The Lone Orphan – Part 8

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction (Love to also add that childlike imagination ;-))

Read Part 7:

I open my eyes and the only thing I see around me are huge tall trees. I try to move my legs and hands which are bruised due to strenuous travel. I get up from my place and see that Arjun is sitting guard for us. I search for Shankar and find him just few feet away, engrossed in deep sleep. It has been more than two weeks since we started our journey into the forest, Arjun in our lead. It has been the most gruesome travel till date in my life.Amazon_Manaus_forest

During the day we travel and in the nights we camp in a place where Arjun marks as safe to rest. We take turns to guard our resting place while others rest. I swear we are only able to survive due to the medicines which Arjun has prepared.

I stretch my legs and hands, stand up from my place and walk towards Arjun. “You seem to be lost in thoughts,” I tell him and sit beside him. “We are nearby to the location which we marked but we have not come across anything,” he says. Even I started losing my hope as day after day we are just going after something which is not clear to us. Arjun looks as if he is hesitating to say something. “What is it Arjun?” I ask him. ” Do you remember I told you that some wild animal killed my grand father?” asks Arjun. I nod my head. “He was brutally murdered by someone and I was never able to find out who did
that,” says Arjun. I look at him, shocked by this sudden revelation.

“He is not my real grand father,” Arjun continues,”I mean, I am not related to him in any way. My parents died in land slide when I was very young. My whole village was destroyed. Myself and few others survived. We walked for days and people started dying in front of my eyes,” Arjun pauses and shuts his eyes tight as if seeing a bad dream. “One day I became unconscious and people left me behind thinking I was dead. Grand father was passing through the forest, found me and took me home along with him,” Arjun says. I nod encouragingly at him and he continues,”He took care of me since then, taught me all the secrets of the forest.I owe my life to him,” says Arjun, placing his right hand on his heart. “However he was always secretive about something. He said he will tell me when time comes.During his last days he lost mind and used to be scared about something. One
dreadful day, I found him brutally murdered near the river. I felt I will find answers here but I started to lose hope now,” he says and tears fill his eyes.

We both just sit in silence lost in our own thoughts. In a way both of us came in search of answers but we seem to be in a dead end. I open my sling bag, take my red shawl out of it and wrap around me.”Arrhh!!” screams Shankar.We both get up from our place to see what has happened. An arrow comes from behind and hits Arjun, he falls down unconscious. I look at Shankar and see that he is also unconscious. A group of strangely dressed men surround us. “Please do not kill us,” I shout on top of my voice and raise my hand. My shawl, which I had wrapped around me falls down. Suddenly all of them drop their weapons as they focus on me. one man comes forward, drags me towards the group.

He shouts orders to others, they drag Arjun and Shankar towards them.They tie blind folds to us and take us with them.After what seemed like hours, they push us to ground. I can hear voices around me. Someone opens my blind fold and my eyes seems to be out of focus.

By the time my eyes adjust to surroundings, I observe that we are in a clearing which has small huts in circle and in the center is a huge Shiva Linga. An elderly person who looks like their head, also dressed in similar clothes like other men is performing some kind of ritual in front of the Linga. I am still confused as why I was not made unconscious. One of the men approaches the head, whispers something in head’s ear. He stops his prayer and looks at the man with strange expression on his face.

The tribal head rushes towards me with a surprise look, he pulls me towards the Shiva Linga and makes a cut on my hand just enough to create a design with droplets of my blood on the floor. Suddenly the entire floor illuminates and the head cries in delight. The entire tribe is now bowing to me and crying. I look around bewildered. I turn around to see that Arjun and Shankar have gained conscious. They also look equally shocked.

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