Tuesday 10 August 2021

Ushha Sivaramakrishnan, ShortStory 2021 Longlist

Massacre by The Executioners

“Bodies were left dismembered soaked in blood. Eagles and vultures had feasted for hours delighting the flesh littered all around. The dirt roads on the return path of the executioners were soaked with blood that dripped down from their swords and machete. It was probably the most brutal massacre of this century in this hill top town.”

“Their level of violence has increased over the years. The fears of executioners continue to haunt the lives of people of this town. They hide in the forests and turn up with acts of violence abruptly and remain unnoticed and unapproachable by the law enforcement authorities. Their attacks take place once in 5-6 years but the attacks are gruesome with flesh of the victims sliced to mince and the site is grotesque with blood.”

Onlookers expressed sympathy, signs of disgust, frustration and paid condolences for the departed as they had a look at the newspaper cutout hung on his shop. He hated all of them who just put up expressions without any action from their side. It wasn’t new for him as he had been a resident for more than 20 years and had hung out similar cutouts multiple times and that was the reason he came out alive except that his left arm and left leg were severed.

These executors were sadistic; they enjoy observing suffering of others. Maybe they were a group of people who joined together and as inviduals during their childhoods might have had unfavorable experiences subject to physical abuse. They have troubles in developing and perceiving relations and to relate to situations. Their pattern of thinking is skewed and often irrational. However these executors do not involve in any sexual assaults.

Thirteen years back….

In this distant land far away from the chaos and clutter of the city he stood there. Miles above the sea-level and landmass he felt the skies were too close just a little beyond his hand’s reach.

He spent his night gazing at the moonlight sky. Moon’s presence was enchanting and he felt entranced by the divinity. The night was silent except for the occasional howls and squeals of the foxes.

The sancta sanctorum had walls with ancient scriptures written in a language completely alien to him. The place was surrounded by greenery and covered in a canopy completely hidden. As the morning approached, between the branches, the sunlight entered and radiated the entire place. Roses and Jasmines blossomed around and the fragrance rejuvenated his senses.

The square shaped symmetrical altar was placed at the centre and it was lit with fire to spread the purity and auspiciousness. The hymns echoed down the long corridors and resonated with the walls.

She was extremely beautiful in her red silk saree. With her long hair, mesmerizing eyes, glowing skin and fair complexion she was captivating. We both were cross seated and began the haldi ceremony. Turmeric paste was applied on our bodies. It was believed to cleanse and purify the body and to ward off the evil spirits trying to harm us. The ceremony created an effable and affectionate bonding with distant family members too.

She always had the warmth that was very accommodative. He was flooded with memories of the way he gently kissed her and how she caressed him. Is it not an artist’s right to rebel. He felt he was the artist in their love and wished to pioneer in their love.

The outer doors of the sancta sanctorum were crashed open. Team of horses mounted by the tribal chieftains marched through the area. The gates and the floors were soaked red with blood, with the pungent smell filling the air.

Around a hundred people, young and old were dismembered with the bare torsos hanging on the ceilings. Their torn limbs with the blood trailing were left behind in the pool of redness.

Suddenly he felt a sword digging through his right arm and slicing through his flesh. He felt his heart racing and pounding. He felt he couldn’t catch his breath. At the sight of blood, he began to feel nausea tic and started panicking. He felt going numb and unconscious in pain. Bleeding profusely, in the brink of death he slowly opened his eyes. He heard a stubborn, cold voice,” We can have our time feasting on them.” He could see one of the chieftains tying up and stripping down a woman and make few hundred slices of her flesh. As her mouth was gagged tightly, her screams came in whimpers. Her larynx was contracted by the pressure. He could see the sadistic pleasure on the executioner’s face as he unskillfully made his cuts out of poor training.

With tears overwhelming and being crippled made him hopeless and he frantically wriggled and his desperate eyes searched for hope and help of any sort. The pain was bone shattering and he felt his body burning. He went unconscious again.

Later he was admitted in a hospital and his leg and arm were amputated. The pain and grief was unbearable and his life had gone meaningless. He lost his beautiful life.

After the incident, not only did he become physically crippled but underwent an emotional cripple. Though he took help of many psychologists and many rejuvenation therapies everything was futile. He developed an additional dimension of anger and hatred. Along with it an inferiority complex that affected forming normal relationships with the society.

He never told their identities and he maintained the story that he was unconscious and only came to know that he was the only survivor much later.

Whoever he managed to see were covered in a mask. The masks were custom made that had fierce scars all over and it intended to give the face a monstrous look.


His muscles clenched and jaws tightened in anger. In the darkness, the neon light in the ceiling of the granary cast shadow of a gigantic highly muscular man holding a machete next to the man on the wheelchair. On the ground two men were tied and subjected to extreme torture. The shadows reflected a sweep of the machete to their heads.

In his wheelchair he made his way from the granary to the shop. The gigantic man had some pancakes and a cup of coffee. After keeping the machete in a room underground he made his way out of the shop to return to his anonymity.

The gigantic man adjusted his tight pants as he walked down the road. He was perfect in his profession of assassination. He worked for a syndicate that dealt with security of some important people. He was equipped with modern and sophisticated weapons of all kinds. Though he hesitated to use the machete, he finally agreed upon insistence. He never used any mobile for the fear of being tracked down. But he had given a source code to contact him and finally after having a look at the shop from a distance, he boarded a bus.

He went inside the shop and went downstairs. The room was sick with smell of rust and blood. He slowly began washing down the swords and machete that had dried thickened blood all over it.

He left out a small and wide grin and was content with his efforts. Thirteen years it took for him to accomplish his mission. He knew each and every executor who massacred his family. All these years he was venting out his revenge taking up the identity of executioner.

With the help of his adopted brother, he managed to achieve his mission. His brother had unconditional love and affection towards him. Though they never meet often it is the source code that connects them at different places at different locations. He acted as both mother and father for his brother and took part in his decisions. Their relationship was based on absolute trust and they confided in each other’s beliefs. His brother was good with computers and he was great at identity tracking. Though he never wanted to involve him in his personal revenge plan, he himself volunteered despite his objections.

He had no sense of guilt or remorse for his actions. Though his pain was irreparable he felt the comfort of a medicine for the pain by his revenge.

” It is like my any other needs the need for revenge. The feeling of being harmed, the feeling of losing loved ones justifies my actions. I know the value of life and I am aware taking away one is not my power. That’s the reason I am here before the law confessing my crime seeking lawful punishment”. He confessed before the court his murders and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

He was taken to the prison in the police van. He looked at the city lights once for the last time. Nostalgia and euphoria overwhelmed and he nodded his head in self- acceptance.

The noise, hand cuffs and those menacing looks didn’t bother him. He never let his morale down when the guards yapped at him. As he made his way through the corridor he encountered different looks. Look of fear, hatred, respect and condescending looks. He was assigned a private cell on special request due to his disability. He took time observing the guard positions and blind spots. There were inmates who taught him the methods to strive the struggles inside the prison. There were few inmates who wanted him to become a repeated offender. There were few who loathed him. His life had changed and he was sitting at the corner thinking about his brother.

Life was full of upside and downside and he believed fate was unjust towards him. There were a plethora of questions inside him. Why he had to lose his loved ones? Why he has to become crippled? Why he had to commit murders? Why he has to be inside the prison? All were just questions which would remain unanswered and unnoticed. He was just a criminal to the society and it would be the tag name.

By the attention the media gave to his murders, he became the executioner thus the real executioners were again left unnoticed by everyone. This sent in a different kind of depression in him. He tried to evade unwanted thoughts but in vain. His nights became sleepless and he began to show symptoms of ageing. He closed his eyes for a better tomorrow.

His death became a very silent affair. Years after his brother came to know about his death. He came to pay his last respects and with grief mourned at his loss.


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