The Bark... Flash Fiction.
Mrs Smith smiled benignly at the boys. She was the class teacher of class four. The boys loved her, she was always smiling and kindly, unlike the previous teachers, who were unduly strict and harsh. Then she changed her tone.
'Boys I want to tell you. This is especially for the boarders, but everyone in general' she was quick to add. 'We must share whatever we have'.
She paused, hesitated. The class wondered what was, that she was trying to communicate.
'For example, when we teachers have lunch, we pass the food on, in a way we share. No one takes one full plate, and keeps it for herself or himself'.
Again she paused. We wondered what the moral of the story was all about.
'One of you' Mrs Smith continued. 'Doesn't give others a chance (to eat) in the dining hall."
We all gazed sideways at Debajit. We knew who the culprit was.
Debajit grinned, showing his white teeth, and the naughty glint of an eye. Obviously the other boarders had complained. To me Debajit was a horror. I was gleeful at the ticking off he got. He was naughty, a bully, he always picked on me and he could imitate a dog's growl to the t. That was the other side of the story.
Lassie was a huge Alsation, the pet of a teacher, who glared at us and pounced on us at the slightest opportunity. Debajit perfected Lassie's bark or growl and further tormented us. There were two Lassies in the campus! We were in absolute thralldom. We were so paranoid about Lassie, that Debajit would further inflict miseries on us with his inimitable growl- of Lassie. We would jump.
The shadow of Lassie and its charlatan haunted us. At least me. I was Debajit's prey. 'So,' he would come up sidling to me. Then he would strike a tight, well rounded slap. I cursed him, hated him, and morbidly feared him.
One summer's day Lassie passed into the nether world. Debajit's parents were transferred that year (both of them worked in the central government), so he left.
In my distant dreams I still hear the whipping bark even today.
But I do not know, whether it is Lassie's or Debajit's!
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Ananya S Guha
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