The Baby - Flash Fiction
He was running. A little afar, he saw a blazing fire. Those huts he thought.
Two days, violence broke out in the village. He knew, that some were plotting that violence. He told Asif about it. Asif pooh poohed it. Nothing will happen Asif said. Things are very good here and we live here as a family, and in peace.
But I heard that politician, Baruah, yes Baruah is his name. He was saying things that were inflammatory. But our own Moin ud din countered it Asif said with satisfaction and with a glint in his eye. Now where was Asif? Where was Moinul, Gautam his close friends. Gautam's wife would be delivering in a few days. It looked like a furnace, the village.
A police vehicle came and then halted with a screech. Get up you law breaker someone said. But Sir, I did not do anything, my village is burning.
You are from Morgaon, aren't you. Yes Sir. Then get up you trouble maker the police officer shouted. He just ran into a thicket of forests. He was shivering with fear. Voices followed, he could hear them. He must be here somewhere, that rogue, that imposter. He took refuge behind the bark of a huge tree. It was late evening and night was falling. There were at least two or three of them including that hulk of a police officer with his spectacles and thick moustache. Suddenly, he heard a groan or a low moaning voice. He went in a direction, to the right. He still heard the voice. He led his intuition direct him, he followed the trail of the voice. A child was moaning, or was wailing in a thin tone. He must have been around 3-4 years old. He saw a thatched hut. Slowly he went inside. As he took up the child in his arms his wail stopped. A little grin, toothless grin emerged. He cuddled the child, and looked around. There seemed to be no one there. Some pots lay on the floor in a scattered manner. Had they ran away he thought. He looked around there was a small room adjacent to it. The bed was unmade and things was scattered, one pillow was on the ground. He quietly went out and bolted the house from within.
It was winter and quite cold. The child lay cuddled in his arms. He was sleeping. He gently put the child on the bed. Milk he thought, I must look out for some milk and something to warm the child with.
He did not know how long he slept. Maybe only ten hours. What is happening to Morgaon he thought. And Asif, and Gautam? He peeped out of the window, the fire had gone down, there seemed to be peace and calm. No shouting, no voices heard.
There was a knock on the door. It was the policemen. We knew we would get you they said, you scoundrel, you trouble maker, you terrorist. Please he pleaded, I was only running away from Morgaon, there was violence, there was fire and people were killing each other. You are one of those who started it, they shouted. We need to book all the creators of violence and you are one of them. These are the government's orders. They entered the room forcibly. Their eyes searched for everything. The baby was still sleeping.
He was pushed to the back of the police van and sat huddled with his arms chained.
The baby must still be sleeping he thought.
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Ananya S Guha
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