Skip to main content

Black Star

We follow the old laws.
An eye for an eye.
In his case, a life for a life.
Only, he was special. Different.
There had always been something about him.
A smell. A look. The shape of his face.
We follow the old ways.
We recognise the signs.
He was born to make trouble. To be trouble.
I was present at his birth, like I was present at the others'.
He was not like the others.
He did not cry. He would not make a sound.
He just stared.
Even I, who had seen so many children, shuddered.
That night, I made the blood sacrifice to our gods.
I looked into the fire to see his fate.
What I saw, I could not comprehend. That is when I knew.
He would be the end of us.
18 years later, I looked into those eyes.
Black. Blank. Cold. Lifeless, even in life.
He had killed.
That in itself was not unusual for us.
We follow the old rules.
Death was part of life. And killing was the instrument of death.
But.
He had not killed an equal.
He had not killed in a fight.
He had not killed to survive.
He had killed.
For pleasure.
We found her body easily enough.
I wish we had not.
He had done unspeakable things. Unnatural.
Only then had he allowed her to die.
The old laws, the old ways, the old rules had only one punishment.
But we would not shed his cursed blood on our earth.
So we bound him and took him to the solitary rock.
His death would not be a punishment.
It would be a sacrifice. To cleanse us. To cleanse the world.
But his depravity called for more.
So we chose the weakest one to accompany him as well.
On the rock, we lit the fire and made the first sacrifice.
An insignificant gesture with an insignificant man.
Then, he ran.
Evil spirits aided him. He was one of them, after all.
He was their king, I knew.
We gave chase over land and water.
Even though we knew it was futile.
Men don't capture demons. Demons capture men.
Suddenly, he stopped and turned around.
And I saw the image from the fire.
The ghost.
My fellow hunter died first. Quickly.
I chose to fight.
But my gods deserted me in the hour of need.
I heard the roar and the heat pierce my heart and I fell.
But I did not die. I could not die.
Not then. Not there.
He came up to where I lay, his lifeless, cold, blank, black eyes looking...
Through me.
Then he turned.
The ghost looked at him for a long time. 
He could not see what I could.
He did not know what I did.
That he was face to face with the devil.
As my breath ebbed away, my blood warming the sand, I saw them meet. 
Then the ghost spoke.

"I shall call you... 
Friday."

Song for the moment: The thing that should not be - Metallica  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Night Boat

I usually don't write honest pieces. They're true to facts but I tend to lather my emotions and thoughts with a heavy dose of attempted humour or misdirection. This post deserves some raw emotional honesty, though.

Yesterday, 29th August, a Tuesday (or should I say, another Tuesday) was about me making choices. It was raining quite heavily when I left for office, sheeted down the windows of the train throughout the 1-hour journey to Churchgate and kept going with renewed intensity by the time I made it to the entrance, looking verily like something that had drowned in a gutter and lain there a while before being discovered by a cat and dragged in. I made the choice to go to work as I suspected my boss would be there and not because I wanted to go.

I was right about my boss but that cardiac fizz of being right flattened out rather rapidly once I realised, around 11:30 am, that no one else from my team of 20 had bothered to make a similar effort. And, some of these guys live 5 …

Last of my kind

(This post hasn't come out as well as I wanted. But I'm still pissed off, so.)

Why do we have heroes? What is it about someone that triggers a decision to nail our colours to their mast? I don't have a neat answer so what you read from here on is both an explanation and an exploration. In a post-modern world driven by counter-points, certainty is a luxury.

I missed the boat when it came to India's ODI cricket madness. We moved abroad in the late 80s. When I left, my friends and I wanted to be Kapil, Kris or Sunil. When I returned, god was getting comfortable on his heavenly couch and all was right with a world I did not recognise. I had missed Sachin's opening batsman debut against New Zealand, the hullabaloo of the Hero Cup and other notable moments. So, I was interested in cricket, not any particular sportsman. Not even during the '96 World Cup. When India muffed it against Sri Lanka, I hurt for the team, not for a player.

Then came Dravid. And, personally, …

Let her go

Have you noticed how we throw things out a lot more than before? Of course, city-dwellers like us have more, now that disposable incomes are the norm. Does it also allow us to dispose of things so easily? I was the object of much mirth/ridicule at work today because I wanted to get a golf umbrella repaired. One colleague wondered if it was worth the effort, another asked why I did not just buy a different one while others chuckled when they realised neither of these thoughts had occurred to me. I trudged off, wondering if they were right. What exactly was driving me to take the trouble?

I think back to to the 80s and living in my Thatha's (grandpa) house. Today's 'use-and-throw' culture would have shocked him to the core. The man was the epitome of prudence. Since we weren't exactly floating in doubloons, the family followed suit. Thatha wore the same watch for over 50 years. A small umbrella, bought by my mother with her first salary, was well on its way to becom…