The hanging man’s restaurant

a short story 

Tetramethrin Deltamath had time on his hands and an interest in the sky, so he set across the world, chasing solar eclipses. Packed his bags, kissed his wife and was off, waving hands, promising to return in 2046, July 26, the date of the next hometown eclipse.

Now, waves splashing, beach dogs fighting, he is sitting, legs up, toes bare, beneath a coconut palm. It's one of them bulging down sky sort of dusks. Yellow sand from left to right. The Indian Ocean, repeating itself. 'But nothing dies/ he recalls — change is name and form; like a wave, quietly static, like a chameleon. An ant, red-topped, black-bottomed, meanders across his forearm. He raises two fingers to squash the hapless insect, which flees through rows of maize, trips on gnarled roots and tumbles headfirst through leaves, squishy and wet, panting and wheezing as the fingers' sinister footsteps approach.

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Himal Southasian