Kaji Sahib took a Yak cigarette from his pocket, lit it with a matchstick, glanced at the cornfield and was convinced that the animal had really gone away. No sooner had he started walking again, the dog returned from the other side of the corn field, took a round around him and smelt him one more time and as he tried to hit him with his walking stick, the creature rather started to bark at him as if he had the sheer intention of biting at his legs.
Barking dog seldom bites. Kaji knew it very well. He also knew that a stick of old age wasn't enough to defeat a dog of intention- fact that terrified him a bit. It didn't look like the dog was going to bite Kaji, and it also didn't seem like he was going to hit the dog with his stick.
They were deadlocked. The dog might have thought- if I try to bite him, he will hit me with the stick. The old man might have thought- If I try to hit him with the stick, he will bite me. At the end, the dog kept on barking at him and the sixty year old kept on staring at him bark.
Hearing the dog's bark, a couple of boys came out of the neighborhood. They asked Kaji what had happened and whether he had just brought that dog as a new pet. The boys always made a joke out of him- mostly of his awkward Nepali accent. This time too, the mockery brought a convincing series of laughter in their face.
But their laughter soon turned into a frightening gaze as the dog, instead of barking at Kaji went around the two brothers, smelt them - just the way he smelt the old man and again vanished into the cornfield.
Kaji was frightened as he heard the word rabies and the word touch. He knew that if the dog had bitten him, he should have gone to the hospital, the nurses would have told him to lower his pants down and told him one of the greatest lies of the world- the injection won't cause any pain and finally they would have had a dose at a place on his body just above his asshole. He would be trembling with fear- the kind of fear that the people like him experienced only during their childhood.
Meanwhile, years ago when he was a kid, his mother used to tell him that if a mad dog- infected of rabies touches him, small kittens grow inside his stomach and they bark at midnight. Kaji, as a child never touched any dog at all due to the fear imparted by her mother in his head. The dog didn't touch him this time too. It only barked at him. He knew it very well.
Because of the fear imparted by his mother, he was always afraid of the dogs. But he never revealed his weakness with his friends during his youthful days at the Indian Army Camp, where he worked for almost two decades. Now he was weak, fragile and aged but still a strong man in comparison to the people of his passé. He still feared the dogs but he was not afraid of exposing his weaknesses to the people around him.
Meanwhile, the boys who were already frightened hearing the word rabies discussed for few minutes in a silent tone. After a while, one of the boys uttered-
The cornfield where the poor creature had been hiding was a dense jungle of tall plants as green as ever. The youngsters started throwing stones blindly at the maize-forest. No sounds of bark or groan came in.
As the pitching became persistent, the dog immersed from the other side of the field with a madness of terror or perhaps the madness of his own madness.
There were six of them, Kaji sahib, Asim, Mishra bhai and the other villagers. Six men and a dog- still, they couldn't conquer.
They decided to guard the dog from all sides of the cornfield and attack at him the moment he immersed out. Four of them went to the four sides. Kaji joined Asim who was on his shorts and had just returned from his college. The last one decided to go home leaving this bullshit.
They kept on throwing stones to the cornfield. No sooner they had thought of giving it up, a groan came in. One of the stones had hit the dog which made them excited as they watched the dog immersing from the leftmost side of the corn field where Asim and Kaji sahib had been standing eagerly.
Kaji lifted his old stick to protect himself. Asim lifted a big stone and threw it targeting ruthlessly at the dog's head but the throw was in vain.
The dog kept on going inside and emerging out of the cornfield. One of the stones thrown from the other side had hit near his belly. Asim kept on missing his target. The old lethargic Kaji sahib kept on watching at him miss the bull's eye.
Finally, the dog emerged from the rightmost side of the cornfield where Mishra Bhai had been guarding, turned around and came towards Kaji's backyard. Asim kept on running at the dog. Kaji followed him. The dog was seriously injured at his legs, the blades of the stone had a slight cut at the part of skin covering his belly marking a dark patch of coated blood through which blood had just started oozing out slightly and the poor animal was screeching with infinite fear and pain.
Insult to the injury, Mishra bhai hit the dog at his front-most right leg with a piece of stone. Now, two of his front legs were injured which meant he could only move- not run or turn around. The groan was louder and louder.
Meanwhile, Asim lifted a thick piece of brick and hit at the dog's head, with the energy of his birth nearly breaking the skull of the poor animal. The creature produced even a louder pathetic groan before he fainted.
He was breathing for a while. But, suddenly, deep red blood mixed with the cerebral fluid kept on oozing out of his ears. There was no breathing and there was no groan. It was all silence- a dead silence.
Kaji sahib lifted his old stick, lowered his ankles, twisted his famous moustache with his left hand, looked at the motionless body of the lifeless creature and uttered with his trademark style-
' Hahahaha.. Died, son of a bitch.'
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