He coughed and spat. Security Guard. The wretched soul couldn’t save himself from a pack of dogs if they were determined enough. And he’s supposed to give me a sense of security! It was a bleak autumn night and no a time for a stroll. The place I most wanted to be was home, and I wanted to be in and out of this place quick. As I hurried mindlessly through my chore, I almost missed noticing the guard staring at me intently. Something seemed off about this guy.
I woke up with a start. My heart was pounding and my palms were sweaty. A vague sense of terror after being woken up from a nightmare unremembered left a bitter taste in my mouth. I blinked. As reality slowly seeped back onto my consciousness, I saw the smirk. It was the sadhu. Damn these imbeciles. They’re everywhere! They board trains without tickets and no one asks them anything. They’re filthy but somehow worthy of adulation? What’s he smirking about anyway? And what on earth is doing being awake as this unearthly hour? Thoughts raced through my tired mind, more questions than I cared to keep track of.
This is a strange land. The days that are not scorched under the burning sun are usually sultry under the oppressive humidity of rain bearing clouds. When it rains, it does not rain in drops – like it should, but in sheets of impenetrable water. In the creeks and waterways lurk predators unchanged for eons. The dry land holds no reprieve as it is replete with venomous critters, unseen and unheard harbingers of death. It’s not surprising then, that it is but a wasteland for the peoples populating the more hospitable lands to the south. Neither is it surprising that this land is devoid of humanity. It’s not that this land is without a strange, almost ancient, kind of beauty. However, it’s not, obviously, something that beckoned visitors or would-be residents with open arms.