The summer sun beat down upon his square shoulders. The brown of skin was almost the same shade as mud after a tiny passing shower. He heard laughter in the distance, a tingling kind. Many voices laughing at different things – as though someone had uttered a string of amusing words in no particular order and each one was free to pick the mirth-worthy word. The laughter distracted him too — his hands, which were till a moment ago smoothening the tangles in his copper hair, stopped short.
‘Sirens’ he thought. ‘I’m hallucinating’ – there can’t be any people here and definitely no children. With a loud cry that sounded rather like a bird’s ‘whoop’ he continued hacking his way through the underbush for the next minutes. This time it was a scratchy sound – a soft padding on leaves; but there were no leaves. The sound changed or maybe his mind changed it — it became more urgent, like a rabbit digging to get away from a fox. Togar turned around in surprise….