The Macaque Mayhem
The Macaque Mayhem21 mins 307 21 mins 307
Thursday, 21st December, 1:45 p.m.
Jiten and Pushpendra were running late. They had to make it by 3 p.m. to the medieval church. They were traversing a State Highway which will lead them to the church. A few family cars could be seen along the highway but they were getting overtaken one by one. It was not a well built infrastructure and one would not identify it as a highway until they see a board. Alternate road signs were indecipherable while vast weeds and barren lands abutted it. Their open jeep was a few meters away from completing the highway. But, a toll booth made them stop next to a three trucks. "We are running late, man. I know the old priest. He is a stubborn man and will not let us enter if the time limit is up" a nervous Pushpendra said. Jiten nodded as he was already using his riveting camera. A director by profession, Jiten wanted to visit the debarred Church for his upcoming horror short movie. His story revolved around an exorcism of an old aged woman in an old church. Jiten left his monotonous job after getting his first Youtube movie screened at the Atreya Horror Festival. The Festival found his idea ingenious about a man being addicted to loneliness after going through solitary confinement for years. It was the same inventive nature that motivated him to search for real abandoned church in a small city. Jiten clicked a few pictures of the clouds and showed it to Pushpendra. Pushpendra looked at them and appreciated the clicks. "This time you have got a budget. So are you thinking about profits?" Pushpendra asked Jiten. "Yes man, we do need to make profit. We have had enough cringe in the name of horror. I will get into OTT this time. It might take a few years but I will" an esteemed Jiten replied.
Pushpendra tapped his best mate's shoulders. Jiten asked him to go light at him as Pushpendra was a gym freak with huge biceps. Jiten, on the other hand, had an athletic build but was skinny. The trucks started dispersing one by one and Pushpendra slowly escalated. An array of monkeys jumped into the truck's backside out of nowhere just then. "Cool. Here, they go again" a dejected Pushpendra said. Jiten laughed at his best friend and said that these are Assam Macaques. "Yes.. It does not matter. Don't irk me" Pushpendra replied. "You hate them even today? Come on!" Jiten said casually. Pushpendra looked at his best friend with a cold face in response. This made JIten laugh even more and he tapped the back of Pushpendra's head. They sped up and Jiten could see how right his friend was when he saw a Macqaue tribe jumping from one tree to another and gazing at the two of them. The Macqaues consisted of both elder and smaller ones. The smaller ones sat upon their mothers and they were busy searching scalps of one another, slapping while any of them moved. Seeing this made the urbanized Jiten laugh.
But, the ugly side was soon visible when the few small houses and shops started locking their doors. "They are no less than mobs. They just loot, vandalize and eat. I mean, be like dogs and cows. Seeing these macaques make me hate the whole PETA" a frustrated Pushpendra gave his opinion. "Ooh! So, you're a politician now" Jiten said in a scornful tone. "Shut up!" Pushpendra replied. As they kept progressing towards the peripheral point of the highway, the Macaques kept on decreasing in number. Pushpendra was a happy man as he knew that he does not have to face his old foes once they cross the highway. Jiten finally got eyes off the lens and looked forward while moving his head to the rhytm of The Weeknd which played at his earphones. It was all calm then. There were no more houses or cars at that very point and the sky was getting a bit clearer. A gush of moderate air swept through Pushpendra's hair as he decided to open the car windows owing to the absence of Macaques in sight. "Pushp! Break!" Jiten exclaimed abruptly.
Two monkeys chased a black kitten at full capacity of their lungs. Pushpendra gave a tight break to the car causing the inertia to jerk both the friends close to the window shields. The monkeys were focused on the cat and they forced the poor kitten to the same direction. The kitten turned completely towards the front and so did the stubborn monkeys. The kitten had a fish in its mouth but the monkeys won't let it escape. Finally, the elder one gasped the kitten by the tail while the other used his hands to snatch the fish out. Jiten was finding it all riveting while Pushpendra looked at it with biased eyes. He wanted the kitten to win but was too scared to ambush his old foe. The kitten fought back scratching one of the monkey. The attack was not well received and it seemed to have hurt the minimal pride the monkeys posses. One of the monkeys grabbed the kitten by the tail while the other slapped it into probable blindness. Jiten immediately snuck out of the car but Pushpendra did not let him. Jiten however pushed him away and started running towards the kitten. Unluckily, the monkeys were at a distance and dragged the kitten through the road in the most aggressive manner possible. It bled through stomach as the stomach touched the sharp pebbles and stones.
They twirl it three sixty degrees and the kitten unluckily collided with barbed wires that bound a barren land. It fell at a distance but both of them could see how it did not move and got trapped inside cold. The monkeys looked that direction and showed tongue to embarrass the now dead kitten . They took off from there and threw the fish away owing to the smell. Pushpendra was outrageous over what he saw then. Though indifferent, Jiten too felt somewhat bitter at the live attack he just witnessed. Pushpendra was voracious and gave his arguments of why monkeys were devils’ progeny. The way Pushpendra revealed how much he loath monkeys made Jiten ponder over the same. “They come in big groups during afternoon- older ones, younger ones.. One climbs upon the other, eating lice like anything. They will march towards these few homes and shops, surround them for eternity. Recently, some monkeys even stole a baby in a debarred village. Purplish face, Dark brownish pelage, they look like midget monsters to me”. Jiten calmed his best mate claiming that animals differ from humans in many ways. But, he too admitted latently that the Macaques are notorious.
Thursday, 21st December, 2:45 p.m.
There was reversion of the clouds in the sky. This time, it seemed the clouds would not hold themselves back. It was the sort of weather that is in sync with mood, the type that can influence. Merry ones might go for a dance while the fear-ridden ones may avoid stepping outside. Thrust of winds jolted the betel nut trees that abutted the medieval Church. The medieval church had an already blown out roof top and two shattered window panes. Both of them actually had to penetrate deep into a little forest to spot the church out. “This one is pale yellow” commented Jiten as he took off his sunglasses. Pushpendra walked forward and called out the caretaker of the church. “This is hardly a church and this feeble piece is a self-proclaimed father. So address him as one” Pushpendra advised Jiten. A man came out wearing a long worn out robe. He had an umbrella in his hand. There was the stereotypical gaze exchanged by him with the boys.
He slowly looked at his watch and directed his hands towards the debarred Church. Jiten felt that the building was best suited for urban explorers. As they entered, the priest followed like a curious child too. Jiten had only fifteen minutes in hand and he was in way wasting them. He clicked the church and found the setting felicitous for what he planned with the movie. “It’s going to rain for sure” the old man spoke for the very first time. The two of them turned their eyes and in that spur of moment, it actually rained. There was no drizzle, but rain. The old man grinned and walked past them forwards. He silently looked at the rain. “You look very repulsive, son. What worries you?” the caretaker broke the ice. Pushpendra and Jiten frowned together. They thought of the man having no emotional intelligence but they were wrong. The old man turned towards them and opened his mouth into a carved smile. None of his tooth in proximity was there. The old man walked towards Pushpendra slowly and asked him to open up. “You are before the Father in the holy home of St Gonzalez (A famous saint of the 17th century who roamed the very city they were traversing in). Not everyone gets a chance” the self-proclaimed father persuaded. Jiten could see that the man was no real priest but he was not tempted enough to speak on Pushpendra’s part. Pushpendra sensed that the vertical winds and the gallant rain were to stay.
Pushpendra decided to say everything about the past one hour. The old caretaker went close to listen clearly. He protruded into Pushpendra’s mind to measure his expressions, tone inner feelings while complaining about the mayhem he witnessed. The submerged feelings of extreme loath and fear were clearly visible to the old caretaker. The conversation extended as the old caretaker asked about the primary encounters. Pushpendra was comfortable replying. He revealed how he got bit by a macaque when he was home alone. “I was minding my own business. The doors were bolted as my parents had left for work. It was me- I saw a timid macaque climbing the adjacent window for food. I opened the balcony door only to feed them. It walked slowly towards me and took the banana quite gratefully. There was no offence from my side at all. I enjoyed watching them eat. Suddenly, few more of them entered our balcony over that single banana. When they could not get it, they thrashed me hither-thither. One of them bit me to rabies too. Luckily, our helper was brave and he interrupted”.
There was melancholy in Pushpendra’s delivery of words and his reflection of the past could be seen shining in the iris. Jiten believed that it was a weak link of Pushpendra that should be kept to himself and the people around him. He also felt that it should be no more relevant to Pushpendra’s life after twenty years. But, it was somewhere perilous to express the same feelings before his childhood friend. The old caretaker however took the situation in a grave manner. He found the incident to be very relevant in Pushpendra’s life. For him, the glass was half void. “Monkeys are everywhere- Climbing trees, eve teasing girls, snatching things invaluable to them, quivering lamp posts and creating ruckus. They are atavistic to us. You cannot panic every time they get near you. You need to find something permanent” the old caretaker coaxed Pushpendra. A rumbling thunder made the old caretaker more inaudible than ever. “Will you mind if I take your friend along to the Confession box?” he asked in a weird but gentle manner. Jiten looked at both of them back and forth. Then, he shrugged in acceptance. The old man did not like the response and said in a cold tone “Words should exchange only with words”. Jiten watched him go away after seeing an intense mood swing in the already bizarre ‘self-proclaimed’ Father.
Friday, 22nd December, 12 o’clock
Jiten woke up at early hours as he had to drop Pushpendra to the airport. He was ever grateful to Pushpendra as the church indeed proved good in terms of idea generation. All that were left was to write the last sequences of the plot and the script overall. He was sure of not having to undergo writer’s block during the writing process now. His masterpiece had all the elements according to him now. All he needed was a shun place to write real art. Jiten was disdain of his rented house. The city smoke and honking were apparent. It was not a Sunday and thus people formed a gossip chain in the betel nut shop down the building. The retired government clerks would discuss about the political scenarios in the loudest of voice. Being alien to the surroundings and living on a temporary basis, it was not appropriate for him to interfere.
The urge to write script and sequence plots was high inside him. He knew the artistic mind has entered the matrix today. He laid on the bed thinking of the correct location. Files and Pages piled up in the adjacent study table. Seri, his pet Chihuahua jumped upon the pile, wagging his tail. Jiten looked at Seri and gestured Seri to come to him. Seri took a long jump directly into Jiten’s lap. As he fondled the white pelage, he recollected the presence of Pushpendra’s abandoned house near the St. Gonzalez Church. He had the key too as it was the very first choice for a Phase 1 sequence of his upcoming movie. Jiten looked at the clear sky and his mood got all pristine.
Friday, 22nd December, 2:30p.m.
“Here, we are again” said Jiten to his fellow traveler. Seri responded with a woof. The 50 km distance was covered and he was now standing in the only petrol depot there. An old man wearing a pullover came outside the shed. He gave a docile smile and asked him the liter. The man went on to fill and Jiten could see the absence of Macaques this time. Seri was inside the car looking at his master beneath the glasses. “The Macaques usually hijack these places around this hour, right?” Jiten asked the old man. The man spit out the tobacco and replied “Yesterday, their eldest member got butchered. I guess they are somewhat afraid to come out now”. Jiten immediately recalled Pushpendra and though of how ecstatic the news would make him. He paid the money and headed towards the car. There was an unnecessary member atop the car- a big fat Macaque, staring at him eye to eye. It was pale with sadness and lacked the distinguishable notoriety. “Don’t try to scare me, pal” said Jiten and rushed at top pace towards the car. The macaque jumped to the ground with a loud cry.
The cry was distant as there was the absence of people and vehicles. Jiten got inside and made a gun sign in front of the macaque. He started the car in search of repose. The house was just a few kilometers away from the depot. He crossed the highway, took a right turn and there stood the house with fencing around. Jiten opened the feeble wooden gate and went inside. Seri followed him inside. It was a proper hill house. The floor and walls were made of hard Teak. The floors were striped. There was a large parlor with a sofa and fire-place. A spacious room was up on the top storey. The lower floor had the restroom and a guest room, comparatively narrower. . The guest room had a bed and a table fan. The room in the top floor consisted of a big bed, some furniture and a television. A decent space was carved out to serve as the kitchen. It had the utensils, a sink and a cabinet with three drawers. A cellar was built just down the stairways but remained locked. It had all the raw materials and debris left behind after the construction. Jiten tied Seri to the stairway and went to freshen up. Later, a portable round table was set up in front of the sofa. It had a table lamp running on cell and all the stationery items. The doors and windows were locked and the main road was a kilometer away. All that remained was Jiten with repose. Jiten was working now with full focus. The script was going as per his ideas. Characters were increasing one by one and the weathers changed. The location too took drift and there was present, the element of uncertain.
Friday, 13th November, 4:30 p.m.
The inversion was down by now. Jiten’s script was progressing in his usual style, The peaceful environment and the seclusion was helping him. He finally got up and his vibrating sole showed the intent. He walked towards the fireplace to lit it up. Birds were relocating now in the shape of V. Their chirping sounds made it all merry. Jiten was busy taking the warmth when he heard Seri barking. Seri was fed as soon as they reached and it was not the normal sound he made. It echoed like an alarm and made Jiten turn. His eyes did not catch it the first time but then his eyes fell on the ventilator. The old foe of his best mate was struggling to coerce through the fixated rods of the ventilator. It was probably the same Assamese Macaque he encountered this afternoon. Jiten realized that he was followed. He immediately took a large piece of dry wood and ran to the struggling monkey. The monkey twisted itself in all possible directions and escaped. Jiten was a bit dejected as he did not want interference now. But, he was glad that it went away. “Don’t worry Seri” he winked at his pet dog in a grateful manner. The matter was forgotten and his work resumed.
Seri was now free to explore the field around the house. A few minutes passed and there was a bang against the door. JIten turned towards the door and looked at it. A petrifying bark was audible. He sensed it was Seri barking. Jiten impetuously stood up and ran to open the door. As he opened it, he could see Seri at the very doorstep. When he bent to pick it up, it was pure terror beneath his dog. The same monkey tribe he and Pushpendra witnessed the other day were the ones chasing Seri. Indeed, the notoriety was absence in their body language but it was replaced by ferociousness. For the initial seconds, it was all too shocking but then he could imagine the detrimental consequences. He hardly bolted the door and saved Seri. The monkey tribe screeched loudly. Jiten felt his spines at the moment thirty monkeys screeched. He was grateful to God and himself for the windows and doors were locked. But, he knew the house was old and wooden. He still couldn’t guess the intention of the tribe and why he was chased. “Were they trying to dominate? Do they want Seri?” Many questions blocked his mind.
At a time, he even asked himself if monkeys love eating humans. The windows were luckily made with laminated glass and the main door was made of iron. Jiten was all tensed now and got up with Seri in his lap. He could see beneath the windows, all the monkeys waiting for him impatiently. The younger ones, the elder ones and even some sick ones. The day was 22nd of December and it made things even worse for Jiten. The lunar light was to shine for the longest duration this night. It already did as twilight came early. He knew the few shops close by were to remain close and he was far from the main road. Amidst his pondering, the monkeys began banging on the main door and the windows. Jiten was now sweating but Serie characteristically barked at the uninvited guests under its master’s protection. The high pitch sound and sharp teeth would scare them away but they would reassemble. Their eyes shone in the darkness and they really looked like monkeys as described by Pushpendra. Jiten picked up Seri and went to the restroom. He locked himself along with Seri and called the Forests. His hands shrieked as he waited for them to pick up. Luckily, they picked up and Jiten narrated them everything that was going on. The Forests asked him to manage for around twenty minutes. It was a Hobson’s choice for him and he agreed. Outside the house, the monkeys were losing themselves. They were clever enough to sense what it would take to break the windows. They took large boulders that lied in the field to their advantage and repeatedly cracked the windows. Jiten could listen to the sound and knew that survival was the utmost priority now. He went along with Seri and found both the windows occupied. “They will break” he murmured to himself.
He looked around himself and tried creating diamonds under the pressure. His eyes fell on the fireplace and he rushed towards it. He selected the largest logs of fire and picked them up. Thereafter, he stood before one of the window. There was no plan in his mind but just audacious response. The monkeys saw it but continued their operation. When the first big crack occurred, Jiten hurled the log through it and the fire lit up the whole face of the nearest macaque. It ran around in utter pain and the other monkeys close to it took their steps back. He ran with the same log towards the other window and the macaques took a step back there too. It was not all despair for him now. He pointed Seri towards the other window and it guarded politely. The macaques were angrier now while Jiten was still seeking the reason of their sudden attack. The macaques now moved to other ways and started hurling pebbles and rocks at the house. They knew the window was difficult to penetrate but there was some hope to break the wood. A few of them started knocking at the walls amidst the stone hurling. Jiten heard that very sound and he did not underestimate them. His phone rang and it was from the Forests. “Hello Sir! We are the Forest Service. Where is your house, exactly?”. “You don’t have to reach the Highway.
Just take a left turn a few kilometers away from it. Keep coming straight and you will hear their screeches” Jiten hastily replied. During the call, his defense was broken as one of the macaques dropped the log away from Jiten’s hand. The fear came in reversion and Jiten made way for the Fireplace. The monkeys too did not waste time and started smashing the window as hard as possible. One of the Macaques could see how the fire was capable of transforming the grass into ashes. It picked up the snatched log and tried burning the wooden exterior portion to their side. The portion started burning in flame as a result and the macaque grinned as it could see the way. On the other hand, the window gave enough space this time. Jiten saw two of the macaques heading at top pace through the windows. Seri was alert and immediately jumped upon the first macaque that entered. Jiten ran to the window and caught the other one’s tail neck and body with flame. As the macaque cried due to the swollen and scorched skin, Jiten kicked it outside onto another one. Seri on the other hand shocked the other one by tearing its flesh off. Jiten once again took his guard and directed Seri once again to the other window. At that moment, Jiten caught the smell of the wooden house scorching.
He found the wood close to the window falling off. The macaques were no more opaque as they saw Jiten through too. The macaques entered into the hall and Jiten ran at a hastening pace. He could feel his heartbeat and was completely terrorized. His impetuousness knew no boundaries as Seri folloed him to the top. With a burning log, he entered the bedroom with a wooden door. The macaques were now all over the house and many of them started their debauchery. They sat on the sofa and started breaking the utensils. Others looked at the fireplace with utmost curiosity and relished the warmth. But, the eldest ones did not waste any time. They went to the top floor and exerted utmost thrust upon the door. Jiten could hear the thuds and bangs and the bewildering screeches. All of these blocked his brain as he tried hiding himself beneath the bed. He cried in despair and knew that the doom was inevitable. He could now even distinguish the difference between angry chatters and the excited ones. Seri was deep between his arms and shivering silently. Finally, the door broke and he exchanged looks with the seven monkeys that abutted him. They stood still firstly and then let go of themselves. With the shining eyes, dark brown pelage and purplish face, they looked like the nocturnal creatures that appear in horror creations. Jiten however was ready to give a final shot too. As the monkeys ran towards him, Jiten too threw the scorching log at the very first monkey without thinking anything.
3 months later
A New year
Pushpendra drove along the state highway and made it past the toll booth. A clear afternoon it was with the sun shining and the aerial creatures chirping. The shops were open and the house members were at the porch. A few vehicles passed easily traversed along with Pushpendra’s car. He crossed the highway and made it through the weeds and shrubs to the St Gonzalez Church. As usual, the old self proclaimed priest stood at the doorway and smiled at the car approaching. One chair was placed outside for the host and the guest showed respect. They talked of the fresh relation between them and finally of the poor boy. “If he informed me before that he would be visiting my cabin, I could have asked him to refrain. But, it was Friday, plus, the thirteenth” Pushpendra said. The old man nodded in agreement and asked how Jiten was. “Seven monkeys chewed his flesh and he lost his dog. He is not in the ward anymore but attends the doctor frequently. It’s the mental damage that terrifies me more than the physical. The bite marks, they go away, but the night would be difficult to forget” said Pushpendra with a touché of melancholy.
“What about you? Did my method work?” the old man asked reading the historical account of St, Gonzalez. Pushpendra smirked and said it did. “If he hadn’t slept and seen me butchering that old stout macaque, he would not have to go through all this. But, now, they don’t petrify me anymore. Also, the tribe was ferocious. I am glad that most of them died and others were taken away” Jiten finally remarked. The old man said that the method has cent percent efficacy and how he butchered three monkeys to get rid of the same phobia. Both of them finally looked at the rusted statue of St Gonzalez which was in dire need of repair. A macaque suddenly jumped from the tree and landed on the same statue infuriating both Pushpendra and the old man.