Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Meal of Death - Another short story

Language is crude but let me know about the story

1928. It is raining cats and dogs. The Manyara Lake is teeming with water and the flow of the lake is breathtakingly dangerous. Amani's wife is experiencing labor pains and he cannot leave her or ask her to come with him. Amani and his family have been left behind by his tribe, Masai. Their small hut in the Serengiti area is hardly capable enough to give them shelter in the torrential rainfall; but Amani decides to take care of his wife and is assisting her at this time of the hour.

Serengiti in Tanzania is home to varied wildlife and tree climbing lions are pretty common. The rain has forced the lions too to find some shelter. Out of the blue, a lioness silently walks into the small hut of Amani. Amani is aghast and shocked. He is wondering what to do. The spear is kept on the other side of the room. But the lioness is close enough. He stands still now but his wife is shouting. To his surprise, the lioness walks to one of corners of the room and sits down patiently. Amani gets control of the situation and starts thinking positively. Being a forest person, he knew straight away that something is wrong with the lioness. Inspite of his knowledge, he immediately fetches the spear from the other corner. The lioness is unmoved and sitting down silently.

"Please, help me." Amani's wife shouts at the top of her voice. Amani throws the spear away and instantly gets closer to his wife. She is at her penultimate stage of delivering the baby. At this instant, the lioness roars as if she is under lot of pain. Amani's wife is horrified and forgets all her pain when she listens to the roar. The baby is delivered.
Both Amani and his wife look on. A cute small boy has come to their home.

"Lord Enkai has gifted us a baby boy.” Amani sighed.

Amani's wife takes the baby in her hands. Meanwhile, Amani checks up with the lioness. The lioness gives a huge roar and to their surprise, a miracle happens. Five small cubs are delivered by the lioness. Amani is excited about this scene and thinks of getting closer to the lioness. The lioness is silent at this time and seems as if she is sleeping. Amani first detaches his baby from his wife and keeps him by her side.

Then he moves on to check the lioness. The lioness is absolutely mum and seems as if she is possessed by some God. Her face is glowing and none of her body parts are moving. Gathering some courage, Amani touches the lioness. She is unmoved. Amani now investigates the face of the lioness. She is perfectly silent.
"Mbeki, she's dead." He screams.

No reply comes back.
"Mbeki... Mbeki...” shouting her name, he immediately reaches for his wife. Mbeki is also unmoved just like the lioness did.

He shouts in grief and agony. "Mbekiiii...” Amani is crying and sobbing. In the silent jungle, only the sobbing of Amani and the cries of the newborn could be heard.
Amani picks up the boy and holds him close to his chest and continues his mourning. In his grief, he forgets about the cubs. After some time, he realizes that the cubs are drenched in the water which was falling from the roof. He keeps the boy on the crude bed beside his dead wife and goes on to inspect the cubs.

To his horror, the cubs are also silent. Deep down in his heart, he has a fear.

He holds the cubs in his hands. It is like apocalypse. Four of the cubs are dead.
"O Lord Enkai! Why are are you doing this to me?" He picks up the fifth cub who is still breathing. He somehow manages to get some milk from the container kept in the room. Crying as if the entire world seems a hell, he starts feeding the cub with one hand and his child with another. The agony, the pain and the grief is enormous.

After some time, the rain stops. All what is left is, Amani, his child and the delicate little cub. Amani thinks of cremating the body of his wife, the lioness and her dead cubs. He also has to move out of the place.

So Amani decides to burn his house with the bodies. He arranges all the cremation stuff around the house and ties the bodies with the inflammable wood available there. Finally, he removes the small ivory necklace from Mbeki's neck and ties the same on his child's neck. He moves out of the house and burns it down.

He keeps crying outside the house until everything falls to ashes.

"It is time, we should move." Amani says to his kid. He names the kid as Masudi and the cub as Omari.

He ties the cub on his back with a cloth and carries his child in his hands covered with another small piece of cloth. He starts to follow the trail of his tribe and hopes to catch up with them. He keeps following the trail but is unable to find anybody. Soon he reaches a place where he finds small huts but no inhabitants.
He thinks, "I should wait here. There would be somebody who may help."

To his dismay, no one turns up. So he decides to stay all alone and make the place his home. He makes a small wooden home for the cub and puts him inside it.
"Omari, you'll be safe here."

He then ties the baby on his back and goes inside the forest to find some food. His daily life now converged on taking care of his child and the cub.

Life moves on. Amani concentrates on the upbringing of Masudi and Omari. The next 6 years, Amani teaches them the hard lifestyle of the forest. The cub is soon turning into a lion. His has become bigger and stronger. Amani teaches the lion to hunt which in turn benefits them.

Omari used to hunt and bring the meat to Amani and Masudi. Amani used to cook the same. It seemed now Amani was enjoying his life and watch his kids grow up.

Drought had hit the place. There was nothing to eat. The wildlife was perishing. Trees lost their greenery. One day, Amani went for getting wood from the forest and also manage some food. He heard some loud explosion. It was very peculiar. He had never heard such kind of sound in the forest ever. He went to investigate further. What he saw blew his mind away. He saw two well dressed white men were holding long rod like things which had pointed ends. It was not a spear. Then he saw that one of them pointed that thing towards one of the fleeing lions and a loud explosion came out of it. The next moment the lion was dead. Instantaneously, Omari flashed in the back of his mind and he rushed back to his home.

Amani was perilously scared and closed the door of his house as soon as he got back. He held his son close to his chest and also kept Omari close to himself. Amani had never seen such a thing ever happen earlier.
"Masudi, don't go out son. There are devils outside. Don't let Omari go out."

"But father, we need food. Omari has also not eaten anything since yesterday. We need to get food from outside. Let Omari go out and hunt and get something.”
"What??!! No way. Omari is not going anywhere. We'll get something in the night. Lord Enkai will help us get some food."
"Ok father."

Night fell. Amani went in search of food but couldn't manage anything. He didn't want to send Omari for hunting because of the fear of those white men. So he went looking for some fishes in the Manyara Lake. The lake which was once teeming with loads of water had turned shallow. Inspite of that, Amani went there in the hope of finding something to eat. He was lucky enough to find a few fish who were struggling to live in the shallow lake themselves.
"O God! Thank you." Amani took the fishes back to his home. Amani cooked the fishes and out of hunger, they ate everything in no time without thinking about the next day.

The next morning another explosion echoes in the forest. Amani and Masudi wake up horrified. Omari roars to the top of his voice. Amani somehow controls him and pacifies him to be quiet.
"The devils should not find us. Be quiet."

For next 6-7 days, the explosions kept happening in the forest. And during those days, Amani didn't allow anybody to go out of the house.

They waited inside the house without eating anything. Omari had become restless and used to roar every now and then. It became inevitable for Amani to keep him inside the house as it would trigger danger for Amani and Masudi too. So he let Omari go out in search of food.

For sometime, Omari's roar was heard and after some time, there was a loud explosion and the roar vanished. Silence prevailed. Amani and Masudi were horrified. All kind of apprehensions cluttered Amani's mind. So Amani thought of going outside in search of Omari. He asked Masudi to stay in the house until he returns.

When Amari was searching Omari, he fell into the trap set by the white men to catch wild animals of the region. He was scared and started shouting.
Four white gunmen reach the site to discover Amani in the trap.

"Look! Who we have here? A savage tribal."
"Haha. Yes. Let's take him with us. He'll serve well as our slave in the stable."

Omari was not English, so was not able to understand their language. He started begging to the white men and was pleading them to leave him. The white men threw him on to the carriage which was bound with their horses. To his horror, he found the body of a dead lion on the carriage.
Aghast, he started crying, "Oh! Omari. What have these people done to you?"

"That lion's skin would fetch a fortune.” one of the White men said.

As the carriage started moving, Omari started screaming, "Masudi... Masudi...” His voice echoed in the silent forest and in his distant house, Masudi could hear somebody shouting out his name.
"It is Father. Father.. I'm coming.", Masudi rushed outside the house and went looking for his father.

But there was no one. The 6 year old kept looking everywhere but he found nobody.
"Father... Omari... Father… Omari…" No replies from the other side.

Masudi was all alone in the parched forest. No food, no water and no where to go.
Masudi was left with nothing. He could do nothing but cry.

After some time, he felt thirsty and so he started to go towards the Manyara Lake. He didn't know where to go. He was all alone in the forest.
As soon as he reached the lake, he was terrified. The lake was almost dry. He could see water in the midst of the lake. That small area was mobbed by the surviving lions of the region. He didn't have enough courage to go to the place. He could also see a lot of eagle fish flying in the sky.

Suddenly, one of the lions looked at him. He was petrified. The lion looked at him for sometime but soon, he started drinking water again.

Masudi started running back to his house.
"I'll come and drink water later."

Two days passed. Masudi didn't have anything. He was almost dying of hunger. He gathered some courage and started back to the lake. It was noon and not a single being was around. He could hardly walk. Wriggling on the ground, he somehow reached the small patch on water. As he drank the contaminated water, he felt life had be infused again. After drinking two sips, he fainted. As his eyes closed, he could see lot of fish eagles in the sky waiting for the air to die down.

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