The Hungry and the Beautiful

a blog by Neharika Gupta

  • Neharika

The Perfect Day


The Sun’s first rays glinted marvellously as they hit the surface of the black water like floating diamonds catching light and throwing it back, like the game kids play. The trees that cradled the body of water like a pastoral oasis, shook lightly in the breeze which carried the noxious fumes of the cesspool up to the little town of Hobsvile.

Not far from the river, that simultaneously fed and cut off the community from the rest of civilisation, a market was beginning to set itself up to the broken crescendo of the morning light. The smell of boiling tea bubbled through the lanes, waking up its inhabitants and freshly-burnt bread was the interruption of many a child’s play. Fruit just a bit overripe, coloured the landscape in tantalizing neons, called out to young men and women to try some, taste some, take some home.

It was an unusually lively day for the otherwise idle, damp hamlet. A man to shoulder the responsibility and burden had finally been found. It had taken just over a year, but the Elders were confident of their decision. Ever since they had announced his name publicly, it had not left the town-folk’s lips – will he – won’t he – murmurs went around like a regular chant. Today was his formal unveiling, and first public appearance, which was to be followed by a public vote.

Crows cawed at the misty air, clearing it up for the event of they day, as they playfully chased each other through the air. Crowds of buzzing people began trickling in, and traders started making their first sales of the day.

Half full with anticipation, mothers gathered their children and met with their fathers as they made their way together to the express set up, looking for the best seat. The ceremony was to begin soon.

Those who had placed orders, were delivered their olden cider and ale, and fungus-cured cheese and meats, on their seats. Children were hoisted up on the shoulders of fathers, and the women began to fan themselves with their finest, making sure the moth-holes were on the insides.

The Chosen One was being brought to the fore. A trumpet unmelodiously announced his arrival. Whispers erupted as each member of the gathering began standing, some on their chairs, inching their heads side to side, to catch a glimpse of the elect, dressed in all his finery escorted up to the stage.

An aura of celebration crackled through the crowd as they let out adulating cries and shouts of Long Live the King. The royal official addressing the man of the hour recounted, What do you have to say for yourself? The frail man summing up all the energy he could, addressed the hungry crowd: I am a man of principle, I have lived so, and will die so. What do you have to say for yourself? The official asked the crowd. A wave of electricity it seemed, struck the mass. Heads lolling, tongues rolling, they screamed. Louder and louder and louder they kept on, till the poor man almost buckled to his death by the din of their words. But no, those were only his ears. The final blow was yet to come. The senior cleric, was to do the honours, he was on standby with his apparatus.

It was indeed the perfect day for an execution.

#fiction #BathSpaUniversity