The Painting

A short story of an unsuspecting gentleman who happen to meets the greatest fear of his life

– vi

Toward the end of the summer, I settled for the winters in Tamenglong, that magnificent turn whose rough, majestic architecture is softened by breeze from the Dailong hills range. My apartment was in an area called as the main point of the town, widely known as Tamenglong centre point, where the house are richly ornamented and offset by statue of noble. From morning till evening the street are always busy and people of all race can be seen.

I stayed at the home of one gentleman, originally hailed from Chuiluan, his name is count Gonmei, there amid the sculptured marble palaces of the Gonmei palaces. I dwelled in the second floor apartment with window commanding all the coming and going of the Tamenglong centre point.

Gonmei my host was discreet, though my room were a part of his home, he never show himself to me unless I wished him to be. Other than the day when he took me to the apartment, I spoke with him more than twice in as many weeks.

The first day, he unlocked the door, swung it wide open and allows me to discover for myself the merits or the shortcomings of the place. No word press my lips as I investigate the room. A heavy teak table, with a beautiful teak wood statue in four corners of the room, and a big sofa at one corner opposite the fireplace, decorated with beautiful painting, but one painting caught my attention, a painting of a young girl in a traditional attire. The painting was of a life size, but it’s seems, many dust had form a big layer on it I can’t clearly see her face and I thought that this painting be of old age.

“Who is she?” I asked Gonmei. She had a black eyes, bewildered eyes, and when I stepped closer and examine the canvas frame, I guess it must have been painted during the time as far as the time of British rule India or pre British rule India.

“Who is she?” I asked once more.

Gonmei shrugged, “I know no more than you know.”

I agree to take the room and settled in that very evening. I called up my mother back at home telling her about the new room and the beautiful painting I have in my new apartment.

Days passed and I enjoy a lot in the palace of Gonmei. My morning and my evening were spent in the charming garden, a walk to the market place, or a walk to the nearby tea stall. Admire the architect and also I made a few friends but those I met would be usually at the garden ot the tea stall, and there I would joined them.

One day while on an evening walk at the garden, one of my new friend mentioned about an abandoned cemetery on the outskirts of Tamenglong. The authority had announced for the re-opening of the old cemetery as a tourist spot. The cemetery is famous for its catacombs. Back in 1700s catacombs is famous throughout the whole of the region for their exist one chamber where the placement of the skeleton were unique. My friends recommend me to visit this cemetery, but I declined saying I have others hobbies.

Two year have passed, I had visited every place in Tamenglong. Now only the cemetery remains in my unvisited list. So I decided to pay a visit the coming Sunday, skipping my usual church service.

The weather was mild and I felt more rested and calm, I set off for the cemetery. As I neared the boundary of the outer wall that shut off the cemetery from the rest of the world, I thought I could deflect on the faces of the people of the neighborhood a sort of satanic satisfaction, as if I to say. Another going in but he will look different when he comes out. Some with evil grin and others with a nightmare face off… I wonder what face would I get upon entering this area.

By the time I’m at the entry booth, I felt like returning back home. But the distance was far if I did not check out today, then when? I spoke to the person sitting at the booth and I ask for my token, the guys says it will be ₹100. I slip my hand in my pocket for the money and handed the money, he handed me the token back. We exchange a few polite words and then without further much to do, I left for my adventures.

I was completely taken aback by the beautiful and the vastness of the dark cemetery. All the tombs looks amazing like that of a vampire horror hits. As move in further, I came across a hallway, only a few were in that area I said to myself – this is the perfect place to explore and waste ₹100.

As I entered the entrance, I was in shocked. A long hallway from floor to the ceiling with bones covered in black, gloved hand across at the waist, gaping socket. All I can imagine is there are thousands of skeleton stuck on the ceiling and the wall in the hallway.

As I was in awe struck, an old caretaker of the cemetery interrupted me!

“Son! Are you lost? Let me be your guide here for free!”

I nod in affirmative! The old man escorted me through the great galleries of the dead, though I soon felt faint, he merely felt bore.

One figure caught my attention. A larger skeleton rested by smaller one, as if this pair of skeleton were couple, being displayed in a big canvas by a genius artist. Over there, shreds of grey hair and bits of skin still clung to a smooth white skull, yet it neighbours smile gently. To my surprise one of the skeleton was different. Instead of looking towards the group, it skull painted forward as it’s about to catch my eye. I move closer to read the name but couldn’t as it’s covered in dust.

I had had enough. I signal my guide that I wanted to return back to the land of the living.

As we both walk out, when the blue sky greet me, it bought me a relief. I return back to my apartment and continue on with my usual works.

That night I asked my landlord, Gonmei, if he had any books about the old cemetery that I might borrow. He rooted about in his library, gathered up several books and passed them to me. I took them to my room but did not browse them, until the following night as I was busy with online game. I had a good sleep that night.

A ray of sunshine hit the apartment. I could hear joyful noise on the street and turning my thoughts from the old cemetery. I anticipated, strolling through the famous shopping mall of Tamenglong owned by one Pamei clan, perhaps going for a window shopping or maybe buying something.

But as I was about to set aside Gonmei books and quit bed for wash room, a parchment bound old tone at the bottom of the pile arrested my attention. I picked it up, somehow my inner voice force’ me to examine it, it bears the title.


I grab the book and I sat down in my sofa beneath the painting. As I turned to the entries, it seems it’s a cut out from newspapers and magazines of that time… Many of the topic is not in my interest but one topic did caught my attention..

1742 – on April 6 there occurred a dreadful things. A young man from Pamei clan, eldest of a renowned inhabitants of the city got engaged to one Garcia Gonmei. They were to be wedded on 7 of April 1742, but fate won’t allow them, as the couple strolled along the old cemetary road admiring the beauty of spring season, a violent storm erupted. The lover took refuge beneath the tree, but sin overcame their thoughts, and as they were engaging in sinful deed. A lightning bolts hit the guy killing him instantly. The poor girl weep a lot, and she too dies of broken heart. As I go further down, there exists report of sighting of the guy who was killed by lightning bolt.

I spend the whole day reading about this weird story, and thus ending my day, in my room. I had my dinner at one respected restaurant nearby. After my dinner, I return back to my room, and began reading the weird stories again. I fall asleep without my knowledge at my bed still holding the thick collage book.

In the middle of the night I awoke, suddenly became nervous. The sheet was still covered over my head. I saw nothing other than the muted glow of the candle, through the cloth. But I heard a strange sound, a kind of rubbing on the floor as if something was being dragged about the room. Not walking more of a sliding, scuffing noise.

I didn’t dare to remove the sheet and gazed anxiously around the room. There by the sofa where I in the afternoon sit, and read about he incident, I saw a black robes figure, sitting on the sofa, and this black hooded figure remind me of the skeleton I saw at the catacombs.

As I gazed in horror and dread, the thing raised it arm towards the portrait of the lady, I saw nothing of his flesh, but only bones. And it automatically takes me back to the view of the catacombs. The picture itself was pale. And after sometime the figure disappeared. And I couldn’t sleep at all again, I lay awake, till the sun rays hit my apartment…

I got up and got ready myself to go out… I had to go back to the cemetery again to confirm my suspicious. As I was busy combing my hair my eyes got attracted towards the portrait my inner thought told me to rub clean the frame, so, I grab my towel and I started to rub off the dust. As I ran away the dust on the frame, I noticed something familiar.

A name which I have come across before…

As I further clean it, now it became clear that this is the painting of the girl who died of heartbroken.

Her name is GARCIA GONMEI. Now I’m in deep confusion.

I had to go to the cemetery to confirm my doubts.

I straight away went to the cemetery. The guide who admitted me on my past visit looks surprised! He further said visitors rarely return for a second time. I, without talking, jump across the iron bar, and he followed me as I strode along the path. This time neither looking left nor right I reached to the point of the unusual skeleton.

I asked the guide if he by any chance move any of the skeleton, he shook his head in negative and assure he never touch them. But now the head of the skeleton now face the other sides and his eyes socket did not seek mine…

I gave ₹50 for the guide and fled.

I left Tamenglong the evening, telling my landlord I had to leave for emergency. He looks puzzled because he would know it firsthand.

I do not wish to go back to my room, so I asked him to pack my things up and sent it to my home address.

Just before I left, I asked him if he had heard anything peculiar at night, he shook his head in affirmative… and then he further said,

Every monday night, he used to visit his old lover painting, admiring her…