Chatter, chatter, chatter – that’s all they did.
He went to work, ignoring the slight jerk and pull against the rope. A fraction of a second and the blood began to flow, slowly at first and then in gushing rivulets, pumping faster and faster, before oozing for a bit as if gathering its strength to run out of the body. Absently he imagined each change in pace to be the last gasp of a dying heart that was taking its own time to recognize death.
Chatter, chatter, chatter – that’s all they did. His wife, his mother, his sisters-in-law and these days even his daughter. It was something in their blood; their lying, manipulating female blood that called out for the destruction of an honest man and all his dreams and simple pleasures. Don’t do this, don’t do that, and always that infernal babbling stretching one word into ten. Sometimes it was almost more than flesh and blood could stand; he’d look at them and he’d know them to be the curse of God visited upon his head for crimes unknown or perhaps a test of his virtue.
It was virtue, was it not, when he carefully refrained from taking care of them as they should have long since been taken care of? His hands tightened involuntarily on the flesh beneath him.
He looked down to see that the blood had stopped its headlong rush; it now merely reddened his hands wetly. A few drops stained his clothes; he inspected them closely. He’d missed the death rattle, that last tortured breath squeezed from straining lungs as they gave in despairingly to the inevitable, lost as he’d been in his own thoughts. He quickly stepped away to wash his hands. He didn’t want it to leave a mark on him as blood all too often did.
Behind him lay the animal carcass, awaiting the knife that would strip it of hide before plunging into its flesh to hack its bones and rip out its entrails.
Walking into the sunlight where a single tap stood forlornly on its cement platform, he called out to the young boy whose job it was to help him cut and clean to stop watching the kids at play in the neighboring field and come do the work he was being paid for. He was a very busy man and he had an order to fill. He didn’t have time to chatter, chatter, chatter all the time.
[Dee’s post combined with all the haters reminded me of this one. Originally published at Chowk.com, 2005]