The Revenge – A Short Story
In an era long gone by, there once was a small village near the ancient river valley of Sadånīrå. It was a small dwelling of not more than fifty families & was a part of a larger territory called Kavaasa, whose ruler was the fierce & just, Agastya. The valley led a peaceful, prosperous life & followed a strict moral code which was to be observed by the dwellers. The Sadånīrå tribals, in particular, were extremely conscious of their pure bloodline. So much so that, in order to preserve it’s purity, they preferred marriage alliances within the valley. The chastity of the ‘bloodline’ was something to be honored more than life itself for the Sadånīrå tribals because they held a firm belief that there’s was the ‘blessed’ bloodline. They were sinless & therefore, were the only true inheritors of the blessed paradise in the afterlife.
The Meccha family in the tribe was no different as far as this belief was concerned. All except the older son of the Meccha family, Yedu. Yedu was about 21 years old when he saw a girl lying unconcious on the banks of the river. He quickly ran towards the girl, no older than 16 or 17 perhaps & began to try & revive her. He pressed upon her chest heavily, as water gushed out of her mouth, running at the side before sliding quickly down her neck, as she continued her silent struggle for survival. A sense of panic would overcome Yedu upon every failed attempt but he kept at it, sometimes holding her by her chin & gently but firmly slapping it side to side. And when she finally woke up, the joy of seeing her alive was so overwhelming that Yedu took her into his embrace & weeped tears of relief. The girl cried too, as she looked at him like he was her saviour in more ways than one. But she couldn’t express any of her feelings because she couldn’t speak. Tears were all she had to express the emotions she felt. Upon realising this, Yedu felt that it was an indication from the highest dweller of paradise, that he must take her home under his care.
But under the moral code of the land, no follower of Agastya could dwell with a woman he was not related to. The penalty for such an abomination was death.But he couldn’t marry her either, because of the strict rule of preserving the holy bloodline of his tribe. Yedu was faced with a dilemma but he knew what to do, in order to marry the woman he loved. “I shall pledge to never bring our marriage to fruition. We shall remain child less in order to preserve the purity of the tribal blood line. Please O’ Father, O Lord of our house, grant me this favor & I shall forever be indebted to you. Your wish shall be my command from here on till I breathe my last”. The tribesmen saw no threat to their sacred blood after Yedu made this heartfelt plea & gave him the permission to marry the woman he loved on the condition that they would not bring forth children into the world. Yedu fulfilled the promise he had made to himself of never letting her away from his embrace. They lived a peaceful, happy life until…
The younger brother in the Meccha family, Anu, was extremely temperamental. His first response to even the slightest of provocation was usually a sharp blow to the provocateur. The worst affected by his fists of fury, was his own wife, Mithna. Since this was considered a domestic matter, something between the husband & wife, nobody warned Anu or interfered in the slightest as it was considered unpleasing in the eyes of the highest dweller of paradise to do so. On one such violent bout, Anu lost his temperament yet again only this time, the blow to Mithna’s head was a final one. A pool of blood quickly formed around her as she lay lifeless on the mud flooring of their dwelling. The father learnt of this soon enough & so did the elders of the tribe. They all knew Agastya would soon be aware of this too. It was a killing that had taken place. That too of a woman. The mighty King would never stand to tolerate such an act of brutality & cowardice of a man, as to lay his fist upon his own wife & that too to end her life. Anu would be killed. The Meccha father was devastated as he wept inconsolably. “My older son cannot, by law, father progeny & my younger would now be killed. Is this the end of my family name? How shall I seek a place in the paradise above? How shall I face my ancestors?” The elders of the tribe came up with a solution.
“Hand the mute daughter in law to Agastya. Let him know that she killed her brother in law’s wife out of jealousy as she had children & the mute one wasn’t sanctioned to.”
Yedu was devastated upon hearing this. He decided to tell his father that he would never let this happen & would tell Agastya the truth. “You remember your words a day before I let you marry this mute girl? This whore whose bloodline is a mystery to even the Gods?” Yedu remembered all too well “grant me this favor & shall forever be indebted to you. Your wish shall be my command from here on till I breathe my last”. Yedu had lost.
That night, as he went into his room, Yedu bowed down in front of his wife & told her what had transpired as she listened with utmost shock & disbelief. Tears were all that she could muster. Her only response to this cruel twist of events. To feel a storm of emotions & to not be able to express them, leaves one in a state of devastation. A point of no return. She did not even know what was more painful. The words that refused to slip out , the tears that wouldn’t stop flowing or the disbelief of her savior leaving her to the wolves. She knew what was most painful. She was aware. And she couldn’t keep it to herself any longer. She gently took her husband’s hand & placed it on her belly. The look in her eyes was that of a child pleading for his life. Yedu’s child.
A storm of emotions overcame Yedu as he stared at her with a vacant, distant expression. Not only would he lose his beloved wife, but also his child. Both killed. Mercilessly. For something they had not done. But was he not even supposed to have that child in the first place? But now there he was. Undeniably there. Now that he was growing inside his mother, would Agastya still want to kill them both? Even if he didn’t, the tribesmen would. The bloodline was to be preserved at any cost. Yedu had to think. But his mind stopped working. In a fit of emotion & a fierce determination to save his child at any cost, Yedu picked up his sickle & charged towards his brother. It was a quick blow to the neck. Yedu’s father woke up from the commotion only to find his younger son lying dead on the floor & Yedu soaked in his brother’s blood. “What have you done?” their father screamed in agony as he moved quickly across the hall to the next room where Yedu’s wife was. With his child. “Die you whore, die why don’t you. I shall kill you and end my misery myself you wretched…” he could not complete his sentence. Yedu had yanked him dead with the same sickle.
By this time, someone was knocking at the door. “It is the King’s guard at your doorstep. Open the door as justice awaits you”. Yedu opened the door. He was a dead man walking. The guard froze in his heels as he witnessed the scene in horror. Blood everywhere. A dead body in the hallway where Yedu stood with the door ajar, his scared, shivering wife at the door of their room and a lifeless hand lying in a pool of blood behind her. “Who did this?” demanded the guard. “I did” said Yedu. “Come with me, the King awaits”. Yedu was dragged away by Agastya’s guards. His justice was instant. One blow to the neck with the same sickle he used to murder his father & brother. But first, his skin was to be torn with 10 lashes. Just to give him enough time to say his last prayer, in pain, & repent his crime, his sin. “Were you responsible for mudering your sister in law too?” It didn’t matter now for Yedu was to be killed nonetheless. He had killed two of his family, his own blood. It made no difference if he took the blame for a third as well. He could only be killed once. Only be punished once. But in all this, he looked for his wife who he had saved. Who was carrying his child in her womb. At least he would be safe. He, the unborn, who was really his blood. Yedu couldn’t speak as his mouth was gagged but he looked at his wife with a pleading look. A look seeking forgiveness for what he earlier was about to let happen to her & the reassurance that she would take care of his child. His blood. And she looked back at him. Tears flowing down her cheeks. Then she slowly wiped them off as a grin began to spread across her lips. She stared at him with the expression of a wolf who had trapped it’s prey. A sinister smile that spelt it all to Yedu right before the final lash stinged his skin. Then it all struck him like lightning, but it was too late, the sickle had struck his neck too. She may not found a life within her, but she did find her revenge.