At three in the morning, there is a soft quiet whisper in the wind formed by the lost melodies of the night and the quiet sobs of the dawn. It is at this hour between the night and dawn that I open my eyes and wake up. The moon greets me, half of it covered in darkness. The smell of cut grass flows all over my skin. Dirt covers my cold cheeks and forehead. I push myself up, naked except for the occasional dead leaves that fall over my body. Each ones slides down onto my lap and then onto the grass. I’m alone in the darkness of the park. I stand up, my legs almost collapsing from my weight. It always happens. The wind takes my hand and leads me to the bark of the tree. Sometimes I wonder why it happens at three in the morning, always at three in the morning. Perhaps it might be because it is the exact shift from darkness to light, the point of inflection.
I press my bare body against the brown bark and look up. I run my fingers through the tree but I feel no opening. The tree has grown and shifted. I don’t know where I hid those clothes anymore. I don’t have clothes. I don’t have money. I don’t have a place to sleep. What else can I do but walk?
So I do. I walk with no idea where to go or what reaction I will get when someone sees me. It will probably resemble the look of the girl staring at me with jaw wide open. I try to give an awkward smile, “Excuse me miss, do you happen to have some clothes?”
She takes a few steps back. I wonder why she isn’t running. I try to recall the last place I was in. The tone of the girl’s skin peeking from beneath layers of clothes and the long dress jot my memory. I must be in Bengal. The girl speaks, but not in a tongue I’m familiar with.
“I don’t understand.” I reply as I step back. I wrap my arms around me, hoping she understands what I’m asking for. The chilly air is freezing my skin. She scrunches her eyebrows as she gets near me. I hadn’t noticed the staff in between her fingers. She pulls off the cloth from her head and stares into my eyes. She unravels the clothes from her neck and tosses it at me. I kneel down and drape the cloth over me. “You don’t understand me?” She points her staff at me and comes even closer until the bottom of the staff is touching my chest. She pushes me until I’m lying on the ground. She yells at me for a moment. I close my eyes, my body shaking from the cold, but I’m not afraid. I’ve gotten used to others fearing me.
She pulls the staff back and offers me her hand. I grab it and she pulls me up. She speaks again although I don’t know what for. She must have figured out by now that I don’t understand her. What year is this, what is happening, I am not sure.
There’s a blast, then a bullet whizzes by us. The girl docks and runs into the darkness. I follow her, my heart pounding at my chest. The night fills itself with screams of terror. The girl grabs me by the hand and pulls me further and further into the night. It’s my first hour, I don’t want it to end so soon. She pulls me into the sand of the desert and pushes me down. She hisses something that I can’t quite hear or understand. Then she throws herself over me and for some reason, for some odd twist of fate one word slips out of her mouth. They sound so familiar but I have no idea what they mean.
I feel her body go stiff, shocking even herself. Then a bullet makes its way into her body. She goes cold. I don’t dare move. Time goes by, a second, an hour, I’m not sure anymore. I hold my breath until my lungs hurt. Then, I gasp and there is silence. Whoever shot her is gone. She is gone. I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sensation of grief. It was at three in the morning when the curse was casted. It was at three in the morning when I lost her forever. It was three in the morning when blood was shed and hope had died. It was that fateful hour that ended my life and started a new one.