It was 8 o'clock in the morning. The sky was a bit cloudy; the weather — neither chilly nor too warm. Just a calm and quiet Monday morning.
"I am feeling scared, Papa." she uttered, trembling as she did so.
"Scared?" he repeated in absolute disbelief. "What for?" he further interrogated her, heavily bemused by her statement.
"Papa..." she could not finish her words.
The sound of a vehicle (most likely a bus) could be heard in the distance. It horned as soon as it came to a wheezing halt in front of the house. A minute passed in solemn silence with the father calmly gazing at the tiny girl hiding in the cupboard and thinking of a way to quell her sudden surge of panic. Apart from the regular annoyed footfalls and impatient foot-tapping of the father, the only sound interrupting the silence was the creaking of the cupboard door. The vehicle, on the other hand, kept on horning as if there were no tomorrow. It was no other than a school bus. Yet, it was scarier to the little girl than the fear of ghosts which haunts the minds of almost every youngster.
After a while, the driver of the bus craned his neck to peer through the window and yelled out loud, "Well, I do not have all day for you. Please hurry up." he spoke crudely, "...or else I will have to take the decision of leaving without you." Judging by the look on his face, it could readily be understood that he was growing increasingly impatient.
The father spoke back, "Oh, yeah! She will be there in a sec. Please do have patience."
"Well, I hope you mean your words. Do be quick! I permit you only one more minute." Saying that, the bus driver turned his head back into the bus after casting an extremely unpleasant and ungentlemanly look at him.
The father heaved a deep sigh of annoyance and turned to confront the little girl who had been squeezing herself within the cupboard well enough for giving anybody the impression that she had been squashed by the cupboard.
"Oh! Come on, don't be silly! You have to go to school and now you are being such a silly girl."
With that, he began to pull the girl out of that small dark cupboard inside which she generally took shelter from her darkest fears. She started kicking and screaming at his action. He managed to pull the struggling girl with quite some difficulty.
"No!!! No!!! I don't want to go." She screamed and howled, but all to no avail.
He paid no heed to her shouts and entreaties for pardon. Without any further delay, he dressed her up and sent her off to school, ignoring all her protests.
It might seem like an act of a girl having school phobia. But, it wasn't. There was something very dark, very mysterious behind it. Something very mysterious, indeed.
To Be Continued...