My parents were frequent movers so the majority of my schooling life was spent in boarding school, I won’t be naming the school for reasons well known, but I can tell you its quite an old school in India, with a long history, and notable alumni. So in my school every student had to choose from various clubs, like chess, poetry writing, news, sports, gardening etc. So mine was poetry and all poetry club members also ran the library with the librarian and his staff.
The library was rather extensive, with books on every single subject, 2 floors, and a reading area right in the middle, with rows and rows of bookshelves all around, so it is here that my story starts. As i’ve told you this school was very old, and when a school is old stories abound, one such story is that during the early 50s, people fresh from the independence struggle, stormed into the school, which still had many British students, those whose parents refused to go back after the independence, refused to leave the country they were born in, even though Their ancestors were from another country. So these children were rushed into the library, and lynched by the mob, and the library burnt, the library had since been rebuilt and over the years the small country library has grown into a large well kept and stocked library. So one night the librarian’s daughter had the flu, and there were a couple of books due that day, so he asked me to cover for him for a couple of hours and since it was a Saturday and we boarding school kids do not have a vibrant weekend life like you public school guys. I decided to help this guy out, so all alone at 9:30, I decided to read some magazines, interesting articles in the nature magazine about some japanese guy who had developed a new way to grow oviperous animals without an egg, with peptone broth as nutrient reservoir and a semi-solid sea kelp based substance as micro-environment, and about a Finnish group activists who were against lab tests on animals. So this was my weekend and I quite liked it, after waiting for a few more hours, I sermised no one would come now, and the librarian was obviously asleep, so I decided to close the library and go back to my room. I was about to bolt the main door when I heard the sound of footsteps coming from the contemporary literature section, I decided to check it out. Once there, I called out, but there was no reply, and just to make sure I went inside, since this was one of the underlit portions of the library and this was the middle of the night, I took the librarian’s torch and went on a patrol.
There was no one in the first 2 rows, so I walked into the third row, already anticipating it empty but just to make sure I checked it out, and voila we had our mystery intruder, I saw a young boy, about foot shorter than me. He was wearing the colours of my house, though I did not recognise the Jersey, and as a matter of fact I had never seen him in my house (all members of a house stay in one hostel), new student probably, so I asked him if he was lost, and if he wanted me to take him back to the house. He did not answer, just kept staring at me, for some reason he was afraid of me, even his face looked pale, or was it his complexion I could not tell, but I could tell he was scared. I tried to edge forward, suddenly realizing that I had indeed seen the Jersey somewhere, and the kid looked more and more in horror.
I to ease him I asked his name, he did not tell, I even offered to walk him back to our house but he just stared on, and finally when I was just a feet or so away, he let out a scream, a shrieking scream and in the light of the torch I saw that his mouth was missing a tongue… Now it was my turn to nurse horror, I turned around and quitely walked away, not looking back or running, confused about what I had seen, the shriek had stopped but I could still hear his footsteps behind me, it was like I was being followed. As I walked out of the library, I could not muster the courage to turn around and lock the library up. I ran back to my house, and quickly jumped inside my blanket, it was winter and the place was generally cold but I was sweating, I could not sleep that night. The next day I walked to the librarian and told him what had happened, and weirdly he did not look fazed, he let me go without a scolding for leaving the library open… Finally as I was walking back to the house, I finally remembered where I had seen the Jersey, in the memorial for the children who died that fateful day… This incident still haunts me, not because I had an encounter with a spirit but because of all that a child had to endure..