‘Now what?’ I said. I tried moving my head to see if I had gained my movement back. My head moved away from Elise but I couldn’t pull it back.
‘I need to contact the remaining Livings in this world and inform them about Orak’s plan. We need to act on it as soon as possible. I’ll contact them now.’ I heard Elise talking from behind.
‘This is an emergency broadcast. Whoever is listening, please respon-’ She stopped in the middle. I tried to see what happened but my muscles were refusing to respond.
‘You’ll do no such thing.’ I heard Eric, followed by a loud thud. ‘I am sorry, Elise. Forgive me. I am doing this for my family. If I don’t do this, Orak will kill them. I must do what he tells. I hope you forgive me.’ I heard Eric’s voice breaking over.
‘Noooo…!’ I screamed. I gathered all my strength and moved my body to the other side. I saw Elise drenched in her own blood and Eric sitting next to her with his sword.
‘You monster…! What have you done…’ I tried standing up but I stumbled.
‘I’ll end your misery too while you have no sense of pain. I can at least give you a painful death.’ He grabbed a dagger from his armour and came close to me. Death was upon me and I had never felt so helpless in my entire life. He sat next to me and tried piercing my belly. I gathered all my strength and pushed myself apart.
‘You are not making things easier for me, are you? I know you will never forgive me. But I took an oath to protect my family no matter what.’ I was fluttering my hands to grab anything I could and I succeeded. I found the knife that Elise had given me. I felt a blast of energy inside me as I swung myself and pierced his skull. His body moved for a moment and felt silent. It was only after a few seconds I sensed warmth around my back. I rolled my hands around my back and found Eric’s dagger stuck near my spine. My hands came back soaked in blood. I knew I had little to no time left. I dragged myself near the book Eric used during the ceremony. Luckily, it had a few blank pages. So, here I am, writing down everything with my own blood, in hope of any of the Livings may come across this cave. If you are a Living, I urge you to gather your strength and fight against Orak. I can feel the pain now. I guess not every prophecy comes true. Or maybe I wasn’t a prophet but a mere Living waking up in the wrong world. It is time for me to bid farewell.
Iranian general killed in a drone strike by USA, Is this the beginning of a WW3?
W.H.O. declares COVID – 19 a global pandemic. Over 4,00,000 people dead.
I can’t breathe: An American Policeman kills George Floyd, igniting the sparks of violent protests across the world.
‘Wake up.’ The same words were repeating inside my mind. I opened my eyes and found myself in the same cave, lying on the ground with Elise sitting next to me. This time, she wasn’t wearing her armour. I tried to move and have a look at her but I couldn’t feel my body.
‘Rest. Your movement and senses will come back to you in a while. Do you remember what you saw? Can you speak?’ She asked.
‘Yeah. It is kind of weird though.’ I replied. I took a deep breath and tried moving my fingers but found no luck. ‘Eric, he is up.’
‘Tell us everything you saw. Do not leave anything.’ Eric rushed towards me and sat adjacent to Elise. Unlike Elise, he was still wearing his armour with his helmet nowhere to be seen. I started speaking, from waking up in the queue to losing control and fumbling over, I described everything. They listened carefully and did not interrupt even once.
‘Seems like you were correct Elise. Orak needs fear to grow. He wants to eliminate each emotion and wants to build a world where only fear dominates.’ Eric spoke.
‘Yes. So, he’ll probably just send his minions as humans in disguise and create fear. Imagine the amount of power he’d gain over a global pandemic…! Poor Livings on Earth. They won’t even know what hit them. They’ll think it was their own doing.’ Elise responds.
‘Can anyone explain what is happening?’ I was as clueless as one could be.
‘You just saw a distant future, if Orak becomes the conqueror of the all three worlds. That powder you inhaled had characteristics to enhance your powers. Only the prophet could connect with Orak and see his intentions. That proves that you REALLY are the prophet. Now we know what his plans are for the World of Living.’ Elise breaks the information down for me.
‘Wait. So, you had a doubt that I wasn’t a prophet and still you made me sniff that stuff? What if I wasn’t the prophet? Then what would have happened?’ I almost yelled.
‘You wouldn’t have woken up.’ Eric spoke. ‘You simply would have stayed in that vision forever.’
‘Are you nuts? Do you mean I would have died in there?’ Now I was yelling.
‘I had faith in you.’ Elise said. She had the same calm in her voice as the first time she spoke. And it was enough to sooth my mind.
‘Move ahead bruh…’ I heard a voice from behind. My legs moved automatically and stopped when the gap between me and the person in front of me vanished. I realised that I was standing in a queue. A strange fear was residing inside me, but I couldn’t figure out from who or what I was afraid of. What is this place, I asked myself. It seemed like I was standing in a street. I looked around and saw the skyscrapers around me. I peeped out of queue to see where it was leading but I couldn’t see a visible end on either side of the line.
A chiming sound drew my attention. It was coming out of my wrist watch, or at least I thought it was a wrist watch at first. It was a rather strange looking to be a wrist watch. It had a little square shaped screen which was blinking to gain my attention. I moved my wrist and it read ‘Emergency: Multiple emotions at dangerous limit, visit your nearest EMoti-vator to reset the levels’.
‘Lemme see it.’ I heard a voice. It was the guy behind me. Before I could reply, he grabbed my arm and started operating the device. ‘Dayum…! You need serious treatment bruh. When was the last time you visited the machine? Don’t let these emotions get to you. You know… not good for your health and shit...!’ He somehow managed to turn off the chiming and continued, ‘Just you wait. We’ll fix you.’
Emotional imbalance. I had never been diagnosed with it. But must be the reason I am feeling the fear, I thought. The guy behind me was wearing ragged jeans and an oversized t-shirt. He didn’t have the friendliest face out there, but I wasn’t complaining. He was also wearing the same device on his arm; in fact everyone I landed my eyes on had the similar device strapped to their arms. The queue was moving rather slowly, which gave me time to think about how did I end up in this place. Last thing I remembered was smoking a powder in a rather dystopian world. No matter how much I tried, I could not recall anything after that. Hours passed by, and we kept moving ahead. Little by little. And finally, I could see the machine that guy was talking about.
It was rather a small machine, much smaller than my expectations. It just looked like another vending machine. ‘EMoti-vator’, it read on the top of the machine. And it was surrounded by multiple billboards.
‘Feeling all emotional today? Plug in your band here and we’ll fix you in no time at all.’
‘My wife left me today and I felt all lonely. Instead of calling her, I called ‘EMoti-vator’ and they sucked the feeling straight out of my body. Now I am back to being afraid. ‘EMoti-vator’, now fixing you at your home. Call 1800-fix-me-0000 for home service now.’
‘Need a job? Come work for us at Zoogle. ‘EMoti-vator’ built in to every floor of the office. Because, we care about your fear levels.’
Normally, I would feel surprised to witness such things but still the fear was dominating my emotions.
‘Umm.. Hei. Why is everyone talking about fear?’ I turned around and asked the new friend I had made.
‘Wait. Are you for real bruh? You livin’ under a rock or what… Shit. A’ight. Lemme tell you. A few years ago, those guys in white coats -who apparently have no sense in fashion- discovered that the emotions are our worst enemies. Even worse than that pandemic back in… what year was it… Ah, yeah. Twenty twenty. So, all emotions are bad except one. Fear. Fear is our homie. Helps us pumpin’ blood and whatnot. So, government made and installed a lotta these machines to help us get rid of those useless emotions and inject the fear. You feel me?’
For a moment I thought he was joking, but the more I looked around, the more his story made sense. I started feeling dizzy and lost control over my body.
‘Ei bruh, you a’ight?’ I heard him asking as I slowly sat down on the ground.
‘Wake up. Wake up…’ I heard Elise calling inside my mind before the darkness completely took over.
‘Eric, I found him. But we were ambushed. Orak knows that the prophet has arrived and is with us.’ Elise spoke as her voice echoed over the walls of the cave.
‘Doesn’t matter. I have prepared for the ceremony. We will be done by the time his goons catch us.’ His voice was heavy. He put his sword in the sheath and stood up. He was easily the tallest and most muscular of us all. The blaze in front of him shone a huge scar on his left cheek.
‘Hello I am- ‘
‘Inhale.’ Before I could finish my sentence, he took my palm and filled it with some sort of powder.
‘Wait, what is this? What ceremony are you talking about?’ I looked at the guy and looked back at the powder in my palm. It looked like a black salt. Eric grabbed a mystic book and started enchanting in foreign language.
‘We don’t have time. Please hurry.’ She urged.
‘Here goes nothing.’ I said and snorted the powder in. Immediately, it felt weird. My head became light and I lost my balance. I was about to fall but she held me and helped me sit down. I lost control over my body. My eyes became heavy and lost my conscience.
‘What are we supposed to do when we reach the mountains?’ I asked.
‘We are going to meet my accomplice, Eric. He’ll help us with the next step.’ She replied.
‘Okay. Also, can’t you create a portal which can take us straight to that mountain?’ I asked. My legs were giving up.
‘No.’ She replied.
‘Can’t you defeat that Dead with your magic?’ I asked. This time, she didn’t even care respond.
The mountain range was getting closer and closer. Tiny rocks in a row had become giant mountains in a series. Since we were walking on a plain field, it was simply a straight walk towards those mountains. But the mountains were much farther away than I had initially anticipated. Now I was able to see the volcano erupting and spitting the lava. But there were still a few more miles left between us and the mountains. I looked at the sky and noticed that there was no Sun or Moon present. And even without a single source of light the sky strangely offered the same intensity of light as before.
‘Elise.’ She said, after a couple of miles of walk.
‘Huh?’ She caught me off-guard. I wasn’t expecting a single syllable from her mouth.
‘You can call me Elise.’ She said. Was she blushing? Naah, it must be my imagination.
‘And I am Eren. Nice to meet you. Now, was it that hard to introduce ourselves? Nope.’ I replied and we went silent.
We kept walking nonstop till we reached beneath the volcano, on the point where the lava was flowing like a river. If it weren’t for those magical flipflops, I am pretty sure my feet would have been roasted by now. The ashes coming from the sky felt like snow and the temperature of the surrounding was incredibly hot. I was starting to miss my noisy air conditioner more and more.
She stopped as the path ahead of us ceased to exist. She pulled her palms near her mouth and made a sound. The next thing I saw was quite unbelievable. The lava gave us a way. The stream of lava got split in to two, making a clear way for us. She led the way and we started climbing the mountain. I had spent all my energy in walking, so just after a few steps I started finding it difficult to climb. I looked back and saw the very little progress I had made. But it was still the farthest I had climbed without the help of a ladder or a lift. After a few more steps, it became impossible for me to climb. I looked up out of curiosity and found her climbing with ease, even with all that alloy on her body.
‘A little help, please?’ I didn’t know how she would help but I asked anyway. She came back and before I could say anything, I felt a strong wind beneath me. In fact, it was so strong that it flew me up and dropped me on a considerably flat surface. Of course, I almost wet my pyjamas in the process but it was the only way for me to climb that high. After a few seconds, she arrived too.
‘Next time we start climbing a mountain, let’s start with that little push…!’ I exclaimed in joy. We were now standing at a very high altitude. Lava was flowing down the mountain from both of the side. Behind me was a fall of a several hundred feet and ahead of me lied a cave entrance. I turned around and the view took my breath away. Crimson and grey were becoming one at a horizon far away.
‘Get in.’ I heard an echo from behind. I turned and saw her standing inside the cave entrance. There was a flame burning at the tip of her pointer finger, enlightening the surroundings as she guided me in to the depths of the mountain. The walls of the cave were carved with a language unknown to me. Her armour was faintly shining by the light. We kept walking till I saw the path merging to a broad cave, lit by another source of light. A person was sitting by a blaze, sharpening his sword with a stone. Just like Elise, he too was covered in an armour. His helmet and sheath were lying beside him.
Just like my room becoming one with the surroundings, I watched a source of light emerging out of nothing. It started shining so bright that I was barely able to open my eyes. I jumped near her as she started swinging her sword. Out of that light, those creatures rose. I took a brief look at them and they looked hideous at best. They had a face, two arms and legs but that’s where the similarities with humans ended. Their eyes were dripping with murderous intent. Their drooling mouth had teeth peeking out, as if they were eager to rip apart the flesh from our bones. They did not carry any physical weapon, but their claws were more than enough to take us down or; at least that’s what I believed. She on the other hand, was slaughtering them. Her sword was going through their flesh like a hot knife going through a piece of butter. She was extremely skilled and those creatures did not have a chance against her. She was doing the job for both of us. I hid in her shadow trying not to get myself killed while she sliced anything and everything that moved. But their numbers kept increasing exponentially and soon we were heavily outnumbered.
‘We can’t win this…’ I complained. But she kept her sword swinging as if my words didn’t reach her ears.
‘Hey…! I am talking to you…’ I tried again. This time, she responded; by putting her sword down.
‘WOMAN, ARE YOU MAD?’ I yelled as high as I could. And to my very much surprise, she grabbed a handful of spherical objects out of nowhere and tossed them, followed by a huge explosion. I blinked and the army of those unearthly creatures was now a pile of flash and bones soaked in blood. It worked. Every one of them was killed in the explosion, including that bright source of light.
‘Next time, start with those…!’ I said. I could hear her panting. Most of her armour was now covered in blood. She removed her helmet and threw it on the ground. And my eyes got fixated over probably the prettiest thing I’d ever seen in my entire life; her face. Blonde hair, hanging till her neck. A black pin was holding a few of them on the side. Her face was white, while her eyes and nose were covered in blood. She had a flower tucked behind one of her ears, reminding me of home. But it didn’t matter. All that mattered was her being human. Probably the only human apart from me in this entire world.
‘Can’t. I have used almost every bit of my power in creating the portal that brought us here.’ Her breathing was slowed down. She took a deep breath and turned towards me.
‘Here.’ I offered her my handkerchief. She took it without a hesitation and wiped her face with it.
‘Umm… I am fine. Please keep it.’ There was no way I could have taken that blood-soaked piece of cloth back.
‘We need to move. He knows we are here.’ She said.
‘Yeah, about that. I am not moving until you give me answers.’ I sat down on the ground.
‘There’s no time. He knows our exact location. That’s why we need to keep moving.’ She picked up her sword and sheathed it.
‘Ok. Tell me just one thing. Is this a dream? If I stab myself to death, will I finally be able to wake up in reality?’ I had a knife in my hands. I was just a ‘yes’ away from spilling away my guts.
‘No, it is not. This is as real as it gets. Start walking. We’ll talk.’ She said while wiping her helmet with my handkerchief. Her voice did not have a command but request. Her face contained an expression of concern. That was enough to convince me. I stood up, dusting off my butt. And with a mutual node, our journey began.
‘So, where are we going?’ I asked.
‘There…!’ She pointed towards the mountain range. ‘Do you see that smoky mountain? It is a volcano. That’s our destination.’
‘Ummm… I know you are badass and all… But I don’t think your sword can fight a volcano.’ She didn’t reply and little did I know, it would become a trend.
I never in my entire life had walked more than the distance between my couch and the refrigerator. So, hiking to an active volcano was obviously a bit out of my comfort zone.
‘So, who are you?’ I broke the silence. Even though it was a long road ahead of us, I was worried that I might not be able to ask all of my questions.
‘Your only way of survival.’ She replied. It was pretty certain at that point that she was not exactly a talkative person. ‘Oh boy, it is going to be a long journey.’ I sighed.
‘There is the World of Living, what you call Earth and there’s a World of Dead. The Dead cannot cross to the World of Living and the Living things cannot go to the World of Dead without dying. In between those two worlds, there’s another world. The World of Undead. It is the world on which we are walking right now. This world is accessible by both living and dead. Just one thing to keep in mind; only powerful beings can travel across the World of Undead.’ She finally started speaking. It all sounded like a plot straight out of a novel; a pinch of crazy with the base of unbelievability.
‘That explains you being here. But what about me?’ I asked. She ignored my question and kept on speaking.
‘In this World of Undead, the Living and the Dead have been living in harmony from past few centuries. There have been small incidents, of course. We were able to keep it peaceful until a few months ago when the Dead named Orak arrived in the World of Undead. We have never seen such powerful Dead before. He has taken over the World of the Dead and right now he is on the verge of taking over the World of the Undead. His ultimate goal is to take over the World of the Living and conquer all three worlds. The Livings have almost been wiped out from this world and the remaining will soon be wiped out too. Orak is already powerful enough to summon the Dead from his world as he wishes. You just saw a glimpse of Orak’s army. They were mere pawns. He is currently seeking a way to send his army to the World of Living. If he succeeds in that, then there will be nothing that will be able to stop him.’ She took a pause.
‘If he is THAT powerful, then how are you going to stop him?’ I was getting curios.
‘I am not. There’s been a prophecy, which says that there’ll be a living who will drop from the deep skies and arrive in the Land of Undead. He shall slay the Dead and restore the balance in the system. We believe that it is you.’
‘Wait what? Have you even looked at me? Just LOOK.’ I yelled. I stopped and looked down at myself. A guy in pyjama with out of the shape body and sarcasm on top. She must have been mistaken.
‘There’s no doubt about it. You are more powerful than you give yourself credit to. Destiny has brought you here.’ She said.
‘Look miss… ummm… whatever your name is… I think there’s been a great misunderstanding. I am just a guy who woke up at the wrong place. Is there any train station nearby? I would like to catch the next train to my world.’ Now the horror was taking over my mind, beating down the confusion. She went silent and kept walking. I did not have any choice other than to follow her.
Been a while (39 weeks, to be precise), hello..! Hope you are doing fine in these tough times. A long read ahead. Enjoy..!
My eyes swung open and I jumped out of the bed as if I had missed the alarm and was late for work. But my sight was greeted by darkness and a realization that it was still night time and I fell victim to a nightmare. The table clock chimed and showed me 3:00 in the morning. I briefly sat down on my bed to recall that wicked dream. All I could recall was me falling down… Or was I? Concluding that my mind won’t be able to remember anything more that, I stood up. It surely was a dream, but the fear was real, as I sensed my hands and toes still shaking; trying to drag me out of a trauma that I could not remember.
‘Tap...!’ a drop of sweat raced down my face and hit the wooden floor beneath my legs and my ears picked the very first and only sound from the surrounding. My air conditioner would always fill the void of silence with its blowing noise but that night was unusually calm. Even in the darkness, my muscle memory led my hands to find the drapes. I opened them and to my great surprise, everything got faintly enlightened by a shade of red. I found the remote on the nearby table. I pressed each and every button I could feel but nothing happened. I stood up and went near the switchboard, flipping every plasticky switch I could feel. But alas, nothing happened.
‘Must be the power cut…’ I mumbled as few more droplets of sweat departed my body and fell on the floor. After brief moment of running and crashing into things, my hands touched the room’s door knob.
‘Final…’ Before I could finish my word, the door detached itself from its place and slowly flew towards the sky. It happened too quickly for a sleepy man like me to react to it. I saw the door fly by, slowly, as if the laws of gravity were not applicable to it. I rubbed my eyes to check whether they were at fault or was my mind still clouded by sleep. Nevertheless, I stood there witnessing the door disappear into the sky. After its disappearance, I started noticing my surroundings. Behind me was my room and in front of me lied a world unknown; which in fact was nothing much other than the sky itself. A sky soaked in crimson. I took a deep breath and tried supressing the anxiety as my mind began suspecting the possibility of a door to another realm. I was standing on the edge of the doorframe, frozen like a statue and frightened to bones. The floor was ending right where I stood and what laid ahead of me was a never-ending sky. It felt like it was a behemoth of a sphere made out of ‘sky material’ and my room was placed in the middle of it. The clouds were floating at an unusually fast pace yet the air around me was hauntingly calm. The utter silence had started penetrating my credence in reality. My instinct decided to take a few steps back in instead of jumping into unknown. My ingenious plan was to get back under the bedsheet and to wake up into a more ‘familiar’ world. A world where the sky ended over the horizon with blue dominating throughout the day. A world where I thought I belonged.
But just as I turned back, my room shook. It felt like I wasn’t welcomed there anymore. The books fell from the shelf, ceiling fan started wobbling like it was possessed by a poltergeist. The silence I dreaded a few moments ago was long gone. Amidst the noise of things hitting the ground, my ears picked up a crackling sound. I looked in the direction of the sound and witnessed a huge crack was developed on the floor and now was progressing towards me. I took a few steps back towards the edge of the room.
‘This is another nightmare. All I need to do is wake…’ Before I could finish my thought, I saw the ceilin slowly turning into dust and becoming one with the surroundings. My mind had stopped asking ‘how is this possible’ and started asking ‘how do I survive?’. But the best plan I could come up with was slipping in a corner. Of course, it didn’t help. It was almost as if I was waiting for the death to come and grab me from my misery. But the fate had different plans for me. She did come to grab me, but she wasn’t death…!
The windows by the wall were closed with the curtains wide open. But it happened so fast that I couldn’t see her coming. With a shattering sound, she appeared. Her appearance was no less spectacular than a superhero arriving by the call of a needed. She broke into my room by the window and landed on one of her knees. The shreds of glass were shattered all across the floor, out which a few were shining bright. It briefly reminded of a starry sky. A silhouette covered in an armour rose from the glassy mess. The breastplates of her armour shone and reflected the crimson hue coming from outside. It was that time when I came to know that my knight in shining armour was a ‘she’. But it didn’t matter. All that mattered was, I wasn’t alone in that world.
Before I could utter a word from my mouth, she grabbed the collar of my t-shirt and started running across the room, with me dragging behind like a dead weight. Just a couple of seconds later I found myself falling down into the endless sky. The wind was gushing against my body, taking away my screams. I saw my room floating, disintegrating itself before vanishing completely off of existence. I stopped fluttering my hands and turned around mid-air. I saw her alongside, falling in to the abyss. But unlike me, she was completely calm and silent. Unlike me, she was in control of her fall. She changed her posture and crossed her legs, taking the Padmasana position mid-air.
‘Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me...!’ I yelled at her. But she didn’t respond. Instead, I saw a glowing circle appearing beneath us, sucking us right inside. I closed my eyes as my mind had no idea what to expect. The wind gushing against my body stopped and I opened my eyes. We were no longer falling down and my feet were standing on a solid ground. The sky was still crimson but the clouds had stopped moving. The land beneath me was grey and there was no sign of life around us. A mountain range was visible far at the horizon with one mountain significantly higher than the others. I could see smoke coming out of it also. And yes, a horizon was there this time, drawing a line between the crimson sky and grey land. I turned around and focused my attention towards her. I finally had a moment to have a good look at her.
She was taller than the average people, covered by an armour from head to toe. The armour was coloured with a shade of black mixed with the crimson bouncing off of its slippery surface. I looked for an emblem or symbol on her armour but I found none. Her face was hidden beneath the helmet, with only her eyes and nose peeking out. I assumed a toned body underneath those plates of armour because there was no way a skinny person could hold that weight on the body and move effortlessly. There was a sword hanging on her back; sheathed and dripping, which I assume was blood. And it meant she was involved in a battle not so long ago.
Each of those details were telling me that something bad was about to happen and she’s prepared for it. Me on the other hand, was wearing a t-shirt and pyjamas; accompanied by my bare-naked feet. Before I could decide what to ask out of the plethora of questions storming inside me, she drew the sword from her back.
‘Get ready. They are coming.’ She said while swinging her sword. The blood from the sword splattered on the ground. Her voice had a high pitch, but I assumed it was getting muffled due to her helmet. She sought out a knife from her boots and threw it towards me. I couldn’t catch it, of course. I picked it up from the ground. It featured a handle crafted with minute little details and the sharpest blade I’d ever seen. Her brief instructions and the knife triggered another series of questions in my mind. At this point, my mind just gave up and went to the self-defence mode: The sarcastic state.
‘Oh yes. I am ready. Super ultra-sharpened knife? Check. Possibility of hurting myself with the knife? 65%. Armour level? 89%. No, wait. Make it 80%, the pyjama’s pocket has a hole. Looks like I am ready. Oh wait, my feet. I guess a pair of flipflops would work!’ I stopped speaking as the helmet turned towards me slowly. It seemed like she wasn’t expecting a sudden change in my behaviour.
‘Look, I have no idea how did I end up here. No clue about you. What kind of place is this? Who’s coming? Why the fuck is that sky red? Where is everyone? Please feel free to answer any of those questions…!’ I tried explaining my earlier burst but she didn’t seem to be bothered at all.
‘There’s no time to explain. Stay close to me and stab them if they get too close. I’ll do the rest. Just remember not to die.’ She said. She blew air from her mouth and next thing I noticed was a thick material beneath my feat. They weren’t exactly flipflops but now I didn’t have to worry about the every little gravel on the ground.
‘Thanks for that…! And sure, why not? Do not die. Seems simple enough. Dying? Never heard of that. A death can’t scare me, nope. Not at all.’ I was getting frustrated. But soon enough, it changed to fear. Because just after a few moments, I found us surrounded by an army of unearthly creatures.
It rained heavily last night. Like her Gods were crying; mourning for the ones they were taking away from this world. And the rain didn’t stop until morning, drowning the city in the almighty’s sorrow. Daylight revealed the sunken city, trying to get back up like an already defeated fighter. After standing almost three hours in a queue for her medicines, my legs were giving up. My eyes and mind were still adjusting after all the bald people gathered in one place. With a plastic bag full of ORS and pills, I turned in the lobby where her room was. I stood by a small blackboard at the front of the lobby. It was displaying the patients’ name and their room number. It was all written with chalk, so you could tell who has been newly admitted by looking at the brightness of the name. Brighter the name, newer the patient. But there was one name which was faintly holding on to that black surface. One person, whose stay had outlived the life of her name on that board.
A sigh came out of my mouth as I walked towards her room. My legs followed the path unconsciously but my mind wandered off. I tried remembering the last time we went on a dinner date, but before I could count years, my legs stopped. I was standing in front of the room number 26. Our home.
“What are you staring at? Tell me, what “her majesty” is seeing?” I asked her as the door behind me shut close. She was sitting in her bed, staring outside of the window. She was glued to the view as it wasn’t a window but a theatre’s screen.
“Clouds? The rain? Duh, the petrichor? No, you can’t see a smell. The dark, misty and sad weather?” I continued babbling and those silly words succeeded in grabbing her attention. She turned her head towards me in response. I was suspiciously getting good at hiding my emotions lately. But she always looked through my act. Call her a magician or a witch, but she always looked through. I put the bag on the table, grabbed the chair and sat next to her bed.
“Naah. There are multiple things. First, the colors. The first rain of season washes away the ashes of summer and the world turns brighter. Like, the God opens up the Photoshop and turns the saturation up a little bit. Damp footpaths. Not waterlogged, of course not, but wet enough to reflect the surroundings in them. Wet enough to bring the sky beneath your feet. I believe, it is the closest you can ever get to walking on the sky.” She said. Her voice still had a ring to it. A positive vibe. And her face, as expressive as always. If you looked at her, you couldn’t tell if there is wrong with her at all. She would look like a perfectly healthy person as long as there was a scarf on her head.
A silence followed her words. I imagined the dusty trees getting washed up by a shower and Ivy jumping in the puddles like a small child. My mind repeated her words for a few times in my head but one word echoed the most. God.
“It’s funny that you mention it. After all the happenings, do you still believe that he exists?” I broke the silence.
“Yeah, I do. I still have faith. Everything is happening for a good reason and each happening is taking us towards a better tomorrow.” She turned her head to watch outside the window again.
“Is it the sedatives that are doing all the talking or is it really you?” I almost shouted.
“What’s the difference? If I cut my wrist right now, I don’t believe there will be any blood. Instead, a fluid of mysterious color would rush to the surface. A mixture made up of all the pills and injections I am consuming lately. Ah, I wouldn’t even need to make a cut. Look at my punctured veins...” she held her right hand against her face gave it a thorough look and continued. ”…the chemicals are desperately trying to blitz out.”
“That’s exactly my point. This-“ I pointed at a tube carrying the medicine from a bottle and merging with her body. “-is certainly not a God’s doing. And if it is, then he is certainly not my God. Assuming that he exists.”
“Tell me then, what do you believe? This world is a mere coincidence in this universe? The stardust decided to just get together and make this planet thrive with LIFE without any Godly interference?” She took a pillow in her lap and rested her hands on it, looking at me curiously, as if I was about to pull a bunny out of a magical hat.
“Life? Where? I don’t see any. All I see is a horde of zombies living the same old life every day. Life? Look at us, and look into my eyes; tell me we have a life. Which part of this pathetic life did we choose by ourselves? Hell, we can’t even control the heartbeat of our own hearts; probably one of the most if not the most essential organ in the body. Doesn’t that tell you anything? We are NOT in control. Do you want to know what do I believe in? I do believe that there exists a higher living being, who is most probably controlling our world; including our actions. Maybe they are immortals or maybe they aren’t. Maybe they created us or maybe we are a byproduct of something bigger than ourselves. We don’t know for sure, but I know this for certain – our life is just a cruel joke to them. Maybe we are in a TV show. What is it called? Oh yes, the reality show. Maybe we are the star of some reality show and they are filming our lives right now. For all I know, your sickness could just be a way to draw some TRP…” I stopped immediately as I realized that my mouth threw a lot of words at her.
“Wow. That’s a lot coming out of your mouth. A rare occasion.” She made a fake surprised face in a desperate attempt to cheer me up. I would have hugged her for that, and kissed her if it wasn’t for those tubes connected to her body. FUCK, I yelled in my mind.
“Now, now. No cursing. You know the rules.” She caught me off-guard.
“Are you catching my brain waves and reading my mind? You should get your super powers checked.” My sarcasm kicked in as my primary line of defense. Yeah, as you can see, my primary line of defense is weak.
“I can read mind. Mind, as in singular. Just one. Only one I care about. All those CT scans are paying off, I guess.” I was amazed that even in a time like this she was able to smile.
“You know what do I see in those damp footpaths?” I tried to change the topic. “An alternate dimension. For a few brief moments, a glimpse of that alternate dimension appears in front of us – rather beneath us. But, yeah. We are always too busy living our so called “lives” that we don’t even take a good look at that. Imagine a universe existing just beneath our feet, identical in every aspects except one. Only difference is that they are the ones in control. And we… We are their mere reflections. I strongly believe, one day the reflection beneath my feet will not follow my actions. Or rather, I won’t follow his actions. One day, this feeling of not having ‘control’ will vanish.” I took the chance, but it seemed like it didn’t work. She was looking through the window again, followed by a silence. I kept looking at her. Or whatever remained of her. I closed my eyes for a while and with time, I drifted off.
The dragging of the table woke me up. I opened my eyes just to find her standing up. She had uncovered her wound suction drain unit. It was a small plastic cylinder, gathering the liquid her body was rejecting. It was attached to her body via a transparent pipe – which was then full of orange liquid. I believed that she wanted to walk a little in the room.
“I have become the genie. Your personal wish granting factory. Tell me, what you want. Your wish is my command.” She said, placing the cylinder in both of her hands with a quirky smile on her face. A face she used to make every time she had mischief in her mind. It was remarkable, that even after so many hardships she never failed to miss any opportunity to pull my leg. And she was correct; the device actually looked like a lamp of genie and she looked like the genie herself, minus her appearance. It almost made me chuckle. But my mind quickly buried itself deep underneath the grave of sadness. A mere thought of genie started a chain reaction in my brain and my jar of wishes swung open. The wishes were crumpling inside like a domino effect. My every little wish was wanting to get released in to the atmosphere in hopes of getting fulfilled.
“I have always wished if we could have met earlier.” I spoke after what it felt like a pause of eternity.
“And, I am just happy that we came to know each other. That’s the thing. You always keep complaining about that one unfulfilled wish rotting in the corner of your life, forgetting about all the fulfilled ones you hold in your hands.”
“I have always wished if we could have lived a happy life. A life without these superabundant hospital bills. A life where I take you to Vienna for honeymoon, just as I promised. A life where we have two children. A rebellious boy and a shy girl. And we debate on which school is best for them. We go camping for the weekend without checking the weather forecast and come back fully soaked. We…“ I stopped as a tear rolled over her sunken cheeks. I was hurting her. As I always have. Maybe the wishes I was suppressing within me were too wild to be granted, even by a genie.
“The genie is accepting only one wish.” She said.
I knew what I wanted the most. It was a wish which made its home at the edge of my mind and on the tip of my tongue.
A ray of hope, I remember seeing it for the first time. I was a little kid back then; contaminated by the will to win the world. I used to envision a little trail, leading to a globe emitting light. In the beginning of my journey, I really felt like a protagonist straight out of a bestseller. I was marching ahead on an adventure with a victorious music playing in the background, of course I was happy. Life was so smooth back then. I used to destroy the demons in a single swing of my sword. But that didn't last long. It was about time for life to introduce the antagonist. Time. An entity so powerful, its strength is still unmeasurable by me. Time practically did nothing other than witnessing me. It was there all the time, in present. It never ran out of power. The clocks ticked. And I started growing up.
As I grew up, something strange started to happen. That ray of hope began to fade away. Even the mightiest stars flicker, I thought and continued my adventure. But that tick of time continued as well. As a result, here I stand. I stand on the verge of nothingness, finding the meaning of my life. I still swing my sword at the demons, even though it is rusted and cracked. The ray of hope? It has disappeared, bending its knee to the shadow of defeat. That trail? It has collapsed by the fear of unknown.
I don't remember the last time I celebrated. I don't remember the last time I felt joy. I can't recall a night without a worrying thought. Every success feels hollow. Emotions are shallow. And happiness waves goodbye; without even greeting a hello.
I follow people, not feeds. I follow purity, not greed.
To, all those who are flooding mirakee with their cheap tactics, to all those who are blind for followers and not for words, to all those who have made older writers leave this platform forever. You know who you are. We see you.
From, older people of mirakee, who miss the purity that you've wiped.
Let's just be bold about it. We all know it, but no one really says it. I'll take my chances, I'm fed up of it. Some things seem too much in this, but all of it is true. I speak only because I've witnessed these.
A girl reposted my post and asked me to be friends with her. Right after that, she started tagging me in all her posts among the hundred other people in her comments. Moreover, mirakee came up with a tagging limit and these people have found a way out for that too. Hundreds and hundreds of people are flooded in the comment section. Tag two hundred people and no one would mind, if only you even read their works and are genuinely connected to them. Some boys only work on their connection with girls and vice versa is also true. These lengths for followers!? Other incidents are related to others and hence I won't be gossiping on them.
People for whom I've written this, know very well who they are. No problem with tags, but have you even read my work, or of the writers that you tag?
It's been a while now. A long while. Away from the streets of happiness, away from those uneven yet peaceful roads, away from the canopy of trees lining its both sides casting a shadow of protection and security, and the clouds floating above like long lost dreams.
Too idealistic? Maybe. But I know that place. I've been to those streets and I miss that.
It's been a long journey away. And I'm tired. Tired of running. Running from whom or towards whom, no one knows. Maybe I've been trying to run from myself. And I seek those walkways again where running was just a physical activity.
Just the thought of being able to see those lanes and feel the aroma of the air that breathes peace around awakens the sleeping pores in my body. A time, a place that was simple yet satisfying, hidden beneath the dusty layers of my memories.
It's a place where there are both angels and demons, playing their own parts to teach the everlasting victory of good over evil. I need to believe in that once more.
Yes, I want to go home. These streets will lead me there. A home that's not necessarily made up of four walls and a roof but a home that feels like shelter and is peaceful and quiet. A home that's willing to accept the bruised me and caress my scars with love.
‘Let your words be few and impact be on many’ Express yourself in only 25 words in the microtale competition being hosted on Mirakee in association with KJSCE, get a chance to be featured and win exciting prizes.
Rules: The theme for the competition is “Time”. The incorporation of the theme in the entry must be clear. Word Limit: 25 words.
Each participant is allowed to give one entry. The entries must be written in english. No form of plagiarism will be tolerated. The entry must be an unpublished work. Usage of the Symphony 2018 template is a must.
Well well @jay__j ...we finally cracked it. It took us almost 3 weeks to get this collaboration straight. We planned it way differently and this is what it came out to be. And that too, from our random conversation. I am impressed by our work( atleast I am)