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Boarding School Buddies - Bizzare Escapades

Boarding School Buddies - Bizzare Escapades

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Published by: CinnamonTeal Publishing on Jul 03, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Bizarre Escapades

Wyn La Bouchardière



Wyn La Bouchardière


As an aficionado and collector of the bizarre and macabre in literature, I was naturally curious to read a book written for children that promised to be “bizarre” in its subject and in the nature of its telling. Reading the stories, I was pleased to find that they were indeed bizarre without being too disturbing for the young reader. Probably the most effective of the tales is the first “Backwater Burial”, about an eccentric recluse whose strange behavior excites the curiosity of the four school boys and whose exploits are set in an entertaining fashion. They are constantly finding themselves in spooky situations, which they handle with aplomb and good humor. The boys, who are friends and neighbors, are an appealing bunch of adolescents, full of curiosity and a propensity for mischief. They come from different backgrounds, but are young enough to be unaffected by the prejudices of their parents and elders. If I was a boy again, I’d like to have them as friends. And even now, if I had to spend a night in a haunted house with four companions, I’d choose this cheerful lot to keep me company. They’d scare the ghosts away. Ruskin Bond 15 March 2011


Table of ConTenTs
Backwater Burial The Cremation Ground Cannibal The Deadly Dip The Terrorising Tree The Haunting at Hound’s End The Smoking Skeleton The Spook in the Loo A Graveyard Rendezvous 1 9 13 19 23 31 37 41


The CRemaTIon GRoUnd CannIbal

he Plaza is showing Frankenstein,” Ponnu informed us with glee. “Let’s go to see it.” “Well, I rather wait to see the movie, The Three Musketeers, due next week,” I answered. Sammy chimed in, “They have yet to show Ben-Hur. Perhaps it is too lengthy to interest most people.” “Oliver Twist,” added Abu, “Aunty loves to read it to me.” “That’s all stale stuff,” shrugged Ponnu. “We need some excitement.” In the end, we agreed to watch Frankenstein. So there we were cycling to our local cinema, The Plaza, a little distance from our homes. Three of us had cycles; Abu had to make do perched on Ponnu’s handle bar and off we cycled full speed on the roads. It was fortunate our streets did not have much traffic. On the way, we had to pass the local cremation grounds. “Better ride quickly past it,” said Ponnu. “Why?” I asked. “A cremation might be on,” remarked Sammy. 9


Boarding School Buddies

- Bizzare Escapades

“I don’t like to see dead bodies,” stuttered Abu. As we cycled at high speed past the dreaded area, we noticed flames rising high in the air. An acrid smell seeped into our nostrils. “There is a cremation going on. Do not look,” muttered Ponnu in an undertone. With images of burning dead bodies in our minds, we cycled posthaste to The Plaza, relieved to be out of the vicinity. “Get the middle seats,” advised Sammy. “We will have people around us for moral support, in case we get frightened.” “Yeah, place Abu between us. He might faint!” Ponnu joked. Thus seated, we watched Frankenstein, holding onto our seats, when he seemed to rise and approach us from the screen. Hopped out for ice cream during the break and were back again glued to our seats, till it ended. Once outside, we heaved sighs of relief. “Whew! Glad that is over. Imagine stitching up parts of dead bodies to create a living being. No wonder it came out as a monster,” commented Ponnu. “Poor creature, he did not ask to be created.” Trust Abu to be sensitive. “Guess, that’s what happens when man tries to play God,” said Sammy. “It is just a story,” I remarked. We mounted our cycles to ride home when the street lights went out. The road turned pitch dark. These unscheduled power cuts of our town were driving everyone mad. “Just when we are in a hurry to get home after a scary movie,” said Abu fearfully. “There are lights on our cycles,” I replied, unruffled. We faltered along the road towards home till we spied flickering lights ahead. We heaved sighs of relief at the sight presuming our parents had put on the emergency lamps. As we cautiously cycled forward towards their glow, we were inundated with the pungent smell of smoke and ashes. We had landed inside the dreaded cremation ground. And there seated, on his haunches, was a half-naked man. He sat motionless staring at the rising flames from a pyre. A mud pot, strung on a makeshift tripod, hung over the fire over a burning corpse. Shocked and 10

Boarding School Buddies

- Bizzare Escapades

scared, we lost our balance, causing our cycles to clatter to the ground. At the sound, the man turned around to stare at us with sunken eyes. Smoke swirled around his ash smeared body. Droplets of sweat glistened on his skin. He raised his hands in a menacing gesture. Screaming with fright, we ran helter-skelter from the ground forgetting our cycles. Panting, we reached the road to run smack into a patrolling policeman. “Whoa, there, what are you all doing on the road this time of the night?” Ponnu gasped out the story. The policeman laughed but sobered up looking at our frightened faces. “You should not be wandering around in this place. But don’t be afraid of old Tappan, he is a harmless aghori at his meditation. Come along, I will take you back to your houses.” “Do you know what he is doing?” I asked him. “You should arrest him,” said Sammy. “He should not be in this place at night.” “Not to worry, boys. He is a very brave man. He is only cooking his kanji.” “Over a dead body?” “Ah! Let me explain. Tappan is engaged in a religious ceremony to obtain special powers. He has to cook a special type of gruel over the flames of funeral pyres. This when eaten will give him exceptional supernatural energy. Whilst it cooks, he must remain in the cremation ground until dawn overcoming his fear. He would have to resist the torments of the spirits whirling around him trying to thwart his purpose. A lot of courage and self will is required to achieve this task.” “What is in the special gruel?” we chorused, goggle eyed. The policeman laughed. “If you would like to know more, you will have to ask the aghori yourself. Only he knows the ingredients,” he said, knowing very well, we dared not visit the place again. With that remark, he guided us, still trembling, back to our homes. “I will get your cycles back tomorrow,” he reassured us. “It is one of these tall tales. Don’t believe him.” I shrugged off the incident. Sammy wondered if he had any books on the subject. Abu vowed never to see a horror movie again. Ponnu had the last word, “What if the aghori creates another Frankenstein with his magic powers?” 11

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