EX­CERPT

Down to Earth - - REVIEW -

DE AD RATS be­gan to rain into houses.

Women ran out screech­ing when fat bun­dles tum­bled into sim­mer­ing pots on the hearth. Men woke up at all hours un­easily aware of stir­ring that had noth­ing to do with de­sire. It was usu­ally a dy­ing rat bur­row­ing fran­ti­cally into the bed­clothes.

Tod­dlers chased af­ter ro­dents that stag­gered drunk­enly about. Chil­dren de­vised cruel and in­ter­est­ing games of tor­ment.

The street stank of pu­tre­fy­ing rats. The dis­gusted vil­lagers had tired of clear­ing them: within an hour of sweep­ing away the corpses, there would be a fresh richesse of rats, twitch­ing in their death throes.

A few days later, plague broke out in the vil­lage.

There was an in­ter­val of two weeks be­tween Bimabai's death and the out­break. That in­ter­val had seen the deaths of rats.

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