“I am very happy for you, Anish, you have all of us quite proud by becoming such a high ranked officer at such a ripe age. You can stay over here as long as you want to. ‘’Anish’s uncle told him over dinner with a smile. Anish replied, “Thank you so much uncle for keeping me here. They told me that my quarter will be ready within three or four months. A renovation is going on over there. I will shift there as soon as I get my quarter ready.’’ His uncle happily nodded. Anish had come to this small mica mining town in Chattisgarh since he has been assigned as the deputy mining officer over here.
His uncle was his father’s school friend who agreed to shelter him for the time being. Things were rolling along nicely in this quaint old mining town. Anish was getting acclimatized with his new job and the ambiance of this small town. His boss was an elderly amicable person who has been here for the last six years or so. He has informed him that there are many cases of trespassing in the mica mining areas that mainly occur in the night time. There are a lot of local miscreants who exploit these mines regularly. But due to the lack of sufficient armed guards, they are unable to restrict these infringements. Anish’s boss has repeatedly requested the central authority to take necessary steps but there have been hardly any government interventions. Anish’s uncle asked one day, “How are you feeling in our town, Anish.’’
Anish replied with a smile, “Its quite a rustic town, uncle, very peaceful indeed. Not like our Bilaspur, always bustling with traffic. I am liking this place.’’His uncle replied, Yes it is indeed a nice place to live, no pollution, fresh air, lush meadows everywhere. But we are facing some problem Anish off-late. Many people are coming here, building shacks overnight and starting to dwell over here. They dwell for some time and then living everything behind they just disappear.’’ Anish was bemused, “Who are these immigrants? But how can anyone build shacks without anyone’s permission? They will need some permission from some authority.’’
His uncle replied with a smirk, “We had informed the police about this, they had come over here for some investigations. But they did not take any strict steps against them. They just assured us that they are just poor migrant workers and they won’t cause us any harm. I suspected that they must have bribed the police. It’s very fishy Anish.’’ Anish replied, ‘’Yes I have myself seen a shack a few yards away from our place.
Probably an old man and his granddaughter live there.”Anish now remembered he had seen a young girl coming out of the shack, a few days back. Anish became quite curious about all the events that his uncle narrated him. They could be just migrant workers. But why they just disappear living all their belongings behind. Even if they migrated somewhere else they could have carried the belongings.
Anish realized that his uncle was quite right; there is something mysterious brewing in this town. A couple of months passed by but hardly anything suspicious came to the surface. Anish was busy doing his usual official chores and used to spend his long leisure time reading storybooks. He had noticed that the young girl and the old man several times over these months. He had also come across several shacks that were dispersed across the town. The dwellers of these shacks were mostly poor malnourished families; it was quite evident that they were indeed migrant workers.
But the only thing that was bothering Anish and his boss was the increase in the cases of trespassing of these mica mines. According to the night guard, they could hardly notice anything but the next morning, Anish could find clear traces of trespassing. Anish and his boss assumed that the trespassers might have joined hands with these guards. But they could hardly do anything, but Anish decided that he would be himself present around the mines without informing the night guards.
He has to know what was happening. His boss was quite pleased with his decision but also alerted him about the impending dangers. But Anish was quite determined. So he went near the mines with his torch that night. He could notice that the nights were quiet alert but nothing happened. He had taken refuge around a boulder. But nothing happened and the cool night breeze was turning Anish drowsy. He somehow managed to keep himself wide open.
It was almost two o clock, the guards were still awake. But Anish had made up his mind that he would stay here till dawn. Half an hour passed and he noticed that the guards were now fast asleep. Anish became more alert; his prying eyes were settled near the entrance of the mines. But suddenly he felt that a silhouette was moving behind him. Anish was alert and he pounced on the person.
But Anish was suddenly jolted, it seemed as if that person had electrocuted him. In the dim light of his torch, he could see that the person was that young girl. She quickly unfastened herself from Anish’s grasps. But Anish could hardly move, he was transfixed by an unknown force but he could see what was happening around him since a brilliant purple blob of light suddenly appeared near an adjacent boulder.
The young girl began running hastily towards that brilliant light and Anish could hardly see her now. But he noticed that several silhouettes carrying some bags were also heading towards that source of light. Soon Anish noticed that the silhouettes had completely mingled within that light and the purple blob of light now started to ascend stealthily and within few seconds it completely disappeared within the night sky. Anish now passed out.