The factory bus dropped her off. It was almost midnight after the second shift. She had to walk on a narrow path through the village to get to her home about two hundred meters away from the main road. The familiar path posed no problem for her as she had trudged though it all her twenty-five years living in this house with her family which included her mother-in-law.
But that night felt a little different. She couldn't say why but she was uneasy. There was a chill in the air but she felt a thin layer of sweat on her skin. A sudden gust of cold wind rushed by and she felt goose pimples all over. At the same moment she heard a lonely, mournful voice of a woman crying piteously. It was the cry of an inconsolable soul in unfathomable suffering. Her feeling of compassion for this pitiful being seemed greater than her fear and she stopped in her tracks and called out, "Whoever you are, what is it under the heavens that is causing you so much suffering? Tell me so I may help you. Otherwise, please don't scare me half to death!"
She had no idea what made her speak in such terms. Those words simply came out of her mouth before she realized what she was saying. But as soon as she uttered those words, her fear left her and the cold air became warm again.
She lingered a moment and listened but couldn't hear or feel anything out of the ordinary. She became aware again of the sounds of the night - the chirping of crickets, and croaking of frogs. There were the familiar shadows of trees and bushes and dark shapes of the houses of her neighbors in the dim light of the moonlit night.
She wiped a tear out of her eye, turned around and walked on home.