The Cursed Bracelet
She rubs her eyes again but is clueless of the place in front of her. “Have I been here? Why does this place look so familiar?” She asks herself wiping of the face with her shivering fingers. It was dark and quiet. Even the moonlight is forbidden from entering the area where she stood, frighten and cold. She took a few steps to explore the place and felt a hand on her shoulder. It is the moment. She wants to face her ultimate fear but is unable to move. Chanting the mantras that her grandmother taught her, she decides to look back and opens her eyes to find herself lying on her bed with her cousin Richa, at her room. She took her phone and saw the time. It was 5am in the morning and went back to sleep growling angrily at no one in particular.
When she woke up, it was her mom smiling and waking her with a lullaby. It was the best thing that happened to her in the last ten hours. “Good morning mom. I love you. You are the best,” she says and hugs her mom tight and lands a kiss on her cheek with a big smile. Her mom feels strange and looks at her confused. “Is everything alright Sherleen? You never do this until you want something from me,” her mom asks with worried eyes. “This is wrong ma. I do hug you always. Don’t worry I am healthy as a horse.” She jumps of her bed and hugs her mother even tightly. “Okay baby. Now go and get ready, we are going for shopping. Wake up Richa.” Sherleen rolls to the other side of the bed in excitement and shouts in her cousin’s ear, shocking her completely. “Have you lost your mind Sherleen? Is this the way to wake someone?” Richa shouts at her angrily and takes a deep breath to bring back her heart rate down to normal that was pounding at a speed of a jet plane. “Really? Are you giving me lessons to how to wake someone? You are here for few days and I want every second to count when it comes to having with my only best friend. So stop whining and get ready, we are going shopping,” she adds and starts dancing. Richa had no other choice but to listen to her cousin, who also is her best friend. Richa was only two days old when Sherleen was born in the same hospital to mother who are sisters themselves. And since then, they have been for each other in thick and thin. Every summer vacation either Sherleen goes to Richa’s house or Richa’s comes to Sherleen’s house. Their houses are in different cities but the distance never affected their relation in anyway.
They were back in the evening with their shopping bags and big smiles. In Sherleen’s family, there was an unsaid rule. The whole family gathered at the night and had dinner together. “How was your shopping Sherleen and Richa,” asked her dad with a funny tone. Before she could answer, her brother interrupted, “You asked the wrong question Papa. She lives to shop,” he added and started laughing.
“I hate you Nakul but what you said is the utmost truth,” she mutters and starts laughing with the others. She looks at her grandparents and enjoys seeing them laugh too. It was a wonderful dinner and her family laughed, talked, cracked jokes and enjoyed the time of togetherness. Sherleen and Richa went to sleep talking about their shopping and slowly it all went quiet with a continuous humming of the fan. It was dark again but quite visible than the last time. Sherleen could smell the same air, could feel the same cool breeze blowing and could sense the same anxiety in the atmosphere from the last night in her dream. The only difference was that she could see her surrounding today much clearer. She started walking towards the light that came from the bushes but something stopped her from reaching it. She tried again to walk but this time was pulled so hard that she fell and woke up looking at her carpet. Gasping for breath, she pulled herself of the ground, sat there until her breathing was even, and got back to the bed. She picks up her phone of the table and stares at it with mysterious eyes. It was 5am in the morning. Sherleen was not the kind of person who believes in anything supernatural other than God. It was important for her to come out of this feeling so she sat up and started meditating. She felt weak the whole day and had a constant headache due to lack of sleep at least this is what she thought. With each passing night, things started getting weird in her dreams. She could see much clearer with each passing night and found herself closer to that light but woken up with sudden jerks that started causing bruise on her body. Every time she woke up dot at 5am in the morning. She became sceptical but ignores her instincts that told her that there was definitely something wrong and continues with her day to daily activities. She starts meditating for longer hours and her eating habits were raising suspicion to her family. Richa too felt something was going on and asked her many times but she ignored her question in some or the other way until the eighth night. Sherleen was working on her school project on her laptop when she first heard the sound. First, it was just a distanced thump then slowly the sound increased. It was so sharp and continuous that Sherleen starts shouting loudly. Richa panicks and woke up hurridly looking at Sherleen. She holds her arms tightly and asks her to calm down. In the meanwhile, her parents and brother came rushing to the room and were terrified to see her daughter crying and shouting loudly. Sherleen’s mother ran to her, gave her a tight hug, and asked her what was going on. She gives no response to any question and keeps yelling until she fell unconscious. After few seconds, she opened her eyes and was completely unaware of whatever happened. Her family did not bother her with their questions instead they left her to take rest and sleep peacefully. Sherleen’s mother asked Richa to take care of her.
Things got worse in the next few days. Richa was the one who saw Sherleen’s condition from bad to worse. Her health was deteriorating but her appetite had increased twice of what she used to have before. Every night she woke up shouting and complaining of peculiar noises that only she could hear. She once shouted to stop scratching noises that came from the closet next to her. Her nightmares were getting clearer day by day and now she knew where she was and what that light in the bushes was. She remembers everything.
Just five days before Sherleen’s birthday, Richa sat down next to her, who was staring at the sky with blank eyes. “Sherleen I am your best friend and I feel terrible to see you like this. Please talk to me. We have always shared everything with each other and now seeing you like this and not knowing is killing me. I want to help, so please tell me what has happened.” Richa started crying and expected her to talk but to her disappointment, her cousin had nothing to say.
She opens her eyes to find herself staring at the same dark place. Only difference, today Sherleen knew where she was and what was the next thing she going to do. She walks toward the bushes and bend over to find the source of light. And there it was, a diamond studded bracelet. It was the most beautiful thing Sherleen ever saw in her entire life. She grabbed it and turned over to meet the eyes of the devil. She starts choking at the site of the dark entity that had no face, no skin, but only a structure. It was a dark shadow approaching towards her; she could do nothing but stand there helpless waiting to be consumed by the darkness. Sherleen could feel anger, rage which was radiating from the shadow into the atmosphere but she could not even twitch her lip. It was standing right in front of her face, ready to engulf her, consume her soul and pour its darkness into her’s. Just then, Sherleen opens her eyes and to her relief found herself staring at her room’s ceiling fan. She took a moment to relax and saw Richa deep asleep. Her mouth felt dry so she got of the bed and went to the kitchen to have ice-cold water. Just when she thought everything was fine, that this was her real world, the world that had no danger to her, had vanished. She could not believe her eyes and felt like her nerves going numb. Her sister was sleeping exactly where she left her for the kitchen but it was her side of the bed that made her breathing unsteady. The dark entity from her dreams was sleeping right next to her sister in the exact same position when she woke up to. She got the haunting shadow from her dreams to her real world and the sight of it made her numb. She could not feel anything. All her fear and nervousness took over by a sensation that was alien to her. Sherleen realised it after few second that her body had gone into shock and nothing could undo her present state. She stood there waiting for her doomed future in the hands of her ‘soul eater’.
The next morning called for celebrations but instead it turned out to be a morning of sadness. Sherleen was hospitalized and there was nothing that the doctors could to do to improve her condition. She was barely alive. Nothing could get her back into her senses. This was not how Richa had imagined her 17th birthday would turn out to be. Sherleen’s family had no clue of the situation. They prayed the whole day, spoke to doctors, did everything humanly possible but nothing helped their daughter to come back from the darkness. It was the next day when Sherleen woke up with no signs of illness. She requested her parents to take her back to their home as hospital made her nervous. On the way back home, she requested her grandmother to call her family saint (whom they referred as Guruji) who was known to be the most humble and holy soul in the town. Her grandmother got suspicious but assured her that she would send a message to Guruji and request for his presence by today evening. Sherleen gave a faint smile and closes her eyes to take some rest.
The time had come for some revelations. The whole family sat at the living room and watched Sherleen staring at the ceiling fan. Gururji came to their residence at the right time but it was Sherleen who refused to speak and the silence became awkward with every passing second. Finally, something happened and Sherleen snaps out of her silence and looks at Guruji.
“Thank you for coming Guruji at such short notice. The last few days have been very difficult for my family and me. I requested for your presence to confess a mistake that has changed our lives,” she looks at everyone with tears in her eyes. “But before things get worse, I had to know if there is anything that I could do to get us out of this situation.” Her family looks at her, confused and panicked.
Guruji took her hand in his with a smile, “Sometimes we do things that are destined for us. We wish we knew the consequences but there is nothing that could be done to change your destiny,” he said with an assurance.
“I hope things were different.” She looks at him and continues, “Last month we had gone for a family trip to Manali and something bad happened when we were heading back. It took place exactly sixteen days from now. It was 5am in the morning and Papa stopped at a petrol pump to refuel his car. I was awake and got out of the car to stretch my legs. In the meanwhile, my eyes fell on a sparkling light that came from the bushes. I walked to the bushes in exactly ten steps from where I was standing to feed my curiosity. I bend over to see the source of that light. There it was, a beautiful bracelet with a black flower embedded with diamonds on the top of it. I had never seen something like it. It had a different kind of charm and I instantly reached to it and picked it up. As soon as I touched it, there was a connection made between us. I could feel its energy travelling into me, right then mom called me, and unknowingly I put it in my pocket. Since then I have been dreaming of that moment every night and can feel something consuming my body cell by cell every second and, there is nothing I can do nothing to stop it. Yesterday, in my dream, I saw a dark entity. It has captured my soul and I can’t do anything to separate myself from it.” Sherleen looks at her family, tries to understand and read their expression but fail miserably. There was pin drop silence in the room for almost a minute. Guruji looks terrified but tries very hard to contain himself. Next when he speaks, the world of Singh family come down shattering.
“Sherleen, why did you do it? How could you forget your mother’s teaching, to not touch anything lying on the ground if it is not yours? Child, you have no idea in what you have got yourself in and I cannot do anything to help you. It’s too late to come out of it.” His face was red with anger. Her family started asking Guruji but he was far away in his terrain of thoughts.
“Few years back, my very close friend had stumbled upon a situation same as Sherleen. The girl was about to step into her seventeenth year when she found cursed bracelet and took her last breath on her birthday. She witnessed exactly the same things as Sherleen. My friend did everything in his capacity to save her but nothing could have done because he was unaware with what he was dealing with. After she died, my friend searched for every evidence and study from the past that he could get to know about what had actually happened to her. Until one day, he found out the whole story behind the bracelet.” Guruji posed to look at Sherleen with weary eyes.
“Our world has changed and evolved indefinitely in the past few centuries but there are things or rather entities that have followed us then and made our lives miserable and have continued to do it till today. The entity that you spoke about is the owner of this bracelet. It has been charmed with evil spells and hold the dark entity which feeds of it. It targets only young girls who are below twenty years with a strong soul. Once touched, the bracelet forms a connection with the human soul and starts feeding on it. The dark entity is called a “Soul Devourer”, as they consume your soul and leaves your body behind exactly on your birthday. If you are seventeen, then it will take exactly that number of days to consume the soul. No one has ever come out of it alive. He takes a long pause and closes his eyes before saying the next sentence. The room is filled with eight people but no one moved. He continued heavy heartedly,”Singh ji, there is nothing that we could do to save your granddaughter. The only one thing that we can do is pray for her soul and put her into peace.” There were tears in Guruji’s eyes and he could not see the pain the family went through after those last words. Sherleen’s grandparents started crying, her parents were petrified and stood still, her brother tried to look after his family but is trembling and has no clue to what he was doing, but it was Richa who stood strong. Sherleen has no expression. It seems like she knew this was going to happen. She stood up and went to her room silently. Richa rushed to take her seat next to Guruji on the sofa. She looked in his eyes and asked, “Are you sure there is nothing we can do to save her life? I have always read and heard that with every bad thing there is pinch of goodness attached in some or the other way and I want to explore and take that chance. Please tell me there is a way to save her.” She pleads to Guruji.
Guruji was shocked to see such selfless love. He gazed at her for a long time and says, “Yes there is a way. But it has only been done once.” These words felt like blessing to Sherleen’s family. “We can stop it for now but it will demand sacrifice and will return to fetch what is seeks for. And you know what it seeks for is a soul and what better would it be to offer it another soul of a girl who is about the same age.”
“What do you mean Guruji?” Richa looks confussed. He adds, “If you touch the bracelet, the curse will attach to you.” Guruji takes her hand and calmly places another one on it and explains her. “If a girl of the same age touches it, the way the curse works is interrupted and, it takes another way to complete what it started. It would come back for its host but after exactly the number of years of the age of that girl. So if you touch it, then the “Soul Devour” will come after seventeen years to fetch Sherleen’s and your soul. This time it would take both your souls together to punish you for interrupting the cycle of the curse.”
Richa listens every single word carefully and takes some time to process the information. She looks up in the eyes of Guruji and conveys her decision. “Richa if you are thinking of doing this then I oppose your decision and will not let you make such a big mistake. We are losing her already but we cannot lose you too. Please get this thought out of your head and let her go in peace.” His voice trembled when he spoke the next sentence. “If this is destined for her then let her die.” He looks down and sobs silently.
Richa’s eyes sparkled with joy. She stands up and says,’ If I can save my soul sister and get a chance to die with her nothing like it. There is no living without her. She jumps of the sofa in a fraction of second without seeing anyones reaction and runs to Sherleen’s room, puts her hand into the jacket and there it was, “The cursed bracelet”. She felt the same sensation as Sherleen explained earlier but there was no looking back. She made her choice and will never regret it.
As soon as Richa touched the bracelet, Sherleen felt the evil force drawing away from her. She turns around and looks at her cousins hand and jumped off her bed in anger. “What did you do Richa?” She yells at her and starts crying.
Richa give a big smile and hugs her, “We are in this together. We live together, dream together and die together. In your face Soul digger.”