Lacquered in a comatose white and gray, the auburn thatched mud houses look like the ruins of a terracotta army, battered by time. But they stand hollow, their windows stolen, their doors eaten by nature.
When the vicious jungle wind blows from the dry riverbed and passes through this necropolis, a howl ensues that tears open the naked breast of the rainforest.
Guineafowls peck little mites from the bones scattered across the plateau. Skeletal hands holding rifles, books, bags.
Or other hands.
A century ago, this patch of dense green had leopards, lions, tigers, elephants, wild buffaloes. Trapped between the bullets of sixty years of ferocious monarchy and the peculiarity of human masculine pride, the animals have traveled to become busts, adorned in the living rooms of the richest.
Time has crushed the biggest of kingdoms. The Kings and Queens have died. Revolution had taken place.
Then the rebels became rulers, and the first thing they did was to put every opposing butterfly to the waiting guillotine. Carnivals were named on dead men and women, their blood gushing through the river. That river has dried up into a valley of rust, where souls without salvation wander.
This used to be a good world. But then good worlds barely lasted.
He loved light. Like the flicker of sunlight that fell on his eyes, making their way between her flowy hair and salwar-clad shoulders, while he fiddled with poetry, lying on her lap.
This city of broken bridges ate small-time love like theirs, people said. They didn’t pay heed. Reckless as the monsoon, their love was devoid of any measured steps.
Five years later, the light had returned in his life. As he was slowly watching her body being engulfed in the pyre, he thought why he loved light so much, only to realize that it wasn’t light that he loved.
On that cold November night, two souls had melted into the darkness.
Only the city remained, ravenously waiting for its next victim, throwing poetry in the air as lures.