Random Tales

Birth

It was a good life.

After almost 80 years of toiling and sacrifices, I had reached the end of the road. My son and daughter were sitting across the bed while my wife was holding my hand, while her other hand held a tissue which she was using to wipe the tears in her eyes. My grandchildren were sitting far away, in my eyesight but not close enough to see the gory truth of the death. They didn’t understand it yet that this is the last time they will see their grand fluff again. But it doesn’t matter. They will remember me and they will love me. I hoped that my parents were happy with the life I had lived, perhaps even proud of the person their son had become. My father had never seen the face of the school but he worked hard to ensure that his son goes to the best schools in the country. My mom had loved me and cared for me for every day of her life. Even on her deathbed, she was fussing over my clothes.

Yes, indeed. It has been a good life.

‘But was it good enough?’ The thought rang in my heart as my breathing laggard. My mind was too sluggish to make much of it but there was a spike of surprise that ran through the nerves. Did one of my family asked this question? Or was it a cosmic question put in my head by an entity bigger than I? Or was it a senile old man’s final thought? I did not know and now, I didn’t care. I closed my eyes and breathed my last.

I opened my eyes to a large auditorium. In front of me, in a semi-circle were sitting eleven people looking at me with varied looks that ranged from surprised to disgust to smile. I couldn’t guess the gender of the individuals and they looked as if the humans had evolved into a hairless specie that could breath anywhere, even in water or space.

Two similar people were standing in front of the panel, one standing beside me while the other at the far end looking at me with disappointment.

The person at the far end repeated – “But was it good enough?”

“Yes, it was,” the person next to me said. It (for I don’t know how else to describe the being) showed the reel which went through in less than a second.

It was my life! Each and every moment that I had experienced.

“How?” I said but it gestured me to shut my mouth.

I obeyed. The proceedings continued for an hour more. Each and every action of my life, each moment was scrutinised in grave detail while I sat there, trying to remember which religion had such detailed judgement.

Finally, the eleven judges (I had decided that they were indeed judging my life) stood up and the centre one looked at me.

We have conferred amongst us (When? I didn’t see them even look at each other once) and we have decided that her punishment is over. She can get her truth back.

As soon as the words were uttered by the central judge, I felt like someone had pushed eons worth of memory in my mind. My body started shedding, the hair first, followed by the skin. Below it was the same all-weather skin that each of the other members had and my body had also morphed into a single gender.

I was Athria, not a male or a female but a vale of the specie Omana.

As the memories flooded my mind, tears started to come to my eyes – first of joy at having returned and then of pain, immense pain of what I had done.

“Why?” I asked but Corana held me gingerly.

“It’s over now. It has been a long 80 years but they are over now. You can go back to your family,” Corana said.

“You became a lawyer,” I said. She smiled.

“What I did…”

“… has been stricken along with the punishment. You are free!”

“Thanks!”

“You should now go back to your home. 80 years is a long time. Things have changed. My assistant would help you with the details while I finish the formalities. Then, I will take you home.”

I nodded and went with her assistant.

My mind was whirling at the memory of the last time I was here.

“You have killed a human foetus. Why?”

The judge looked at me with fury. I stood firm. In my mind, I had made no mistake. Humans were an inferior species, barely capable of speech and other higher forms of intellectual achievements that makes us consider a specie intelligent.

“You have broken our most ancient laws. We don’t interfere with life forms in other planets. Let alone kill their younglings or foetuses.”

I looked with defiance at the judge.

“The stem cells would have given us new techno…”

“Silence! You have been found guilty on all charges. You will serve a life sentence. You will experience what it is to be a human. And we will repay the woman whose foetus you so arrogantly plucked and killed.”

My vision faded, the world going entirely dark. Without warning I am blinded by light. I hear a woman screaming and a doctor yell, “The baby is crowning!”

My sentence has begun.

Inspired by reddit/r/writingprompts:

[WP] “You have been found guilty on all charges. You will serve a life sentence.” The judge slammed his gavel on the table. My vision faded, the world going entirely dark. Without warning I am blinded by light. I hear a woman screaming and a doctor yell “The baby is crowning!”My sentence has begun.

Random Tales

Quest for Mortality

It was a day to behold. Death was standing in front of Kartraya once again. Last time the two had met, Kartraya had defeated Death – the first and only being in the universe to do that. Death had not taken its defeat lightly.

“Come what may, you will live. I won’t ever come to you again.” Death had said and gone in shame. While this may look like whining, it was the gravest of all punishments for Kartraya. Once, a victorious prince who captured the hearts and hearths of many other beings, today, he was tired. His body still looked pristine, like the day he stood victorious in front of Death. His mind was another story. He couldn’t differentiate between the reality and dreams, the past and the future, what had actually happened and what was etched in his mind as memory due to the time elapsed. Meeting new people every few decades exhausted him, seeing his loved ones die again and again crushed his soul, and knowing there is no end to his actions made them meaningless.

He turned cruel over time, barbaric, almost mindless. He had phases that lasted decades when he lost the ability to think and would wander meaninglessly, animalistic in behavior, and jaded in outlook. He would eventually come back, sometimes with the memories of the brutal time and other times, like a new born.

The only memory that stayed with him without fail was the fateful night when he had won against Death. Everything else was fluid. He had defeated Death! And today, finally, Death was standing in front of him, still sulking like an impertinent child angry over an old gripe.

“What do you want?” Death said while twisting its arms.

“I want to die,” Kartraya said calmly.

“That can’t happen.”

“Yes, it can. Take me with you and let me rest.”

Death looked at its shackles and laughed.

“You captured me to ask me to take you. You have some serious issues.”

Kartraya’s voice lowered. “I don’t have patience anymore. Take me with you. I want to die.”

The menace in Kartraya’s voice sent a shiver down Death. “I can’t. You have defeated me – twice. It is beyond my powers to hurt you now.”

“There must be a way,” Kartraya whispered.

“The essence of Jalep. I was born out of a drop of Jalep’s essence. If you drink it, you would die. Not the same death as others, but death nonetheless.”

“What would be different?”

“No reincarnation. You won’t exist anymore. There won’t be a soul or any mark of you left. Unlike others, you won’t get a second chance, nor would you meet your friends or family from the past.”

“I don’t want another chance. I just want it all to end.”

“Find the essence of Jalep and you will be free,” Death said with a grin on its face. The essence of Jalep was impossible to find or attain.

Kartraya looked at Death with keen eyes and skepticism. Then he dipped his hand in his pocket and took out a vial with dark liquid – almost black with hint of pink swirling every so often. The liquid was splashing and writhing even in a stationary bottle, as if in pain.

“H… H… How do you have that?”

“I heard about it through the winds but wanted to be certain about it before I drink it,” Kartraya said and gulped down the vial. Death looked at it with horror and fascination.

Kartraya closed his eyes and lay down on the ground. His breathing became haggard and an occasional twitch formed in his hands. A darkness seemed to engulfed the whole environment even though the sun was still shining brightly. Death had never seen the effect of the essence and didn’t know what was happening.

“Can I die by the essence that created me?” Death thought. For a split second, it felt fear for itself. The second passed and Kartraya’s breathing stopped.

Death looked around and everything was again bright and exciting. Its nemesis, its biggest foe, was in front of him, dead and forever gone. It was then that Death realised that Kartraya had left it chained. Death tugged at his chains but couldn’t budge. In his quest for mortality, Kartraya had left the whole world immortal.

Random Tales

The Final Moment

There are times when I feel that death is a difficult choice and not the easy option everyone talks about. It’s true that once you die, there is no burden left. However, the moment between your death when you have taken the plunge, both metaphorically or actually, stretches long and you get to see all the realities that are possible. Your mind gives you solutions to the problems you had been struggling for years and shows you the paths it had buried deep inside. Perhaps, it shows this as a last-ditch effort to save itself, not knowing that it’s too late. In that blissful and terrible moment, you see all the people who would miss you, all the people who would be affected by your life, a life you considered fruitless, futile, and frivolous. This is the moment that makes death hard.

Yes, it’s easy to die but death doesn’t come easy to anyone, least of all to people who actively seek it. You can’t escape the pain allotted to you and if you try to cheat, if you try to reduce the pain over the years, it will all come concentrated in that single moment. The good thing is that it’s a single moment, right?

Maybe. But knowing that things could have been better, if only we had thought harder, fought harder, even ran away and then come back stronger, is perhaps the greatest regret of all time. The pain might end after that one second, but experiencing all that pain isn’t a choice, it’s life.

Now, please take a step back so that I can experience that single moment.

Said the man in glasses to the audience before jumping off the roof.

Random Tales

Forever, together

Rama was alone in the house, thinking about Javed, shivering with anger. ‘How could he leave her like that?’ her mind looped back to this single question.

Rama and Javed had started dating two years ago when Javed had asked Rama out , knowing full well the differences between them, not just in their religion but their financial status, family values, and health. Rama came from a rich, albeit dysfunctional family – parents divorced, brother an addict – not to discount the troubles of being a woman in her society which still saw her a secondary character as compared to her useless brother. Javed was from a more modest background. He had reached the college through hard work, scholarship, and education loan. His whole lifestyle was focused on saving money to send it home to his parents whom he loved more than anything else and who loved and protected him with the same intensity. Javed would often laugh that his parents would even fight Allah if he ever found himself facing his wrath.

Amidst all these differences, Rama barely understood why Javed asked her out. They had known each other for just a few months and wary of her past relationships, where the guys were only interested in a casual relationship, she refused. Javed persisted.

“I like you. I don’t want to be your friend and I’m not going anywhere. Deal with it,” he had said one of the times when she had tried to gently turn him down. It took almost a year for Rama to finally agree. It didn’t take long for them to move in after, all differences forgotten.
Three months ago, more than two and a half years after they had met and more than one and a half years after they started dating, she asked him about the future.

“Where are we going?”

He hugged her and said – “We are going into the forever, together.”

She smiled and hugged him back. Soon enough, she talked to her parents about him. His parents already knew about her, everything about her. His mom would often call her to take her advice on the newest fashion or to know what Javed was doing. In comparison, there was furor, drama, and tension at her house when they found out about Javed but Rama and Javed prevailed. They convinced her parents that the differences of religion and status will be immaterial against their love.

“I’m so happy,” Rama said poking her stomach with a needle before her meal. “When will you come?” She asked Javed. Javed was going home to officially talk about the wedding.

“Three or four days, max. I can’t be without you more than that,” he said and hugged her.

That was a week ago. Yesterday, Javed came back, his face ashen, his grin forever faded, with a few new grey hair.

“What happened?” Rama asked, his stress infusing into her. Javed gave a small non-committal ‘it’s nothing’ and went to sleep.

Today, Rama came back from work and found a letter and an almost empty apartment. All of Javed’s belongings were missing. She opened the letter. Her expressions changed from shocked to enraged, tears flowing from her eyes, her fingers curling into fists.

‘I love you Rama, more than anything in the world. And my parents love you as well. They adore you and think that you are the best thing that has happened to me. And you know how open-minded they are about religion, caste, and financial backgrounds. That is why I was shocked when they told me that they don’t want us to get married. I fought them, asked them for the reason and we had extended discussions. The truth is that they don’t want a daughter-in-law who has a chronic disease. I’m sorry that I can’t go against them. I’m sorry.’

Rama crumpled the note. Wasn’t she honest with her illness? Couldn’t they say this two years ago when he first told them about her? Didn’t she convince her parents? She looked around the empty apartment through tear-filled eyes, his words echoing in her head –

‘Forever, together.’

Random Tales

Family Members Only!

I was fifteen when my father died. Luckily, it was cancer. Now, I know what you are thinking. How can it be lucky? In a contorted way, it was lucky because it gave us time to prepare. We shared some wonderful moments and he imparted his wisdom on me.

Two years have passed since then and I take his words as gospels.

  • Never break someone’s trust.
  • Always be kind, even if you can’t be nice to someone.
  • Never wear a crumpled shirt.
  • Always follow the rules on your first day at work.

…and so on. I know the last one might be hilarious for you but in his view, one should always follow a rule until one understands why it exists. Once you understand a rule, you can decide whether you should break it or not.

Yesterday, I was almost forced to break one of his rules but I can proudly say that I didn’t. I hope he’s proud of me.

I started a part-time job in a hospital. My badge said night-attendant but in truth, I was a glorified guard outside the ICU – the Intensive Care Unit – where all the critically ill and terminal patients were kept. I was to ensure that only the family members of the patients are allowed to come inside their respective rooms. Apparently, it was usual for other patients to come in these rooms due to better facilities and sometimes, stronger drugs and I was there to stop that from happening.

I didn’t believe it for fifteen minutes of starting to work. Then, the first guy tried to enter the ICU. He was around 50 years old and while he seemed on his deathbed himself, I realized soon that it was an act. Ten minutes later, a woman, in her 20s tried to enter the ICU. I had to stop at least 10 people in a span of a few hours from entering the ICU.

No wonder that I couldn’t recognize the tall hooded creature when he tried to enter the ICU. He wore a brown-black robe which covered all of his head and his thin and bony fingers were barely visible from the arms of the robe.

“Sorry, sir. You can’t enter. Family members only,” I said to the hood and he promptly ignored me and continued towards the door.

“Excuse me, hooded man. I’m talking to you. You can’t enter,” I said and placed my hand in front of him. He turned to me and whispered in a shocked voice.

“You can see me?”

Anger surged through my body at the idiotic question but I pushed it down.

“Yes, sir. I can see you and I don’t think you are one of the family members of these patients. This means you can’t go inside.”

The man lowered his hood and a tall man with a smirk was looking at me.

“But can’t the rules be bent a little,” he said with a grin on his face. “For special, ah… guests.”

“It’s not up to me to decide that sir.”

“Of course. Perhaps this would help me persuade you to break the rules today.” The man said an fished his hand in his pocket for what I presumed was a few green ones. Not the first person to try this.

“With all due respect, money won’t work.”

“No… No… No… Not money. This,” he said and brought out a six inches rod. He gave it one jiggle and it turned into a large scythe. At the same time, his face started to turn white. No! Scratch that. The skin on his face started to dry out and the white skeleton started to show.

“Oh.” I said.

“Oh indeed.”

“Can I enter now? I have an important appointment with one of the patients. It’s a matter of death and death.”

I took a deep break, closed my eyes and opened them again to find the figure standing tall in front of me. My heartbeat was increasing by the second and panic was taking over every fiber of my body until the image of my father dawned over me.

“I’m sorry sir, Mr. Death. I can’t let you in. It’s the hospital’s rule and I can’t break it. Not today.” I didn’t know why Death was entertaining me. I was sure that it could take me out with a single swipe. I could see in Death’s face that it was also considering that option. But I couldn’t care less. The initial panic and fear was nowhere to be found now. It was replaced by anger and hatred. Death must have come for my father as well. It was because of Death that I became fatherless at the age of 15. It wasn’t cancer but the creature standing in front of me who caused my father’s death.

I won’t let him have another one today.

“I can see your mind. You’re angry.”

“Mr. Death. Please leave, family only.” I reiterated controlling my fury.

The man smiled.

“Ahh… Yes. I remember you. Two years ago. You were crying, holding your father’s hand. I’m sorry I had to do that.”

I felt my eyes welling up.

“Family members only,” I said mustering as much force as I could in my words. They were still feeble. I could see the nurse looking at me weirdly. She was probably seeing a man standing alone fighting back his tears, whispering and mumbling some words to an imaginary friend.

The man smiled once again but there was a strain in his smile.

“It’s very interesting that I can go through any wall but I can’t kill someone whose time isn’t up. Neither can I cross someone who can see me. I don’t know how the rules work but for me to complete my work, you have to move,” he said with a menacing rumble. I realized a moment later that I had indeed shifted a bit just by the strength of his words.

“NO!” I said once more. “Family members only.”

Death looked at me, deeply and then passed through me. I felt a shock run through my whole body.

He had a grin on his face.

“I thought you couldn’t pass me.”

“I can’t pass you to the ICY but I can pass through you, find out what you want so that I can change your mind,” Death said.

“You can’t.”

“Definitely not today. Your father’s gospel run strong in you. But maybe tomorrow?”

“Never.”

“Now… Now… Don’t be hasty. Let me make you a deal. If I keep my end of the bargain, will you break your promise tomorrow?”

I didn’t say anything but he continued talking. After a while, he left. That was yesterday. Today, I’m waiting for him.

My father said never to break a rule on the first day of the job. I kept my promise. I hope he is proud of me when he sees me today.


This story was from a Reddit Prompt and can also be read here – http://bit.ly/2UTw4GY