Metro Chronicles: Short Novella Chapter 3

Chapter 3: The Revelation

“You are the chosen one to restore balance to the world.”

With Dmitri’s proposal still playing in the head, Mia observed the underground lab facility which Dmitri called “The base”. With clinical peculiarities, large space in the middle of the room was full of various stretchers adorned with attachments she could not make out. In one corner she could see bubbling liquid simmering in various flasks via small burners underneath; set atop set of tables. Lots of them were interconnected through glass tubes, transferring contents or vapors to others. One side of wall was covered with shelf full of filled jars and flasks and test tubes safely held together in holders. Opposite wall was accompanied by large stout desk with stakes of large volume books above it. Not singed and not burned books were so rare to find for reading in the Metro that such collection could act as treasure trove for person like Mia. She could also see litter of papers with various diagrams, sketches, formulas, maps, designs and traps gracing the floor here and there.

As she approached to the middle of the room, she met with peculiar stench of formaldehyde. She could also make out now that stretchers were not totally unoccupied. Some of them had remains of “something” smeared with red blood. One of them was occupied with large body of upper world grotesque creature cut open with all its entrails spilling out. Few of them had outlined of human body enclosed in white coveralls with patches of red dotting the incision points. Entire scene was photographic capture of some mad scientist laboratory.

While Mia was busy examining the volumes on the desk, Dmitri went over to the other corner, removing the worn-out carpet over there to reveal small opening in the floor like manhole but this one was covered with small pressure pads with number embossed from 0 to 9. He swiftly pressed some of them and Mia heard a “Click” from the manhole cover. Dmitri removed the cover, reached deep inside the hole and fished out something covered in dirty cloth padding. He put the same into hands of Mia.

“What is this?” asked Mia.

“Humankind’s salvation.” Replied Dmitri.

Mia unwrapped the handover and found a small radio transmitter.

Reading the doubts on Mia’s face Dmitri started, “Before I explain what this is, I have to explain you why it is here.”

“Once I used to be the part of group which was known as “New World Order”. I know it’s clichéd but the aim of all the members of the group was to establish new world in Metro after nuclear war. Everything was in chaos. Rampant looting, thievery, rape and murder was norm once people realized that Metro was going to be their new playground after destruction of upper world. Objective of the group was to establish balanced way of living as we did in the real world. We were aiming for kind of a “Renaissance” which will restore the humankind’s faith in knowledge and wisdom again. First thing to do was to reduce death rate. Lot many of us acted as doctors and medics, searching and researching traumas and disease and injuries to cure them and also make them available swift medication. We help people design and built safe holdouts, better protection gear and also improved fighting mechanisms against mutants. “The Collective Subconscious” was also outcome of such research. In fact, that rule was actually identified and proposed by me. Even though we succeeded in reducing the death rate significantly, we faced entirely opposite challenge afterwards.”

Dmitri sat on the stool nearby, rifling through one of the large book unconsciously like reading a story to Mia,” For us still renaissance was nowhere to be seen. In fact, people multiplied with much higher rate because of lower death rate and they are getting to their natural “breeding” behavior with utmost contempt and carelessness for women. This is what still going on. You know that, right? It’s like upper world history repeating itself with only difference is that this world is small, very small as compared to what we had before. You don’t have natural resources like jungles and all to destroy but definitely resources are scarce which will be running out at some point. Once Society used up all the resources, it will collapse unto itself like a dying hollowed out star. To complete our objectives “New world order” needed to act fast. To think up something drastic and at the same time effective. We were out of our wits until….”

“Do you believe in Fate, Mia?” Dmitri asked abruptly in between.

“NO. I don’t think there is something like fate as if it exits it shouldn’t allow a person to suffer in such hell.” Mia replied.

Dmitri smiled faintly and continued,” But my special recon and rescue team members were strongly believed that that was fateful day when we went for rescue of survivors of collapsed tunnel at one of the most secluded and frightful corner of the Metro. During the search, we found small tunnel opening like a secret door padlocked securely. It was small and wide enough for single person. Definitely tunnel was meant to escape into Metro during the time of war and someone had padlocked it after arriving at Metro to stop others. We were much interested what was there on the other side. We were always prepared for such reconnaissance missions, as you can see.” With that he pointed out in one corner where Mia could see top tier high radiation protection recon suit with armor plating along with high caliber SVDK.” What we found other side was way more than we asked for.”

To Be Continued…..

CHAPTER 2: The Proposal

Metro Chronicles: Short Novella – Chapter 2

CHAPTER 2: The Proposal 

“You are the chosen one to restore balance to the world.”

Blurted out Dmitri with grim face to back up the seriousness behind the proposal.

“But How!!!! This seems highly unlikely…..”Mia barely managed to reply.

“You don’t have to worry about particulars. I have thought it out everything. I already worked on my plan since last few years. Only thing I need from you is your cooperation to carry out the execution with perfection. “Interjected Dmitri without allowing Mia to raise any more concerns.

Mia realized during frequent ventures to various Metro stations that somehow Dmitri was attracted towards her; not the usual cruel interest like other men but keen interest in something else which Mia skilled to perfection by now. She was extremely good at avoiding attention which was rare considering Mia was young girl and also beautiful one by any standards considering the low-life of Metro women. Mia also got accustomed to Dmitri, observing him from the corner of her eyes whenever opportunities present themselves during their excursions with other group of people.

Dmitri was soft-spoken person who also not liked to converse with others; same as Mia. And hence they got together easily. Once she was creating catapult which can be armed with rotating wheel mechanism of the motor sledge and throw Molotov through feeder belt without need of two persons to man the back side observation post for mutant attacks while traveling through tunnels; Damitri had helped her out with exact dimensions to carve for maximum torque. He also made her learn formulas to carry out calculations. Mia was impressed and then it became norm to learn something each time they conversed. Damitri was considered by many as born genius. He was immensely knowledgeable and experienced, apparent through greying hair and taut chiseled face.

On the other hand, others considered Damitri a freak. Sometimes he could be seen spending months on single metro station, doing what could be described by him as “Research” and sometimes roaming around various metros. He could don the role of any particular as and when required; some day he would be mechanic, someday medic, someday biologist, someday statistician, someday advisor, someday researcher and many more and Mia knew that whatever role he was playing, he practiced excellence in everything. People also believed that he had pact with “The Dark” during so-called research expeditions where his entire party was diminished over black corner of the tunnel nearby surface except him. His brain “short-circuited” in result. But Mia knew that metro harshness has reduced the sharpness of human mind to concentrate on survival more than to spend grey matter to betterment of humankind or for just sake of knowledge like Dmitri.

Once spending time together on one of the trade stations for further journey, Dmitri asked Mia to join him on his research expedition, although not giving away what it could be. Mia was looking for such opportunity as she was also keen to explore the world she believed barely knew. She tagged along with Dmitri wherever he went, experiencing the Metro universe first-hand, before that she always had to rely on spoken words. For Mia, it was strange and incomprehensible. Even though she saw interconnected Metro network map, she could not think of anything beyond that map boundary. She heard about “outside world” but didn’t have a slightest idea of the size and scale of that world as compared to her Metro-world. She couldn’t comprehend why people are so hell-bent on killing out of fear and at the same time mass producing like sewer rats.

“These pockets of Metro stations are nothing but like countries on themselves with their own governing bodies and laws, you know!!!” Once Dmitri explained to Mia while passing through border guard posts through one of the main stations.

“But who will control them.” asked Mia.

“That’s the point. No one. Those lucky ones or should I say unlucky ones who survived nuclear blast due to timely entry to Metros started this Metro civilization. There was no central authority and no one was in condition to think of that. And what do you think they start concerning about once they settled down?”

“Food!! Home!! Clothes!! ….No idea…..”

“Guns. Can you believe that? Ammunition was the first mass produced thing again after humankind’s exile to this god-forbidden place. I can understand the need for protection against outer forces and mutants, but once you put AK74 to someone’s hand and sooner or later they get twitchy fingers.” Dmitri answered with disdain.

“To add fuel to the fire, once people got their bearings and control over metros they started grouping up. Not for supporting each other but based on similar political propagandas and interests. Even after the end of world, lust for power never vanquished. Now you also have borders in Metro also.” Continued Dmitri.

“But this situation is not going to last. I have a thought or rather idea. And you need to help me out with that.” Said Dmitri leading Mia to small opening in the wall of Metro station.

“Help!! With what?”

“With this…..”

Dmitri opened small creaky door to some kind of large underground opening. Mia was not sure what it could be used for in pre-war era. Damitri flicked the lights on and entire room was bathed with warm yellow glow to highlight each object with feverish sharpness. Mia gasped with surprise. This was not she expected.

To Be Continued…..

Chapter 1: The Extinction

Metro Chronicles: Short Novella

CHAPTER 1: The Extinction

“You are the chosen one to restore balance to the world.”

Words which had soothing effect few months back has cursed undertone now with demonic intent along with preposterous responsibility for which Mia was never prepared. Setting her green eyes, matching the color of poisonous gas vomited by small green goo filled puddle few meters away to setting sun which resembles dying out sodium vapor lamp through smeared out visor glass and rising mist and vapor and radioactive waste particles, she could only have her imagination to help her truly realize the beauty of “the upper world”. Future of the mankind now lays on her hand, in fact considering the current situation, laying in her hand as she clamped fingers around small glass vial containing green liquid safely; competing against green of her eyes and that poisonous gas. And this is the only color left in the world laying in front of her as mankind has chosen to utilize broad deep brushstroke in darker shades of grey and blue to paint the canvas of the world. Crumbling concrete structures which had been once heralded as homes of millions of families, now stood like crumpled paper toys with metal girders poking out like broken bone; misplaced and utterly painful; acting as massive sarcophagi entombing those who were not lucky enough to get shelter and of those brave STALKERs who chose to embrace courage and exploration over cocooned stale life in the metros worse than death.

It had been 40 years since “The Moment” when mankind decided to introduce nuclear weaponry in the war on massive scale, wiping out almost entire humankind and reducing better part of the earth to nothing but radioactive nuclear test site. Millions years of fit-for-survival biodiversity had been swept clean with single stroke. Radioactive clouds hung in the air had choked the life out of plants and vegetation within few years, leaving numbered few which survived due to transition from photosynthesis to fulfilling nutrients requirements from dead rotting meat. Known animal species were replaced by grotesque creatures so foul that it seems that they were drawn out of some hell-hole created by nuclear crater. Mankind also survived, in vast connected metro networks and underground silos and bunkers.

Sitting at the base of fallen statue of old-world forgotten leader Mia was well aware of Metro entry lying nearby for quick escape. But more than sudden attack of predators of upper world, Mia was much concerned of thoughts playing out currently in her mind which she feared only going to be climaxed in tragedy. She wanted to remain here in this “real” world forever without her hazmat suit and air-filters and tangled connectors and tubes; just in plain clothes to feel the real air and smell the real earth.

Few years back, Mia’s world consists of her own metro station along with few neighboring ones which she travelled on occasions and that was also in keen observation of his father. After her father’s sudden demise due to severe radiation poisoning through pork meat; she feared to be alone and vulnerable to harsh metro conditions. She knew there was no place for young girl like her in such a lawless world. Community made of men where only primary objective in life is to survive and nothing else to do is major contributing factor to women objectification and “misuse”. Still Mia was different. Even though she was not the fighter, she was intelligent enough to avoid unnecessary attention and find her way through proper channels. She was good at setting up traps. Handmade from whatever available and if required, death traps. Her trap for mass-cremation of massive swarm of tunnel rats with the use of few solvent canisters and radio controlled trigger detonator earned her reputation of savior of her station from over flooding of tunnel rat migration with only downside as complaints of burning meat for weeks.

Things were changed after death of her father as if some conspiracy had snatched the protective cover to make her exposed to sadistic society. She could feel the attack on her fabric of dignity with weapons of malevolent gaze, sneering comments and twitching hands to find the opportune moments, waiting for Mia to let down her defense, exposing weaknesses of womanhood which once found could be taken advantage of and eventually used to tear apart whatever left of her self-dignity. So she decided to move out to those big hub stations where rare combination of good work and safety was not entirely unfeasible.

Not that Mia was afraid to travel alone but uncertain, unexplained and unexpected “anomalies” were frequent happening which would make one disable of living life and worst devoid of easy death. It was mandate to travel in groups to reduce death toll. One logical thinker had also come up with “The Collective Subconscious” rule which set lower threshold value of group comprises of human to 4 which had dramatic but effective reduce in “anomalies” effect over last decade and also death rate.

During the search of such traveler groups, she met Dmitri, the old man known in Metro as “The Dmitri” whose sole objective was to travel through Metro, scouring different stations on the way and conducting “his special work”. At that time she was not aware that he would give her opportunity to attain ultimate salvation and hence the purpose in the life. He would give her power to perceive the real upper world which she never thought existed before along with excruciating pain and burden of her own existence.

To Be Continued…..

Literary Lion: Bleeding

Fight is like trapeze artist performing well-rehearsed act. Nimble body is much more powerful than stronger one.

He was about to approach exit door when suddenly it flew open in his face, knocking him down to white parquet floor of the operating room accompanied by white washed out walls. When he gained the focus he observed the abomination of human body in terms of size and muscle blocking the entire doorframe. He could not make out his exit without fighting this giant. Next moment, giant brought down his sledgehammer; thudding and cracking the tiles from where he slides away seconds before. Enraged, spittle flinging about everywhere with thin strands of saliva gleaming like cob web, Giant got frenzied; whizzing and cracking whatever lay in front of him. He dragged, shuffled, slide across floor; avoiding blow after blow till something rubbed against his arm.

He took hold of scalpel rubbing against his elbow and got hold of himself from defending position to attacking. Upon witnessing the mockery of weapon against his own, big monster smiled. He smiled in return. Giant swung the sledgehammer in wide arc, He backpedaled, swiveled gracefully like a dancer and with one quick jab made long incision on the back of giant. Big guy didn’t flinch at all and continued flurry of attacks. But he was prepared. He was like feather floating in air; feet barely touching the ground. Circling around out of reach of hammer; Swirling with scalpel glinting in delight of taste of blood; vaulting over to jab a puncture at back; sliding under the downward arc of hammer and between the legs to slice the massive thighs; almost kissed but never to be touched by sledgehammer. And this waltzing continued for a while.

Another swing. Miss. One more cut.

Swing. Miss. Stab.

Swing. Swing. Swing. Cut. Jab. Nick.

And then he waited. Moment by moment swing of the hammer got reduced until there was no more swing. Giant rested both his hand on hammer, kneeling down with no strength left to land one more blow.

“Please. Kill me.” Giant uttered. His massive body oozing out large amount of blood through countless numbers of incisions and cuts.

“I already did.” With those word he made exit; leaving giant bleeding to death.

============================================================

Thanks Laura Gabrielle Feasey for initiating such a lovely flash-fiction where one needs to come up with less than 400 words write-up on given topic.

Flash Fiction word: Bleeding.

Literary Lion: Escape

I need to kill the target before I leave for that marriage function I have to attend.

No one should know about this. I have to plan and execute without fail.

I crouched beside peripheral bush, tracking movements of each patrolling officer.

Two at the main gate. One patrolling inner courtyard. I can spot two more at portico guarding the main entrance. There might be possibility of another at back courtyard.

Few more minutes elapsed. With every move and kill planned in mind, I moved along the shadows of shrubbery when I heard something which froze my blood and body same time.

Was it barking? They have dogs. This changed everything.

Before I took out my Beretta with suppressor in ready position to fix the situation, Rottweiler had pranced in front of me out of the bush.

I had to put bullet before this beast raise the alarm.

“C’mon. We are getting late. Shut the thing off.”

I was compromised. Slight distraction and Rottweiler jumped on me with all its might and took the arm cleanly off.

I put down the controller and got ready for my social duty unwittingly.

“Don’t say anything at the function like you play games.”

“Why not.”

“Don’t embarrass me please. What do they think of you? It’s not the age. ”.

“Why do they release 18+ titles if they intend for only kids.”

“Whatever but don’t say it.”

But that is what I do best. That is the world where I could be absolutely top of my game. That is the world which has done more good than this social gatherings. At least that imaginary world has decency to reward those who have the potential to progress ahead, those who master through hard-work and learning. How could they laugh at me when they don’t realize how difficult and calculating all the stuff when you go for tactical combat. When you choose to invade nation without proper resource planning. Though I interact, eat, sleep and drink, that is the world where I live. It’s not escape. This is my brief respite and escape before I return back to my own.

==========================================================

Thanks Laura Gabrielle Feasey for initiating such a lovely flash-fiction where one needs to come up with less than 400 words write-up on given topic.

Flash Fiction word: Escape.

Literary Lion: Story in the Woods

Hunter and Prey

He was part of nature. He was the limb of the trunk atop which his mast perched.

Stand-still. Not the slightest movement or flinch of a muscle.

Only sound was Himalayan cold breeze ruffling leaves of dense tree generating sweet lullaby music. With utter darkness shrouding the woods and not a single soul to accompany at night, one could only fell asleep in moments. But Jim was not like others. He knew opportunity will present itself at any moment. He was not allowed to flinch or twitch or even blink; just to make sure that his hunting rifle and hence himself not fail tonight.

Goat tied to the peg in small clearing patch agitated after hefty meal of green grass. Poor soul. Not aware that itself presented as hefty meal to something else and oblivious of its own demise. After a while Jim also grew agitated. May be beast had found some other prey and not going to visit the easy little meal like previous three nights. Jim was considered veteran in hunting trade but this time he found his match. Perfect enemy squishing out every inch of skills and character out of you.

Everyone needs such opponent. To grow. To identify own hidden potential. And Jim knew that both aware that whoever win other going to lose life.

Jim heard muffled bleating before it was replaced with bone snapping and crunching while beast was trying to get away with its prey with rope still intact. Two large eyes shining green are almost mistaken as fireflies. It was large and all muscle. For a while both hunters locked the stare; both aware of presence of other. Perfectly within range; Jim knew this was the moment he was looking for from last three nights in the woods.

Suddenly there was uproar from nearby village. Beast ran away with its prize clutched in its fangs in brief moment of distraction. When Jim returned from the woods, an Indian man came running to him informing that Men-eater had attacked the village and got away with poor villager.

“Why didn’t you kill the other one?” Asked one of villager once the situation settled down.

“I don’t kill nature only the monsters. Let’s go to woods again for new trap” Replied Jim calmly.

imagesCAWO0165

Thanks Laura Gabrielle Feasey for initiating this lovely flash-fiction where you need to come up with less than 400 words write-up on given topic.

Flash Fiction word: Story in the Woods

Literary Lion: Space

Loop

“Before the thing out there kill me I have to testify my theory.”

Running through dark and claustrophobic corridors of his high-tech advanced research lab, David can only conjure up image of him being caught and lost in some alien spaceship. It has been two weeks when something has invaded their research lab and killing everyone. No one had chance to identify or whoever done that was now no longer alive.

They were so near to success. Only obstacle was to clear that space-time continuum drift problem. They couldn’t manage to come with solution even after so many genius minds involved. Being labeled as “secret research” they did not have comfort of having external help. They were about to throw the towel when David had this sudden spark of tweaking some variables involved. Precisely at that moment series of unnatural death has terrorized this little scientific community.

AffiEmbed Review

Even before someone could spread the word or get the news out, everyone was efficiently picked and dispatched except David. Now facing sudden death any moment, David could only think of applying his solution which would be his pinnacle achievement and might present way to cheat death. He entered one massive lab space mostly occupied with large contraption sat in the center of hall. He tweaked few dials, entered few commands to the super-computer attached, entered into one human-size pod and prayed for his success.

“If this thing works than I can still get what I always wanted. Time-machine was always my brainchild. I was the one who initiated the project. I should be the one who end it. More than prize and praise, I will hold ultimate power with invention of this Time-Machine.”

One large flash and everything bathed into bright blinding light. Somewhere space-time fabric tore. David could sense passing through space filled with dark matter.

When he opened his eyes he was there in his lab but he could hear sound of others celebrating something. While silently observing the milling of his fellow scientists he could perceive his own image there among them. This was two weeks back. David can remember it. With devilish thought forming in his mind he deduced the success.

“Now only thing I have to do is kill everyone one by one except me.”

======================================================

Thanks Laura Gabrielle Feasey for providing inspiration and cause to put up my writing skill on run from it’s initial lazy state.

Flash Fiction word: Space

Pingback: http://ismithwords.com/2015/06/03/space/

For your eyes only…

“What could possibly be the factor which still makes you madly in love with her? “ posited by one of the invitees on Silver Jubilee Marriage Anniversary-raised for small group of closely related friends- with purpose of not getting the conversation swayed to politics and cricket.

“Yes, please tell us your story. How you met? When you realized that it’s really love ? “Asked other.

With that question my eyes traced back to where she was mingling with her group, chatting away womanly matters, away from us in the center of drawing hall. Still that first meeting was so clear in my memoirs, when I first saw her siting opposite to me in the bus. It was my regular route to work. But she was always there in the bus before me in same spot, maybe securing seat from bus depot. Her picture of always staring out the windows, sometimes absorbing the traffic and skyscrapers outside, sometimes just feeling the wind with closed eyes burned in to my memory as it was just about few days back. Always in same posture, elbow resting on window sill, supporting the chin with her palm, with face facing the window, lost in her own thoughts, ignorant of the busy bus interiors.

Before I answer, one more question fired at me from the group: “Forget all this, just tell us what you still liked the most about her? This’ll wrap up very soon then.” Even though I could not make out, I was sure from the mischievous intent lying under the question and the way it was put forward that it must be from “Bully” – little fellow by stature but like to impose his personality through sardonic sense of humor.

“Most I liked about her is ………………”

I never felt bus travel could be so attractive after her first sight. There was sudden life change as some invisible wand had turned my day-to-day transport affair to energetic grandeur and happiness. Time kind of flew by from my station to work location. So powerful was the urge to secure seat opposite to her that I fought with people to get the head start and get the seat. But I never noticed she looked at me once. Always staring out the window. With valentine’s day approaching, I decided to gather my courage and express my feelings for her.

That day I bought beautiful roses of different colors from the florist with sole intention of presenting my feeling. As soon as I tried to get my seat opposite to her usual place, I noticed there was someone else sitting beside her, a boy almost of my age. She was still looking out the window in daily manner. Her other hand rested beside her on seat which was held warmly by the boy. My entire world turned upside down in one moment. Love has this tendency to grow upon you more once you realized that person is moving away from you. Dejected, I saw towards flowers I brought and determined to present them just as gratitude to the girl for just being there. I skipped my station that day, decided to grab the chance of presenting the flowers. Opportunity came as bus broke down due to engine failure and all passengers had to get down checking alternate ways to travel further. Boy spoke something to her and got off for a while.

I stood beside her. She had retained her regular demeanor; completely ignorant of me. I tried to speak but words never came out. I silently put down flowers besides her and turned back to go away. That same boy was standing in front of me.

“That is some beautiful flowers.” He said.

“Yeah.” I barely replied back.

“But she can’t enjoy the colors of the flowers as she cannot see from birth. I am her brother and today I decided to drop her to the college all the way.”

Love has potential to be most powerful force when faced with challenges. It’s not sympathy or pity but unquenchable thirst to be together and support the loved one in any condition.

Snapping out of the reverie, I wrapped up all questions with one single answer with gentle smile.

“Her Eyes”.

The Room – Short psychological horror story

the_room

I tried to open my eyes but veil of darkness shrouding my eyes won’t lift up. I realized my mind was working in its regular thinking rhythm, my limbs were bit stiff but still I could feel them. Still, Somehow I couldn’t open my eyes, it’s like omnipresent darkness just pressing the leads of my eyes tightly shut with so much ferocity that not a single photon could creep past it. I knew I was relieving from adverse effect of nightmare, but general experience says that in nightmare you awoke suddenly, with a shock. In my case that was just not happening at all, defining logic, in fact reversing the logic on its head.

I tried again. And again. And again…..And I realized there was something wrong. My eyes felt like red giant bursting with force but to only diminish its existence either through irrevocably collapsing to black hole or bursting out of eye-sockets like supernova, in both cases, leaving only the darkness behind, trapping me in it forever.

I thought I could use some effort with my fingers to pry open the eye-leads. As I tried, there was shocking realization that they were missing altogether. God…. my eyes were already open. I sensed my eye-leads perched atop my eyes like owl steadily waiting for its prey in utter darkness. Hadn’t I blinked all this time? I poked my fingers deep down my eye-ball, swelling it with pain and tear to guarantee the presence of darkness. Moreover, to feel alive. What’s happening? Why couldn’t I trace anything in my room? Was it my room at all or I was somewhere else, somewhere god-forbidden black hole of eternal darkness?

No, it was my room. I could feel it. Anyhow I decided to get up and drew curtains away from the windows to allow some faint light to come in, but to no avail. There was no light source out there somewhere. What happened to the moon? And the stars? Might be it was that no-moon night, major inspiration for all those ghost stories to come into existence. My throat was parched. I tried to go for my water bottle, scrambling my way to find it which usually resides besides my bed. But it was proving difficult to get along easily with no faint outline to perceive anything. Were my eyes still not used to darkness? Am I succumbed to some kind of blindness?

I found my water bottle with bit of effort, rolled away somehow only to be stopped by my computer desk; sitting in the corner of the room since years with composure of “King Vikram” bearing the load of “Betal” perched atop its shoulder: my high-end powerfully configured gaming desktop. Water smelt rancid somehow or did it really smell? Better not to drink this and bring the fresh one, I tried for the door of my room which luckily I knew in which direction lies as the exercise of finding water bottle had pretty much given me the idea of layout and spread of the room. After all I had spent large amount of my life in the same room. My room which became altar of study and then became altar of everything for me. I was so attached to it, spending so many years in it creating ideas, building career, partying with friends, musing alone, escaping from outer world, dreaming about girls, day-dreaming about future and what not. The room ceased to be the non-living entity and became my living breathing friend, accomplice in all my deeds and in all my sins.

I was aware of another side-quest of getting to light-switches lays in path of main quest of reaching the main door. With a little effort I was able to find the switchboard. My fingers played on all switches like an accomplished piano player, but the only sound I could garnered was “tic-toc” out of it, with darkness remaining as it was. Might be the power outage? I don’t understand why power-outage occurred always on this kind of incidental-heavy nights. Only option left for me now was to go for door and check out. I fumbled initially then contemplated and calculated where the door-knob might be. To my surprise, there was nothing there but a stub to indicate the signs of door-knob existed before it was pried out of its position. Should I call out to somebody in the midst of this frightful night? No, what would others think of me if it would turn out to be case of misinterpretation on my side. People already conceived me as secluded lost soul living in my own imaginary world by locking myself in the room all the time. They would be sure by this incident that I lost my mind completely. They were never going to understand that their own incompetency to cope up with my emotional level had pushed me away from general social attachments. Their hypocrite way of socializing had set me apart and took shelter to only available safe zone to me: my room.

Suddenly there was a loud rap on the door, shaking whole door frame. I stepped away from the door with utmost fear. I was scared to approach the door as if it was surged with electric fence. Silence following the loud rap was so thick that I could hear my heart pumping liters of blood through my veins just to keep me alive and to face my deepest fears. I heard dogs barking somewhere upon seeing something which was not meant to be seen by human, baby crying in anticipation of food, late night TV show running with background laughter sound effects. Who the hell was running TV in power-outage? Before I could conceive something, there was second loud thud, than there was third, fourth…..It was kind of beating of big drum with large bamboo sticks. Suddenly there was flash of brightness like lightning in the storm, but I heard no sound of it or might be its sound drowned into cacophony of drumming on door. There was second flash and from corner of my eye I saw something crawling on wall opposite to my gaming desk. It was kind of bug of fist size. Then I realized they were everywhere in the room, crawling on all walls, forming the shape of large face sticking on wall. With raping on door continued I had vague feeling of room was getting alive and laughing at me for some unknown reason.

It came suddenly to my mind, a faint remembrance, happened yesterday, might be before that somewhere in the past, but I knew for sure that was the only reason describing these weird incidents. A remembrance where my friends had called me to go with them on outing just for the sake of fun and I choose my room over them. A remembrance where invitation from my sister to simply come to her house following festival ritual was refused so as to spend more time in Gaming and reading and being there in the room. A remembrance where my parents were pursuing me just to set up a meeting with future prospect partner but my low self-esteem along with my bad social attachment history had compelled me to reject the offer without second thought. There were so many remembrances like these, pointing to me that I always had chosen my room over everything else. I never left my room for others and now the room had decided not to allow me to leave.

As this realization known to it, the Room, it was bathed with white clinical light, stabbing my eyes with sheer white pain. As my eyes adjusted to sudden brightness, I saw my reflection laughing at me from full-size mirror on the wall besides the door. Drumming had stopped. The room looked like more of a surgical room or operation room from where one could only come out without a limb or two or worst as dead. I felt something retching under my face-skin. As I tried to satisfy the urge of scratching, my skin suddenly peeled out. Unknowingly, I held one end of it with my fingers and slowly started scraping out the skin from my face. It was as easy as peeling of boiled potato. I didn’t feel pain, just the tingle of needles pinching my tissue underneath. Surprisingly, there was no blood. Might be somehow I could remove only epidermis and not puncturing blood vessels below. After some time, I was standing with my white face devoid of any skin in front of mirror, having my dead face in one of my hand containing holes where the eyes and nostrils and mouth had been. I poked the white tissue of my face. It felt like sushi. Suddenly, a blood vein embossed out of my temple imitating lightning out of the sky; both in look and speed. And then more veins embossing, creating bloody web all over my stark white face. I could feel and see blood flowing through web of pulsating veins. I screamed with all the strength which only had adverse effect of straining and puncturing all the veins at the same moment, showering my face and mirror in Niagara of blood and…………………….

I found myself sweating profusely in the bed. It looked like it was rare kind of lucid dreaming what I experienced. Sunshine was wrestling with window curtains to brighten my room. First time ever I thought about drawing the curtains right away and let the light fill my hollow, empty room. My CPU was blinking in LEDs, requiring my attention on downloaded material which I kept running whole night. I heard my parents asking me whether I want to attend social gathering held by relative, with pure selfish reason of getting me introduced to “future prospects”. To their surprise, and also to mine my mind instantly replied “Just wait, I’ll be ready and come”. As I left my room to freshen up, I noticed beams of sunlight spreading on the walls of my room giving the feel that room was smiling with joy and happiness.