A gentle wind whistled its way through the reeds that dotted the landscape. The bullock cart lumbered down the swamp. A grey mist hovered above the mud, gnawing lazily at the dirt-laden wheels.
I sat cross-legged, a little behind the shriveled old man wielding the whip. It amused me how his eyes refused to blink, even under the relentless assault of the swamp flies. In front of me sat a podgy man with a thick moustache that covered most of his cheeks. His face broke into a wide smile when he realized I was looking. Beside him was a slender woman who sat coyly in his shadow, her sari wrapped around her head.
The cart suddenly jerked, tilting over to one side precariously. Strong hands grabbed me instantly. I couldn’t help but notice how large the palms were. “You almost flew out, boy,” chuckled the man. He turned to the woman. “Give him a blanket, will you? It’s starting to get cold.”
The woman threw a thick jute blanket around me. “Is that better?” she asked, drawing it in.
The rough jute threads pinched my skin, but I nodded gratefully. I couldn’t remember the last time someone had shown any kindness to me. That came with being orphans. But all that had changed now. My younger brother, Mangesh, and I had been adopted by this wonderful couple. And we were all on our way to their native village.
Two orphan brothers get adopted by a village couple with a dark secret.
This short story appears in the anthology, ‘The Killer App and other Paranormal Stories’.