A Walk to Forget

A Walk to Forget

A Story by Agyani
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An old man's tryst to remember his daily activities end up with something he would rather forget

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Paul was sitting on a bench in the park. It was evening and the sun was right on the horizon. The sky had an orange texture and the birds were beginning to flock to their nests as a cool breeze swept by. The kids playing in the park were leaving for the day. It was that time when kids who are playing and elders who are having a get together in the park are replaced by people out for a stroll in the cool and temperate weather.

Like any other day, Paul sat there on a lone bench. He spent his evenings gazing out into the distance at nothing in particular, trying to remember how he had spent his day. But like every other day, he drew a blank.

The children paid no heed to the lanky person with sullen cheeks and light, ruffled grey hair. Those who happened to look at him turned their eyes away instantly. He looked confused and angry like a few other elderly people in the park, but there was something bitter about him that screeched silently at everyone. The dark circles beneath his bulging eyes and their tempestuous look made it appear like something grim and peculiar had him under its grip.

His memories were like bits and pieces of a dream that he had to recall in order to form a clear picture: a puzzle with vital pieces missing here and there, a map without a legend. He had reached the point where he was not even sure whether the images that came to his mind as memories were really his experiences or just random bits of thoughts that come to one’s mind.

As he just sat there, a couple of youngsters came by and sat on the adjacent bench. There were not many people around, and he could clearly hear what they were talking about.

“So I believe you know the story associated with this place then, right?” said the one sitting on the left.

“What story?” said the other with curiosity. He was wearing a black glow in the dark Slayer T-shirt.

“Oh, the one about this park being haunted by the ‘Fog Ghost’”.

The one with the glow in the dark Slayer t-shirt chuckled. “Come on pal, how dull a day have you had that you came up with such an old and hopeless attempt at something interesting?”

“Well, I thought you must have heard about it, given the fact that you have lived here longer than I have. The Fog Ghost haunts this park on autumn and winter nights, preying on people when there is no one around. It is said that a fog starts to build up suddenly as all hint of sound starts to fade away, and in the morning afterwards, a lifeless body is found on one of the benches. Those found dead are always sitting and staring with their mouths wide open, as if staring at something in shock, their lives squeezed out of them.

“They are said to have died of fear; overwhelming fear experienced at the sight of the ghost, which leads to a heart attack, as people say. Sometimes, people who are said to have entered the park at such nights just go missing, with no trace of them found, as if they just cease to exist on the face of the Earth.”

Paul got a start when the other boy laughed hysterically for a couple of minutes. He forced himself to be motionless so as to not let them know he was listening to them. He didn't want to seem intrusive. 

“Do you even listen to yourself? Does your depravity know no bounds?” said the other boy taking breaks from his laughter. After managing to catch his breath and steadying himself, he continued. “Well, if you say that many people have either turned up dead or gone missing from the park on such nights, why do people come here in the first place? And what exactly does this phantom ghost of yours look like anyway?”

“Why does anyone go to a haunted place in the first place? Curiosity! As to the appearance of the Fog Ghost, no one knows, for whoever finds out what he looks like doesn’t live to tell the tale! The old lady who lives in the house right behind where we are sitting now says she has seen a tall man with an overcoat walking around here. Sometimes two of them. But no one knows for sure,” said the one who had started the discussion, maintaining a serious tone.

The other boy rolled his eyes. “Of course, a horror story without an old lady living alone, giving away the description of the ghost or some relevant detail, whom everyone believes to be crazy, is just not complete, is it?”

Paul listened with full attention. He had lived there for about a decade. This was the first time he had heard the story. But then again he wasn’t sure about it, for he believed he was going senile day by day. The sun was about to set, and he decided to get up and pay a visit to his friend Karim for their daily game of checkers.

 

“It’s all ridiculous really. ‘The Fog Ghost haunting the park’. Sure I’ve heard of it, Paul! Just a story some jobless people have come up with over the years. When you live in a desolate rundown town like ours, you are bound to run into people with the craziest and most hilarious stories. The park does get a little too quiet and suspicious at times, but there’s no ghost who kills people there! You have been to the place at night yourself! How can you even imagine the whole thing to have even a hint of truth behind it?”

Paul looked at Karim’s bearded face and his curled, oiled hair. It always seemed like he was feeling hot for he would always sit in a vest and be out of breath. But that was just Karim. Despite having a puffy nose he usually used his mouth to breath. His belly heaved with his breathing.

Paul cast his eyes down to the checkers board on the table. He was trying to recall if he had ever been to the park at night, but he didn’t want to show his decrepit self in front of Karim. So he continued to pretend to ponder over his next move in the game. His brain refused to think about different things simultaneously. As a matter of fact, Paul knew he would find it difficult to concentrate on any single thing, let alone multiple things, even if he tried his best. His head started feeling heavy, and he decided to go home for the day.

As he was on his way home, the story continued to invade his mind. For the first time in a long, long time, he was able to visualize something vividly on his own accord. As he replayed the entire narrative in his mind, he found himself right in front of the entrance of the park. He stood there fiddling with the idea for some time. In the end, he gave in to his desperation.

He entered the park and plugged in his iPod. He didn’t remember who had given it to him. There was only Pink Floyd on his device, the one thing that he remembered, and cherished.

With his earphones plugged in firmly, he strolled at a leisurely pace. The park looked deserted. The park was always dimly lit, and even during the evenings when there weren’t many people around, one could get jumpy at the snapping of a twig.

It was a typical October night with the weather a little chilly. With no one else around in his field of vision, Paul’s imagination started getting the better of him. The area he was now walking in was particularly dark. He frequently glanced over his shoulder instinctively to check for someone creeping up behind him. All that he could hear was the track playing. The song continued.


Will the following footsteps catch me?

Am I really dying?


Everything seemed ominous to Paul. It was a moonless night, so there was little light to account for. He decided to complete his round of the park and head home. As he continued walking, he began to feel cold. He was nearing a lamp post. No sooner than he reached it did he realize that a fog had started to descend around him.

His mind was now racing, something that didn't usually happen, and something that he would have liked to experience. But this was not the way he had expected it to do so. He picked up his pace and decided to make for the exit. As he walked past the lamp post he glanced around him in hope to find another soul with him in the park. Someone other than the Fog Ghost, his mind corrected him.

Suddenly, he heard a sound in the distance. It was as if a bag filled with cement had fallen on the ground from a height. Paul moved in its direction cautiously as well as frantically. He saw something glowing on the bench in front of him. There was no lighting there and the stars hardly helped his cause to illuminate the area. 

Paul unplugged his iPod and could only hear the sounds of his overcoat dragging on the ground as he walked and the frenetic beating of his heart. Never had he experienced such a profound and intimidating silence that made his heartbeat so audible. He finally reached the bench with nervous steps and saw someone sitting on it.

As he extended his hand to touch the person, he saw that something was emitting a greenish glow on his t-shirt. His eyes widened in shock as he remembered the teenager he had seen hours before in the same place. It most definitely was him, for the word Slayer was printed on the t-shirt.

His mind was now berserk. He tapped the boy twice on the shoulder and then heard someone creep up behind him. He turned around in panic.

“Paul, I really wished you hadn’t done so yet again.”

He recognized the voice instantly but was struck with horror as well as confusion. His eyes were better adjusted to the darkness now, and he could see Karim standing in front of him in black overalls.

He stared at him in utter shock, unable to move at all. His breathing was now heavy, and he could feel as well as hear his heart pumping blood through his entire body at an enormous rate.

“Let me voice out the thoughts in your mind, or rather answer them. I am the Fog Ghost, Paul. Yes, it’s true. It’s not a name I am particularly fond of, and I don’t just come here to kill. This is the place where I was buried, on a night not unlike this, twenty-five years ago. Since then I have been trapped in this place on such nights. Everything else that has happened has not been by my doing, so to say. It was something I could do nothing about, for even today, people are afraid of darkness and have no control over their minds.”

Paul continued looking incredulously at Karim.

“Oh don’t look so awful now, Paul! I wish you would not be so shocked to know this, for you have known this for a while now! Well, you always forget it, which is my doing. If I didn’t wipe your memories time and again, people wouldn’t waste a second to label you a stark raving lunatic. Not that it matters that much, for you don’t belong to the living world anymore, either. It is something you have never understood, and I do not expect you to understand now. All you need to know is that I care about you.”

He took a few steps towards Paul with his arm outstretched, aiming at his forehead. In the dark and silent night, Karim’s audible breathing was the most sinister thing.

“Gosh, it’s always the same thing with you, isn’t it? I thought this time I had really convinced you not to come here and that I could do away with this once and for all, but there is no getting around some things after all!”

Karim took another step towards Paul.

“I don’t like doing this, you know. I know how much it hurts you to be unable to remember a single thing, and how you spend your evenings reflecting on your daily activities because that’s about as much as you can recall. But you’re the only friend I have. I thought it’s lonely for a living person to be by himself, but it’s much worse when you’re a ghost. People can’t even see you! I can’t lose someone who can see me and also likes my company, Paul!”

He reached for Paul’s forehead and gave it a slight tap. All hint of sound disappeared, and then there was complete darkness. 

© 2018 Agyani


Author's Note

Agyani
Reactions, thoughts, opinions, criticisms, suggestions, everything is welcome and appreciated.

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Featured Review

Let me first applaud the awesome structure and formatting. It’s the first thing in a long line that makes stories readable. I know how hard it is to get reviews on longer work, and strong formatting helps. The pace and flow of the story are very good and the dialogue is well done. There are few rough spots in the middle, nothing that a read through with an eye toward being as concise as possible and reading for grammar won’t fix. These are my issues with my work when I post as well. The story line started out like it was going to be easy figure the ending, but the twist at the end is great and works well. Can’t wait to read some of your other stuff. Thanks and great work!!!

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Agyani

3 Years Ago

Thank you for an insightful comment, Crowley. I'm glad that you liked the story, and I appreciate yo.. read more
Marlice Morgan

2 Years Ago

Great story. Kept me interested until the end. i could create the imagery in my and visualize everyt.. read more
Agyani

2 Years Ago

Glad to know you think so and liked it, Marlice! :)



Reviews

Hey Agyani, i love ghost stories I got a bit confused in the middle in the dialogue with his checkers friend but that is probably bunny's processing issues and of course i figured it out. I really liked the ending twist to the haunting of poor confused con-fuddled Paul:) You have a gift to story weaving!

Posted 2 Years Ago


Agyani

2 Years Ago

Now that you mention it, I kinda see it. It's not bunny's processing issues, it is Agyani's writing .. read more
WOW!! Amazing story, very descriptive and also wonderful imagery. Nicely done

Posted 3 Years Ago


Agyani

3 Years Ago

I'm happy to know you think so, Brandie. Thank you for the review. :)
Excellent story telling, built on a soundly constructed format.

Posted 3 Years Ago


Agyani

3 Years Ago

I'm glad you think so. :)
Three letters for you: W-O-W!

Here I was thinking this whole time that Paul is the Fog Ghost. What a wonderful twist!

Posted 3 Years Ago


Agyani

3 Years Ago

Gee, thanks! I'm glad you liked it. :D
Absolutely adore the mentioning of Pink Floyd - my favourite band. Roger Water's is the most phenomenal lyricist, I went to see him this year so I greatly appreciated the Floyd reference, what a beautiful way to incorporate such immense lyrics in your story. I did not expect the ending, I thought the old man was going to realise that he was the Ghost and had been unintentionally killing, then forgetting come morning, your ending trumps all!

You have structured it very well and it makes for a easily followed read - I tend to ramble, create lengthy complex sentences and follow my own understanding of grammar which differs from that which we are taught. (I am bad for comma splicing which I was berated over by every teacher. I have read numerous books, particularly James Herbert, where comma splicing is his forte!).

If you are like any writer, you can read through and edit every single time, always able to better your work. I believe you are more than capable and the parts that would benefit from a little sparkle dust will have it sprinkled in good time, when it comes to you. I am glad to have found you and look forward to reading more and more - I'm a big fan of spooky-stories! The aforementioned author, Herbert, is my favourite. He spends his time at home with a glass of booze and watches the Simpsons, what a hero! Keep doing what you're doing - I will be reading your story to my partner later, I know he will enjoy it also - especially the Floyd reference. :D


Posted 3 Years Ago


Agyani

3 Years Ago

Hey Alexandra. Your comment here really made me smile. When you mentioned seeing Roger Waters live I.. read more
Alexandra

3 Years Ago

I've seen him just recently, June this year! I think he still has some tours left in him, he was doi.. read more
Agyani

3 Years Ago

United we stand, divided we fall. Floyd. :)
I know about the anti-Trump campaign, the pig i.. read more
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Tom
It was a well organized story Keep Up the Good works :)

Posted 3 Years Ago


Agyani

3 Years Ago

Thank you for your kind words, Tom. :)
Wow. What an unexpected end. I really loved the way the story flows and leaves the reader with an "Oh!" a well thought out and drafted story. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks.

Posted 3 Years Ago


Agyani

3 Years Ago

Thank you for the review, Dhara, and I'm glad that you liked it. :)
Dhara_Ditzy Kat

3 Years Ago

You are welcome Agyani.
Thanks Almighty...I didn't get scared...for a moment in the middle I thought this story will get much spooky and I'll end up not reading this...but tis a hale Halloween like story....guess what! Tis Oct 1st and am reading this and kinda feeling a great read....I do like details of objects in stories just the way you did perfectly here....at least for me...
Now am too silly at reviewing stories...pardon me...But I really enjoyed this one...
Thanks a lot for sharing, you're talented not agyani :)

Posted 3 Years Ago


Agyani

3 Years Ago

Thanks Tahsin for giving it a read, and I'm glad that you liked it. To be honest, I'm also a bit sur.. read more
Tahsin (Taah-scene)

3 Years Ago

In that case it indicates you've written a spectacular without even thinking that it'd be....that's .. read more
When he was listening in on the conversation in the park, I thought for sure Paul was going to end up being the ghost! I think you did a really good job of creating an unsettling tale, especially the creepy atmosphere when Paul goes back to the park and finds the boy in the glow-in-the-dark t-shirt.

Well done!

Posted 3 Years Ago


Agyani

3 Years Ago

I'm glad you liked the plot and the subtle twist. Thanks for the review. :)
Your storytelling is top-notch & so is your English construction. It's an interesting round-about storyline to start with an explanation of how the park is haunted, in conversation, then you show that same idea a little later with actual park haunting activities. I also think it's clever that you wipe the old guy's memories away, since this is a fun spoof on old people like me who forget exactly like you describe here. I am a huge fan of Halloween stories, so I love this one as part of the seasonal fun, this time of year. I feel your story is a psychological thriller, since most of the "spooky" aspects are happening in the mind. I personally feel your story could benefit from a little more physical spookiness, too. For example, using creepy words & descriptions & made-up sound-words that resemble the icky scene you are describing, plus using more of the senses (yukky odors, slimy sensations, etc.) This is just my preference & I do admire you for telling a story with a spooky theme, but NOT using the more graphic yukky approach (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 3 Years Ago


Agyani

3 Years Ago

Hi. Thank you for reading my story. This is not the sort of stuff I usually write. It was a story I .. read more

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Added on September 22, 2018
Last Updated on September 24, 2018
Tags: memories, haunting, old age, horror

Author

Agyani
Agyani

India



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A novelist by heart, but a freelance ghostwriter by necessity. It's only pen and paper (or my keyboard) that help me 'show' who I am and not just 'be' who I am. I am a storyteller and try to m.. more..

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