Endless Tales of Corona - 8

Stephi stood up and walked towards her dull jeans bag that was hanging on the lower branch of a tree to keep her dagger back. Mathew could see her white shirt covered in blood. She tucked the dagger in and felt an acute pain as the wind passed by her bloody wound. She turned her hands around the back to feel it and realized one of her fingers went through the flesh. As she panicked and removed it, blood started pouring out of her body and she dropped down and slowly fell unconscious as her blood mixed with the rough course of sedimentary soil.

Mathew ran towards her in panic, patted her cheek and tried waking her but she did not hear him. He tore the sleeves of his shirt and tied up her wound. Now he knew that he had to negotiate quickly as both Nikhil’s and Stephi’s lives were in danger. He carried the bait they had and threw him in front of the tribal group. The guy who communicates among them came for help and they finally negotiated to trade the wounded man for Nikhil and a healer for Stephi. The so-called head of the tribe consoled an elderly tribal woman and walked towards Nikhil. It seemed that he asked the fellow tribal to untie Nikhil. As Nikhil walked by, the tribal head whispered something into the man’s ears. The man nodded his head. As the wounded man returned to his pack, the group hugged him, and the elderly women kissed him all over his face.

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Chapter 8 - The Apothecary
 - Athira Mohandas

The man introduced himself as Michael. “My wife, Sarah, was treated by a tribal healer named Rudha. We are going to her apothecary and get her flesh wound dressed up”, said Michael.

They walked through the woods for a half a mile, carrying the girl. There at the end of the road they found a bamboo hut, the foreground of which was matted with pink bracts of Bougainvillea inflorescence. It smelled of spices and limonene from lemon grass as they approached the cottage. The garden roof was covered by dark branches wrapped by lianas of Bougainvillea. It was a splendid view.

The cottage was old and had a lot of creepy vines with white flowers that had climbed up all over the shed. Its roots travelled through the walls, superficially penetrating them and when dead, left crevices on it. The whole cottage had a shabby deserted look.

Michael knocked the brittle wooden door and it gave off a lump of dust. While they waited for an answer, Nikhil found a spider web and wondered, "Such a creepy place! The old woman must be living alone”. But before he could finish his sentence, the door made a creaky noise. A beautiful young brunette opened the door, who wore sea-weed green long gown and a black and green stone beaded necklace. Her hand was slim and carried a dark metal ring with a dark emerald stone around her wrist. Nikhil’s jaw fell wide open looking at her.

“Rudha, the girl is badly hurt.” said Michael, whilst carrying Stephi to the bed inside. Mathew and Nikhil followed him. The hut was huge from the inside. There were a lot of cupboards which were filled with  round glass bottles, corked with rosewood, that had a lot of green leaves including herbs, essential oils, spices, flowers like lupin, lavender, wolfsbane etc . It was a herb haven. She took a mortar and pestle and put some olive oil, basil and turmeric into it. She then ground the mixture into a paste and applied it over Stephi’s wound. Next, she placed a piece of cloth and tied it around the wound. Stephi was still unconscious.

“She has lost a lot of blood”, said Rudha after inspecting Stephi’s fingernails.

Nikhil saw the sign of ‘Om’ on the wall and realized Rudha is a Sanskrit word which means “healed”. Strange isn’t it?  Why was she named as healed and not as healer?? 

“How do you know English?” asked Nikhil.

“I can speak both English and Italian.”

Rudha was the daughter of an Italian healer. Her father as she believed was a Sanskrit scholar at Banaras Hindu University. She suffered a serious illness as a just born and was healed by her mother. Hence, she was named Rudha by her father, shortly before her parents separated. She was on a boat with her mother in search of herbs across islands and was struck by a storm and they ended up here. Since the woman carried a baby, the tribes did not kill them. As her mother started healing tribal men who were injured during hunting, they became a little more liberated. She learnt healing from her mother along with other 2 tribal girls. Her mother along with other girls run another apothecary at the other end of the island.

“Does Go Corona Go! mean anything to you?”, asked Michael.

“Oh! Did u encounter those beasts?? I have only heard, but mum knows more about them.  We meet once during the tribal worshipping ritual every full moon, under the huge sycamore tree at the center of the island near the blue waterfalls. That is two days from today”, spoke Rudha

“If you lads can disguise as tribal men, we can go”. Said Michael.

“Will she ever wake up?” asked a worried Nikhil.

Rudha burnt lavender and camphor and trapped it in a narrow mouthed brown bottle and allowed Stephi to inhale it.  Stephi started coughing intensely and made an effort to get up and Rudha supported her back as she tried to get up.

“Who are you?” asked Stephi in a frightened tone

“I am Rudha. I am a healer” replied Rudha in a calm and reassuring voice.

Stephi seemed to relax a bit and managed to say, “Guys, what did I miss??” And coughed intensely, pointing her index finger towards a flask of water.

 - To be continued -

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About the writer - Athira is a product of creativity and passion. Blessed by Professor Dumbledore himself, she is an artist, writer and an dreamer who aspire to become phytologist. Check out her blog - Temperance - to know more about her.

Endless Tales of Corona - 8 Endless Tales of Corona - 8 Reviewed by Gowthama Rajavelu on 15:04 Rating: 5

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