After reading the passage from the book, Tanya went out to take a walk.
She needed time to clear her head of all the negative thoughts which were forming in her head.
Lost deep in her thoughts, she didn't realise that she was near the church now.
Father John was talking to some stranger outside the church.
He saw Tanya and immediately waved at her.
Tanya knew she couldn't make any excuses now.
"Hello father!" Tanya greeted.
"Oh Tanya, it's a very long time since we last met. But you aren't looking as your usual self nowadays" Father John spoke with a concern look on his face.
"You are right Father, Something is bothering me" Tanya replied.
"Is this about the dream?" Father John asked as he started walking towards the big Apple tree just outside the Church's main gate.
"You know about the dream?" Tanya was startled by this.
Father John nodded.
"I can't seem to understand the reason behind any of this." Tanya spoke in frustration.
"Fear is an interesting concept don't you think?" Father John plucked an apple from the tree and gave it to Tanya.
Tanya took a bite of the apple. It was splendid in taste. She somehow started feeling much better now.
Father John smiled and walked towards the main gate.
As she stood there looking at the Church, sparkling in the evening glow, she knew what she needed to do next.
Next morning when the Church was fully occupied by the people of this town, she too entered the building.
All the heads turned towards her.
She saw Peter at the gate encouraging her to go ahead, She saw Jo sitting in the middle row, smiling at her, she saw Mr and Mrs Smith with all their children sitting at the front row.
Mr Smith like always carrying a walking stick and sitting in a posture which resembles his stick.
Father John was also there with his arms spread wide, welcoming her.
Tanya made her way to the front among the muted conversations and stares.
"I think we all know why we have gathered here" She took a moment for this to settle in.
"Did we catch the person who did this sinister act?" Someone asked from the crowd.
"Every person sitting in this room played a part in what happened in this town" Tanya declared.
As the murmur grew louder among the crowd, Tanya raised her hand to silence the crowd.
"Father John was right. Fear is indeed a very strong catalyst" she looked at Father John who nodded his head.
She continued, "It all started with Mr Smith who always had a fear of his past." All the heads turned towards Mr Smith.
"He felt because of the misdeeds in the past, someone will come looking for revenge."
"So in his mind, an image was formed out of fear. I am guessing that he might have seen a similar looking man when he was much younger"
"which must have scared him pretty badly so even though he forgot the actual encounter, the image persists in his mind."
"Now Mr Smith before visiting me in the clinic, confessed this incident to Father John also at the confessional." Father John bowed down his head as he predicted what Tanya was about to say next.
"Father John believed in everything which Mr Smith confessed to him that day and he thought this man could be dangerous if ever visited this town, so he wanted to warn the people of this town about this"
"But he couldn't reveal what was actually confessed. So he shared this dream as his own with Jo, knowing her indiscreet nature fully well."
"And so poor Jo, true to her nature, couldn't contain herself from sharing this to whomever she met till now including me." Jo was also looking down at her heels after hearing this.
"So all it ever needed was just a spark and like wildfire, this small detail about a man with no teeth reached to every living soul in this town,"
"and this detail, however small it seems to be, acted as a stimuli for the dream to follow." She finally concluded her explanation.
There was a long silence among the people sitting there after hearing the truth finally. The truth was indeed shocking to them. They never had a faintest idea that they were themselves responsible for their own misery.
But then one by one, they started dispersing.
It will surely take a long while till they get completely over this.
Tanya though remained standing there along with Peter.
"When did you first thought of this?" Peter asked.
"After hearing their stories, I knew something was not right. When we usually see a dream, our brain fill it with our own imagination, which makes it sometimes weird and complex and always difficult to explain."
"But most of them lacked this imagination when they narrated their dream to me. It was like they somehow subconsciously wanted to see this dream which they heard from others and so the brain made it happen for them." Tanya explained.
"You truly are a genius I must admit, although scary sometimes but a true genius!" Peter confessed.
Tanya was never used to praises but this time, she smiled.
Thanks for reading if you have made it this far. Big thanks for those who read all the three parts. Hope you liked this story. Please feel free to click on the like button (It's free anyways) and comment if you have any feedback.