I pushed the beaded curtain aside and stepped through the front door. A little naked boy, perhaps six or seven frowned at me as I entered his home and ran through the darkened doorway behind him without saying a word. The floor was made up of interlocking straw mats which had been trampled down, flattened nearly to earth level. A small rectangular table sat in the middle of the room topped with a tentacle-y mass of rotting fruit known as the Buddha's hand.
The god had chosen to live in a hovel.
It was cramped and smelled like unwashed bodies had lived there for generations. It didn't help that air was hot, stale, and unmoving. A hoarse cough that degenerated into wet choking came from the room that the little boy had disappeared into.
A voice rich and welcoming, said, “Karuppu Nilal Maranam.” The name or title sounded like it was just on the other side of the doorway but I couldn't see anything in the density of the shadows there.
I invoked my own name to complete the ritual introduction. "Roberto Wills."
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