He entered the village limping; his entire weight supported by a wooden staff that appeared to be in a shape bettered by his own. The sun was retiring for the day and so were the peasants. Young kids returning from school and the children dirtied from the farm work were running around carefree. The police constable along with some young men was trying to force the children back to their home lest the kidnapper make an appearance and abduct the children. The kidnapper had terrorized the village for a few months now, holding children for ransom until defrayment. No one had ever seen him and that made the matters worse. The police constable was under a lot of pressure to catch the kidnapper and he wanted to prove his worth.
The constable had this hunch. Anyday now the kidnapper will make his move and the constable will catch him. The prize for the catch was more than the pride at stake. The reward money to bring in the Kidnapper was handsome plus a photo published in the local newspaper will make him the hero and help him gain the interest of his lady love, the daughter of the local doctor.
He limped through the street struggling ; trying to find a tree to rest under and some water to drink. He had packed some food at his previous stop and now he was looking for a place to dine and doze. What better than a huge tree for a shade. And probably, if he was lucky he could rest at a temple or a kind family may let him rest in their garden. The possibilities were infinite. Being the vagabond he was, he knew better than to expect.
His ragged panhandler appearance with red cheeks, a twisted lip and the look of the liquor in his eyes made eyes turn to him and frown, some with disgust and some out of fear.He passed many kids playing and he atlast reached the centre of the village. He saw a large Banyan tree at the centre of a village. He paused out of breath, trying to take in the view of the village. He saw a temple at a far end and some houses nearby. The lights slowly switching on as it grew darker.
To his far left he saw a lonely kid playing with his toy train. He spotted some movement on the ground and quickly moved towards the kid. As he reached the kid he raised his staff as if to hit the kid. Seeing the approaching man, the kid let out a scream. All heads turned in his direction. He realized that in his attempt to scare off the snake he had scared the kid instead.
The police constable couldn ‘t believe his luck. His lady love and few other young lasses who were just passing by stopped to turn back and have a look. He was sure they had the kidnapper and this was his moment of glory. The constable ran towards the kid and so did the other men – young and old alike. They all started beating him; his pleas of mercy fell on deaf ears. He screamed that he just was trying to save the kid as he had spotted a snake behind the kid, near the cobbler’s house. The villagers were angered by the lies of kidnapper when he was caught red handed. They all started beating him harder. Everyone wanted a revenge for the atrocities committed and the trouble caused to the village.Their anger and frustration had the better of their senses, they beat him to death.
They all feasted that night; that they were atlast free. Their kids need not be afraid of playing out in the dark, the parents need not worry about the safety of the children. It was as if they had their greatest victory of their life and not to mention, the constable was their hero. He ran the fastest he could run and caught hold of the kidnapper before he could escape. He beamed with pride and he was on cloud number nine. Tired from the day’s work and the aftermath event and the celebrations, they all went to sleep. Sound, peaceful and deep.
The next morning, the cobbler and his family were found dead in his house. The doctor diagnosed that the kid and the wife were bitten by a snake and were spot dead. The constable established that the cobbler had struggled for sometime to fight the snake or to call for help but to no avail. His body was found at the doorstep while his wife and kid were found in the bed, in the position they had slept.
The beggar who entered the city; who was beaten to death, was not lying after all.