The Day It Began
Zainab tucked in Zara and left, Zara started feeling better in a while. She took her diary; there was a thread hanging there as a bookmark. She had picked the thread when she was in second grade at the backyard forest. They lived with her father in Kerala at that point of time, and Zara loved to scout the woods like any child of her age. One fine day, as she was walking through the forest, she came across a polythene bag and some other mysterious things around it. There was horrifying stench that emanated from that spot.
Zara was taught not to touch any mysterious things, so she rushed to tell her father about it. On the way, a little way from the plastic she found an unusual looking thread and this eight-year-old child brought it home. Zara reached back and informed her father about the package. There was weird gloom on the dinner table that night, and the guard never lets any child in the forest after that day. Zara did ask her father about it, and her father dismissed it saying it was roadkill and the deer’s carcass was probably dumped in a polythene bag to feed wild animals. He also warned her about dangerous animals.
Although after Zara slept that night, Fahad was livid at everyone for letting Zara anywhere close to the woods. The police kept visiting their place throughout that night which was always a rare sight to find them around the army quarters. Zara did watch a reflection of the red lights on her ceiling of their reading room as she placed the thread in one of her notebooks. She heard the incoherent conversation between her father and the police as Zainab put her sleep.
Later that night, Zara saw a dream that a lady was staring at her from across the bed. She was unable to breathe. She recognized the lady from somewhere, and her wide eyes kept piercing through Zara. The lady merely smiled at Zara. The smile burned Zara’s face as she woke up screaming, but there was no sound. There was plant growth all around her, and the feeling of fear overtook her body.
Fahad’s day had just ended, he entered Zara’s bedroom, and as he turned on the light, the sight of Zara terrified him. She had her eyes open staring into the ceiling and seemed as if frozen in time. Fahad didn’t breathe for a minute as he woke her up. She woke up and looked very reasonable as if she just woke from sleep. He kissed her sleepy eyes good night and went back to sleep. He dismissed it as a one-off incident. He didn’t want to cause any stress to Zainab, so he kept her oblivious to the event.
Zara started behaving weirdly in school the next day. She was quiet, at first, her teacher ignored it, but her grades started dropping. But she kept noticing Zara staring out of the window during her class. Every time her teacher saw it, it was as if a sociopath was staring at her. The teacher quickly took the matter to the school therapist, and Zainab met them days later.
Zara acquired a peculiar habit since that day, and since then she has been having premonitions.