This is for the Picture Prompt competition. The story is about Ajith, a boy of 21 working in a NGO. He along with his friends take a visit to the exotic islands near Andaman for a capturing the beauty of nature. But, it is they who are captured.


5. A chance finding


We started running towards the ring of trees as the wood forged arrows trailed us in deadly waves. I in my blind frenzy was blinded from my surroundings and all that mattered to me now was that narrow hole that promised me haven under its darkness. The blinds across the hole curtailed vision and I knew getting there would temporarily guarantee me safety. I heard a chortled scream and turned around to see Sasha pierced in the calf of her knee, immediately launching onto her was Raj who picked her up swiftly and started running towards me, for a split second, I thought he was pursuing me. Only then did I realize that I was standing en route to the darkness and beyond.

The blinds of nature drawn taut by thick shields atop the trees let us afford a few gasps of breathe after feeling considerably revived, we went ahead to articulate a plan. First, we clambered a tree and perched atop it, there scattered and flew a few birds, but we were no more piqued at disturbing them for we were nestled in the only place we could consider safe. I stretched my legs and stifled a yawn, I looked beyond the trees and I could see spears of rays cast forth by the sun and the tribulations beyond had struck pungent cords in us and we knew we had to orchestrate a plan before we could as much as advance a foot. Jagadeesh ignited a matchstick and for a second, his face lit up in the illumination, but the fleeting glimpse was cut short by Raj who extinguished the light, “Even without that they will have no problem sniffing our trail”,

Jagadeesh grimaced at the sarcastic comment, but he had no counters for Raj had tread in prudence- tight logic. The incense in me was still bedazzling, but I chose to suppress the flame for I was no intrepid hero nor was I a belligerent villain, I knew I had to play safe. Every one of us were galled we were being shadowed by a horde of cannibals of whom we knew nothing about. We all knew we were under the shadows of contentions and altercations, but we also knew that gathering our belongings now was the mantra of survival, the only mantra of survival.

 “So, what do we do”, asked Sasha, trying to alleviate some of the friction.

“How’s your leg”, I asked opening the conversation with her.

“Oh, it pains, but there is nothing we can do, if the arrow was toxic, the arrow was toxic, we aren’t in shape to fix anything, all we can do is articulate a plan that encompasses within it, only one goal: getting out of here, what do you say Raj”, Sasha asked.

“Yeah right, now the stakes are on me, he killed the small fire that was our way and he also invited those bloody damn sons-of-bitches. Do you know one thing whoever they are, they determined as hell, either they conquer or they rot”, Raj spat, a pint of vehemence incited in his speech.

“Calm down, we don’t have to do this, banter on and on and the concrete speech fades into the background, now let’s see. There are two entrances to this otherwise fortress, we block them and we are safe at least for a night. If we will not be able to weave a plan by then we never would. We have the boatman by our side, he will be able to negotiate in the vernacular dialect”, Jagadeesh said, motioning towards the boatman.

Suddenly all our attention was channeled towards him and the boatman did the simplest thing; he hopped down the tree and reconciled the fall with incredible agility. He looked at us and said in broken Andaman twanged Tamil “Let’s get the entrances barred, before we jump to conclusions”,

If there was a thing that we ever concurred upon than that thing was this. We descended the vertical incline and progressed towards the trees. Sasha was left in the tree, as we knew her limp would prove to be a liability. We had a constriction; the materials used to block the passage could only be contrived from the inside, for we could not venture outside. It was not that the inside was barren, but it was just that some of the sub-monolithic rocks were outside. We decided to split into groups in order to intensify and decrease the time taken. The first group was contingent of me, the boatman, while Raj and Jagadeesh formed the second group.

The boatman proved to be a skilled companion as his knowledge in these things far exceeded mine. The fortification we intended to materialize was a battlement that would sail us through the night. As I was engaged in accruing dirt, I heard a thump. I quickly turned around and the boatman who was cutting fronds to stuff the entrance repeated my motion a startled look painted his face. I dropped the dirt and started running towards the source of the sound, I could discern in the darkness the faces of Raj and Jagadeesh, I motioned towards them and we unified. The synergy of eight eyes proved two too less to locate the sound amidst the darkness. The fear that the sound might have vibrated from Sasha’s throat was the chief concern that swayed us. Our eyes were glued to the branches in the upper strata, as we knew Sasha was left sitting there. After the expenditure of few profanities, we decided to head back to our works.

We decided to switch sides and the pair of us footed to the other side. Suddenly a hand pulled me and I went down into what looked like solid quick water, arms flailing I did not excuse a scream. Though the darkness was imposing, I afforded a glance across to ascertain the type of trouble I had gotten into. A struggled hot wind of air moved my way and a hand slapped me leaving in its wake twinkles in my vision.

The depth I had not previously fathomed and now I took a dig at it because fear was swallowing me wholesome. My hands caught onto a ledge and I pulled myself up. Only then, I realized that I had fallen into a small crater, and encircling me stood my company. We all stood at the periphery of the pit for some time. The sense of impending was magnifying in us, at last Raj cleared of the cover of dead leaves and exposed the beast to us.

Instead of glancing upon a fanged, four-clawed beast that roared, we found Sasha and at that moment, the boatman shouted “Eureka”, in Tamil.

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