The sky is red. A naga swoops down, sweeping the stars and the sun. Sparks alight the tips of its wings. Fire spreads. Wind swirls. Fear shoots into the air like octopus ink. Armour-clad warriors lay sprawled about on the ground. Screams of desperation fill the air. The creature is incensed. Houses, trees, distant mountaintops, everything disintegrates into unrecognisable rubble. Razed to the ground. Everything. Except for one child standing upright, motionless. He holds a tautly-strung bow in his hand. His face is as dark as stone, but his eyes are as bright as lightning. It is from his bow that a great arrow had been shot and penetrated the naga’s chest.
“The naga will surely die, Mother,” he whispers. Then he closes his eyes. Perhaps he is sleeping. Or trying to sleep. He holds the picture drawn on a big piece of paper tightly to his chest. The picture, drawn with just three colours: red, black and grey, is full of scratches and thick broken lines that had been drawn, full of emotion.
I am floating. Sleeping perhaps. No dreams. It’s dark — I’m awoken by the silence. This is very strange because dawn is usually noisy. There is no call to prayer. There are no roosters crowing or calls of vegetable vendors or the milkman’s radio. Radian’s place is empty, but still warm. He must have just woken up. I stumble out of the room and meet the child in front of the half-opened bathroom door. He stands, very rigidly. As if frozen in mid-air. A soft light caresses his little face.