Quito San.

“Disgraceful, I call it!”, shouted Agronak.

“What is the world coming to these days? 200!”, and he fell silent. The court members were petrified at his rage. None dare raise their voice when Agronak was in rage.

The draft rustling the leaves was to be heard along the room. Small and faint murmurs coming from the incube room was also audible. But none moved. Three years had it been since they established their stronghold and things were only becoming worse for them.

After a few moments of silence, Agronak raised his voice again.

“Note it my trustworthy companions! 200 is no meager number. Reports have come in from the Amazon that our brothers had almost felled a whole village! But here we are sitting, lost to us 200 young bloods on a scout mission at the hostel. Pah! No respect for the ecological balance do these pathetic humans have…”, He again fell into deep thought.

At the beginning, they had seen people from the hostel drawing and leaving pools of water behind it. Very soon they understood that the humans referred to the actions that they were doing as “vashing”. Whatever it was, the water they left behind was plenty during all seasons and a few meters away, a lot of junk food and waste were available. Agronak had found out pretty soon that all this garbage was laid behind quite a big room referred to by the humans as “mess”. He wondered how literally it should be taken.

Anyhow, the place was apt for their spending. And they had established their stronghold behind the hostel. Three years had it been now and Agronak had risen to the top in ranks. His military tactics and training was what had kept them running over the years. But time was running low and he had thought of making Rijkar his heir. However, he was in doubt now as the last day’s 200 deaths was not a meager issue. Their existence was threatened and it called for drastic measures. He feared for the worst… A deal with viruses!

Without concluding his words, Agronak went away. It was long before he came back. He went to the incube room and saw his most precious responsibility. The eggs. He walked among them. A king walking beside his loyal disciplined subjects. He knew not what their part in this was nor their fate.

He went back to the council and gave his final orders. “Hear me out my loved ones! For a long time have we dwelled here peacefully prospering. But I’m afraid that time must end.”

“We have done well on the part entrusted to us. But so many have died among us due to their poison gas and hand slaps. Oh! The humiliation! But no more. We either fall or we stand. We have to make a final stand for our lives.”

At this there rose a small murmur all along the castle walls. Especially the women were a bit louder. The sudden announcement of war had filled everyone with both excitement and anxiety. Suffice to say, most of them were in a confused state.

“Silence!”, roared Agronak. “We are a battling race. We live for blood and we shall die for it. We fight to survive!”

At this, a loud war cry rang out from the loyal subjects. “Long live Agronak, long live Quito San!”

Then a song broke out.

“Day and night, do we go

to war, to war, to war we go.

We strive for blood,

till we’re dead.

To war, to war, to war we go.”

As soon as the song fell silent, Agronak’s voice thundered. “Let the preparations be made. On the night of the third from today shall we leave.”

A few young ones had come out of their eggs that day. Agronak, along with Rijkar, went to meet them.

“Welcome aboard my lads! How feel all of you?”, said Agronak in a fatherly tone.

“We are fine sir Agronak. Ready for training!”, shouted all of them.

Agronak let out a contended laugh and said, “Well, well, well, it seems you have already been briefed by Umbrug. Very good. And since you are already in such excitement, I won’t keep you waiting. You shall be trained by Rijkar here. Learn fast and well children.”

“Aye sir Agronak!”, said they in a chorus.

“May your stings be pointed”, wished Agronak

Just as he was about to leave, Umbrug, the guard of the incube room came running and said, “Oh Agronak, hail be to you. I wanted them to be ready as soon as possible. That’s why I had briefed them.”

“You did well Umbrug, my dear friend”, said Agronak as he walked away.

That night, Rijkar got a chance to train his newly entrusted troop. Some fellow had come from the hostel at a rather late time for “vashing”. Rijkar told his comrades, “Hear me out my lads. That thing is our target”, pointing to the fellow. “What you should beware of is his two limbs hanging from either side of his body. They have small spike like things called “fingers” at their ends. And once these spikes bend and forms a grasp and you are inside it, then God have mercy on your souls. However, from my experience, which is considerable, I have seen that most of them are not skilled at using their fingers effectively. We can simply find our way out from between them. But do not take that for granted.”

He reamined silent as if in deep thought and then continued, “But all things considered, what you should fear for your lives is their manoeuvre called ‘slap’. They use their limbs to slap you and in almost from one shot from any of them, you’ll be sent to kingdom come”. He grinned at this as he was aware of his troops fearing somewhat.

Rijkar explained to them about how to inflict maximum damage.

“Watch their necks. The veins there are your best bet. Of course, you can find it all along their body. But in most other cases, it will be covered by fat. And take care because once you penetrate their dermis with your sting, you’ll have to wait for a while before you can pull out your sting and that is usually when the slap comes. So watch out!”

“Let us spread out and do some damage! Oh. And one more thing. If you wish to have some fun, you can always buzz around their ears. Its actually quite funny to see what all they do just to get rid of the sound we make.”

The theory classes were over. Now it was time for practical classes. Rijkar went and buzzed around the guy’s head first. The young ones laughed on seeing how the guy waved his hands around his head and shook it madly just to get rid of the sound. But Rijkar skilfully avoided being hit. Right when the guy had settled down a bit, there went Rijkar on to his leg and stung!

“Owwww!”, cried the human and down came his hands on his legs. Slap! But by the time the slap had come, Rijkar had returned to his troops.

“See? That’s the way to do it. Now go forth my lads! Let that guy have it.”

Rijkar remained where he was and sought amusement in the fact that how well the lads performed. It was almost as if the fellow was dancing. The lads were working as a team, not allowing the guy to concentrate on one area at a time. The troop had their fun along with their training for a while on the guy and then left him alone. All of them went back to the castle along with Rijkar.

Meanwhile, Agronak was walking around deep in thought. The plan had been laid. He was anxiously waiting for his scouts to return. He went to his room to find peace. There he was greeted by Daer-jaa, the Queen, his beloved.

Both of them were silent for a while. The reality of the situation weighed heavily on them more than on anyone else. War was in front of them and that night might be their last.

“My Rose…”, said Agronak softly. There was no need for words. All that needed to be said had been conveyed in one single look. Such was the bond between them. Both owed their lives to each other. They had turned the tides of battle together. They had led generations together. They had stood side by side in battles, as a pair not to be moved by any even though abandoned by all. Hope, they held strong till the end, and hope, had bound them together.

They sat together, hand in hand. Love was in their eyes. Slowly their old faces’ wrinkles disappeared. The energy back in the young strong days came flowing back through their veins. Determination swelled up in them. All the times they had been together were reflected in their eyes.

“I’ll be beside you as always Gronak…”, said Daer-jaa caringly. “I feel the end is not far and I’m not strong enough. Not strong enough to live without you anymore….”

“You won’t have to my Rose”, said Agronak. “If we’re going down, we will go down together….”

With a gentle hug, Agronak went back to the council chamber to spend a restless night.

“Sir!”, called Umbrug. “The scouts are back”.

“Send them in”, cried Agronak.

Three of the scouts entered and gave their reports which, fortunately, Agronak found was liking to his expectation. He bade his news-bearers a good night’s rest.

********************

The time had come at last. The field was bathed in the golden rays of the setting sun. The soaring eagles all had their fill and went to their sleep. The troop was amassed at the front of the castle and Agronak was in front of them.

“Here we are! To make a final stand! Here we go to avenge our loved ones’ deaths…”. Agronak’s voice fell. Then he continued. “It is to war that we are going my people, maybe not to return forever. Our destinies usually lie on the road we choose to avoid it. So are you with me?”, shouted Agronak.

“Sir, yes sir!!”, came the reply in chorus.

“I say are you with me!”, thundered Agronak’s voice.

“Sir, yes sir!!”

“Good, very good. Come on then my men. Forward march!”

The troop marched together in high spirits and at last came to the front of the gate of the hostel. The battle plans had been laid out among them that morning itself. But just when they were about to start their maneuver, a long forgotten sound was heard.

“Halt my friends! You are not without aid in this battle!”, said that voice.

Everyone turned in awe towards the direction of the voice. But to their astonishment, they couldn’t find the voice’s source. In this state of surprise, Agronak slowly went forward and raised his hand.

“Blessed be the day old alliances are made again! Long have we been on our own. But let us now welcome our oldest friends to join us in our battle. My friends, behold the Plasmodiums!”, said Agronak in a voice filled with both pleasure and respect.

“Hail the parasites! Hail the malaria!”, shouted the troop. When the shouting had died down, the owner of the invisible voice said again, “Go to your destinies my lads. Rest assured that although you cannot see us, we’re right beside you to do our job when you do yours. Death, to those who stand in our way!”

At this a new spirit cam flowing in through the troop’s veins. They were going to do this. Hope or no hope, fear or no fear, determination drove them for that was what Agronak’s presence brought along with the beautiful Daer-jaa.

The troop started their maneuver as planned. The veterans were assigned the second floor as high altitude attacks required much experience and composure. The other two floors were assigned mostly in random. Except one room.

The one room which Agronak had a personal vendetta against. The room in which he had lost his beloved daughter. The room 303…

After all the troops had taken their positions, Agronak along with Daer-jaa went forward to the front of 303′s window. The reason why he chose that room, was not spoken though known. The time was at hand.

“For our glory! For the glory of mosquitoes!!”, cried Agronak. “ATTACK!!!”

With this Agronak and his team went charging in.

“Let’s do this!”

The whole oncoming had not gone unnoticed. Most of the lights were on and many of the humans were up slapping and shouting. The war had begun. Screams and shouts were to be heard from everywhere.

Agronak and his team went forth. Just as when the battle was heating up, unsought help came. The Plasmodiums had not been idle. There came the dungue and chikun gunya viruses. Words were not spoken among any. But now Agronak knew what needed to be done.

Swiftly he flew and punctured the first one’s neck. The way was laid for their allies to do their work. And they did not fail to. The guy woke up with a shot and slap. But he was too late. The viruses had gotten in him. Agronak’s team was on a roll in the room. Three of the guys in the room had been infected. Now Agronak turned his attention on the next one. His blood boiled.

But just as when he was about to inflict pain, he heard a scream. He was pushed aside and there came a zapping noise. On regaining his senses quickly, he turned around. To his horror, he saw Daer-jaa falling! The reason hit him like .455 slug. The humans had not been idle. They had invented the zapping electric bats!

Agronak flew and got her. He retreated to one of the corners with her.

“Rose!”

“Gronak…”, her voice was feeble. “You must live for me… protect our children… I’m sorry my love. I won’t be able to keep my promise… I can’t be there any longer…. for you…”, and she fell silent.

Rage replaced all else in Agronak’s mind. He kissed his sweetheart one last time and flew back. On seeing him, the bat flew at him. He side stepped the attack. His troop was gone and only four in the room had been infected. The last and final one, the human who had stole everything from him, his wife and his daughter was yet to be infected.

Agronak roared, “Groarrrr!!” and buzzed around and around while the bat was being slung right at his tail. And at the final moment, the bat came straight for him. Death was in front of him. But he saw the small gap he needed. He, smiling, went directly through the gap on betwwen the net of the bat and went for the human’s neck.

Sting! The damage was done.

Now his attention was focused on his beloved’s dying wish. With the bats swishing and swirling, he dodged all of them and flew out. The war was almost over. The result needed to be waited for. There was no plan for a retreat. And hence Agronak went back to his castle.

********************

Two days later, there was news in the local papers : “Hostels shut down due to spreading fever”.

Agronak had seen the puny humans leave one by one. He knew his task was done. But his destiny was not yet completed. He foresaw what was going to happen and ordered an immediate relocation to the canal. But he had no energy nor motivation left in him.

But while the eggs were being packed up, his worst fear came true. There came the castle destroyers with their sprayers. It happened too quickly. Their castle was going to get sprayed with the toxin and that would mean the end of the eggs. He saw the only way out.

“Rijkar, arise and lead our kindred for my time has come!”, with this, he flew directly into the sprayer and blocked its nozzle. “Go now!”, shouted Agronak.

“Here I come for you my love….”, he said to himself.

The destroyer’s sprayer was blocked and he had to remove and replace his nozzle. But that time was all that Rijkar needed. He efficiently swapped up the eggs with his remaining troops and flushed themselves through the drain. Splash! Went they into the canal.

The destroyer had by this time replaced his nozzle and had sprayed away their castle. The war had come to an end.

********************

Thus ends the story of Agronak, the fearless leader. And in case you folks were wondering, I’m sitting with fever here right now and I’m the one who was the last to be infected in 303.

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2 thoughts on “Quito San.

  1. oh my god. tolkien meets gerald durrell! apart from a few little flaws, this story is really well written. insha allah, mebbe we ll see a cartoon based on it one day!

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