The Life That Never Was Part Seven

The building appeared deserted. It was small, but appeared strong and well maintained. A young man came outside as he dismounted and knocked at the gate. Vasusena noticed the young man was a cripple and walked with a limp. He also had a squint. But his smile was pleasant as he opened the gate and led his horse to the stables.

The stable was dry and was built to protect the horses from the elements. There were a few more horses there indicating that he was not the only traveller to seek shelter there.

Vasusena wondered if he would need to sleep in the stables too. This guest house had been built by Suyodhana at his insistence. But it had only very few rooms. And it did not look as if any had been added.

But it was well maintained. He wondered if this young man was the only one working here. He directed a query at the youth and received a shake of the head.

“There were four in all,” he said. “But now they all went to help with the war. I am alone now.”

Which was only to be expected, thought Vasusena.

He asked if any rooms were available.

“If you don’t mind sharing a room, I might be able to accommodate you,” he said hesitantly.

Vasusena smiled. “I would not mind sharing a room. But wouldn’t your other guests mind?”

The youth shook his head. “No, Lord. The men already said if someone comes in, they would share.”

“It might not come to that,” said Vasusena. “If the rain stops before evening, I will be on my way.”

The rain started then, a slow drizzle, but from the look of the sky, Vasusena felt it might become stronger in time.

“Where do you sleep?” He asked, turning to the young man.

“In the kitchen. It is quite warm in weather like this.”

“Are you the cook?”

The young man nodded. “Yes, lord. And there is enough food for all… I hope.”

Vasusena smiled but said nothing. He was not feeling hungry yet. The time he judged to be mid morning. He had not had breakfast and yet he felt no hunger.

He stepped into the hall which doubled as a sitting room and stopped short at seeing the persons inside.


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