Ravana could taste the fear. His heart pounded as Niku and Rajesh each grabbed one of his arms. They dragged Ravana kicking and screaming towards the water trough.
“So, demon boy? Can you do it?” Niku snarled, as Rajesh pushed Ravana to his knees on the ground and held him there. Niku grabbed the back of Ravana’s hair and pulled his head back. “Can you breathe under water?”
Rajesh chuckled. It was all in good fun. He would pull the younger boy up after a few minutes. No one would really get hurt. “He’ll learn fast if he can’t.”
Ravana took one last gulp of air before Niku pushed his head into the trough. The cold water hit him like a wall. He kept his mouth tightly sealed while struggling against Niku’s grip. Was Niku really going to kill him? Panic set in until an image of Master Mahish entered his thoughts. The Master always told him not to waste critical energy on fear. After what seemed like an eternity, Ravana closed his eyes and exhaled the breathe that he had been clinging to like a lifeline. When he stopped struggling, his body went limp.
Ravana could hear the panic in Rajesh’s voice. “He isn’t moving, Niku. Pull him up.”
As Niku lifted Ravana’s head out of the water, a surge of energy propelled Ravana to snap his head backwards. He hit Niku squarely in the face. There was a loud crunch.
“Aaaarrrrgggghhh,” Niku screamed, releasing his grip from Ravana to reach for his nose. Blood dripped through his fingers, down his face. Without thinking, Ravana dropped to the ground. He stuck his leg out and swept it around, knocking Niku down. Ravana quickly scrambled on top of Niku’s chest. He grabbed Niku’s head by the hair and slammed it into the ground until Niku’s eyes rolled backwards.
Rajesh stared in shock, as Ravana wiped dripping water from his eyes with the dry edge of his sleeve and ran over to Sukha, who was still lying motionless on the ground.
“Don’t just stand there,” Ravana yelled at Rajesh, as he placed his fingers on Sukha’s temples. “Check on Niku.”
Ravana’s voice snapped Rajesh into action. He moved quickly and knelt on the ground beside Niku, but then looked helplessly at Ravana. “What do I do?”
The answer came to Ravana without any thought. “Clear the blood from his face. Make sure that he’s still breathing.”
Rajesh nodded and used his sleeve to wipe the blood from Niku’s face. Ravana closed his eyes and slowed his breathing. Sukha still hadn’t regained consciousness. Ravana focused his energy on finding the injury. When he found the ruptured vessel, warmth seeped from his finger tips. Ravana could feel himself losing strength, but he maintained his physical contact with Sukha. When Sukha coughed, Ravana dropped his hands, exhausted. He collapsed on the ground, breathing heavily.
“What happened?” Sukha mumbled, as he tried to sit up. He rubbed his temples and twisted his head.