Arts and Entertainment

Murder in Mustang

- Pratik Mainali

Oct 31, 2018-

The soft and potentially explosive sky shimmers as the sun reddens the floating clouds. The rippling empty hills, jutting towards the sky and tinted in gold, are beginning to lose the details of their crevices as the sun sinks behind them.

Meanwhile, I gaze curiously at the waterfall, as the restless waves vomit out into the banks. But the waterfall is ages away. Beyond the undulating bare hills that stretch eternally.

In the dull, dark, desolate desert of Mustang, I stand still at the singularly lofty crag, quiet and intensely gazing at the red fire-like sky, the vibrating dust, and also occasionally at the white ribbon like road far, far away. My head swoons, as a finger of sweat streams down my back, a dreadful itch follows, spreading into my contours, giving me a dispirited feeling. My legs are buried inside the heavy mud and every step is excruciating. The land is bare for as far as I can see and my throat is burning with thirst. My entire being is pervaded by a sense of doom and oppressiveness. I looked up again—the sky is slashed all over by clouds. No sign of life and the silence is haunting.

The sun beats down harshly, boiling steam whooshes past, sound vibrates in my ears like trembling steel wire, my throat closes and burns, my eyes blur, head swims, nose quivers, face contorts with sweltering heat, stomach croaks with hunger, legs collapse underneath,  my boot buries into the soil, the dust enters my nose. My brain screams, whispers, crackles. My body turns stiff and shrivels. My pants soak with sweat. Madness possesses me.

A sound comes from the lips of the desert—a howl. Delirious, I walk, stretching and relaxing my legs.

As the dust whirls past me, I try to wriggle away, but involuntarily wrap myself in my dusty coat. The wind hits me with a sudden smack and pushes me back. I brave through it. Finally, the dust settles and I relax. I have a job to do.

As my eyes lay fixed upon the heavens, a strong wind tears through the hills and blasts me to the ground. I shake all over—in terror, in trepidation, in sheer horror of my predicament. About forty feet away, Rosie sprawls, blood gushing from her disfigured face. Her chest is still heaving, exasperating me. She just isn’t going to die. I pick up the rusty shovel and begin digging the earth, creating an oblong hole. No one’s going to find her here. Once the hole is three feet deep, I dragged her to it by her wrist. It is still pulsing. The fury of a demon possesses me and with all the strength I can gather, I smashed the shovel into her brain.

The skull opens like a coconut and the brain presents itself. Her chest heaves even more rapidly and her pulse throbs horribly on her wrist. My eyes widen, nerves untangle and I stagger back. After a while, when I regain courage, I manage to drag the body into the hole. Once the body rests, I cover it with red sand and then return my way.

The shadows lengthened and I walk faster. I walk until my feet become as heavy as my heart. Then, unable to handle the weariness, I collapse on the ground. Dust stirs as I breathe. My heart beats slightly against the ground. The world ebbs and I plunge into a deep vortex of unconsciousness.

I am awakened by the sound of thunder and the trembling of the rocks. As I rise from my slumber, a haunting face looks back at me. Rosie.

Mainali is a BIBM student at Herald College, Kathmandu.

Published: 31-10-2018 08:27

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