Little Victims Play: An Extract

Santosh Bakaya

           It was half past two. My eyes were riveted on a rat- chewed newspaper, from under which a squat spider was crawling and scuttling towards me. What was that movie I saw a couple of years ago?  It was ghastly. Really Horrifying. A dead man with eyes behind his head. Eyes that saw keenly- sharply- clearly into the future of death- into the valley of death rose the six hundred.  I got a consolation prize in that inter-school elocution contest, long, long years back. I think I recited The Charge of The Light Brigade pretty well. I felt Lord Tennyson would have definitely patted me on the back, but those judges were biased towards girls. I am in the Jaws of Death right now, alas! And those biased judges are knocking at the doors of my memory.
 You know, I immediately had a crush on the girl who stood First. She had recited Casabianca by Felicia Hemans.   When she said, The Boy stood on the Burning Deck, she was gesturing too eloquently, that impressed the judges, I guess.  Well, more on that girl later.
Does death have a future? For that matter, does life have a future? Life’s future is death. What is death’s? A dead man with eyes that saw.  I am that dead man with my dead man’s eyes. A tiny lamp still burning. But, what is this? I feel as if my heart has stopped beating. I hear only the clock ticking- tick – tick- tick. Hey, what’s that?  I can hear horses’ hooves. Thud- Thud -Thud. They are pounding energetically. One of them is moving like a whirlwind. The other horses are merely clouds of swirling dust and beating hoofs. One horse flashes across the finish line. Is it my horse? What weird games is my mind playing? I knew if I did not play games, I would not survive. These are my survival tactics. I have to survive! I have to survive this injustice! 
Come, what may.
    Yes, I had the moon for company.  It was indeed strange that with all the world stretching around in its bleak, astounding perplexity, in its stupefying, maddening profusion, a handful of moonbeams could lift one’s spirits. 
A murderous, unappeasable anger, a deadly helplessness, grips me making me gnash my teeth.  Is my sanity collapsing? 
I was glaring so hard at an emaciated little rat that it scurried away, its tail between its legs. A truck trundled in the dark. What did I hear? A cry? A shriek?
Then a silence.
A throbbing, anguished, mind- boggling silence. Unnerving in its deafening roar.  Was all this a joke? A macabre joke?

     Damn! Damn!  Damn!  
 I don’t even have the freedom of a rat. The policemen were laughing vindictively. Wheezing and belching, grunting and guffawing. The scoundrels! I was feeling so cheated, betrayed.  Lost.


 I remember standing near the barred window, eyes fixed at the ominous looking clouds, swirling purposefully towards the moon, bent on obliterating its pallid light. The clouds covered the moon in sync with a gigantic belch of one of the policemen outside the ward.  I wanted some welcome message, but there was none, only belches and guffaws. A mongrel whelped and whimpered in a long howl, perhaps protesting at the misery of a lost soul. 

In a bid to kill time, I regurgitated all the poems I had learnt in school, and I tell you these poems were a great support during those dismal ten days.  How can I ever forget the lizards, the spiders, the cockroaches, the mosquitoes keeping me company in the prison ward?  I think I should write a gratitude note to them. Don’t laugh at me. It is gratitude that the world needs GRATITUDE. Don’t take me for a fool!

“Great wits are sure to madness near allied, And thin partition do their bounds divide”
Who said that? Dryden, I think. So, I believe, I am a great wit, not a mad person. It is just beyond me, why the bull fighting scene of Fandango Rock in all its gory details keeps flashing before me.  I think I am getting a little soft in the head.
Calm your galloping nerves. Don’t explode. Don’t rave. 
Why do I feel this howling emptiness within myself? What have I been reduced to?
A weak, whimpering individual? Disguised passions and fossilized emotions lying dormant in the darkest corners of my subconscious mind, have started emerging from cavernous depths.
Something else has emerged too.
In the room.
A huge, hirsute hunk of a man slicing the grey murkiness. He is absolutely sozzled.  An uncontrollable spasm of anguish grips me, making me gasp.
 He is talking to someone, probably the big boss, on his walkie- talkie. The very personification of obsequiousness, he even clicks his feet together and salutes the voice. I am afraid, he will start bowing and scraping. And genuflecting too. Imagine, the height of sycophancy!
“Yes, yes, ooh aah” he is ingratiating himself, making me squirm and shudder. Soon another man follows him, lumbering into the room, bulbous nose, bushy brows and ferret like eyes.
 “Now that you have been caught in this web, there is only one way out.”
 Ferret Eyes, says in menacing tones.

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