Nalin Verma’s short story is a captivating narration of an unnatural night that sends a chill down the spine of the reader.
Hyenas and jackals howled as they tore into the bones and offal at the graveyard.
The rudraksh mala — rosary of beads that Hindus believe protects its wearer from negative energies — and the trident that Maharaj ji treasured lay rejected in a corner.
Maharaj ji, as Surajnath was called by his chelas, took pride in calling himself the master of souls, or spirits, of people who had died decades and centuries ago but haunted the living.
Late one Holi night, Surajnath was taking a walk that would eventually take him through the graveyard. It was past midnight, but a bright moon shone on a clear sky, its diffused light falling on houses, trees, and farm fields.