No ordinary street

It is a summer night.

The full moon shines its light on the seemingly deserted street.

Surrounding the moon are the stars, blanketed over the black sky.

A slight wind blowing brings a ghost-like chill with it.

An old watchman is the only human present in that street.

Feel.

The wind blowing will make you shiver, despite being a summer night.

You can feel the uneasy presence of someone - or something - looking at you.

It's hard to ignore. Even when you assure yourself that it's probably your imagination.

Look.

You can see the gigantic playground beside the street - the length of two rugby fields - covered with darkness.

A playground that would usually be alive with overly enthusiastic children, filled with their laughing and crying, now looks dead.

A street-light flickers.

It tries to stay on but this time loses the fight against darkness.

It dies.

If you look hard enough, you can even see a cat lurking in behind the bushes, ready to catch its prey.

Listen.

Silence. An unearthly silence.

And just when you think you're the only person alive on Earth, you hear a dog bark.

Ownerless and always starving, the dog just roams around the street, in the hunt for food.

And if you happen to be awake in your warm and cosy bed, you can hear the watchman saying ''Jagte raho'', which literally translates to ''Keep waking''.

A bit ironic as he knows everybody's fast asleep.

Then you hear the watchman tap his old, wooden stick on the road, in a rhythmic beat like the seconds of a clock as he keeps on walking.

Feel.

The wind has stopped blowing now, as if scared that it might wake the dead.

The peculiar stillness in the air will frighten you, even with the knowledge that it's just an old watchman roaming around the street.

Look.

The watchman sits on the withered bench in the playground.

His not-so-young bones softly crack as he takes a seat. He then lights himself a cigarette.

In the street, the dog sprints and viciously attacks the dry bones left outside the house by the owners.

It doesn't take him long to lick the bones out.

The cat decides to walk out of the bushes.

The dog, thinking the cat was here to steal away his dinner, barks and scares her away.

Listen.

Even the hoot of an owl can't go unheard in this unearthly silence.

The watchman now leisurely strolls, making his rounds up and down the street.

His cough pierces through the night, making his thick moustache move - then takes in more of his cigarette.

Of course he was trying to give up and wasn't successful.

He hears something behind him. He hears the dog bark. The noise coming closer and closer.

Scared, he quickly turns around.

The cat rushes past him, followed by the dog. He gives out a nervous laugh.

But when the sun rises the following day, everything changes as if they never happened.

Walking down the street, you can feel the freshness that is present in the air.

You can hear the chirping of the birds as they call out to each other.

A young man in his early twenties jogs.

The newspaper man rides in his bike, throwing today's papers in the neighbourhood.

The old watchman is nowhere to be found.

 


• By Aman Jamwal, Year 13, Wakatipu High School