The werewolf hunter in the mansion over the hill - Part 1
Based on a true story with the identities of the real actors camouflaged for legal reasons
In the small town of Port Louis, Mauritius, there are very few people walking the streets after 5 PM. Everything is in a standstill, doors are closed and only the street lights offers some hope.
At 8.30 P.M. there are no cars on the road, no busses or passerby's but the occasional by-standers and some folks going to the Mosque nearby.
This is when the young Ali, accompanied by his friend Bhai Man, wearing their Muslim skull caps, met at the corner of la rue Touraine.
The Tabagie at the corner of the street was closed but the owner, the elderly Hassan in his 80's came out to greet his two companions.
They hail from the same village in India near the port city of Ratnagiri which is splashed by the Arabian Sea. The port city is part of the Ratnagiri District in the southwestern part of Maharashtra, India The district itself is a part of Konkan division of Maharashtra and the people from Konkan are called Koknie.
THE OLD WOMAN
Ali always walks in front, with Man and Hassan behind. His two colleagues were engaged in a conversation about the killing of a little boy on the hill top.
Ali was lost in his thoughts. He had a terrible argument at work with a colleague and the words exchanged between them was still ringing in his ears.
He did not like the argument he had at work and was thinking of the workload cut for him for the weekend.
"This means more arguments at work with this jerk," he said to himself.
He paced rapidly ahead of his friends and reached a street corner near the Jummah Mosque at la rue Royale.
There was a tea stall still open, he sat there waiting for his friends and ordered a hot tea.
The Muezzin was calling for the prayer and this is when he heard a distant howling. Thinking it was the howling of a dog, he asked himself why did dogs howl when the call for prayer is vibrating in the air.
Five minutes later, he saw an old woman dressed in black with her grey hair floating in the wind that was blowing suddenly.
She passed by the tea stall, looking at Ali with fierce eyes.
Ali's friend, Man asked Ali if he knew the woman.
"I don't know her. This is the first time I see this woman wandering around the Masjid at this time of the night," he replied.
Ali, Man and Hassan were regular at the mosque. They rarely missed the Esha prayers and would always sit for 10 minutes at the tea stall to sip a hot 'chai' before entering the Mosque.
Chai is tea in Hindi, the language spoken by the immigrants and coolies who landed in Mauritius during the French and British rule.
MANN THE COKNEY
Bhai Mann, born in 1920 in the small village surrounded by a lake near the Ratnagiri port is a seaman.
He lived in the port city only to go back to the village during long weekends. He had more days off when the boat was at bay. This was the opportunity to visit the family, keep the bonds going.
Mann started to work on a fishing boat with his uncle and roped Ali in to assist. Ali learned all his fishing skills from Mann's uncle, Ibrahim.
Thin and short, Mann was not cut for the hard work on the seas, pulling the net in or pulling a big catch on a line. But he wanted to learn some skills in order to use them on his next journey in life.
One weekend on his return to his village near Goregaon, he heard of the strange story of a man who turned into a wolf.
They called him the 'wolfman' or 'veyaravolph' in Hindi.
The incidents happened in Goa months ago and was told by a traveller who visited a family member in Goregaon.
Stories of a large man-like animal howling and running amock in a village near Goa went viral in Konkani.
They describe the scene of the aftermath of the attack investigated by British police officers. India was under British rule and it is the serious crime division that investigated mass killings.
Such killings were common in India with Muslims and Hindus fighting for land and authority in remote areas where the British forces were in limited numbers.
But the British had a special task force that would investigate the crimes scenes where mass killings occured to identify the culprits and arrest them.
In this case, they could not believe their eyes because the reports from the survivors speak of a single animal attacking, mauling and dragging people out of their huts.
The strangest part of the story tells of a manlike animal, with long arms and a doglike face howling before attacking the village.
It sped off with the carcass of a woman in its teeth biting into her belly, dissappearing in the dark forest, not to be seen again.
The imagery disturbed the villagers who had heard of gory murders but this was too much to fathom. It was right from some novels and similar stories of unknown animals attacking people in their villages.
The villagers were not sure whether it was a man who has transformed into a werewolf or an animal never seen before.
But the hamlets and remote villages in the region would organise armed vigilantes to protect the villagers. They knew this too would not be sufficient to fight back against a sleek, unknown and powerful animal.
But the organised vigilantes would be able to warn people of the presence of strange animals in the region.
Nevertheless, for Mann and Ali, they saved enough money to go to Bombay (now Mumbai) where they would take a ship to travel to Mauritius, the new found land where money can be found by turning the stones!
At least, this was the advertised trip by the shipping companies willing to load their bellies with migrants to work or to find fortunes in Mauritius.