Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Boulder

Boulder

A Very Short Story by Ehtisham Rizvi


No one in town knew where the boulder came from, and why it couldn't be moved, but as far as the people of Pak Town knew, the boulder was there and it had to be worshiped because it was good for them.

The boulder blocked the sunlight, it blocked the air, and most importantly, it blocked the only safe path out of town. The people of Pak Town had learnt to take another route to travel, but that path was full of bandits, beasts, and monsters. The elders had once tried to move the boulder to clear the path; but they failed miserably and started worshiping it as a divine stone.

The customs, culture, and everyday life in Pak Town revolved around the boulder. It was considered responsible for their protection and well being, for giving and for taking away, for life and for death. If you were a resident of Pak Town, you could not go an hour without the boulder being mentioned.

Things started to change when the monsters, bandits, and beasts started working together. Previously, they attacked people coming to and from the town outside the town walls, but now they started coming in through the woods. They attacked one house at a time, and left no survivors behind.

Everyday, the people went about their daily business, thanking the boulder that they were safe, and that at least their houses weren’t raided. Some had even started coming up with their own conspiracy theories about why the houses being attacked were being targeted. Every theory resulted in the same conclusion, that the family was pretty much asking for it and that the victims had it coming.

The town’s people who feared for their houses turned to the boulder for help, but it was as dead (or at least as deaf) as Nietzsche’s god. The attacks increased, and the elders kept trying to negotiate with the bandits. The youth was increasingly losing faith in the boulder, mainly due to its inability to protect the people, but the elders always told them to believe in the boulder, to pray to it, to worship it, for the boulder worked in mysterious ways.

If there was no boulder standing in the way, the safe path out of town could be cleared. The opening of that path meant better trading opportunities, and increased safety because then the King’s forces could come in and protect the people.

A small town was too insignificant for the King to risk moving his army through the woods, but if the boulder was removed, even a small contingent of the King’s men could come in and secure the town. That would most certainly scare the bandits away.

The town’s people could also arm themselves, but carrying a weapon for self protection was considered as blasphemy. After all, the boulder protected all. Carrying a weapon was the act of a disbeliever, and disbelievers were stoned to death.

The bandits kept raiding the town, the people kept getting slaughtered, and all kept worshiping the benevolent and merciful boulder. When every last one of the town’s people was slaughtered, the bandits and monsters moved in. 

As it turns out, they too worshiped the boulder, and were raiding, raping, and killing in the boulder’s name. The good people of Pak Town are now extinct, and the once beautiful town is now in ruins. The boulder is still being worshiped. It's just a coincidence that the worshipers are bandits and monsters.
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