Zealots of Paddy

The most disturbing feature of the man was not his wide starry eyes, nor his groping fish like mouth. It was the fact that he was completely naked. Completely naked and coated in mud as if he had just emerged from the wet ground below, which he probably had.

"WHAT ARE YOU AND WHERE DID YOU COME FROM?" I screamed, my heart pounding in my ears.

The man replied in a croaky voice.

"What doing?"

"Answer my question first. What are you and where did you come from? I'm pretty sure I did not see you here when I entered the farm" I said as I tried to steady my breath and calm the panic surging downward from my brain.

"What doing?" The naked man repeated.

I decided that this would be a good time to get out of here.

"I came here to look at the idol", I answered pointing towards the creepy idol in the middle of the farm. "Now answer my question." I took a step backward towards the lemon grove.

The man suddenly screamed in a shrill voice. "How dare! How dare come to this hallowed ground. This field of everlasting harvest. This the field of Dewisri, mother of rice. How dare come and spoil the field!"

I hadn't noticed the goosebumps creeping on my arms until then. I took two steps backward and tried to speak in a calm diplomatic manner.

"It seems like I have broken some religious taboo here. If so, I apologise. I will leave this place immediately if you let me and never return. I sincerely apologise for what I've done."

I turned around to run only to find another figure blocking my way. This time it was a woman. She looked just like the man. Starry eyes, groping mouth and mud coated nakedness.

"Where going?" asked the woman.

There was a bitter taste in the back of my mouth that I couldn’t seem to get rid of.

"I'm leaving the field. If you could please move out of the way..." my voice trailed off after I saw the sharp sickle in her hand.

I could feel the flight responses kick in, increasing my heart rate, flooding me with added adrenaline. I turned around and tried to run but was greeted by a dozen more naked people carrying sickles in their hands.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING? LET ME GO! I WON'T BOTHER YOU AGAIN" I screamed but the people ignored the screaming and took a step towards me.

Hot wet fluid dribbled down my legs, a bastion of warm comfort in a moment of primal terror. I tried to grab something to defend myself but all I could find was rice crops growing in the soft muddy ground. I finally spotted a rock a few feet across me and ran towards it, only to find that it was the idol I had seen before. It was of a goddess sitting in a lotus pose. She was holding a sheaf of rice in one hand and a sickle in the other. Her tongue was sticking out in a sinister fashion which had looked funny to me before but now there was nothing funny about it. I tried to lift the idol and throw it on the attackers but it was way too heavy. Also, the naked people seemed to be more enraged by me touching the idol.

"How dare! You touch the mother! Purge him!" they screamed and chased me.

I tried to run but I tripped and crashed on the muddy ground. Tears streamed from my eyes. I couldn’t scream. I could only open my mouth to find that even words had deserted me. I felt a cut on my ankle and another across my back but I just lay there, curling into a ball as pain spiked from the cuts. One of the naked people grabbed my hair and pulled my head up to his eyes.

"You spoil the field of Dewisri. But your blood cleanse the field. Your blood water the crops and we reap the harvest in glory of mother Dewisri."

With those words, he slit my throat. All the time he said it, I could see into his starry eyes. Fields of rice were all I could see in them. Green flecked with gold and ready to harvest.

Author ~ Sai Reddy Editor ~ Adwita Chaure

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