Epilogue of Ruskin Bond’s A Face in the Dark

12 November 2014 | by Members of PettiCourtyard

Mr Oliver ran as fast as he could and managed it back to the school without fainting. He panted hard as he unlatched the gate and then unlocked the door of his small bungalow in the school premises. As he got in, he banged the door shut behind him and was much relieved to be in the well-lit confines of his house.


a face in the dark ruskin bond


He sunk his panting self in his rosewood rocking chair in the drawing room. The entire episode of his encounter with the boy and the old man flashed through his mind as he lay there with his eyes fixed on the wooden pendulum clock on the wall above the fireplace.


In one of those faint moments, his eyes unconsciously shifted from the clock to the mirror plastered next to the fireplace. And ‘NO!!!’ he gave out a thunderous yell in utter horror!


The face that the little boy and the old man had back in the woods was now fixed on Mr Oliver’s body! He was faceless! He rushed out horrified and shouting, out of the door and out of the gate. It was midnight. Mr Oliver ran, as fast as he could. He reached the woods. He found a lantern hanging midair. He grabbed the lantern hurriedly without thinking as he needed some light to show him the way.


Just then, a man popped out from behind a tree. He was a passerby headed towards the Shimla Bazaar and had stopped by in the pine forest to relax for a while. Mr Oliver lifted the lamp up. As soon as the man saw Mr Oliver’s face, he fainted.


He had no face…no eyes, nose, mouth – nothing!


The lovable, soft-spoken, school teacher of yesterday, was a dreaded faceless apparition today.



A Face in the Dark is a short story by Ruskin Bond. It’s the story set on a windy night when Mr Oliver, an Anglo-Indian teacher, dares to walk through the pine forest on his way back to the school after an evening at Simla Bazaar. He comes across a weeping boy who lifts his face, which is not a face but a flat something without eyes, nose or mouth. Mr Oliver runs only to bump into a watchman who again had a face like that of the faceless boy.




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