The path through the forest was endless and the further Preeti looked, the more she felt discouraged. There were trees, hedges, ferns and rocks. Apart from that, there were no sounds to be heard except the weighing silence.
Rudra was walking a few steps ahead from her, apparently lost in his own thoughts. He had left behind quite a few trees unmarked and she had to make up for his absent-mindedness. She picked up a rock and started chipping away at the bark. A little dust flew out, but she had barely caused a dent in the wood. She sighed, feeling defeated and then her eyes fell on a vine lying by her feet. She picked it up and tugged, feeling the tautness of the green vine. She tied the vine around the trunk and pushed the rock under it. This would be her sign that they had passed this way.
She saw a few more vines lying on the ground and bent over to gather them. Rudra kept walking, oblivious to her activities and when she looked up, she felt fear dawn on her when she saw how far he had walked away from her.
“Rudra!” she screamed. “Rudra!”
He turned the second time and she saw the blank look on his face. Then it was replaced by confusion and fear. He made his way to her and smiled. “I don’t know what happened.”
Preeti handed him some of the vines and collected some more. “I was thinking we should use these as markings.”
A vine twirled around her ankle and tugged suddenly. Preeti gasped and using her fingers broke it easily. “What the hell!”
“You probably stepped on a bunch of vines and got tangled,” He said. His tone was listless, his eyes blank again.
“No, I was careful!”
“It’s the forest and the darkness. You’re letting your imagination run away with you.”
“What?” Preeti asked in disbelief. “You saw what happened.”
“I didn’t see anything,” Rudra said defensively. He appeared annoyed at her for complaining and she decided she might as well keep quiet rather than argue with the only person present at the moment - and to think she had started to think twice about Rudra. He was obviously distracted thinking about being in the arms of his lovely girlfriend.
“Let’s move forward,” She said angrily.
If you enjoyed reading this excerpt, you can buy the book on Amazon