The Morning Frost
Men have often come to fear and believe in what they cannot see. This invisible omnipotent force is a driving factor within the existence of man. This ideal motivates man; it creates a feeling of duty and belonging. This ideal can cause great justice, or can blind a man into a blunt instrument.
The Great War had ended in 1918, yet it lingered within my mind. Night after night, I would terrifyingly reminiscence men being shot and their blood being splattered. The scarlet drenched ground in Johannesburg flashed through my subconscious during slumber. The mighty and destructive trenches and the men I had attempted to save. For each man I failed to save, my hair would turn a silvery white hue. Until my head was as silver as the metal itself.
I fell into a great heap of depression and began drinking. The liters of whiskey washed away my sorrow for an hour. The crestfallen pain would damper my disposition for the remaining twenty three and even the omnipotence of alcohol could not stop it. Knowing the situation was hopeless I fled to India.
A marvelous land India was. I had never ventured to this blessed subcontinent. India was a large wondrous beauty. The land glistened under the rising and setting sun; the bustling traffic of the metropolis was nowhere to be found. A natural aroma and serenity predominated the region. Men did not speed upon their own business, men was not singular and alone as if in London. Here men lived and worked as one. A community was the heart and soul of India. It was the mother of the world. Mathematics, language, and religion were incepted in this glorious nation.
I pilgrimaged through the land as a vagabond. My trail began in Bombay and soon it stretched across the nation, Calcutta, Hyderabad, Madras, Lahore, Vishakhapatnam, etc. There was no hamlet, no town, and no city I had not seen in India. I ate all the local food and saw the natural beauties. The history soon engrossed me as I read of the late kings: Asoka, Harsha, and Chatrapathi Sivaji. The Hindu religion in addition became a course of study as I visited and worshiped the deities at the temples. Each temple was a monument of architecture. Expertly sculpted with gorgeous snow white marble, the carvings down intricately with the angels and deities within the temple.
Unfortunately not even the foreign and astounding nation of India could drown out my sorrow. Two ideas were the epicenter of my contemplation. The former is known to you being the horrors of the Great War. Yet the second was an insatiable lust, a longing. The controversy of my dear and late companion Colonel Benjamin R. Webber. I had reached India in the May of 1922, three years after the death of my dear comrade. The Colonel accused of abandoning his men in their time of need and later being found stabbed.
This news came to me by the hands of his son, Dr. A. Webber. I thoroughly addled; the Colonel was a man of honour. His grace, his phlegmatic disposition kept him upon the sacred and righteous path. I too was ridiculed and disgraced for my friendship with this controversial figure.
I had written twice prior of my reminiscences with the late Colonel, but now I take up my pen for the final time to describe one final adventure with my valorous companion.
In the August of 1922, I had been summoned to the abode of Colonel James E. Barclay in Calcutta. Colonel Barclay was a well-respected figure, amiable and illustrious in all of his manners. He may have been amiable in his actions, yet his looks seemed of a man with a most serious constitution. His skin was mellow and as dark as a raven; his eyes were light and soft. The softness of the eyes caused an essence and aura of comfort across me.
"Doctor James Arthurs? Well I am Colonel Barclay, my good man. Why you have become rather slim," Colonel J. E. Barclay had an amiable and platonic tone of speaking. With him I forgot he was my superior, but more of an intimate comrade.
"Yes I am Doctor Arthurs. How may I be of assistance to you?"
"Well my good man, it seems a chap in the rank of Colonel Walter E. Frost is ill. You have been chosen to take care of him," he held his pipe towards his protruding lip as he breathed in casually. The smoke was light and thin.
"I agree Colonel Barclay. Yet I have a question."
"Do not hesitate, my dear fellow. Ask away."
"How does the Royal Army know that I am here in India?"
Colonel Barclay smiled, seeing his face he felt like a brother. He and I were approximately the same age.
"When you cleared your flat, the Army knew you were to leave. They shadowed you, all right. Now, my good man. If you wish not to engage within this task, then do not. It is not your devoir. You have given everything you have for this country. Your wife and your friend. I give my deepest condolences. You have seen more horror and terror than I have. I have seen little fighting. The Siege of Malakand was so long ago I can hardly recollect the circumstances, tigers are no men, and lastly the final two years of the Great War," the Colonel spoke to me as if he had been in my acquaintance my whole life. His intimacy brought tears to my eyes.
"Come now Doctor. Let us see it as this. Resign after this final task, show your ardor. It is for the good of another man. The assignment is to Chitapur. Oh dear, that is a predicament. It has escaped my mind. A little predicament there. To reach their you must travel through Narukalladayam, and Bundelkhand. It is only a three hour journey, yet the predicament being there is a revolution in the area. Quite the audacious Brahmin has incepted an insurrection. Well then Doctor it is not quite the predicament, let us engage in a drink and you can slumber hear for the night. You can depart at five."
For a few jolly hours the Colonel and I sat in his smoking room, drinking and recollecting his adventures with Brigadier Campbell and Colonel Webber. The three men had slain tigers together.
"You may see Webber as the most honourable and valiant fellow upon the planet. At the time my good man, his disposition was rather unstable. He would break into tears and rage. Quite the emotional chap. The Brigadier was then as you see him now. Accept his voice was rather light. But one night, as the three of us rested in a jungle a couple of kilometers out of Jaipur a tiger came through the jungle. Webber fought it and shot it himself. Why we were so proud of him, he bought him an oaken pipe. The very one he used till his death. Ever since then he became the most serious chap I ever met. I would say, oi Benny you cannot be this serious all the time. The man would just smoke and nod. Strange chap he was."
Colonel Webber and I had probably known each other for no more than three years, yet he was one of my closest companions. He had taught me more than I was ever taught in my years of schooling. He taught me the reasoning behind justice; Colonel Webber had shown what occurs when man turns towards murder. The virtuous man had was just as vicious with his vices.
At dawn, Colonel Barclay had arranged a rickshaw that would drive me towards the hamlet of Chitapur. For two hours I sat in the rickshaw in deep contemplation.
For all my life I had seen man as a violent and raging beast. I saw man as a curse. But now I was seeing man as a more positive creature. Man may have destroyed beauty and enslaved his fellow brothers, but India was changing my opinion. Great men lived in this nation as well. Asoka united his people and did not engage within warfare. He strived towards rejuvenation, a perfect phlegmatic disposition. In London no man, had such an incentive. No cause or reason to live.
The meaning of life was the deepest of contemplation for any man. No one had discovered it or even seen what the answer could have been. I see that it is most illogical to reach a solution but I ignored my teachings and ideals in favour of this new atmosphere. Life's purpose, the very reason for the stained pity existence was nil. Man had no meaning; even the supernatural paranoia of this glorious land that engulfed me could not change that fact. Man's existence was pointless. We were playthings in the hand of a higher theological apparition.
The constant nightmares I had of the war had distorted my ideas, pessimism reigned within me. The idea and message Colonel Webber had preached to me had died. The stained pity of man remained stainless, Lloyd George more focused upon his ego than the welfare of the people failed to work towards the will of my sagacious comrade. The Colonel's spectre grew infuriated day by day.
The spectral atrocities that were the hounds of Johannesburg had become a permanent fixture of my mind. The blood and death that surrounded the malignant and horrendous event came to mind thousands of times per day. Yet the light in the darkness of that day, was I was spared from murdering entire camp and becoming no better than those hopeless Boers. The Boers may have acted in greed, yet my nation motivated by greed themselves retaliated. At the time I saw this as honour. Now I see it as sham vigilance.
My very first patient was a man by the name of Jack Culvertins. A slight cold, I told him to take rest. For years those were my patients, colds, flus, fevers, and the occasional pneumonia. In the Boer War, I saw men with missing arms and legs, men with bullets in their chests. But this could not compare to the Great War. Men with the only part remaining being their torso. Had the Lucifer struck down upon me?
During me deep and utterly rambunctious contemplation the rickshaw hit a bump in the road. Suddenly, an air shattering blast was fired from a rifle. The driver had fallen back with a powerful thud; a chunk of flesh from his neck was missing. Even in this land, the power of destruction reigned.
I jumped out of the rickshaw and flew with my Gladstone medical bag. The man with the rifle and another two men had ambushed me with rifles. As I flew in terror of death I grabbed by my shoulders and thrown towards the rugged terrain. The dust and dirt of India went into my sensitive eyes, irritating and temporary blinding me. I was rather incommoded and the men beat me repeatedly with rifles. In a matter of time, my consciousness had been seized.
It is unbeknownst to me how much time had passed after my ambush and subsequent abduction but it may have at the minimum been more than two hours. I awoke in a small abode upon a quilt. A woman in her fifties resided by me, her hair was grizzled. She was quite corpulent, and the red sari gave an even more portly feel to her. At the sight of my dark brown eyes she yelled out a word in Bengali and a man walked in.
This man was a most curious specimen. He was no more than four inches over five. A long bear protruded from his thick lips, a beard that extended towards his dark chest. In his scarred and dexterous fingers he held a long wooden stick. The man was a devotee of a deity I had dedicated a long study to. The omnipotent Lord Satanarayana, a surmise I drew from the white V shaped mark and the red line upon his forehead. The very mark of the Lord of the Universe.
"Well, you have been through quite a lot," the man spoke with an accent that sounded akin to a Scotchman. He had a stiff manner of standing which gave an aura of adamancy.
"Who are you?" I enquired earnestly in utter agony. My throat pained me as I struggled for the elementary words to be articulated.
"It is a miniscule detail to you. Yet quite the large on for the Royal Army. I am a Brahmin, my name forgotten through time," I prepared to give a remark to the Brahmin's statement but he held up his hand in silence, "Do not speak, rest. You are in Bundelkhand. I saved you after my men ambushed you. I am the leader of the local insurrection. The raider of the police station a patriotic purloiner and murderer."
I was shocked how a Hindu Brahmin could step down to the level of the people who oppressed him. The ideal of nonviolence was embedded within Hinduism. Justice and vengeance were never alike, nor was murder and justice. When the man lectured to preach the very ideals of his religion violates them. Man is truly in a complex plight.
For an hour I lay in the Brahmin's hut before I regained enough strength to stand upright. I walked out of the hut where the Brahmin sat meditating. Realizing I would be intruding I did not speak and sat next to him as I saw the blossoms from a nearby tree fell to the ground.
"Doctor you are quite laconic does the pain persist?"
"How do you know of my profession?"
"The Gladstone bag," he remarked without opening his eyes. How he noticed my presence was quite the puzzling enigma. The way he sat was akin to the spiritual teacher Buddha upon a lotus.
"Quite ingenious. My corporal essence is still a bit stiff. The hamlet is rather silent, despite the insurrection," I responded.
"The hamlet is always quite silent. A beautiful place is it not? The majestic trees, the jungle and the numerous creatures it withholds. I think of the jungle as all of society. The animals live and are governed by prudence, the wolves have their alpha, the tigers have their leaders, yet it is the elephant that is the true guide of Providence. The jungle's law is fiat justitia. No man escapes it, if all were judged by the jungle the Earth would be as white as the Himalayan snow. Yet there would be no balance. Without prudence, there is not imprudence. Lord Satanarayana's balance is tolerable.
"Without the grotesque atrocities I had witnessed within the war there would be no end to what occurred. Men would fight and die, no sun would glisten into the blackest night."
"Your thought is quite vivid Doctor. You seem greatly disturbed by something."
"Why the insurrection?" This very action was a source of deep contemplation for a matter of hours.
"A main question of man, is why? Why this suffering, why this agony, why this fortune, why this Providence? The answer to your question is duty. A central feeling of ardor motivates my very existence. Lord Hanuman the monkey follower of Lord Rama's very existence was his devoir. He served Lord Rama by flying to Ceylon on a reconnaissance mission to locate his wife. Lord Hanuman lived and breathed for Lord Rama. When Lord Rama was in pain, so was he. His duty was for Lord Rama and fought for Lord Rama.
"Before my father passed he passed on the title of Brahmin to my elder brother. Yet my brother did not have the motivation of duty before him. He had been spoilt as a boy and drank every night; he became the shame of the village. When my father questioned why he would object to his birth right, he responded that drink was his life. Never had I seen such a thrashing. Blood erupted from my brother's neck. That night my brother committed suicide and my father died of a broken heart. I soon became the hamlet Brahmin. My duty to preach and train the oncoming generation. My daughter had married and left, no my wife and I are alone.
"In recent years I have seen the injustices of the British Empire. Not the soldiers themselves but the Empire as a whole. I cannot blame the Prime Minister nor can I blame the King. They are following a set precedent. Yet I am unsure whom to blame. As I raided the police stations for the firearms and murdered the soldiers. I knew how the idea of insurrection and liberation had to be struck into their minds akin to a syringe. I knew that this was the inception of this ideal. When justice is within the hearts and souls of the people no man can kill it. With the will of the people I conduct my duty. It is the idea of purity that haunts me. The blood of the fallen man has stained what was pure and divine. I am no longer as white as a dove but as bloody as "
I had seen that the Brahmin was no sinner, but a hero. A man who fights with valour and gallantry. The Brahmin had showcased honour and modesty in a dark time. A light in the darkness. His spirituality brought me into a more optimistic state.
"Doctor, something is troubling you. Come let us go to the shrine," before I could say another word the Brahmin had sprung up with his walking stick and sped along. I followed suit admiring the homes built of straw, stick, and brick. I saw the children joyfully roam the streets and the adults hard at work milking cows, carrying water, and men constructing buildings.
"Do you ever think of the judgment placed upon you in death, Doctor?"
In truth I did think vigorously of this topic, but I prevaricated my response.
"There is no reason to lie. You are not a man if you have not thought abstractly. It is quite the curse. Memento mori, all men die. But those life differently, I live as a humble man. Alexander the Great lived extravagantly, and Dickens lived like a beggar and a hero. However a man lives is how they appear once they pass. My father had the same solemn constitution upon his face, Alexander the Great had the feeling of power, Dickens the feeling of sorrow, and I will have that same modesty and duty. Yet I fear that Lord Yama will not comprehend me, that he will punish me and condemn to internal perdition in his realm. What of you Doctor?"
"It is unbeknownst to me. But I say maybe I will rise after death. Rise from this suffering and horror I have seen."
"You have been haunted Doctor. But the sin is not yours. Death is a matter of judgment, a extinguishing of the flame, a cycle of life. We might touch within the next life."
I had developed and idea of reincarnation during my Indian pilgrimage. People I had met in previous lives now within my new one. For all I know I could have been the doctor of King George III and Webber could have been my companion. The petals from the flower of life fell and wilted simultaneously with that of others. Maybe I had caused terrors in the past and now suffer for them.
The Brahmin stopped and led me into the small shrine. The shrine was a rather dark place. How it could possibly be so dark was anomalous and unbeknownst to me. An area of the gods were darkness could be repealed was the most dark of the areas of this wondrous hamlet. The Brahmin stood in all of his wisdom and adamancy; he with a flick of his fingers lit a match upon a clay cracked plate. Upon the plate were flowers. Never have I seen such beauty upon flowers, the elephant headed deities prudence had increased the gorgeousness of the flowers. As he prayed to the elephant headed deity he spoke incomprehensibly and then turned to me. The flame went out, and we stood in silence. As I prepared to question what had occurred, the Brahmin put up his hand as a form of silence.
Addled at his reasoning for such precautions, I saw a bright red flame erupt from the plate. The fire glistened as it was the golden sun, the potency increasing for my insatiable desire to cure my fear of what I dreamt. Yet imagination is never as terrifying as what can be seen with man's eyes in flesh and blood. But what appeared from that raging omnipotent fire was a tall man with snow white whiskers within an army uniform.
When one encounters a spectre they expect it to be characterized by phantasmal attributes. Yet none were present. The apparition was as if I was seeing something of flesh and blood akin to that of the hounds of Johannesburg. Then a grotesque atrocity of hell indistinct from reality. Now the long lost spectre of the man who knew and saw the world better than no one else stood before me. In utter disbelief I was addled at the Brahmin's ability to summon and connect with the death. A sham séance it was not.
"Doctor, it seems that your imagination has become quite rambunctious. Quite dangerous for a man of logic and science," his voice possessed the same edge and deepness I recalled he had in life.
"Are you of flesh and blood, Colonel?"
I struggled for the words to articulate from my mouth. His phantasmal essence was addling to my disposition.
"You have said yourself that the Devil's agents may be in flesh and blood from time to time."
"Colonel? You are no agent of the Devil," I was stunned why the most honourable man I knew could speak so negatively of himself. The Colonel was no more an agent of the Devil than was the Gladstone a favourite of the late lamented Queen.
"I may be an agent of the Lord working for the Devil or an agent of the Devil working for the Lord. The curse of morality has been struck upon me causing an addling conflict of murder," he store with his eagle esque gaze straight into the inner portions of my soul.
"Colonel, the horror does not escape me. The horror of murder, the stained pity of man. It follows me."
"You are truly terrified Doctor. You fail to comprehend how murder can be done for such an imbecilic cause. David Lloyd George said that the Great War was the war to end all wars. By 1919 the Afghans attack India and men are sacrificed once again. An elementary diplomatic mission could have solved the problem. You are trained to save the souls, I am to take them. No remorse, but this curse of morality makes me rethink my actions, even when my devoir was involved."
"Even in death you are the same," I cordially remarked.
"All are the same within death. Shakespeare philosophizes, Wellington is honourable, and Bonaparte is vindictive."
The idea of memento mori preached so well in Hamlet came into effect. All face death, but those must embrace it. The lamp is extinguished and the cycle moves, the suffering ends. But who is the man who ended the Colonel's?
"Who is thy killer?" I enquired, fear stretched threw me was it an Afghan or someone more illustrious.
"My killer is the man himself, Colonel Walter E. Frost. A man blinded by the ideals of glory and honour to a cracked crown. It is men akin to him that destroys the Empire I have so dearly served."
At the sound of those words, I went into rage. That diabolical mastermind, destroying, killing, slaughtering the very man keeping the Empire alive. Cloaked in villainy, the very man I came to assist is the man I must terminate.
"Doctor out of irrationality, do not attempt something imbecilic."
"It is justice," I cried in the moment of wrath.
"Murdering him in cold blood shows nothing. It makes you no better than him. This is not your devoir. Your devoir is to save the Brahmin keep his idea alive. Keep the Empire alive. Prevent Frost from destruction. This is my final message. Wonderful enigma, blessed India."
The flame began to grow dimmer, and dimmer as it flickered away. The temporary light in the darkness had been extinguished. Those words, wonderful enigma blessed India. I had heard before in Johannesburg. No I see the meaning. The wonderful enigma of man, and the sacred and holy grounds of the men of that nation. Men are always the same, virtues and vices. Pitiful, but it is how they are preached. The Hindus of Satanarayana, the Jews and Christians have their Lord, and so do the Muslims, and the Buddhists of Buddha. My devoir was clear, keep the darkness lit.
I walked out of the temple as the Brahmin followed suit and took me towards a large coconut tree. Upon the tree men scaled for the precious coconuts, a supply of drink and food. The man worked hard as he sweated up the fifteen foot tall tree with his naked arms and legs. The tree cut him but even when he bled he climbed upwards.
"Were you able to control a supernatural phenomenon?" I questioned him.
I recall as a child my English lecturer created a riot amongst the children on their interpretation of Hamlet. One half of the class believed the spectre of late King was not real, the other believed he was. The riot resulted in children engaging within fights and the dean utilizing corporal punishment. I being the logical child at first did not believe it the spectre's existence. But then as I contemplated the situation I realized four men would not prevaricate the existence of a creature and knew it must be real. A plot to drive the narrative. Until this day I question whether the Colonel's spectre had truly approached me.
"One does not control an occult phenomenon. One approaches it. Colonel Webber game through his own potency. I just confirmed it," he the Brahmin even knew of the Colonel's existence was an enigma. Had he truly created a séance?
Before I could continue my line of enquiry a man as lanky as a twig came sprinting towards us. Sweat trickled down his face; he resembled a monkey of some sorts. It may have been his plump cheeks or his long arms. The man panted immensely before he could speak. He quickly rattled off a few quick words in Bengali and ran off once again from the direction he came.
"The man said, Doctor. The morning frost shall be thick."
I was rather bamboozled. There is no frost in India. But then it struck me, the solution was given to me by the phantasmal apparition of the Colonel.
"Colonel Frost shall arrive by morning."
"That is quite the predicament Doctor. What shall you do?"
"With great passion and sagacity I shall fulfill my companion's final message," I said meekly.
"Do you have any hope?"
"Nay. I am one man. What can I possibly do?"
The Brahmin gave a noiseless chuckle as he shut his eyes.
"Do you not know the story of Lord Narasimaha?
"Nay, but I have seen the deity. He is the Lion headed one. The protector of the good and vanquisher of evil."
"Yes. You see in the previous avatar Lord Satanarayana had been a boar named Varaha. A demon by the name Hiranyaksha had taken the Earth to a cosmic ocean. To rescue this sacred being he challenged Hiranyaksha and murdered him. Saving the Earth he restored it. Hiranyaksha's younger brother Hiranyakashipu in need of retribution created the name Satanarayana as a curse. His wife, a devotee, was sent far off. Hiranyakashipu's son Prahlada too was a devote of Satanarayana. Prahlada's father murdered all that opposed him and became a despotic monarch. Prahlada told the people not to fear for Lord Satanarayana would save them, for he was within everything. Infuriated Hiranyakashipu began breaking random objects questioning whether Lord Satanarayana was within them. Prahlada responded yes. Out of rage he broke a pillar in which Lord Satanarayana appeared with the head of a lion and claws as long as men. Narasimaha, Nara means man, and simha is lion. Lord Narasimaha brought him above his head and ripped him into twain.
"See how the power of one man destroyed another malicious one. Faith is all that one needs. With this faith Prahlada had saved thousands. A young boy not even old enough to use a razor. If this young boy could destroy a monstrous demon that can you not keep alive the ideals of an old man?"
I felt a wave of inspiration and insatiable potency surge through me.
"Ideals cannot die. And I shall ensure yours does not. If an ideal is within the hearts and souls of its people, then that ideal becomes that of the nation. The Empire shall see, and soon it will crumble under its own weight."
The Brahmin gave a light smile as he looked off towards a small bush. The bush had golden flowers sprouting from it.
"Doctor, have you ever witnessed sheer elegance and used it to forget your sorrows?"
The multitude of times I wish I could have done so. That frightful night in Johannesburg when the demonic canines came to destroy us. Where was the beauty? No flowers, no blossoms, no elegance. I saw malignance and destruction. Throughout the Great War, I roamed the foreign nations in search of something to drown my sorrow. Yet there was nothing. Betwixt the slaughters of the Army and the feeling of pity I could not forget. The sorrows caused me to work and rejuvenate the dying soldiers. I recall remarking the stained pity of man overshadows his sorrows. All the pity I felt, the contrition executed towards me, was my sorrow.
"Yes, I have. But from time to time there is no beauty," I remarked.
"You tend to feel rather negative. Beauty is always within the eyes of those who see it. Elegance is not always a material thing. When there is no elegance you must envision something. I remember this hamlet. The place of my birth. What of you Doctor?"
"I recollect the streets of London. But now I see a conundrum. India is where I shall remain. My wife that eagerly awaited me is now dead. But now I see how death has not separated us. It may have been a cruel lesson. But now I see I will meet her again."
The Brahmin and I toured the hamlet as I discussed the many things I had witnessed in India. The numerous temples and how they stood as a haven of hope, the animals I had seen. The curiosity of it all is that London was not missed. I could care less for the immense speed of the metropolis. The simplicity and tranquility of this hamlet was enough for me.
That night I fed upon a curious piece of food known as a roti and potatoes. I slumbered under the stars. The bloodsucking mosquitos could not cause me to stand as I saw the stars.
"What beauty. I feel like quite the ignoramus for not noticing this beauty during the Great War following me. I always thought the stars were a form of communication. Then I found out they were gas," I spoke deeply and slowly.
"Spirituality is the reasoning behind the events; the science is what it is. Maybe they are communication, but they are composed of gas," responded the Brahmin.
His wisdom was immense. The Colonel had told me that my imagination was rambunctious and how I should be logical. It was that I should not think so abstract. Why ignore the things occurring within my time by looking back and to the firmaments?
My slumber was a deep and untroubled one. How is quite unbeknownst to me for all of the conundrums I had would have kept any man awake. I awoke at dawn, when the sun was barely over the horizon. Without the Brahmin's knowledge I took my Gladstone bag and departed to the hamlet of Narukalladayam. The name was actually Telugu being a Telugu settled region. The definition of the name being kill demon. How suiting? I had to terminate the demons that opposed the Brahmin. How singular.
I walked towards the hamlet outskirts where I saw the abode of a rickshaw driver. I gave him two rupees and he agreed to take me to Narukalladayam. For the amount of denomination I gave him the man sped off at a speed faster than the hounds in Johannesburg. In less than half an hour we had arrived towards the hamlet. He bid me haste and departed.
Upon my advent I looked around the area. It was quite similar in architecture to that of the Bundelkhand, yet it was neither silent nor phlegmatic. The casteless stratification of Bundelkhand was not apparent here. I saw men beat their children and servants, woman follow their husbands. A wealthy man telling a beggar to fly. The social structure of London had followed me to India. Wherever I seemed to go this atrocity and vice of man was apparent. But I did not think of it. For two hours I did not think. A task that was quite difficult. The Colonel's spectre, the Brahmin's philosophy and Colonel Barclay's intimacy were still affecting me. But for two hours, no thoughts came through my cerebral reminiscences.
As I sat thoughtlessly and ignored in front of a small temple two military trucks came driving through the hamlet. One man stood with an honourable constitution, being quite short. He held in his right hand a hunting-crop and in his right a Cuban cigar. His grey hair was barely protruded from his head; he had thin lips and a somber face. Upon seeing me the driver stopped the truck, and so did the one in behind. The two jerked forward slightly as dust sprayed about. The people instantly flew into their abodes.
The man with the cigar jumped from the truck and smiled with those thin lips. It was a malevolent and devilish smile. Seeing that smile in combination with his brow, his somber face, and diamond cut eyes, the man seemed like quite the sadist.
"You must be the Doctor?" The man questioned, his voice sounded of the ash from his cigar. The man must have smoked immensely for no form of inflection should naturally be that gruff and burnished.
"Yes," I responded with a nod of my head.
"You were to arrive yesterday. The man is not much better. Dear me, I failed to introduce myself. I am Colonel Frost," the man had a twinkle in his eye. The hunting-crop, he swayed back in forth during his volcanic speech.
Upon hearing the name Frost an immense force of anger surged through me. The fires of rage consumed me. A rage more immense and omnipotent then that I felt on the day of the hounds of Johannesburg. My eyes must have shown it, for Frost gave a perplexed stare.
"I ran into trouble in Bundelkhand. The insurrection. Where is the man?"
"Over there," he pointed towards a pale and haggard officer.
I marched towards the officer as Frost spoke to me on the topic of the Brahmin's location.
"If you were in Bundelkhand, do you have the location of him?" I enquired in a light tone.
"Nay," I responded as I felt the ill officer's forehead and wrist. They were both burning hotter than the sun. His entire corporal essence was aflame.
"I believe you are prevaricating. You must have been ambushed or rescued. You know where he is. And I shall find out," Frost dropped his cigar to the ground and extracted a revolver. The revolver was quite large and had his initials carved into it in an ivory colour.
I looked at the patient and he nudged towards a revolver in his belt. I grabbed it and placed his finger upon his temporal bone.
"Doctor what is he saying?" Frost was quite agitated with me.
I did not respond and brought the revolver to the designated area. It was clear to me; the man must have contracted a severe case of malaria. Quite the miracle that he had not infected another soldier. But the very thought of shooting the man in cold blood was beyond me. I had been torn by rage when I had failed to save patients and angered when I had to go through an amputation. Slaughtering a man with a high fever was not an option. I could cure him, but his large gaping cat eyes would not allow me to live. A conundrum, torn betwixt life and death. The call of devoir, I shot him. The blast rang through the hamlet. The powder of the gun prevented me from seeing a thing. But I knew the man was deceased and his blood had splattered to my shirt.
"A small loss, I am to pick up Anderson and his men anyway," Frost's response to the death of an officer in his regiment was grotesque. During the Great War when one of our men had been killed we bereaved and gave him a burial of honour. Yet this monster was the man who mercilessly took Colonel Webber form this Earth.
I grabbed the revolver tightly and proceeded towards the temple. The door was shut, but I stood adamantly and firmly in front of the structure.
"I have done my devoir. My final task. Cared for your man and now you ask me a question I do not know. The Brahmin is nowhere to be found. If you find him, and you kill him, his ideals shall be alive. They are within the hearts and souls of its people. Frost, my time has come. End me as well. But you shall destroy India. For justice!"
"You bloody ignoramus!" He screamed to the firmaments, "Do not prevaricate. Captain Reginald Anderson and Colonel James Barclay have confirmed it. Had to knock him about. Always tell the imbecilic tale of how the Brahmin taught him duty. If you do not tell me Doctor. Then I shall destroy this temple!"
"That is quite impossible Frost. You may materially, but the deity's soul infests itself within everything!"
"Really Doctor! Then let us see! If the Grand Old Man saw the situation here now he would be ashamed," Grand Old Man, William Ewart Gladstone. The idol of every army man, the man whom my medical bag was named after. The army saw Gladstone as a hero even though he was rather responsible for General Gordon's death. Frost must have seen himself as Gordon and the Brahmin as Muhammad Ahmad. Therefore by this case, Frost should be decapitated.
"I highly doubt Mister Gladstone would be ashamed. Mister Gladstone would be proud. A Liberal in all aspects. He would see the wrongs we have done, and thank the Brahmin for the light in the darkness."
Frost's face turned a shade of crimson red. His dark eyes surrounded by this particularly bright form of red. He took his revolver and shot me straight through the shoulder. I recall seeing men who had been shot; the ramification of the action is all I could write of in my memoirs. But then I felt the agony. Being shot was as physically painful as the death of my wife. The bullet was deep within my right shoulder. I flew back and landed recumbent. A sharp pain was thrust through my noggin.
"Where is he?"
I took the revolver and held it towards Frost. He smiled indignantly, he knew I did not have the audacity to pull the trigger and remove his life. I painfully rolled upon my side and forced myself up through the usage of my knees.
Frost slowly walked towards me with his revolver in hand. I in with an agonized aura clutched my wounded shoulder as the blood leaked through. His gaze was akin to that of Mister Scrooge from Dickens's Christmas Carol. But Scrooge evolved into a just man, a man of heart. But Frost would not change. He was a monster. Frost struck me with his hunting-crop as my head forcefully turned to the right.
Frost potently thrust his right leg forward to force upon the doors. The idol was three feet tall and carved out of pure ivory. The idol stood with one leg crossed over the other, in his hand he held a flute. Upon his lean noggin stood a large crown. This was an avatar of the Lord Satanarayana, the one following Lord Rama, Lord Krishna. The trouble maker. Lord Krishna slayed the demons of India and for that he was idolized. A man who thought deeply and lived and died for the people.
"A curious deity. A flue player, nonetheless it must be destroyed. Without the symbol there is no ideal. An ideal cannot exist without its foundation." For such an iron willed fellow, Frost was quite the philosopher. I was told that he often dreamed of being a mathematics teacher.
I went towards him and attempted to strike him with my revolver, but Frost lashed me quickly and potently with his hunting crop. I fell to the ground and shielded my eyes from the sacrilege.
Frost emptied the remaining five chambers of his revolver. I opened my eyes to see what remained of the deity. Lord Krishna was unscathed; the bullets were all around it. Frost addled at the implausibility kicked the deity. But it would not shake. He lashed the idol with his hunting-crop but it was unaffected. The old Colonel let out a tirade of volcanic vulgarities.
"How is this possible?" His rage was consuming him as he repeatedly thrashed Lord Krishna all about. A certain and immense amount of vigor was displayed and ardor that man only received from doing his duty. Yet the scars of duty were not apparent on Frost or Lord Krishna.
"I shall tell you why?" A familiar Scottish voice erupted from behind. The thump of a cane was heard and the Brahmin was standing right in front of his arch-nemesis. A man bent upon destroying everything he worked for. How the Brahmin was so phlegmatic was quite the perplexing conundrum.
"I found you," whispered Frost. He lashed him with his riding crop repeatedly. Each blow landing across his face, vigorously beating him. The blood trickled down, but this blood had to be paid. The blood the people he killed, the blood that the Brahmin worked for. The blood of the patriot and the tyrant. Liberty would be bleeding, but soon it will heal.
Frost dragged the Brahmin out by his knees. He adhered handcuffs to his wrists and gagged him. Nodding to me, he sped off into his truck never to come back alive.
I wish to not recapitulate the case of Frost and Anderson for all know of his petty demise by his hands. I do not wish to incriminate Brigadier Campbell for training Frost and turning him into the monster he is. But I shall leave it that Captain Anderson went free, the Brigadier committed suicide, and the name of Colonel Benjamin R. Webber was cleared.
I have reached my final years darting the age of seventy in my little bungalow in Hyderabad. My eyesight is failing and I can just barely see the words on this piece of paper. But before I die I must deliver what my final message is.
Hope. Hope is what all of man needs. It is hope and faith that allows the stained pity of man to overshadow his sorrows. Hope brings men together as a beacon of light in the darkness. The Brahmin's hope brought his idea into the souls of his people; Colonel Webber's hope brought him his message of man becoming pure. Hope may be negative or positive, grotesque, prudent and of Providence. Providence and its wonders are all through hope and with hope a man can accomplish all. Colonel Webber' spirit eases itself as vengeance and violence detain themselves. Men like Frost die day by die. The Brahmin's preaching's and Colonel Webber's final testament of justice bring man into the divinity they were incepted to be. A wonderful enigma, blessed man.