The mud road was slushy owing to the heavy downpour of the afternoon. The bullock cart’s wooden wheels kept getting stuck in potholes and slush, slowing their journey. The merchant and his wife, the passengers on the cart, cursed the driver and their servants for choosing that route. Their young son was sick and he was asleep on the cart. The servants bore the insults patiently; they were paid to do so. They wouldn’t bother replying that it was the merchant’s wife who had suggested that route.
The sun bid adieu for the day and went behind the western ghats. Night came in quickly, mixed with the pleasant sea breeze. One of the servants lighted a lantern and fixed it on the yoke of the cart. The bells on the bull’s horns jingled as they stumbled along. The combination of the breeze, the darkness, and the gentle tinkling of the bells lulled the merchant and his wife to sleep.
A sudden scream jolted them from their slumber. Their servants and the driver were running away, screaming. They didn’t understand what was happening. The merchant jumped down to see something that shook him to his core.
A hideous creature descended from a tree and pounced on the bulls. It ripped open the throat of one started feasting on its innards. The second bull was spooked and it tried to run away, but it was harnessed to the yoke and hence fell down toppling the cart. The merchant’s wife and son were thrown away into the slush. The merchant ran over to his wife and kid and lifted them up. He made a sign for them to be silent and pointed towards the dark cover of the woods. He carried his son and grabbed his wife’s arm as they plodded their way through the bushes and hid behind a huge banyan tree.
‘What is that creature?’ She asked.
‘Oh no! Oh no!’ The merchant whimpered, ‘It’s a Lavsat.’
‘The ghost of a widow.’
She started crying, ‘We are doomed.’
The Lavsat had made short work of the bulls and was bounding over the ground like a four-limbed beast in search of them.
‘It’s going to kill us… it’s going to kill us…’ The merchant’s wife started blabbering. The merchant stood up and made a sudden loud sound.
‘What are you doing?’ His wife hissed.
The Lavsat heard his voice and made its way towards them. Its hair was long and jet black and it had long, sharp nails that resembled claws. Its eyes were hollow like a bottomless well and its mouth that was bared open contained no teeth. The creature stood in front of them, making a weird gurgling noise.
The merchant picked up a stone and used it to hit his wife hard on her head. The woman fell down, blood oozing from the wound. He picked his son and laid him at the feet of the Lavsat and ran away without turning back.
As he ran, he closed his ears but still heard his son’s scream that was followed by a sucking noise.
Note: Lavsats, in the Konkan folklore, are ghosts of widows who die unnatural deaths. They usually don’t have teeth and hence tear the jaw of their victims and suck the innards completely. Lavsats are said to attack domestic animals and people and the only way to appease these creatures is by offering a young being (animal or human) as a sacrifice.
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1. Tales With A Twist – A collection of my short stories.
2. Route 13 : Highway to Hell– An anthology of horror short stories.