The write club April 2018 edition has a total of five stories from five different authors.
You could read a sample of the featured story (and my story) in this post and decide to buy the full edition of the magazine by clicking on the link below, or you could give it a pass.🙂
Either way, I am glad you’re reading this right now!
The Charmer of Devara
(Genre: Magical Realism)
“Which fool would have sent his cattle into the wild at this hour?” Krishna wondered, as he sat near the banks of Godavari and noticed a herd of cows that strayed in front of him. A small boy followed the herd with a stick in his hand. He swayed it in thin air like an imaginary sword and hit the grass now and then.
“Hey boy. Come here”-Krishna beckoned the boy and asked- “Who are you? What are you doing here with the cows at this hour? Do you want to offer yourself along with your cows as a feast to the wild animals?”
The little fellow stopped in front of the stranger with folded palms. The stick slipped from his hand and fell on the grass.
“Sir, my name is Sanatha. I come from the village of Devara near Govardhan,” he said with a slight tremor in his voice. “The cattle belong to the chief of my village. I bring them all the way up here to graze because there is no grass left in my village.”
“What do you mean by ‘no grass in the village’?” asked a puzzled Krishna.
“There is a huge menace of rats in our village. We can no more store grains in our house or granaries as the rats eat them. Our village is surviving by the milk of our cattle. Now, there is huge shortage of good grass to feed the cows.”
As if to prove his point, Sanatha pointed to his turban and said, “Look at this is, Sir. The rats haven’t spared my turban also.”
Krishna frowned at the miserable sight of the patchwork done to his turban, and asked, “What is your chief doing about it?”
“Even he doesn’t know how to deal with the problem. These are his cattle and they give the creamiest milk, which he exchanges for grains from the nearby towns and villages. I have to bring the cattle this far, so that they get good grass to eat.”
Suddenly, a lark flew past him.
“The birds have begun to retreat to their nest. It is time for me to go.” Sanatha picked up the fallen stick. “I need to rush. Otherwise our chief would beat me!” he said.
Krishna stopped him and suggested, “Okay, why don’t you have some mangoes? These are really ripe and sweet.”
The boy paused and stared at the two ripe mangoes that glowed in Krishna’s hands. The sweet smell from the two mangoes were irresistible. He bowed twice to Krishna before he received them, and he sprinted back to his cattle.
The village of Devara was far. However, Sanatha darted along the pathway as the sun slowly settled down. On his way, he relished the sweet-smelling mangoes, which refreshed him, and he crossed the distance with ease.
A week went by, however there seemed no respite from the rats at Devara. One morning, unable to bear the menace of rats, the entire village gathered near the large banyan tree to find a resolution. Amidst the chatter, the village headman stood up and signaled the crowd to silence. He was short and stout and kept a long mustache, which he twirled every now and then. He cleared his throat and announced, “Anyone in this village who can solve the rat problem, within the next two weeks, will be handsomely rewarded.”
The villagers spoke in muffled voices. While some looked puzzled and confused, few were annoyed at the headman’s statement. The chatter grew louder and louder, until there was a voice from behind which said, “I can do it in one day.”
All heads turned in the direction of the voice. The voice was of a young man, who was a stranger to the villagers. He walked closer to the crowd. He was tall and dark, with long curls that touched his broad shoulders. His face was radiant and calm.
About Author: A damsel who works as presales consultant during the entire work week and chills out as writer between 2 PM to 5 PM every Saturday.
I was at the back, curled up like a fetus, my elbows touching my penis—and Sam, Sam was mostly awake. And he often gawked at the pictures of bikini models and men in Speedos (I couldn’t tell which one, when) on his primitive Smartphone with a joystick and compact set of buttons.
“Tch! The Wi-Fi sucks”, he would grunt loudly in the middle of the night, in fact, I woke up to his grumbles more often, than I remember waking up to my alarm.
I was new to this. I was new to everything. Our dormitory smelt of cum, at places, of cum and piss. I would walk in, walk out, no eye contact or exchange of greetings—like a slave.
The very first day, he and they—all of them—occurred odd. I barely managed a “hello”, at the shorter, less intimidating, and almost likeable guy in V-neck vests. He winked. Strange! I thought. Fourteen years of my life, and no one had ever winked at me. My dad used to wink at me, but he would do that only when he cajoled mom in getting me one more scoop of ice-cream after dinner or hide an entire packet of jelly beans from my elder sister, just for me, or things of that nature.
That day I walked up to my rusty cot—it stroked like a swing, whenever I tossed or turned on it—carrying my backpack, a pair of sneakers, the dormitory guidelines and everything that I possessed or was given, like a victim of apartheid. One of them, his name was Vir, slapped my back as I walked past him, and it was not until the middle of that night that I realized, it indeed really was a sexual misconduct masked under brotherhood (as they called it) and not my assumption, when I woke up asphyxiated with his hands on my neck—trying to gag and choke me at the same time.
“Shush”, he said and then bit my ears gently, then slobbered it, his tongue deep in, cleansing the lobes, shoved deep in the canal.
I pushed him away; a scuffle, a failed one. He punched my spine and did not stop until he threw five of those hardy knuckles. I almost ran out of breath at the fourth one; it was right in the middle of my slightly hunched back.
“Hold still”, his voice was an upsetting whisper, and his breath was the after taste of garlic and onion. I gasped, clasped my bed sheet, making a mess of it. He put his broad and rancid black palm on my mouth, suffocating me with my silent hiccups.
Then he did something, I wasn’t sure what or why, but under my blanket, his hands
mischievously caressed my body parts that I always thought were filthy—even for me. I once again feebly tried my best to combat this whale of a guy with clammy armpits. He had stout legs that he wrapped around me and pushed his body into mine, vigorously, choking me, gasping in my ears. I was helpless like a corpse and had almost turned into one, by the time he disappeared to his cot.
I pulled my boxer shorts up and ran to the bathroom as soon as he left. I latched the door from inside, and stood in front of the mirror, then vomited my last meal, the color of spinach and onion curry, in the corner.
My hairless chest and burning neck, had long strangle marks, as if drawn by a ligature.
The blood clots below my ears and a premature Adam’s apple, were red, almost purple and red, with hints of teeth marks. I howled looking at them. Then someone knocked the door. I wiped my tears, splashed water over my face and bulbous eyes, combed my bedhead hair with fingers and opened the door. Sam walked in.
“What are you doing?”
“This bathroom is meant for just one person”, I opposed.
“I know” he said “… and did you like it?”
“Oh! Look at your neck.” He peeked.
I jerked his hand off and pushed him away. Almost slapped him. I was furious and I could have
taken him down, if he too forced himself on me. He had a petite body and his beard had not
completely sprouted yet.
“He is quite strong, isn’t he?” Sam asked.
“Vir … who else?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.” I sprinted to the door.
He grabbed my hand.
“Listen, I am not like him. I have been where you are. We could be friends.”
For some unknown reason, I believed him when he said that. Maybe, because his voice, even
though not very convincing or authoritative, it still had a sense of comfort to it.
“Yeah?” I asked.
“Yes”, he said, “everyone who comes to this school and stays in this hostel at first, is like you;
scared, unsure, quiet and fragile, sometimes homesick. Let’s just say that at first we all are shocked, then we are unpleasantly surprised, then we get used to it.”
“I will never get used to it.”
About the Author: Well, that would be me 🙂. And you’re reading this on my blog. So …
About Write Club Bangalore: It’s a weekly meetup group of writers, that’s been consistently running for past 7 years.
Every week we assemble at 2 in the afternoon and write on a prompt given to us by the host. Then we read (out loud) whatever we have managed to write, one by one, and the host, or the other members of the club, tell us how good or bad the pieces are.
Post the writing session, we have coffee at a close by restaurant and we often debate (and/or joke) about everything under the sun. The waiters at the restaurant probably hate us, because we are usually very loud. But then it’s a lot of fun. I mean, I could go on and on about the group, but I can’t put it in words. Why don’t you check out the official website instead?