Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence and mature content.
Thunderclouds approached the village from the east. Winds picked up pace as the lights turned grey and then dark.
"Why can't I come with you?" Ganisha demanded from her brother.
"It's a long way to the city. You won't like the journey, “answered Ganesh."Besides, someone needs to stay here and look after our farm while am I gone."
"Then why don't you stay and look after it yourself!" cried Ganisha.
"Listen, little sister," said Ganesh. "I never tell you these things, but I think it is about time. The truth is we are knee-deep in debt. If I don't find work in the city and earn enough money to pay off these debts, we'd have to give up our farm and our house."
Tears filled up Ganisha's eyes. "I cannot help but think of father," she said.
"I am not our father!" cried Ganesh. "Father abandoned us. I will never do this to you, Ganisha."
"I know. I trust you, brother, “said Ganisha, smiling, tears still in her eyes. "Bring me glass bangles from the city when you come back, will you?"
"Glass bangles for you and a smart shirt for young Robb." Ganesh grinned.
"You know?" Ganisha asked with a raised eyebrow. Ganesh nodded.
"You will let me marry him?" she asked her elder brother.
"You will marry whoever you want." Ganesh replied, wiping tears off Ganisha's face with his hands.
Early next day as the rose fingered dawn appeared Ganesh left the village with only a bag slung over his shoulders, which contained food for his journey to the city cooked by his dear sister, Ganisha. She stood by their house's door, watching him walk away until he was no longer visible.
Ganisha looked after the farm. It was harvest season, and the rice she grew would be enough to earn her a decent living for another year. Now she waited only for her brother to return from the city and pay off the debts so that the moneylenders would stop bothering her family and that they could live in peace. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. She sprang to her feet and ran towards the door.
"By the order of the emperor, Bhimdev, every house in this village is to shelter some soldiers and contribute necessary provisions while the army makes arrangements to march further towards the frontline." An imperial soldier read a royal decree to Ganisha's face.
"We are poor farmers, my lord!" Ganisha said, bewildered.
"A decree is a decree," the soldier replied. "I cannot help you here. You will house our captain, Lord Bhallaladev and two of his lieutenants. You cannot refuse."
When he had thus spoken, Ganisha couldn't muster courage to say anything else and so she gave in. She then saw three officers dismounting their horses and proceeding in her direction.
"I am Captain Bhallaladev, and these are my lieutenants. I hope we won't be too much of a trouble to you," the largest of the men spoke, his lips curled in a wolfish smile. He reeked of alcohol as he spoke.
And thus, during the following days the officers feasted and boozed at Ganisha's house at the expense of their hostess.
"Ey, pretty one, sing for us. Will ya?" One of the lieutenants proposed.
"I'm afraid I don't sing well, my lord," Ganisha said, bashfully.
"I don't think anyone of us here can differentiate a bad song from a good one. My sense of music is as good as that of a sack of potatoes." The three burst into laughter as the Captain spoke. "Sing, girl!"
And so she sang a beautiful song, as soothing to ears as the sound of waves crashing on shores on a quiet moonlit night. In the light of candles, at the moment she looked like Diana herself. She sang of the abduction of Persephone, about how she was tricked by Hades.
The captain just sat there staring at her like a hungry wolf stares at a new born child. He signalled his lieutenants to leave the house. When they had thus left the house, the captain stood up and slowly walked to Ganisha. He held her face in his hands and spoke softly, “You sing well, girl.”
Ganisha now felt uncomfortable at the captain’s sudden advances. She tried to break free, but the capital tightened his hold. “Let me go!” she cried. But the captain held her from behind instead. “Help! Help!” She kept crying for help but no one came to rescue. When the captain was done feeling her with his hands, he tore her clothes and stripped her naked. He thwarted all her attempts of breaking free of her assaulter. The captain violated Ganisha thrice that night. Not a day passed, until the emperor’s army left the village, in which she was not raped by the captain and his lieutenants.
And now, when six months had passed since the soldiers had left for the frontline towards the west, Ganesh returned from the city with money to repay the debts they held. They could finally look towards the future and start rebuilding their lives. He could finally get his sister married to young Robb. He hadn’t forgotten the glass bangles that his sister had so enthusiastically asked for, and so he held them up in his hands in display as he knocked the door. He was greeted by his sister’s sad and gloomy face, for she lived the agonizing horror everyday now that she was pregnant with a child.
“I will kill that cur!” Ganesh boiled with rage when he heard what his sister went through while he was away. He paced to grab his father’s old rifle.
“No, please! Ganesh no!” cried Ganisha when she saw his brother holding that rifle. “You will not go.”
But Ganesh blinded with rage pushed her aside, kicked the door open and left the house with the rifle in his hands.
And so for seven days, Ganesh travelled on foot across forests, rivers and over countless hills. Finally, the imperial camp was in sight. He climbed a nearby hill and waited for the right moment as the sun set and the night sky rose up. For hours he watched the camp, waiting, until he finally fell asleep.
The following morning, he woke up at sound of commotion. The soldiers were drilling. He scanned the camp from the hilltop until he spotted him—the captain! The captain was inspecting his soldiers, who stood there in multiple columns. This was the right opportunity. One bullet would be enough to end this wretched cur’s life, he thought. And thus, he aimed for the captain and shot. As though gods themselves guided the bullet through the air, it went straight through the captain’s throat. The captain lay dead there.
Ganesh knew that the soldiers would be all over there and so he ran. He dropped his rifle and ran for a ravine that ran nearby. For weeks he spent in the ravine eating occasional fruits he could forage, fearing the soldiers would find him if he got out. He finally did get out of the ravine, when he thought the soldiers would have given up their search. He headed straight to his village.
In seven days, he reached his village. When he finally did see his village again, the scene completely horrified him. Farms burnt to ashes, some buildings razed to the ground, others still belching black smoke as a result of been burnt down, and corpses lying on the streets.
“Brother! What happened here?” He asked a passerby.
“A sniper shot the captain of the imperial brigade that was supposed to protect this part of the country,” he answered. “When the enemy did finally attack, the soldiers broke their ranks and fled under lack of leadership. This is what the enemy soldiers did.” He pointed towards the corpses lying on the ground.
Ganesh quickly ran towards his house, fearing for his sister. He found his sister and her unborn child murdered on the floor, a sword through her belly.
Devastated Ganesh went straight to the kitchen, grabbed a knife and slit his own wrist.