Ramakrishnan checked the letter again. It was the sixth time he was doing, but he couldn’t help it. Nothing like that had ever been delivered to Kelmanom post office, where he was postmaster. The quiet temple town had nothing to create a buzz about. They were quite happy to be lost in the sounds of the devotional music and the music of the sea close to their village. He shook his head as he walked toward the sea, with the sunset coloring the waters orange.
He stood at the edge of the water and waited. Five minutes passed by. Then another five. He was beginning to think that he had been mad to even think that what he had read was possible. He removed the letter from his pouch, and sat down on the wet sands, and began to read it again.
It was addressed to him. The envelope read,
Kelmanom Post Office,
Kerala State, India.
There were no stamps on the envelope, and the address was scribbled hurriedly. He found it amidst the mail that come in the previous day, and the bag had not been opened. Ramakrishnan wasn’t sure whether or not to open it, but he did. The envelope had a letter, and another closed, unaddressed envelope inside.
If you are reading this, then I guess I have to thank you first, for taking a chance that this letter is not a fake one.
What I am asking you to do may sound unbelievable, but I ask you to take a chance on that too. For my sake, and hers. I had a séance with her, and she told me this is the only way it can be done.
Go today evening at 6 to the edge of the sea. As the sun sets, you’ll see a pier appear, and a town. The town has nineteen houses, no more, no less. Please ask for Anamika, and give this letter to her. The town will not appear for another seven years, so it is essential that you do it today.
Thanks for hearing me.
A lost soul.
He looked at the horizon, and rubbed his eyes. For there was the town the letter spoke of. Twenty houses, or shacks rather, on either side of a long wooden pier stretching out from the sands to the right of him. He stood up, and in a daze, walked toward the town.
He hesitated. But, not a single letter that had reached him previously had gone undelivered. He gingerly stepped on to the wooden pier and found, to his shock, that it didn’t give. He walked in to the town, and knocked on the first door.
A minute passed before the door was opened by an old woman.
“I… I am looking… for A..ana.. anamika,” he whispered, hoping he had found the address.
She told him no, and closed the door. Scared, Ramakrishnan moved to the second, and again was told the same. Eighteen doors passed like that, but he continued to persist.
A boy opened the last door when he knocked, smiled, and then called for someone else… a woman. She was perhaps thirty years old.
“Are you…” his voice trailed off.
She nodded, and searched his hands for the letter, which he gave her.
“Thank you so much. Would you like some water?” she asked him.
But Ramakrishnan shook his head, and told it was best that he be off.
The woman watched on as Ramakrishnan ran toward the shore, and stopped suddenly. The pier no longer reached the shore. He tried to jump, but found that he couldn’t do that either. Dejected, he sat at the edge of the pier, his feet dangling toward the sea, and the light of a full moon now around him.
He felt a hand on his shoulder, and looked up to see the young girl there.
“I’m sorry. My husband must have forgot to tell you.”
“Tell me what?” Ramakrishnan asked her.
“If you aren’t back on shore before the last rays of the sun, you cannot leave the town.”
She pointed towards the other end of the pier, and Ramakrishnan saw another shack appear out of nowhere. The twentieth shack.
His new address.
(1st April 2014)