It was getting late and the sun had risen pretty high in the sky. I became aware that it was time to start the day’s chores. There was a long list of things to do. Setting aside the feeling of unease, that is wont to happen when there are unanswered questions, I set about the day’s work which would keep me busy until night. However the question mark hung ominously in the air and it continued to bother me even as I handled different problems that the day threw at me. Seeking solutions to them might have been a temporary distraction but the feeling of unease never seemed to leave me and I was tempted to set aside everything to seek answers for the strange episode.
It was soon night fall and I wondered if I might have another visit. It was a breezy night and the atmosphere was pleasant. The rains had taken a breather and the earth around the house had dried. There was a freshness that brought a certain lightheartedness in the mood and I decided to look at the books again. There was still time for dinner and I wasn’t particularly hungry.
I collected the books from my room and walked down the passage to the hall. The couch seemed more comfortable today for the work in hand. I was about to make myself comfortable when I felt the hairs raise on the back of my head and then the knock on the front door. Three distinct knocks…..my dog went into a barking frenzy …. The next instant I rushed to the door opened it. Nothing! All looked normal and I could feel the refreshing cool breeze on my face….
A thought arose that perhaps the knock was to tell me of the next development in the evet and perhaps there was no need to get perturbed. Deciding that it was probably harmless I sat down to look at the books. Placing them side by side I opened all the books to the page that had the picture in it. The picture in the first book was no longer the same as in the other two. There had been a change. The girl was now pointing in another direction more towards the house in the woods across the river. The floating object was no longer there and the river itself seemed to have changed color slightly and the sky looked cloudy. I turned the page and could now read the faint print on the first page…..there was just one line….it said…… ‘Look Beyond the Trees’
The pictures in the other two books were the same as before and the page after that remained blank. I proceeded to examine the picture which was no different than similar pictures that I had seen… it was difficult to interpret a seemingly simple line that could mean anything. My perception at this late hour on an hungry stomach were not at their best, and so I decided to first refuel my body before I sat down to analyze the message.
One thing was certain. I was caught up in this mystery and was no longer afraid to delve into the unknown in search of the Truth.
Being of a philosophical bent…I was not new to the mysteries of the cosmos and their way of showing the road to travel or the turns to take in the most unorthodox ways. I have always kept an open mind to anything without casting unnecessary speculations or making hasty judgements.
Be that as it may, I proceeded to study the picture and the changes in it. The girl had definitely shifted her position from the earlier relaxing one to that of sitting up straight, her legs earlier extended now bent under her and she was sitting on her heels. Turning my attention to the background I found that the clump of trees behind her had vanished and in its place was a large spreading oak against which she rested her back. I brought my eyes back to the river and it seemed at once still and flowing. I stared hard at it willing it to change under my very eyes but it only resulted in my eyes getting watery. I wiped my eyes, wondered a little at my silliness and looked at the water. Sure enough the water had flowed…the floating object was missing. I compared it with the picture in the other book…and the object was clearly seen though I could not really make out what it was. The water ripples had changed too. So clearly, this was another time in the same place. I decided to study the wood in more detail. The skyline seemed the same, here the trees were thick and there was not much foliage on the leaf covered ground…it looked beautiful, almost real.
Some of the trees were ablaze in orange color indicating that it was the fall season, and one could see to quite a distance at eye level as most of the trees were big and tall …may be more than eight decades old. It was a pretty cool wood, one would like to spend some alone time in, and nothing eerie about it. The moon was full in the sky and its light shone on the trees making it a pretty sight. It was dusk actually more towards night…..suddenly I felt the same chill I had experienced the previous night…..the woods had changed ….the original picture depicted the day albeit sans the sun …more in a light when the sky is overcast but still quite bright…..actually all the trees looked dark…strange how did I see the orange of the trees…was is just the memory of the original picture superimposing on this one…..or was I perceiving!
I moved my attention to the house….it was a typical village house with sloping roof and big enough to house at least eight people. The front door was painted green as was the roof but the windows were white…this looked pretty too. There were some flowering bushes on the side of the path that led to the house. There was a first floor too and a tower on the side not too high with a room on top. The house had a side entrance too …perhaps the kitchen was there…one window on the top floor was open and one could see the light emanating from the window in a yellow glow. It seemed to exude a silence that was speaking volumes ….in fact it may have been a scream. The little light outside the front door cast its appropriate shadows. Then it suddenly occurred to me and I moved my eyes back to the trees in the woods…the moon light was bright …yet the trees cast no shadows…a shadow less world in a world full of shadows!
Yes the message had said to look beyond the trees….it was very late and I had an early morning session to take are of along with the routine work. Further I was now feeling tired and the eyes would stay open no longer. The busy day had taken its toll and the body was demanding its daily rest. I left the books in the hall and went up the stairs. A part of me still wanted to study the picture further….but I left it at that soon slipped into the peaceful world of sleep.