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Fiction Drama Contemporary

He was called Pete and he worked for an oil marketing company. He was only 26 when he was offered a building site for sale by a real estate company. He was told “This would be a very valuable investment. All sites have been sold except this one. You would be lucky if you could land this one.” Pete consulted his father and wife.

His Dad said “It’s no doubt a good piece of real estate to invest on. It will surely develop in future. However there’s a man who has lived in that region. He is about 90. I know him well. He told me that to build a home there you would’ve to demolish two large ant hills grown on your site. The ants there are black and not the biting type. They have lived there since the start of time. The man told me that those ants have the capacity to curse whoever disturbs their abode.”

Pete laughed and said ”Those words were said by the old man! I wish I could believe him.”

His dad guessed Pete was going to ignore his advise and said “I wish you all the best in purchasing the site.”

Pete’s wife said “What your father said can’t be true. The site is big. Opt to take it.”

“Considering what my father said I’ve hesitation.”

“Be bold and buy the site. Since there’re no other sites available you shouldn’t hesitate.”

Pete thought a great deal and took possession of the site. He set to work with a builder who said “You’ve taken a wise decision. I’ll create a beautiful house for you.”

Soon the plans were drawn up and the funds were found. When the workers who were farm labourers came to the site and saw the anthills, they refused to work saying they didn’t want to disturb the giant anthills. The builder said “These are fellows with age old beliefs.’

“But then how do we make them start work?”

Pete had the answer himself. The company he worked for had bull dozers. He used his influence and the anthills were removed in no time. The building staff then set to work. Though it wasn’t a very big house it took 6 months to complete. Pete was staying in a quarter allotted by the company he was employed in and so he decided to rent out the newly built house. Pete’s tenant was an old lady who had her son living with her. This arrangement continued for a almost a year but it ended in tragedy: The old lady committed suicide inside the house by hanging herself from the ceiling fan. The son had gone elsewhere and it took 4 days for the old woman’s body to be found and things straightened out. Now came the impact of the suicide. None would agree to live in the premises. He had to wait a year without rental income when a Harish agreed to move in on his terms: Low security deposit, low rent. Pete had to concede every demand of Harish as otherwise he threatened to drop it.

Pete’s father was convinced that the problems were due to a curse by the ants whose hills had been destroyed. The old man passed on in due course. Pete was now 75, almost 50 years after he had purchased the site. He had not moved in and had allowed Harish and his heirs to continue to live in his house where the old lady had committed suicide.

Pete’s tenant Harish too had now grown old and he had a son Randy who had joined the forest service. He would travel a great deal in forests for conservation and protection of different species. He was now allotted the task of killing a tiger which was killing not only livestock but also humans. Before he left on the mission, he told his wife who had been a rifle club member “This will be a very prestigious job. I may have to wander around in the forest several days.”

She said “You must be careful. I would’ve liked to go with you on the hunt but our son needs to be looked after.”

Randy set off with his full gear of various guns, binoculars, night vision binoculars and so on. In the first village he went to, he was told the tiger had mauled an infant girl. With that clue he and 2 of his assistants followed the spoor but they had no luck. The tiger had merely killed a calf kept as prey and had vanished. It seemed to Randy that the tiger was trying to trap him by moving behind his trail.

Randy then met a woman who had been attacked by the tiger. She said “The tiger seemed to limp as it swooped on me. Fortunately I had a scythe and used it randomly. It moved away leaving a trail of blood from which I felt I had injured it. The beast is very dangerous and very wily.”

Two days later when Randy was having dinner at a wayside joint, he was told the tiger was sighted nearby. Randy immediately used his night vision scopes but the tiger wasn’t sighted. He went his way to a jungle lodge when the tiger fell on him. He lost his gun and tried small arms fire but to no avail. The tiger had mauled him. His assistant came to his aid and shot at the tiger. The wounded tiger fell on its side in the bush. It was dead. Randy had been grievously wounded and was carried on a make shift stretcher to the jungle lodge from where an ambulance carried him to hospital. There, he was given emergency treatment. The doctors said he would probably lose one eye. Luckily Randy survived with all organs intact. When Pete was told about it, he said “May be this was also due to the revenge of the ants.” Pete thought that he should have listened to his father about what a 90 year old had said long ago. He now wondered about why that particular site hadn’t been taken and which fell to his lot. Could there be some logic in the site not having been taken by others? Pete thought to himself “May be the building site had been rejected due to popular belief of a possible curse by the disturbed ants. Could it be the curse had ended? In the first case it was suicide in his house and the loss of money due to lack of adequate tenancy, but this time a resident of his house has survived a deadly attack. After Harish moves out I’ll move into my own house.”

END

March 14, 2021 12:55

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