Bagchi Babu’s summer routine was to get up early in the morning, go for a walk as he always admired the heavenly earthly smell of the soil, and come back by eight o clock and have his servant “Kishom” make him tea. Nothing gives more satisfaction to his taste buds than the taste of tea after his venture with the outside world. After having his tea, he would take a novel in his hands and spend some quality time with it. He had few visitors after he moved to this small village. It’s not like people don’t like talking to him; Bagchi babu prefers to keep himself. Throughout his life, he met many people, but he never felt the urge to support them. Everyone comes and goes in his life; only Kishom stayed constant. Bagchi Babu had trouble remembering when and where he met his servant and only friend, which implies that it was a long time ago.
One morning Bagchi babu, as usual, was reading his novel, and Kishom was busy pouring tea into the cup with the help of a kettle on the table. But both of their concentration broke by a knock on the door.
“Kishom, would you please get that?” asked Bagchi Babu, still keeping his eyes on the book.
Upon hearing him, Kishom quickly put down the kettle and went for the door.
Bagchi Babu heard the sound of Kishom opening the door, but he didn’t bother.
Kishom returned shortly afterward and continued with his work at the table.
“Who was it?” asked Bagchi Babu.
“It was Ray Babu’s son.”
“What did he say now?”
“Another story about this wild animal.”
“I see.” Bagchi Babu heaved a deep sigh as he retreated his eyes back to the novel.
Later that evening, Bagchi Babu went out for a stroll. When he is out in the evening, he usually goes to a park which was near a harbor; he makes himself home on a bench and gets lost while admiring the raven-colored sky. This evening was no different. He went to his usual spot and started cherishing the beauty of the sky. He was so busy admiring it he didn’t notice that another person has taken a seat beside him.
Upon hearing a person’s voice, Bagchi Babu broke his eye contact with the sky and looked beside him.
“Riju? what are you doing here?” asked Bagchi Babu.
“I have noticed you come here often,” replied Riju warmly.
“Good, I have something important to discuss with you.”
Bagchi Babu raised his eyebrows upon hearing these words from him. What kind of young fellow would have any business with an older man like himself. Either way, Bagchi Babu decided to hear him out.
“Go on, what is it?”
“I think you already know about the unknown wild animal?”
“Yes, I just heard it this morning.”
“What you want me to do about it?”
“I want you to come and see something.”
“May I ask what?” Bagchi Babu couldn’t understand where this conversation was going.
“Just come for once, please,” said Riju as he stood up from the bench.
Bagchi babu opened his mouth for a split second to say something but later decided to go along with him.
After ten minutes of walking for what seemed like an eternity for Bagchi Babu, they finally reached Ray Babu’s house. But instead of going inside the house, Riju led him to the barn.
“Have a look,” said Riju pointing a finger in a specific direction.
Bagchi Babu followed his finger, and what his eyes captured made his hair of his neck stand up.
“Wh-a-t is th-at th-ing?” asked Bagchi Babu in a squeaky voice.
“That is my father,” replied Riju.
Bagchi Babu widened his eyes as he couldn’t comprehend how a mutilated flesh could be his father.
“Why did you show me this?” asked Bagchi babu as he wiped the sweat off his forehead.
“Because I needed a witness.”
Bagchi Babu crossed his eyebrows at his statement.
“Witness? Do you know something?”
“How long have you known your servant?”
“Kishom? Not for long, I only recruited him as my servant as I couldn’t maintain my household properly. It’s been eight months.”
“I see,” said Riju keeping his chin between his thumb and index finger.
” But, what does he has to do with anything?”
“Bagchi Babu, I want you to stay calm and listen to what I have to say to you.”
“Can we go somewhere else? The smell is disturbing,” said Bagchi Babu as he kept the tip of his nose between his thumb and forefinger.
Riju then finally invited Bagchi Babu inside his house.
“So, what is it about Kishom?” said Riju mimicking Bagchi Babu’s previously asked question.
“Yes, please do tell me,” said Bagchi Babu leaning forward a bit.
“I’ll tell you from the beginning when people of the village started finding mutilated animals at their barn. We first believed it to be wild animals, which was impossible as the village is very close to the city. But one evening, my father saw something…”
“Which was?” asked Bagchi Babu in a grim tone.
“He saw a familiar yet unfamiliar figure devouring an already dead cow. The man’s eyes were red as a ruby. He was sinking his teeth deep in the throat of the cow. The only way my father could have understood that man was with his black stole with red stripes. That stole gave a familiar look to that unfamiliar figure. My father quickly ran from there to escape that monster.” Riju let out a deep sigh.
“I don’t understand…” said Bagchi babu shaking his head. “When did Kishom get time to do all of this? He barely gets out of the house! And more importantly, even if he does manage to get out of the house, why would he suddenly kill animals? It just doesn’t make sense!” Bagchi Babu let out an exasperated sigh after he finished bombarding his questions.
“Doesn’t make sense for a human, but for a monster, sure,” said Riju keeping his voice low as much as possible.
“But why now, why did he wait for eight months to make his move?”
“I have no idea, Bagchi Babu; I came to your house hoping to talk to you this morning.”
“I know, but I just thought you came to warn us about this wild animal; if only I knew this wild animal you were talking about was Kishom…” Bagchi Babu said, keeping his right palm on his eyes.
“He probably knew my father saw him that evening and killed him to keep his mouth shut.”
Their conversation was cut short because of a sudden knock on the door.
“Who else did you tell Riju?” asked Bagchi Babu.
“No one, you are the first person I told.”
Riju and Bagchi Babu got up from their seats. Riju opened the wooden door, only to find out that familiar yet unfamiliar person.
“Kishom…” Riju muttered his name. “BAGCHI BABU! HE IS HERE! DO SOMETHING.” Riju stepped back from the door as far as possible and stood beside Bagchi Babu. If he only knew what a convincing actor Bagchi Babu was.
“Kishom, you are finally here; let’s finish in here and get out.”
Riju looked at the man in horror, who he thought could have done something about his father’s murderer.
“Bagchi Babu?” asked Riju in a squeaky voice.
“Yes, Riju,” replied Bagchi Babu flashing off his red as ruby eyes.
Written by Shruti Dutta Gupta