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Cliff Notes
by Rubina Ramesh (Prose - Short Story) | Published On: 24-Jul-2015

Those tiny moving dots amuse me. Why is the need to conquer over me so profound? I hear their shouts of joy every time they reach my summit; their sense of bravado makes me feel indulgent towards them. Sometimes, oh just for fun, I slightly nudge them. Well, try standing, without moving, for centuries. You will understand the meaning of ‘having those moments of happiness’. A small tumble makes them shriek in terror and when I cannot control my mirth, I send them tumbling further down. Naughty me, but do not blame me since it is not me who is going down to their level. They try to live up to my expectations.

However, on that fatal day, it was not my fault. I did my best to shelter this one girl from the North winds. But you know our sassy North, never the one to stop when unleashed. That night too, North was intoxicated with her sense of freedom; and in her happiness, she collided against me. To make North happy, I decided to join her in her racket and tumbled down few of my rocks. I did not see the lone climber hanging on to the dear ropes. As North hit her with her full force, the girl went tumbling down. Her screams startled me and I tried to break her fall. In my fear for her life, I forgot – that I am not allowed to move. The avalanche, though not my fault, startled her. She tumbled down and with my every effort to break her fall, she felt lighter, bloodier. At last, I could catch her and stop her fall. She did not feel comfortable in my cold touch. Her hunted expression spoke volumes of her hatred for me. As usual, this human blamed me for her fall.

She was still. Should I nudge her again? I didn’t dare. I tried to melt the snow around her so that she might get a lick. But she slipped further down. Her screech resonated around me, tearing my heart. I forced those parasitic branches to get hold of her. Unwillingly, they did. However, my bending of their will did not bode well with them. But a promised retribution can do wonders. Try it sometimes. The two branches caught hold of her and sprang her back towards me. I cushioned her fall against the bushes, daring to sprout on my cold womb. But for once, I was grateful that they were there.

Two rocks rolled near her, at my orders of course, protecting her against the seductive cold winds. North always enjoyed the game she plays with death. How many goals in Death’s mouth? Generally, I would win for my one shake would send many tumbling down while North had to wait for her effects to be felt. But not today. The girl was alone and I was curious to know why.

The whole night passed with me tossing North away from the silent figure. The girl was not dead. I could feel her shallow breath blowing the soft ice near her face. Where were the fairy godmothers when you so needed them? Bloody sob stories fed to the young hearts over centuries.

Her legs twitched and a moan escaped her. Her body shuddered in the cold. I glared at North, who by now had subdued with guilt. Incapacitated as I am, there are few things that I can control but that does not mean that I don’t know my own worth. So when I say a stop to the winds, they listen.

Soon the rays filtered through the dense cloud, accompanied by the whirring sound of those tiny mechanical birds. Loud voices, shouting instructions, rang out in the air. It would have been so easy if I was blessed with some movement. Then the maker did not think I was worth it. So I stood strong and majestic, as these creatures crawled all over me, shouting a name. ‘Ina…..’ Was that her name? I peered closely at her face. Soft and innocent, she lay like a child in a mother’s womb. Something tugged the stony heart of mine. I have seen many innocents merging within me earlier but didn’t want the same fate for this girl. She was fighting. She wanted to crawl out.

Many of the crawlers were near her but the foliage protected her from their prying eyes. I smirked. Proud of my own protective skills. They could not harm her, I had seen to that. Why last week only I had seen a mighty snow leopard fall 20 feet down. He too could not move and lay still for days. But then one fine day, suddenly it sprang to life and leaped away to greener pastures. Ina would too. Ina … the name rolled in my tongue. I rumbled – just to check if she was awake. The people can’t keep their balance yet they want to come to me. Why blame me for the falls? I looked away in disgust as few of the climbers rolled down. But Ina was safe. I felt happy.

She groaned again and this time she tried to sit up. Her nails scratched the snow leaving trails strained with a red liquid in it. Sign of life. I rumbled again knowing it was helping her to wake up. She moaned louder and tried to get up. Slipped. The voices around her grew louder. Some shrieking her names now while others sending up flares in the sky. Bloody lunatics. North hastened a retreat for she hated that smell which penetrated her soul after her encounters with these flares.

Ina must have seen the flares for a smile lit up her face. I watched in amazement as her pain transformed into joy. I felt a bit jealous ... okay a lot. For not once, she had seen me like that. Here I was protecting her and there she was oblivious to my majestic presence.

It was then I saw him. A lean-looking man who has lived on me for many years. They called him Baba. His stench was sometimes unbearable even for me. He saw her. I felt elated. He was one with God and she would have the help needed. He crept up to her, silently. I suppose he did not want to disturb her. His hand roamed her body. Baba knew all. I waited for him to get all his ‘special medicines’ which he has lynched out of my body for many years. He removed many things from her. Some were glittering in the sun. And then he crept away quietly. I was perplexed. What was happening?

But before I could think of something two more young people crept up. I watched wondering if they had come looking for her. Her friends perhaps.

“Is she alive?” whispered the boy.

“No,” said the girl. She walked up to Ina and nudged her with her feet to straighten her. She must have been too tired to bend. Ina stirred and the girl jumped back alarmed. “She is alive!”

Thank God they found it out. But they seemed in no hurry to call their friends.

“What are you thinking?” asked the boy, looking as perplexed as I felt.

“Everyone thinks she is already dead. Why don’t we let them continue thinking that?”

“Are you crazy?” he shouted. “She is my sister.”

“Step sister.”

“Does not matter.”

“It does. The property which you so proudly call yours belongs to her.”

“B***h!” the boy shouted, to no one in particular.

“Yes. Life is a bitch.”

I watched in horror as the girl picked up huge rock and started going towards Ina. I couldn’t let her do it. I rumbled. The girl fell over the ledge, unable to keep her balance. The boy shrieked and slid after her. There!

I saw the Baba returning. Phew! I was wrong about him. He has returned to take care of her. He walked slowly up to her, looking furtively over his shoulders. He then started peeling away her clothes. Something was wrong. Something told me that this is not what he was supposed to do. I rumbled again and the Baba looked horrified, knowing my temper tantrums very well.

He managed to keep his balance and ran away.

I was stunned. Here I was guiding humans and here they were becoming worse than humans? Even the animals did not harm a carcass and here they were using the human body for their advantage. I did not stop the ice sliding down my peaks. I needed to let go off my emotions or the lava boiling inside me couldn’t be contained. The rocks slid down, gaining momentum as they started rolling in all directions. The cry of horror went up from all directions. I felt happy. No more did the guilt of my actions coerce my heart. The icy chunks covered Ina completely and I saw her serene soul smiling at me. Yes Ina. Thank me later. Do put in a good word for me to Him, when you finally meet Him. Just tell him … Everest freed you. He knows me. 

 

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Author
Rubina Ramesh

Rubina Ramesh

Written: 2 Stories

Member Since: 22-Jul-2015

Country: United States

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