Revenger7 mins 491 7 mins 491
Sonepur was a village in Satpura Valley. It was a village of a population of about a thousand. People of the village were depended on agriculture and animal husbandry for their livelihood. The village was surrounded by the jungle.
It was a fine evening of the village Sonepur. Herder was driving cattle to the village. Farmers were returning home from the farms and the sun was setting behind the hills. Herder was in a pleasant mood and was singing a flock song. All of sudden a growling sounded among the bushes and the cattle began to run away with panic. The growling sound was sufficient for the herder to send a chill down the spine. He took his heel towards a group of farmers standing on a nearby farm. It was a leopard who ambushed the cattle. The farmers and the herders saw him carrying a cow towards the dense jungle westward. Within minutes, the news spread like a wildfire across the village. The next day, everyone in the village was talking about the leopard who hunted a cow last evening. Villagers were in a panic.
The next target of the leopard was the house of the head of the village. The name of the head of village was Pratap Singh. Having a hundred acres of land, he was the richest farmer of the village. That moonless night he was gone down with fever and was sleeping. His pet dog was guarding and roaming around the house. It was a faithful dog, always alert and watchful. All of sudden, Pratap Singh's sleep was broken by the loud barking of the dog. Before he could understand what is going on outside, he heard a shuffling sound of leaves and twigs and then came a painful crying sound of the dog. Then within a few moments, the sound weakened and muffled and then Silent for a moment and then he heard the growling sound. It was clear to him that his beloved dog had been killed by a big cat. The growling sound was still coming. He had no dare to go out. Opening a window slightly, he peeped out. He saw in the dark of the night two glaring eyes of a big cat in front of his house. His neighbours were hearing the growling sound, too but they had like Pratap no courage to go out. In the early morning when the leopard went away to the jungle, Pratap and other people came out and found the remains of the dog.
Now began the terror of leopard. Next night, when the villagers were sleeping in their homes, the leopard came into the village. The streets of the villages sounded the growling of leopard. The leopard roamed in the streets of the village all night and hunt a stray dog and dragged it to the house of Pratap and devour it there. In the morning, Pratap found the remains of the dog and the excreta of the leopard just in front of his house. After this incident, the leopard began to come to the village almost every night and roamed around the house of Pratap spreading terror. Pratap and his property was its main target. Being afraid of the leopard, Pratap had to send his family to his brother who lived in a town far away from the Sonepur. He had to stay in the village for some reason.
One night some villagers tried to scare the leopard off, but leopard instead of run away, grabbed at a villager and killed him and dragged away his dead body. Villagers found the half-eaten dead body of that villager in the bushes out of the village. After this incident villagers had to inform the forest department about the activities of leopard. The forest department decided to send a team of forest guards headed by forest ranger Mohan Kumar to catch or kill that man-eater leopard.
About two months ago, Mohan Kumar had already been reported by his subordinates about the presence of two leopards, one of which is male and another one is female in the jungle near Sonepur. Later about a month ago, the female leopard had been killed by some unknown hunters. The matter was already under investigation.
Upon reaching the village, Mohan Kumar talked to the villagers about the leopard and gathered all the detailed about the leopard. He found that this was the same male leopard and now was alone after the killing of his female mate. He also visited Pratap and talked to him about the leopard. He deputed two gunmen around his house to watch for the leopard. He also deployed his two men to keep an eye on Pratap. He thought there must be some connection between leopard and Pratap.
The leopard was so smart. That night, he instead of entering the village, raided a farmhouse about a kilometer away from the village and here he attacked a watchman and killed him. This was the second incident of his attacking humans. Mohan Kumar took this seriously. He along with his team surveyed the village and the jungle around the village. They found the footmarks of a leopard on the soil at the bank of a pond near the village. These footprints matched with the footprints found near the Pratap’s house.
“The leopard quenches his thirst here,” he spoke to his team members. Now the team began to chalk out a plan for getting rid of the leopard.
They chose a tree near the pond to hang a dead goat as bait. They built a blind some meters away from the tree among the dense bushes. Mohan along with his assistant hid himself inside the blind. They had loaded rifles to kill the leopard. He and his assistant were waiting for the leopard. They had to wait till evening. Sun was about to set and it was growing dark. His assistant attracted to the sounds coming from his left side. He looked at his left side and saw a leopard coming towards the pond. He immediately whispered in Mohan’s ear, “Look there to left. He was coming. Mohan looked at the leopard. It was a male, fully grown and ferocious leopard. Leopard came to the pond and looked around sitting there. His eyes fell upon the bait. He moved to the bait slowly and cautiously. Mohan and his assistant were ready with their loaded guns. Leopard began to eat the bait. Mohan took the aim and pressed the trigger. The forest was sounded with the bang of a rifle. Leopard sprang in the air and fell aside and writhed for a while and then became still and silent.
Assistant said to him, “the bullet hit the target.”
Mohan said, “Wait and watch for a while.”
They made no hurry. They wait for any further movement from the leopard. Leopard was motionless on the earth. Mohan threw a stone at the leopard. The stone hit the leopard, but it gave no reaction. They throw another stone at him. No reaction from the body of leopard.
“It is dead,” the assistant said to Mohan.
“Let’s see,” Mohan replied briefly.
They came out of the blind and moved slowly and cautiously to the leopard. It was lying still on the ground. When they were about two meters away from the leopard, all of a sudden, the leopard opened his eyes and jumped on Mohan. But Mohan being a veteran hunter dodged the leopard. Leopard landed on earth on its forelegs. As soon as it turned around to make another assault on them, the assistant fired a shot. The shot missed the target. Taking advantage of the miss fire, the leopard turned around and began to run towards the village. They made after him.
Leopard entered the village. At that time of the evening, a few villagers were out of their homes. Seeing the leopard, all of them flee to their house. Leopard was heading to the house of Pratap. That evening, unfortunately, Pratap had forgotten to close the door of his house. On reaching the house, the leopard jumped over the boundary wall and then rushed to the door. Pratap was in the house. Now both of them were face to face. Leopard looked at him with his revengeful eyes for a while. Seeing the leopard, Pratap was so frightened that he neither could move to run away nor could open his mouth to scream. He could do nothing except quivering with fear. The leopard roared with anger and attacked him and immediately killed him.
When Mohan along with his assistant reached there, they found the dead bodies of Pratap and leopard.
Seeing this Mohan said to the assistant, “My suspicion is right. Nobody else but Pratap was the killer of that female leopard. Leopard took his revenge for his female mate whom Pratap hunted.”
Mohan thought for a while and said, “Let’s search the house.” In search, they found skin, bones, claws and other body parts of tigers, leopard and other animals from the house. Further investigation in the case revealed that the watchman killed by that leopard in a farmhouse was also involved in the hunting of the female leopard. The leopard took its revenge by killing both of them.