Page:Chandrashekhar (1905).djvu/114

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fatigue of the journey, the exhaustion of the hill ascent, the hardships of wind and rain, her nerves completely unstrung and her body altogether enfeebled. On top of these came this horrid supernatural event, at least Shaibalini thought so—how long can the human mind retain its balance? Her system failed, so did her mind, and she remained in a state of suspended animation betwixt sleep and wakefulness, the splinters of the rock pricking her back.

When she had lost her senses completely she saw a vision. Before her eyes was a limitless river, but without any water. Overflowing either bank a current of blood was running along. In that current, bones, decomposed corpses, human skulls and skeletons were floating about; crocodile-like creatures composed only of bones and large fierce glittering eyes, without any flesh or skin, were gliding about and feasting out of those putrid corpses. Shaibalini found that the same stalwart individual who had carried her away from the hill-side, also carried her and placed her on the river-bank. In that region neither the sun did shine nor did the moon smile; no stars, no clouds; not a scintilla of light and yet no darkness. Everything could be seen but in a hazy and indistinct way. The bloody river, the decomposed corpses, the current—driven skeletons, the bony crocodiles all were visible in that awful gloom. There was no sand on the bank, and instead, were iron needles bristling their sharp ends up. The stalwart individual placed Shaibalini there and bade her cross the river. There was no means of crossing—neither ferry nor bridge. He told her to swim across—she knew to swim—many a time she had swam in the Ganges with Protap. But how could Shaibalini swim in that bloody river? Then the stalwart individual lifted the cane in his hand