Excerpt from The Legend of Genghis Khan
But, now the Mongols had come to Malikpur.
Two of the Mongol soldiers had dismounted and clashed with the four guards at the palace gates, cutting them down. Their bodies sprawled before the gates, blood darkening the dirt. The Mongols waved short, broad swords, quite different from the curved, thin scimitars of the Sultan’s soldiers. On their backs were slung heavy bows curved at both ends and quivers full of arrows. Blood-curdling whoops and bellows along with terrified squeals and screeches carried back to Wasim from the other end of Malikpur. He could see thatches already aflame. People were being dragged out of the burning houses and chopped down. As he watched, a small boy of about six years came running down the track followed by a mounted Mongol. As the rider drew abreast of the child, he stooped and simply sliced off the boy’s head which tumbled to the ground. The torso took a few more steps before it collapsed. Wasim gripped his throat to choke back a scream.
Beyond the palace, all the houses built of stone or mud were on fire. Smoke rose in heavy, black clouds from the small town. Even the crops in the fields had been sparked off. Wasim’s view was obscured by curtains of smoke. But, whenever they parted, he could hardly believe the horrible scenes they revealed. It was like a nightmare; a near-naked, screeching woman hauled through the dust by her ankles clutched in the fists of a hefty, bearded giant. Even as Wasim looked in horror, a group of barbaric attackers pounced on her, literally tearing her apart like mad dogs in their ferocity to rape her; men, women, children turned into fiery torches spinning out of flaming houses; babies being snatched from the arms of
screaming mothers, being flung up in the air and caught on wickedly gleaming spear points, their little bodies skewered like lumps of roasted meat. A few soldiers were grabbing people by their hair, two or three at a time, and nonchalantly hacking their heads off, saving time by not killing one at a time, as if they were slaughtering chickens. Wasim stuffed his knuckles into his mouth, eyes wide with terror.
Sutapa Basu is the best-selling author of Padmavati, The Queen Tells Her Own Story (2017, pub Readomania), a historical fiction. She has authored a psychological thriller, Dangle (2016, pub Readomania) and her second historical fiction, The Legend of Genghis Khan will be released on 20th September this year. A poet, author, publishing consultant, she is the 2016 First Prize winner of the Times of India’s Write India Campaign for Amish Tripathi.
She has had a professional career of over thirty years teaching, publishing and training trainers. As Editorial Manager at Oxford University Press, Publishing Director at Encyclopedia Britannica, South Asia and an Army wife she has travelled widely in India and abroad. She has designed and supervised production of more than 400 books, digital and online educational products.
Her short stories have appeared in anthologies, Crossed & Knotted, Defiant Dreams, When They Spoke and Write India Stories. Her poems have appeared in Kaafiyana and The Dawn Beyond Waste. Her published articles, stories and poems can be read on TOI Blog, Café Dissensus, New York, Muse India, Readomania and other print and e-magazines. She has also authored several educational textbooks and a lot of children’s fiction. Find her works on her website www.storyfuntastika.com & www.readomania.com.