December 7, 2009
Since one of the teacher's had called in sick so Tobu and his friend were sitting and enjoying the sunlight after so many cold winter mornings....but their joy was short lived.
"What are you doing" ? asked an irate Mr.Thomas ."Hmm just killing time Mr.Thomas" quipped Tobu. "Why don't you go kill yourself" shot back Mr.Thomas with a raised hand.Scared Tobu and his friend scampered away before they got hit.What made his fear last longer than usual was the fact that Mr.Thomas was also his evening tuition teacher.Tobu went to take special classes to catch up because he had joined mid -year after his father's transfer.
The seconds ticked faster than usual as Tobu looked at the old grandpa clock.The minutes seem to be running really fast, and by the time Tobu came back to his senses the clock showed 7.10PM. The noise of the seconds ticking were deafening in an otherwise noisy household.He was late.To be at Mr.Thomas' residence at 7.30PM he needed to be out by 7PM.Being new to the area didn't help either.
Tobu decided to cut across the cemetery diagonally to reach Mr. Thomas's residence quicker.The short-cut would save him some time.It was a dark and chilly December night.The mercury had dipped below normal which led to very few people being outdoors.The full moon showed brightly up in the sky and Tobu took a deep breath and walked in through the iron gates of the cemetery.He clutched his books tightly and walked briskly with his head down.the wind chill was biting his ears.
Suddenly he heard a voice.He froze for a moment.Trying not to anticipate the worst, but he had to look up.the moon showed brightly on his grammy's face.she stood there with an extended hand.Tobu's heart was racing and the goosebumps were going crazy on his arms.The moment of silence was as if time had stood still.Before he realized what he was doing, he saw himself reaching out to grammy's outstretched hands.
As he walked , he felt he was gliding, the thorns didn't hurt below, the mud never splashed, the stones never hurt.He could literally feel her hand pulling him through the road,he was shivering now...but kept going as if in a trance.As they reached near the exit gate of the cemetery at the other end, Grammy looked back and seemed to be saying "take care" and she vanished into the darkness ahead of the lone surviving lamp post.Tobu was in a state of complete stupor.He ran like he never had before,his heart beat now so loud that he could hear every beat pound his head.
"Ting tong" rang the door bell at Mr.Thomas' residence.The grumpy old man opened the door and was taken aback seeing Tobu in that harried state.He gave Tobu some water as he welcomed him inside, a side which Tobu had not seen before. " why are you here Tobu?" asked Mr Thomas with a genuinely worried look.A confused Tobu gulped the water and blurted "tuition sir." He couldn't understand why Mr.Thomas looked so exasperated. After all he'd made it in time - it was 7.30Pm on the dot.
Mr.Thomas asked Tobu his residence telephone number."Hello this is Mr.Thomas Tobu's teacher, can I talk to Tobu's father please." he said in tone of urgency.
"yes Mr.Thomas - is Tobu with you?" asked a worried Tobu's father."don't worry he's safe." answered Mr.Thomas in a reassuring tone." I will make sure he stays here in the night." Tobu looked up suddenly and couldn't believe his ears. The phone hung up before he could muster the courage to speak up.
Mr.Thomas came and sat beside him and said "Tobu you shouldn't have done that, you cant take risks like that".Tobu was puzzled, how did Mr.Thomas know he came through the cemetery.? He had just left his home and his family knew where he was going, so why were they worried?What was going on here? The last 30 minutes had been surreal, so many things happened he was completely in a state of shock. Mr.Thomas said,"why did you run across the cemetery, you could have hurt yourself.Times are not good. The road across the cemetery is being repaired,but the potholes are dangerous." As Tobu was about to say " but but Mr.Thomas I didn't run acrossss"- he got interrupted -" relax young man,now that you are safe here, I will ask Mrs. Thomas to make some food for you and you can sleep in the guest room tonight, tomorrow morning you can go home."Tobu was blank...but he nodded without questioning.
6.30AM the next day.As the newspaper man threw the rolled up newspaper it hit the guest room window and fell in the balcony.Tobu woke up with a start.It was a cold,foggy winter morning,he rubbed his eyes, temporarily forgetting what he d been through the previous night, and opened the balcony door slowly.
A cold wind gushed past his face and as he looked down, he saw the news paper lying near his feet.He picked the newspaper up gingerly and opened to read the headlines.
The eyes were still blurry, usual stuff he glanced, politics,sports, murders, crime etcetera..till his eyes came across a peculiar photograph on the lower end on the right side of the second page. "cemetery under attack - 3 criminals hiding in the local cemetery were killed in a police encounter around 7.20PM yesterday night - local authorities had cordoned off the place at a short notice following a tip off. the police successfully nabbed one culprit alive hiding near the exit gate - the double murder mystery is now solved. "