Love is the strength to see beauty even when there isn’t any. The world seems like a painting that has all the colors of joy in it. But love is also a great weakness. To protect our love, we sometimes become evil or we love so much that we know no boundaries. Can I say love brings evil in you? Sure, we all know that when in love, we are the kindest and see the beauty in everything in the world. Even a beggar’s wail of sorrow on an empty stomach, trying to get some money for food by singing is heard as a melodious voice, so sweet to the ears. Our beloved’s thoughts are like religious scriptures, containing all the wisdom there is to acquire. The deeds of our beloved even when wrong are righted by our excuses and benefit of doubt imparted to their every wrongdoing. But what happens to the angel in you when your beloved is in pain?
All your happiness that is objectified in a person, all your love towards that one man or woman seems to be ending with their last breath and you cry and cry to drain out the pain, every now and then. You don’t listen to anything. You pray but feel the emptiness of trust or love or passion or anything. You just go by the day’s chores, there is a vacuum in your heart.
In this story, that very vacuum is what served as an invitation to Barbara, the spirit of a witch. But she couldn’t reside in Shyla unless she said so herself. So Barbara planted some wicked thoughts in Shyla. Shyla was empty from within. Shyla, by now, was like a baked bean can, which was used and thrown in the trash for a decade now. This was the time for rodents and other inhuman beings to reside in this can. Shyla was an empty vessel with no thoughts or desires.
Her prayers were a ritual of sorts, with only drops of hope left in them, just a bare little. Whatever was in her that kept her alive, all the emotions combined had drained from her. She was colorless and hopeless. She just wanted a miracle. And she knew that a miracle wasn’t to come. Though she was walking towards the church, but her mind wandered off in a magical, fantastical place where her dreams took shape of reality in her head still. That’s a great way nature has given us to reside in someplace else in our head, away from the pain in the real world, to survive the bad circumstances.
Enough having said about Shyla and her condition now, let’s see what Barbara did to dwell inside her. She first planted some evil thoughts in her. She made Shyla think of turning towards black magic or sacrifice of some sort. But soon, Barbara realized that Shyla could have a bad thought once but she wouldn’t execute on it. So Barbara decided to show her hope, be her hope. She is a spirit remember. Only Shyla could see her.
Barbara sat on the corner of the pavement and when she saw Shyla passes through that pavement, she called out at her. “Hello, Miss! Seeking solace! Shyla disregarded her and smiled a little meaningless smile more like a smirking sort of and left the place. After having walked the entire length of the pavement, she again spots Barbara at the beginning of the next, and she was shocked. She turned her head to see if her eyes could spot her at the place where she saw her first. But that was a long-distance and there were also some slight curves in the lane. She turned her head again to look straight and missed a heartbeat as Barbara was standing right in front of her. So close to her that their nose met. Shyla stepped back almost instinctively. She was stammering and thought of saying something but nothing occurred to her. She took to her heels and started running, fearing for life. Every lane she crossed, she found Barbara smilingly waiting for her. Finally, mustering just enough courage to ask this question, Shyla asked Barbara, “What is it that you want from me?” As if ready and waiting for that question, Barbara responded almost instantly, “I don’t want anything from you. I want to give you something. Something you desire the most?” saying so she cackled. Shyla couldn’t believe and it was evident the way her furrows met. But a sudden wave of bravery filled her lungs like a fresh waft of breath. She asked boldly, “Are you referring to Chris?”
“Yes, indeed I am!” replied Barbara.
Shyla - C-can you help us?
Barbara - Certainly!
Shyla kneeled and with hands folded in a tight grip, she begged fervently.
Please, please help him! Cure him!
Barbara – That’s what I am here for! But you just have to pay a tiny fee.
Shyla – Fee? What fee! Kindly tell me. I am willing to do just anything.
Barbara – Then say aloud, “You allow me!”
Shyla – Allow you? For what? For helping us!
Barbara – Just say it!
Shyla said the words allowed. Barbara vanished. Shyla was left confused. She didn’t know if she had been daydreaming like she did these days because of very little food and no sleep and lots of stress. She sighed and walked towards her home.
Barbara (from within Shyla) – Now I can help you.
Shyla looked around but felt something weird within her. It’s like there was a voice recorder insider her heart. Immediately she knew she made a big mistake and the price was definitely not tiny. So she asked the voice within her, “Will you leave me someday?” To which Barbara replied, “Yes, I would but only when I have all of you.” Shyla didn’t understand that very well but understood it meant nothing good.
The rest of the walk was silent but she was just hoping that this was all a nightmare. There were tears in her eyes, rolling down to find a way through her cheeks and neck to her heart. She remembered her God and realized she was such a fool to have left that miserable vacuum inside her. Why didn’t she allow the prayers to instead light the darkest sorrowful corners of her heart? That would have been so wonderful and as if she suddenly knew how to work a miracle. Now she called upon herself yet another evil. Barbara couldn’t hear her thoughts but the pain in Shyla’s heart was what Barbara thrived upon.
Shyla was full of answers now. She reached home and unlike every day, she headed straight to her room where she took her prayer book and started praying feverishly. Barbara didn’t like that and asked in a loud rattling voice, “Why don’t you take me to Chris? You know I can help him this instant. He will be well in no time.” Shyla chose not to respond and tried to focus really, really hard on her prayers. She knew it isn’t going to be easy. Barbara created havoc in the house, smashing and breaking things. There was a loud shriek and yell. Every time Shyla was getting scared, she tried to think of her deity, her Lord was within her.
Just then, a bird appeared at her window. This bird was unlike any other. More colorful, more rainbow-ish. Shyla wasn’t sure why she was feeling the strength on seeing the bird. She kept looking into the eyes of the bird that moved its wings time and again to settle down but all the while the bird’s eyes were fixed on Shyla’s. Shyla too experienced eye-lock with the bird. This bird seemed to be providing some inner peace and strength in Shyla.
Parallel to this scene was that of Barbara’s. She was screaming, trying to get the attention of Shyla. Shyla now all calmed down and no longer afraid, spoke to Barbara in a soft voice, “You wanted to take over me, my existence. You wanted a body. Only because though you think you have powers you don’t have any. You scare me because in fact you are scared easily. There is nothing you can do but scare me to succumb to you. I am more powerful than you. But I pity you. You may have done wrong deeds in your life to be suffering so much. But I wish I could help. I realize that I can’t.
So I order you to leave my body this instant. Barbara wailed a terrifying cry and then puff! She vanished again. But this time for good. Shyla’s calm mind and rhythmic heartbeats were gone away all with the sudden realization that Barbara could have used Chris as a vessel. She rushed into Chris’s room to find him okay. But she was sure that couldn’t be. She closed her eyes and tried to get a grip on her faith. She wanted to know if it was a miracle that Chris is now alright or is it, Barbara, in him.
Then it dawned upon Shyla that the spirit needs permission to enter into one’s body. So she was relieved. She wanted to believe a miracle had taken place after all. Faith could indeed move mountains. She brushed her worries aside and hugged Chris. Only she couldn’t feel Chris’s body. She felt like she was hugging some aura.
While Shyla was left wondering what is happening, she saw the bird yet again and this time on the window of Chris’s room. She then looked at the heart rate monitor and realized Chris was no more. Yet it was his love that gave her the strength. It was her faith that had brought back her bravery to fight the evil within her. But alas! She had to deal with the bitter truth of life, Death!