Dead fish floated up in Estha. One of the policemen prodded Velutha with his foot. There was no response. Inspector Thomas Mathew squatted on his haunches and raked his jeep key across the sole of Velutha’s foot. Swollen eyes opened. Wandered. Then focused through a film of blood on a beloved child. Estha imagined that something in him smiled. Not his mouth, but some other unhurt part of him. His elbow perhaps. Or shoulder.

The inspector asked his question. Estha’s mouth said Yes.

Childhood tiptoed out.

Silence slid in like a bolt.

The God of Small Things.

The sound of childhood tiptoeing out has never been louder.