(A Short Story by M. Menonimus)
The other night I was very late to go to bed and no sooner had I lie on the bed than I heard a female voice in my gateway calling pathetically, “O father, we are fugitives from the Utter Anchal (North region of Assam). Please show us mercy.” I was somewhat agitated as I got tired of hard labour throughout the night for my research work. I could not but open the door of the house and was about to come out. In the meantime, we heard the same pathetic calling. Then my wife got up from the bed and asked me angrily, “Why are you going out?
I replied, “Have you not heard? Someone is calling at the gateway.”
My wife said, “Let us see”
Going to the gateway, we came to encounter a woman about forty with two little girl children. It was the month of January. The children were trembling bitterly in the cold weather. The woman was wearing a piece of shabby clothes. The children were almost in rags. Seeing us, the woman burst into crying. We asked them to be in. They followed us. We gave them some stale food. Though they were hungry, they could not eat. They were fear-stricken. The two children looked aghast. The woman said, “The tribal terrorists have killed their father. None but only Bhagavan has saved us. We don’t know how we reached here. At least five villages are in ruin. Only God knows how many people have got killed.” Saying so, she again burst into tears. I asked her to be quiet. My wife ushered them to the next room and asked them to take a rest. The night was advancing towards dawn.
The next morning they got up late from sleep. In the morning news, we came to know all about what had happened to the north region of Assam. A neighbour had come to my house and informed us that some other people had taken shelter in the house of the village head.
When the woman got up from sleep it was eight o’clock. I asked my wife to take care of them with whatever they needed and set out for my office.
When I came back home it was about eight o’clock. All had already taken their super. The woman seemed to be somewhat quiet. I asked her, “How many members are there in your family?”
She said, “We were five- my husband, I, and three daughters. The elder was Maria.” No sooner did she pronounce the name of her elder daughter she seemed to be choked and could not continue talking.
Then after some time, she resumed, “We are all born poor. We have nothing except a piece of land used as our abode. My husband was a labourer. He though turned weak, earned living by carrying goods for the shopkeepers. We have been living there for about twenty-five years. My elder daughter was about sixteen years of age. She was, though poor born, fair looking. But…”
Saying so, she gave out a deep sigh and resumed, “One night, all of a sudden, some terrorists in the dress of Central Reserved Police Force appeared in our courtyard fully armed with rifles on their shoulders. We all choked at it. They asked for my husband who had just returned from his work. Then the leader offered a letter to my husband and said, ‘You are our tenant. You must pay us twenty thousand rupees as tax. After a week we will come again to take the said amount. My husband with a trembling voice said, “Please save us. We are poor.” But without wasting a word they departed.’
After a week, about ten o, clock at night they came again. The leader of the band asked for the said amount. My husband fell on their feet and said, ‘Please leave us. We are very poor. We hardly can manage…’ He could hardly finish his saying that the leader gave a violent kick on the back of my husband. He fell down senseless. They rushed towards me and ordered, ‘You must pay by any means.’ I said, ‘We have nothing except this piece of land. Take hold of this and save us.’ But they began to roar like lion and caught hold of my elder daughter, Maria and said, ‘You must pay the said amount of money otherwise you would lose your daughter.’ Ordering so, they rode in their car and departed. I could hear the loud shriek of my daughter from the courtyard.
We tried our best to collect the said amount of money as ransom for Maria but could not. After three months after this event, they suddenly attacked not only a family but all the neighbouring villages, perpetrated a massacre, and set fire to our houses. O, my poor Maria…” saying so, she fell into a swoon.
Then it was half past ten. I came out and looked up and saw that not a single star in the sky, the heaps of black clouds were roaring with frequent lightning. 0 0 0
N.B. The short story ‘The Refugee’ originally belongs to the book ‘The Fugitive Father and Other Stories‘ by Menonim Menonimus.
Books of Composition by M. Menonimus:
- Advertisement Writing
- Amplification Writing
- Note Making
- Paragraph Writing
- Notice Writing
- Passage Comprehension
- The Art of Poster Writing
- The Art of Letter Writing
- Report Writing
- Story Writing
- Substance Writing
- School Essays Part-I
- School Essays Part-II
- School English Grammar Part-I
- School English Grammar Part-II..
Books of S. Story by M. Menonimus:
- Indian English Short Story in English
- Short Stories with the Theme of Love
- The 12 Best Short Stories Ever Written
- Short Stories by Guy de Maupassant
- The Best Short Stories of the 21st Century
- The Greatest Short Stories of Anton Chekhov
- Short Stories by O’Henry
- The Greatest Short Stories of Leo Tolstoy ..