Aphelion Issue 233, Volume 22
October 2018
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Evil Inside

by Hareendran Kallinkeel

Elders admonish: “Don't ever venture out into the night!”

Nights are for centipedes to crawl, snakes to slither, and vile men to plunder.

The village lies quiet, by the side of a river. The river remains restless, in constant motion, a gigantic anaconda, in pursuit of prey.

Worms squirm on drenched branches, leaves laden with monsoon rain's wetness. A crescent moon shines, in shimmering stars' company, a breeze carries wild jasmine's aroma. A lone owl, on a high perch, lets out a mournful whine.

Evil rises from the pits of Earth, takes human form…

A man penetrates murky shadows, dares slushy mush on the bank, enters the water, and swims across. Moonlight dances on his oily, dark skin, a veil to protect the flesh beneath; a sheath for zigzagging blood vessels to lurk.

The sodden wooden door slams against the wall as the man storms in.

“Who…” A voice from the dark, worn and dreary, begins a question and then drowns in a bout of coughs.

The man moves towards its direction. “Wretched old dog,” he mutters.

A shuffle, a cry struggles in a throat, choked by a muscular forearm. The smooth glide of a razor, a warm splatter hits the man's cheeks. The acrid smell of urine invades his nostrils. He loosens his hold, the body slumps.

In a corner, whimpering, a dark silhouette cowers as the man approaches. He inhales the smell of coconut oil, laced with the scent of jasmine.

The man folds the razor; his clothe rustles as it slides down his knees.

“Don't ever venture out into the night!” Elders say.

An elder realizes evil strays in. A young woman bears the brunt.

The village will awaken to a new dawn, to the birthing of a never known evil, an evil that invades insides.

“Never stay within the walls.” They'll learn.

“Out in the open, evil gets exposed.” They'll know.


2017 Hareendran Kallinkeel

Bio: Hareendran Kallinkeel lives in God’s Own Country, after obtaining voluntary retirement from an elite commando outfit. Waking from a hiatus of over a decade, he has recently returned to fiction writing.

Prior to the hiatus, he has been widely published in online as well as print media. The title story of his short fiction collection, “A Few Ugly Humans,” has earned a nomination for the Pushcart Prize in 2005.

E-mail: Hareendran Kallinkeel

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