Continued from https://litlatte.com/2015/09/30/yakshi/
“So the number one rule is that all roads leading to Yakshi land must be pure gravel”, said Madhan as he drove his bike down a terribly bumpy path, a thick forest on either side. “Tarred roads are seemingly banned by the Yakshi queen, a great believer of exercise, so that the men, forced to walk to their dooms, stay fresh and healthy. Much like free-range poultry farms, I must say.”
“Stop complaining, grumpy. Especially when you’re so liberal with your brake application”. Neha she sat behind him, holding him by waist.
Madhan blushed. Although he’d never braked on purpose, he enjoyed the occasional chance brushing. Acknowledging it somehow made him embarrassed. Beyond the occasional kissing and necking, Madhan and Neha hadn’t explored much.
“So tell me, what do you think is the Yakshi’s modus operandi”, asked Neha sensing his embarrassment. “Does she suddenly break into a shimmy in the middle of the forest?”
“Arey, no yaar. Wait, I think we’ve reached the spot. See the Pala tree over there”
“What tree?” asked Neha. Madhan parked his bike and the two alighted from it.
“Pala tree. I think the English name is Indian devil tree”
Madhan picked one of the many flowers from the ground and brought it to his nose
“Ahhhhh, what a smell. I cant believe I forgot this beauty. So when the Yakshi first arrives, the unwitting handsome boy, yours truly in this case, is first enraptured by the bewitching smell of the Pala poove, or the flower of the devil tree.”
“Until, he sees this lovely maiden, through the dim shadows of the moon, black long hair adorned with these ravishing flowers”, Madhan pulled Neha towards him and placed the flower in the twirls of her hair. “Dressed in white set munde or…. whatever shade of purple plus T-shirt that is available.”
“This is a lavender, my friend, and a top, let me add. But tell me, does this Yakshi have a pickup line? Like, if you think I’m hot now, wait until you see what I turn into at midnight. Or you look so good I could eat you.”
“Yuck! You’re spending too much time with that Nair. No. Yakshis are classy babes. They’ll be all like Thirumeni, which is something like ‘your highness’. So its ‘Thirumeni, may I borrow a little lime’?’”
“Okay. She’s running a lemonade stall somewhere?”
“No silly, to rub on her betel leaf.”
“She chews betel leaves? Thats super classy, man.”
“Are you playing along or what?”
“Ok, Ok, Thirumeni, may I borrow a little lime”, said Neha, stifling a giggle.
“Yes, my good lady. But what, may I ask, are you doing alone, in this uninhabited jungle.” said Madhan.
“My house is just by the grove over there”, Neha replied, trying out a seductive tone. “I was hoping to visit my friend, who is…is with child and was waiting for some travellers. I was lucky to see you, Thirumeni. But where may you be going, good sir.”
“I am going to watch a play in Thripunittara. But there is plenty of time for the play to start. I can take you to your friend’s house. But first, why don’t you come sit by me and I shall treat you to some paan while we will talk?”
“Of course, Thirumeni. For I couldn’t be hornier for your pot belly and munde”
“Why do you have to spoil it with your crass talk”, said Madhan crossly “I was just getting into the mood.”
“Don’t pout, baby” replied Neha “Do you have a fetish for these traditional types? Why don’t you check out your mother’s Rani. See if she can dress up in white and call you Thirumeni all day.”
“Hmm…of course. One cannot have everything in life” he replied gravely. “One must learn to settle.”
“Oh, is that so. So tell me…will your Rani do this?”, asked Neha drawing near suddenly, perching her lips dangerously near his, her eyes teasing him. Madhan felt himself breathing hard. It had to be now, he told himself firmly. The heady scent of the Pala flower touched him again, sending him into a frenzy. The wind had turned stronger with the night, the long sheafs of forest bamboo crackling and whistling, a loud orchestra. He pulled her closer, gently brushing aside her hair and touched his lips to hers. They felt soft and yielding at first, confused almost, until her eyes fluttered gently as if in the breeze, half-closing. He felt weak, like he was plummeting head first into a deep pit of desire.
“MADHAN”, she shrieked suddenly, breaking suddenly out of the kiss.
“What. What’s wrong?” Had he messed it up?
“I…I think I saw someone.”
Madhan look flustered. He stood up and looked around. “I don’t see anyone.”
“No, I did. Around those bushes.”
He walked up to the bushes, checking.
“By any chance, was it a woman in white?”, he asked seriously.
“Stop teasing me, OK. I don’t know. It could be some pervert guy. This place is full of them, I’m sure.”
“Its a public road, Neha. There may be people. And making out in public is not common in Kerala. ”
“Its almost one. I don’t really think it was a peeping tom”
“OK, so let’s say it was a Yakshi. I thought you were all game to see a Yakshi. Now what happened. You’re peeing in your pants?”
They fell silent for a few minutes. Madhan wondered what he should do. Could they get back to kissing?
“What is that?”, she pointed suddenly towards the Pala tree, eyes widened.
Madhan turned in the direction, and felt himself slowly turning numb. For right below the giant Pala tree, on the ground filled with flowers, was a single human hand, erect, and beckoning. Come, it seemed to say. Come hither.
He looked at Neha. She seemed almost close to tears.
“Its dark, Neha. I can’t see much. Let’s just go home. We’ve had enough for a day.”
Come Hither, the hand beckoned.
“Get on the bike. Lets go home, OK. The moon light can play tricks on our minds.” Madhan started kicking the bike’s kicker to get it going. For some reason, it refused to start. He kicked again.
“Can you come and help me, Neha. What are you doing, darling?”
Neha stood transfixed, hypnotised, almost as if she was going to walk towards the tree. Should he hold her or start the bike, he wondered desperately?
“Can you believe these bikes, Neha. Honda should test if these bikes work under paranormal conditions before selling us such shit”, he tried joking as he kicked the unrelenting bike.
“Oh, look how silly I am, Neha. I hadn’t turned on the ignition”, he exclaimed as the engine thundered alive. “Neha”, he forced her onto the bike, “It going to be OK. we’re going home.”
He tried to avoid looking at the Pala tree. He tried shutting out the million stories and images that flooded his mind.
He screamed at his mind. His mind screamed back at him.
Neha had broken into a slow whimpering sob.
The bike now alive, was happily chugging away, as if to a tune, a horse that knew its way back home.
Madhan looked up.
They were moving towards the Pala tree! The bike veered as the hand beckoned. Madhan swerved desperately, but the handle seemed stuck, unrelenting. The brakes, his mind screamed.
Come Hither, the hand beckoned.
The bike accelerated. A wild splitting scream ripped the forest breeze as they rammed forcefully into the giant Pala tree.