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Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Sunday, October 14, 2018
The room was in shambles. Broken pieces of furniture lay everywhere. Cushions and mattresses were slashed to pieces. Curtains were ripped from their frames and torn apart. Bhaskara stared at the room in dismay. True, he did not live here or use these rooms any more, yet such wanton destruction was inconceivable to him. Sumitra who was with him, growled in anger.
"Who has done this?"
"I’ve no idea," Bhaskara muttered. "The house has been uninhabited since, well, you know."
Sumitra knew all too well. This was the house that Bhaskara had repaired when he first came into the capital. He had lived here over a month before that fateful and momentous day when he had come to the palace to meet the King for a job in his army. Since that day, no one had been living here. Sumitra had been curious to see the place and Bhaskara had offered to take him which was how they happened to be here.
"All the other rooms are intact," Bhaskara said.
"Yes, and I'm worried. After that attack on you by masked assailants the other day, now this. Someone seems desperate to get rid of you!"
Bhaskara shrugged. "I can take care of myself."
"I know," Sumitra muttered. "But we can still worry,"
The two men stepped into the room. Broken pieces of furniture were strewn all over the floor, interspersed with the cotton from the mattresses and cushions. Near to the window, a glint caught their eye.
"It's..." Sumitra paled. "Now I am officially worried."
Arrowheads were arranged near the window to form words: "The usurper must die!"
“That means you, I think.”
"A prank," Bhaskara said, though his teeth were gritted in anger.
“I think not. Not after that attack the other day. We need to find who’s behind this.”
“I never asked for any of this,” Bhaskara muttered, looking around the room in confusion.
Sumitra looked at his brother, but with a tact inborn in him, he kept silent. Bhaskara swept away the arrowheads with his hand, looking furious. Sumitra was furious too, but he was equally worried.
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Sunday, June 3, 2018
Aditya sat in a corner, feeling out of place and bored. Abhijith was dancing with a girl whom he remembered having seen once or twice around the campus. Vina was flirting with one of the boys from their class named Aakash and Shyam was nowhere to be found. Everyone else in the room was a stranger to him.
He was wondering if it might be polite to leave and was looking around to see if he can spot Shyam anywhere when a stranger came and sat down on a chair next to him.
“Hi,” said the man. “You are Abhijith’s brother, aren’t you?”
Aditya looked at the man. He had never seen him before. He was tall, with a pleasant open face, and pair of very keen eyes.
“Yes,” Aditya said. “But how did you know?”
The stranger chuckled. “Easy to spot the resemblance. I’m Savit, by the way. I’m not from the college, I’m a family friend of Shyam. That’s how I met Abhijith.”
“You’re a professor? What do you teach?” Savit asked.
“Economics,” Aditya replied, nearly suppressing a groan.
“I’m a total ignoramus where that is concerned,” Savit grinned. “Just scraped through with pass marks in school.”
Aditya smiled faintly.
“You’re not drinking,” Savit observed.
“I have to drive home,” Aditya answered.
“Hmm… and your parents are on holiday, I heard.”
“Not exactly. They have gone to visit our grandparents.”
“I see,” Savit said, smiling. “Well, nice talking to you Aditya. Be seeing you around,”
Aditya heaved a sigh of relief as Savit disappeared into the crowd of dancing youngsters. But the sigh turned into a groan as Aakash sat down onto the vacant seat with an ingratiating smile.
"Here you are," a strange girl with a bright smile said as she grabbed hold of Aakash before he even greeted Aditya. With a muttered apology, Aakash went with the girl.
"Enjoying?" Shyam took the seat.
"Would you feel offended if I say no?"
Shyam shrugged. "Not really. Abhijith did warn me you were kinda anti-social."
"I'm not, but I'm not comfortable with people I don't know."
"Come and have dinner then. Buffet is arranged outside. You can go home afterwards."
"Abhijith planning to stay here tonight?"
"I think so. We'll be glad to have you too, you know."
"I think I'll go. I dread having to make small talk to people I don't know."
Shyam laughed. "Well, Saina saved you from Aakash, didn't she? You didn't have to make any small talk."
"Not with him. But there was no one to save me from that Savit guy."
"He said he was a family friend."
"Oh him! Yea. He's a bore. Come to think of it, he wanted to stay the night too. And so did a couple of others." Shyam frowned. "Abhijith will need to go home. How am I even going to explain that?"
Aditya chuckled. "How fortunate l did not take you up on your invitation!"
"I'm bad at organizing," Shyam grimaced. "I will need to sleep on the couch too. Never mind. You go have your dinner. I shall bring Abhijith too."
"He won't be happy," Aditya muttered.
"No, he won't. I'm hoping he'll..." Shyam's brow cleared. "I got it! I'll come with you two. I just need to throw a few things in a bag. How lucky tomorrow is a holiday!"
"What? But it's your birthday! You can't just leave your guests and go like that!"
"Vina will manage them. She owes me one anyway. And mum and dad won't mind too much. You did meet my parents, didn't you?"
"Yes, when we came in. Haven't seen them since."
"Oh, they'll be around somewhere. They don't enjoy this crowd, but they enjoy parties."
"Well, if you're sure, you're welcome to come with us."
"Thanks big bro." Shyam flashed him a smile.
Friday, May 4, 2018
Arnava stepped into the room cautiously. The room was empty. The entire building was deserted as seemed evident from its dilapidated condition. Yet, he had been told to come here. He pushed open the window, which protested with a creak, but still opened. One of the panes was stuck, and Arnava desisted from using force to open it. The slanting rays of the evening sun filtered in through the half open window. Arnava moved to the other side and pushed aside the moth eaten curtains. The dust made him cough. There was a balcony beyond that had been boarded up.
He wondered who had placed the note on his room and why. Why had he been asked to come here? And by whom? He had burned the note, but still remembered what was written on it. It had directed him to come here at sunset if he wanted to save his brothers from disaster. What disaster? He could not understand. He heard a noise and whipped around, arrow nocked. A hooded and cloaked figure stood just inside the room. He felt a prickle that might have been fear. He had not heard its approach. It? He did not know why he thought of this person as it.
"Who are you?" He demanded, not lowering his bow. "What disaster threatens my brothers?"
"Impatient," the voice sent shivers down his spine. It was like no human voice he'd ever heard. "So impatient you are, yet, some things are revealed only at the appropriate time."
"Then why did you ask me to come?"
"The usurper you have taken into your midst must be killed! You must kill him! Or he will be the death of you all!"
"The one named Bhaskara! Kill him! Or he will kill you all!"
“He’s our brother!”
“He’s death and destruction! He’s not worthy! He must die!”
Arnava released the arrow, fury coursing through him. The arrow passed through the figure and buried itself on the wall. The hood and cloak crumpled to the floor. There was nothing underneath. He lowered his arm and wiped his brow. His heart was hammering. He had no idea what he just faced. But he knew he had to get back to the palace before his father or brothers noticed his absence.