wondered why it was so lifeless here. So creepy.
“Why is this place so lonely?”
“Vampires live here.” Tony replied.
Yeah they may have probably killed all the creatures living here and sucked up the last drop of their blood. Sadly, I was one among them now.
“Why don’t you live here then?” I asked him.
“I don’t,” Tony jumped over the dead tree which blocked our way and offered his hand to me. I gently refused and jumped.
“You don’t..” I reminded him.
“I don’t like them.” He completed.
Right. Whom do you like then?
“Don’t you get bored living alone?”
“No. I have some friends out there.”
Really? This man has friends or does he call stones and trees his friends? “Good because I thought you were a loner.” I confessed.
“You know now.” He said smugly
“But anyways,you are a nice person, I would say.”
“Obliged to hear that from you.” he retorted
“The pleasure’s all mine. I owe you for carrying may for a whole damn day.”
“You should. My arms are still aching.” He smirked.
“Very funny.” I chuckled sarcastically.
Sound of footsteps filled the air. The bushes moved as someone was making its way towards us. Not again. Why do all the creatures in this shitty forest confront us?
“Now who is this?” Frustration dripped from my tone.
“Vampires…” Tony replied.
There they stood. They were five. Each quite formidable and quite well built. Five vampires blocking our way and now there was nowhere to go.
These are our friends, right? Vampires, aren’t they?
“Nice to see you Tony,” The one who stood in the middle spoke. Probably the leader. “It has been long, since we met the last time.”
“When I refused to accompany you, Sarban.” Tony replied with a smirk plastered on his face.
Lout! Don’t infuriate them.
“Ah! I remember that.” Sarban sputtered.
Now that I knew we weren’t getting out easily, how could we fight them? They were five sturdy men and we were two besides I was a newbie. The one at the extreme right had been staring at me. He had golden skin and his eyes had a hint of red mingled with gold, darker and brighter than his skin. He had long hair finishing right above his shoulders. ‘Show me what you got’ his eyes said.
“And who’s your beautiful partner?” Sarban said. I turned my gaze to him. He was just opposite to the man I was watching. Pale skin and brown hair. His eyes were perfect red. His gaze bore into me.
“None of your business Sarban.” Tony hissed.
I gave him deadly glare. There was no way we could fight them and he was provoking them even more.
“I’m Gigi.” I told him.
“Young, aren’t you?” He said.
“Let us go Sarban!” I dare not interrupt Tony now. The look which he had now, was colder than ice and deadlier than a tiger’s stare..
“Hmm. Stubborn as always.” Sarban smiled. “You and your partner are coming with us.”
“You dare not touch her!” Tony gritted his teeth.
Dare not touch me? Oh so caring Tony. I’ve never seen. But it frightened me as much as it made me happy. Wasn’t this going the wrong way?
“Lot of possessive people here.” Sarban said staring at me.
“We ain’t coming with you bastard! Don’t even think of it.” Tony threatened.
“Let’s do it our way then.” Sarban deployed his evil smile and as if a command, the rest made thier way towards us.
The last way I wanted to die was to be trapped and tortured to death. My heart thumped loudly against my chest.
“Violence in my area, Sarban.” Came a voice from the trees. And appeared my friend Nagin! She was in her beautiful human form till the waist and the deadly snake tail slumped down below. And oh so huge she was.
She winked at me indicating the cause she had come here for.
“Get away creature! Do not mess with the vampires.” Sarban yelled at her.
“So you ain’t going easily.” Shivani casted them a deadly smile.
Sarban gave out a laugh, “I’m afraid you won’t escape easily.” He said.
Shivani shrugged as if they were no match to her. Of course she was a Nagin, the most powerful creature of all. Sarban and his group, now, inched towards her. Shivani’s mouth spit fire upon them. Burning them to death.. Ruthlessly. They turned to ashes, their remains mingled with the air that was thickened with smoke.
“Do not mess with me.” She said watching 5 vampires turn into ashes. Cruel, she was truly cruel. But indeed she had helped us and anyway we would have done the same.
To be continued…