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.


6. A crusade is decide upon

Huddled inside the entrenched pit and casketed on top with a tree trunk, the heat was barely making its presence felt. The boatman on the outside shouted, “Great”, it was first proposed by the boatman that widening the shallow chasm would provide underground reprieve for at least a night. It was then compounded by Raj that an engineered tree trunk to cream the whole would make us almost invisible- almost.

We retrieved scythes from the boat. The mission was clandestine in nature, for we had to slip through unnoticed. There had come circumstances, when we had thrived on the verge of being caught. The problem was that we had only time enough to slice a gap for four. The accommodation of another became impossible, and thus it was calculated that everyone would take shifts to sit vigil. This scratched another query also, the possibility of the tribes discovering the paltry defense at the two poles were great. This, in turn paved way for the possibility of them excavating our grave. The idea of one of us sitting atop a tree gazing an eye on the surrounding supplemented our defense. 

The night did come with great pomp and gaiety bringing with it nothing new on the inside but diffusing certain darkness on the outside. This truth we uncovered by peeping through our defense partitioning the clump. The first shift was distributed to me and I took it to be propitious, for it was my reckoning that there would be considerable time consumed in their search. I extricated the goggles from my pockets ad upgraded my vision. I scaled the tree with passable nimbleness and settled on top of a particularly comfortable branch. Snug, I was as far as the meaning of it was refrained to having nothing pricking your back. The consequences of years of slumbering in costly, well-made, sleep enhancing beds complemented my watch. For there was not a pinch of sleep in me, hours rolled by and the eternally slow seconds stung me like a thousand pincers. Sitting idle for three hours straight was not a job to deign, for it requires incredible patience. Couple it with having to have your eyes peeled to both the entrances and you have at your hand a three-hour trailer of hell. 

After my shift ended, I passed on the baton to Jagadeesh and crashed in the underground tenement. I know not for how long, I slept, but I was aroused by the screech of a voice I recognized. I got up with my tantrums blaring and was up and running to root out the source of the sound. It was quite amazing how quickly vigilance reasserted itself. Once, I was outside the hole I came to now it was Raj who had let his throat ripple. His dilated eyes, puffed up cheek and the fresh bake of terror revealed that he was hot out of sleep and fear had in its totality manifested in him.

I disarmed myself off my ego and asked him, “What happened”,

“Sasha’s gone”, Raj said trying to camouflage his fear, but they shone through- pure and unadulterated mayhem.

Whatever grudge Raj had harbored against Sasha, they had departed in the tropical island of the Andaman for some arcane reason. Either that or he had trafficked all his angst at me. 

“Where are the others”, I asked him.

“They went to see if the defenses were penetrated and I went to check on Sasha”, Raj let trail off his voice and I understood the following events as I was a passable reader of subtleties.

“The defenses on the East have been torched partially”, said Jagadeesh suddenly arriving from out of the trees.

He saw Raj and splayed out his question, “What happened”,

Raj’s face, which had been a mishap of many concoctions, took a nuclear determination, “Sasha’s gone, call the boatman”,

Jagadeesh knew he was not expected to emote and jogged off after I stayed grounded at my spot for a few seconds Raj jumped the tree.

“What are we going to do”, I asked.

“Well, we have two options, abscond or invade”,

“What?” I asked perplexed about the contents of his reticent speech.

“What the tribes have given us is a summon, they have laid the bait and they know that we know it, we either chew the net or leave the place”, Raj said his face taking on the mask of an unstirred lake.

“How do you know that they have left this place, for all we know this might be a lure to smoke us out of our rat holes”,

“If that had been the case, they would have played quite, for we would have had to desert our covers”,

I saw the light at that moment, Raj’s study of the situation had been thorough. As I moved east, I could see the shafts of light impregnating the darkness through one of the defenses. The gloom and monotone had descended our company, but knifing through it was the unprecedented grit of Raj, I had just witnessed. The scrunch heralded the arrival of the boatman and Jagadeesh; I quit contemplating and returned to our rendezvous space.

“Now, what do we do”, asked Jagadeesh employing his usual cool in the fabric-shredded situation.

“We take the bait”, Raj said and the boatman nodded in understanding.


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