Recently, while my friend was taking me to her home to meet her family during summer vacations, I encountered something very peculiar. Where, other societies had a lawn, her’s had a pond like swimming pool, devided by a thin trail.
By looking at it, noone could have estimated it’s depth. While entering through the gates and walking on the risky footpath she said, “walk slow we might happen to see a sea monster while crossing”. I only thought the naive girl must be talking about a sea horse or something, when suddenly a mammoth-sized ugly fish jumped over us into the other side of the separation. My legs started to tremble, luckily I crossed the beaten path without fainting. She continued, ” don’t worry, this is our pet Baboso, it doesn’t hurt anyone” . For once it was hard to believe but soon I adjusted to it. While going back, the monster didn’t show up.
A few days later I was very excited to visit the same place again, to know more about Baboso. I passed the middle path with a constant feeling of being watched.
Ambika’s home was on the top floor of a two level building. Reaching there we sat togather in her balcony holding our cups of coffee. Observing the seamonster was not an unusual passtime in her building. It was entertaining to watch Baboso came out and splash back in. She was telling me, how the sea monster was hyperactive that day.
It ws a combined balcony and even the neighbors had full access to everyone else’s doors. One of the neighbors who was placing wet clothes on the drying rope told us monster had been there since a month and before that, it was just a normal lawn. Due to some poor drainage issues lawn remained flooded and with in a few days the base depened and water kept on increasing out of nowhere.
A moment later I saw the monster taking a giant leap towards the sky and falling back into the pond. This time it resembled more to a tode than a fish. It was quick, but even at that speed it took Baboso almost 15 minutes to come back for another jump. Now it was clear, the water was actually too deep. Then suddenly all activity stopped. Even the wind stopped blowing, birds stopped chirping and a dead silence pervaded all over. Sitting on the chair Ambika and I saw a shadow emerging out of the water, then two eyes gazing at us and within the blink of an eye, from my one hand distance, my friend was taken away by that beast leaving us all patrified. Everyone helplessly watched my friend being dragged into the depths of the marshy pond. No one ever imagined Baboso could take a life. I looked around hopelessly and watched on my far right, a man in grey coat smiling. Getting distracted by so much hustle I lost the sight of that suspicious being.
It was officially an unsafe place then and going back home wasn’t an available option for me. The monster did not return but everyone was terrified. While I was staying there my suspicion over the strange man increased. When I inquired tactfully Sister teresa, one of the neighbors, told me he works as an insurance agent but never leaves his room. To solve the mysteryI decided to visit and question him about his wierd behaviour. When I went there his door was slightly open and I could see from there, he was still in his bathroom. I slipped in quietly. Right next to the door these was a kitchen and I couldn’t ignore the green spots in front of a fridge. I felt hasitant for a second then without further delay opened the fridge. There was no food in it. Surprisingly fridge wasn’t empty either, it had several trays filled with some green chemical like substance, stacked one over the other. I removed my jacket, with which I slided a tray out from the back of the lowest division and escaped unnoticed.
Ambika’s grief-stricken mother informed me that another neighbour Mr. Godara has successfully left the place crossing the pond at night because noone has ever seen the monster after late hours. She also informed me that few more people are planning the same tonight, so I too can join them. This news brought my lost smile back but somewhere I wanted to explore the problem further. As the night fell I packed my stuff to leave. I glanced out of the window, sister teresa was halfway towards the entrance. In my excitement I totally forgot about the chemical filled tray and reached the back stairs. Right then a scream was heard. Everyone rushed back to the balcony to find sister teresa was gone this time. Others who queued to vacate, rushed back to their houses.
Juno, a young scientist neighbor of almost my age, waved from a distance retelling the infamous quotation of dante, “abandon all hope, ye who enter here”. I had read Inferno in my Masters and we instantly found a connection. Then I walked to his room after he offered me coffee. While his talks were quite comforting, in the times of distress, I suddenly realised juno is the only one who can possibly help in this matter. I told him what I found and within next few minutes he was with me, wearing his lab coat, testing the icecubes. We found out that the green chemical was some sort of feed for a genetically modified organism. He had already informed about the sea monster at his workplace and necessary reasearches were secretly going on since the day one. He immediately made a phone call, informing about his findings. A helicopter landed at the roof top with a team of scientists. The suspect was taken into custody before he could attempt to escape. An antidote was prepared and later thrown into the pond to neutralize the toxic which was keeping Baboso alive.
The next morning, dead body of that filthy monster was found floating above the surface. Juno made arrangements for me to reach home and we parted with a promise of soon seeing each other for another cup of coffee and to discuss Dante in all it’s depths and breadths.