The Fourth

Gayam started running, leaving his pot of water made out of gourde skin, rolling at the river bank.
He had already noticed the footsteps on the other side of the river bank – the grey grasses on the slightly wet soil messed up with prominent footsteps!
How many, he had tried to count. Five, seven, twenty?
Gayam didn’t learn to count beyond that! May be his father could!
That’s when he had started running towards their home, worried by the thought of his father.
He ran quite fast, although awkwardly, trying to ignore the discomfort due to his permanently deformed set of legs. Ultimately, he is one of the fastest runner among the other few runners of his clan. Many of them are deformed further, by birth!
Their were already a small crowd in front of their cave when he reached there, panting.
And the small crowd grew larger fast, and went berserk when Gayam could tell them what he saw in that morning.
The entire clan started preparing.
The ones who are completely handicapped and incapable of doing anything, were moved back to the rear end of the cave.
Another group of slightly more abled men, lacking one or the other set of limbs, and bogged down by diseases, formed the guard at the entry of the cave.
They will be the supply line for the frontmost row of men.
The rest, around seventeen of them, limped forward towards the range of trees.
Even the trees looked hagged, completely deformed!
The seventeen men had stones and sticks, two of them carrying bow and arrow too. They scrambled atop the trees. And started waiting.
It was a dark night. And eerily quiet.
The sounds of the wild animals and the insects have long been wiped out from the face of earth!
The enemy were spotted at the break of the dawn.
A group of around fourty people, carrying stones and sticks as well, were coming painfully slowly, dragging their deformed limbs, towards the awaiting group in the trees.
Gayam’s group also got ready.
After eighty years of the devastating nuclear destructions of the third world war, the last surviving seventy-one people on earth – deformed and mutilated, faced each other in the fourth world war, to kill!
Translated from the short story “চতুর্থ”, written by Somnath Chattopadhya, published in his book “আণবিক”.
For those who want the original story, here is the link for the required details.
বইটির ব্যাপারে


4 responses to “The Fourth”

  1. Frankly speaking, when I wrote the Bengali version of it on a bus stuck in Traffic jam, I never thought it will ever be published, and English translation was just out of question. But when I read it today, I got awestruck since this has become so International !! so Universal !! You brought it up to the next level buddy. I am so thankful to you. Now feeling greedy and a tantalizing desire growing to see more such pieces. Just keep on writing. This is not just a translation, but an original piece with its own characteristic. Kudos.

  2. Nicely written Nilanjan da. Chaliye jao. 😊

  3. ধন্যবাদ ভাই 😊

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