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Bloody scene in an act

Mallika Krishnaswami, Dec 2 2017, 23:35 IST
Not to be outwitted, I got cracking. Swish, swash, the sound of water rang out loud as I tried to obliterate all traces of the bloodbath, inside and outside the house.

Not to be outwitted, I got cracking. Swish, swash, the sound of water rang out loud as I tried to obliterate all traces of the bloodbath, inside and outside the house.

They are streaming out from your bedroom, ma - almost like an exodus! I killed about eight or nine and left them for you to see.' Amused on seeing the WhatsApp message, I visualised in my mental landscape loads of them, uprooted from their homes, moving out lock, stock, and barrel to safer destinations. Chuckling to myself, I was soon immersed in my work, the message forgotten.

It was on the way back that it flashed in my mind again, and I stopped at the nearest outlet to pick up an aerosol of insect spray. Alighting from the car, I pushed open the gate. Even before I could turn the key in the door, I saw some lying dead near the doorstep.

Sidestepping them, I made my way inside. Nothing in the drawing room. The few in the bedroom were apparently dead by the looks of them, more as I spotted an aerosol of insect spray close by. The bathroom door was ajar. I pushed it open. Horror of horrors! They were everywhere, dead or wriggling as they held on to the last wisp of life. Bloodstains smeared on the floor stood out in stark contrast against the cream tiles. It couldn't have been a more dreadful scene. Nothing short of a bloodshed! Only the weapons were missing! It had to be cleaned up, and quickly at that! I rushed to the back of the house to get the broom and a dustpan.

But what met me outside was worse - hundreds of them, dead or crawling about in a stupor as they made one last effort to escape the jaws of imminent death. The scene on the other side of the house was equally terrifying. "Hell is empty and all the devils are here," I murmured to myself. A peep over the neighbour's wall and it was no different there.

Not to be outwitted, I got cracking. Swish, swash, the sound of water rang out loud as I tried to obliterate all traces of the bloodbath, inside and outside the house. At the end of an hour, I stretched out my sore back, but not before ensuring that the plastic bag was securely fastened with a twine, lest they should come alive in the night, and kept it aside to be cleared by the garbage truck€

Big, fat, ugly rodents pushing their way out of waterholes, gully traps and dirty drains making a beeline towards homes€ Dead rats everywhere! As in Camus's city of Oran. An epidemic! The bubonic plague! I screamed, only to wake up, drowned in a sweat bath. Thank god! It was only a dream.

"Did you spray any insecticide, amma?" the maid asked the next morning. "No, why?" "There was a strong smell and traces of oil around the house when I came in the afternoon." But of course! How foolish of me! The pest control. I muttered, as the mystery of the dead cockroaches was cracked.

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