Story Collection - MSPM39

Story 25/39: Life’s Good (Conditions Apply)

Mallika picked the blade and put another cut on her forearm.

“Five is right,” she whispered with her teeth clenched. She had never cut herself five times and it was hurting more than she had anticipated. Especially the third cut wasn’t deep enough and was more like a papercut that wasn’t healing properly. She left the hand lay still as blood oozed out of the five slits on her hand, each almost the same size roughly half-an-inch apart from the other. She closed her eyes and embraced the pain. It helped her. Reminded her that she was alive, that she wanted to be alive.

She had read once that most suicide survivors regret the decision to attempt suicide the moment they reach the point of no return. She considered this her placebo medicine – not killing her but telling her to stay alive. She started with one cut and now, she needed dosage of five.

Mallika’s mind fledged to a different time, a time when she didn’t need a reminder to stay alive, a time when she didn’t have everything, a time when she was living to survive.

“Hey,” Mallika said to her new roommate.

“Hey,” Elena said with a nod. “New to the city?”

“Yeah, just reached. What about you?”

“Came here yesterday. The room is shit but let’s hope the city compensates for it.”

Mallika laughed. She was happy to have a roommate with a sense of humor. She had just graduated and had moved to New York for her job. She was finally at the right place and hoped it was the right time.

The next five years were a blur in Mallika’s life. Work took her days, hustling took her evenings, and parties aka networking took her weekends.

“You don’t grow fast by going slow,” a professor had once said in a class. She took that as her persona dogma. In five years, she finally reached a place where she slowed down and saw that the life around her was not just beautiful, it was her own construction. Her five years had finally shown fruits.

She slowed down and changed gears.

“Time for a family,” Mallika told her friend once and her lifestyle completely changed. Her work was stable, both in her job and her hustle and she had enough savings to survive any major crisis.

Then she met Gary!

Gary was perfect. He worked at a consulting firm and would travel across the country. He was also as enthusiastic about success and growing as she was and they instantly connected. After five years of focused work, Mallika had legitimately thought that she would have trouble finding the right person but Gary popped in her life almost immediately.

They got married after one year of knowing each other and had a kid three years later. The next five years were even faster. Jeremy was five when Mallika was first hit by the wave. The wave made her feel despondent and worthless. Her mind was telling her that everything was alright but her whole body was rejecting this idea. Each passing day was becoming difficult, each passing month taking longer than the last.

For one year, she endured this alone, before telling Gary who comforted her. They decided to see a doctor.

“Physically, she’s fine. But it’s possible that she might be suffering from depression. You might want to consult a psychologist.”

The psychologist officially diagnosed Mallika with clinical depression.

“But my life is good. It doesn’t make sense. I have everything I want!” Mallika almost pleaded with the psychologist, as if she had received a bad grade in an exam of life and wanted the mark sheet to be checked again.

“Please get a second opinion if you want. In the meantime, these medicines would help,” the doctor said.

Mallika got herself checked, once, twice, thrice, and more but the diagnosis was correct. She started taking the medicines which were woefully useless. They would either not work at all or would reduce her mind to smithereens and her work suffered.

“Is there anything that can be done?” Gary pleaded with the doctor.

“I’m sorry. We are giving her the right dose, more in fact. We can’t give her more than that,” the doctor said to a disappointed Gary.

This continued for almost a year when Mallika found herself thinking about suicide in more and more ways. It started naively, with a simple question – “What would happen if I die today?”

Gary would recover. He’s resourceful. He will also take care of their kid. He’s growing anyway and doesn’t need her that much. She was replaceable at work and her hustle would end but at this point, it really didn’t matter to her much.

The question expanded and soon enough, her mind was taking another leap into the unknown. ‘Perhaps, it would be better if I die. Their lives would be better soon.’ Her mind thought and decided that her death actually has a net profit on the world.

It was a summer afternoon when her mind finally made her decision – everything was better with her gone. She had almost reached the edge of her balcony, about to jump and ending it all when her son did the most stupid thing in the world, and unknowingly saved his mother.

Jeremy was running around the house with a knife and at the precise moment when Mallika was on the ledge, he slashed her mother’s arm with the knife. Writhing in pain, she fell to the ground, her son scared and crying looking at his mother’s blood.

Mallika’s self-loathing was gone. It came back later but faintly. It was almost a month before she felt the horrible feeling she had been feeling for almost a year now. She decided to repeat the experiment and cut herself, on her arm. A thin cut that forced pain in her life.

That was twelve years ago. In the past ten years, Mallika had tried almost every medicine for depression but only one thing had worked with a guarantee and that too with regular increase in dosage – a blood sacrifice.

“Mallika?”

Mallika was woken up by Gary’s voice. He was sitting beside her, holding a fruit salad.

“You must be tired. Eat something,” Gary said, categorically ignoring the cuts on his wife’s hand. Mallika opened her eyes and kissed Gary.

“This is the most I have seen.”

“Yeah. Today was harder.”

Gary nodded. Today was a huge milestone in their family. Jeremy had gone for college today.

“Do you think it will increase?” Gary asked, looking at the new fifth cut.

Mallika looked at him and smiled.

“Don’t worry. I have one more hand,” and her smile turned to laughter.

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.

Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

Alive!

Swapnil picked up the diary and started reading a random excerpt.

There will always be something or the other than bothers me. Life isn’t about having a cool life but about having troubles of the mind. I do realise that I have more peace when I am single and when I am not chasing after romance. I am more able to look at myself and improving myself. However, no person wants to live alone. No one wants to have a life that is not shared.

The social animal in me roars for a company. The human in me detests it. I don’t know what is the solution to this problem but I am assuming that the solution is going to be simple.

Swapnil was intrigued by these words. The victim was a curious person and if he would have been alive, Swapnil would have definitely wanted to talk to him based on his diary excerpts. However, it was not so and all Swapnil could do was find out what actually happened.

The most likely theory was that he committed suicide. He was single, alone and according to the neighbours, a quiet and reserved person. Most people living around were more surprised to know that he still was alive than by his death.

Swapnil had made a habit of reading this diary for the past three days. The material gave him insights about the person and he hoped to find some clue in those insights. Swapnil was also enchanted by the word flow and the quality of writing. It seemed that the person was a habitual writer — a professional even. Unfortunately, Swapnil couldn’t find out his profession yet. Other than the fact that he was rich enough to afford the place he was living in, the guy had little possessions.

An old television set, a pair of headphones and a laptop. This was his entertainment. Add to that three sets of clothes and it was no wonder that barely anyone ever knew him. This man never wanted to go outside.

These facts made the diary all the more interesting. The diary implied that he wanted to go outside and there was a fight between the social and unsocial part of him.

“Somehow, he thought that the unsocial part of him was human.” Swapnil spoke out loud. Everyone around him started to look at him. He sheepishly grinned and went back to the diary.

One thing I have understood about life. Whether alone or among a million people, life is beautiful.

Swapnil read it and his mind started to race. This man wouldn’t commit suicide. At least the man in the diary.

“You seem a bit too engrossed for an open and shut case.” Arpita said patting Swapnil on his head.

“This man doesn’t make sense at all. The diary shows a man who loved life and while he was a bit antisocial, he was also not a socially awkward person. On the other hand, he has barely any possessions, no one knew about the person in the building and no one seems to know him outside either. Heck! We haven’t been able to find his profession yet.”

“Now that you mention it, another thing is very interesting.” Arpita said looking through the photographs.

“What?” Swapnil asked.

“He is physically fit. Extremely fit per the medical report.”

“So.”

“You can’t maintain this kind of fitness level without a regime. You need a gym and a trainer or you need to have equipments at home.”

“There were no equipments at home and no membership cards etc. were found. No one ever saw him exercising as well. But I will check the nearby gyms.” Swapnil said.

“You still don’t understand. He was too physically fit and he was doing this without anyone finding it out. It’s almost as if he was preparing for a fight.” Arpita said with a glint in her eyes.

Swapnil looked through the reports once again with this new perspective.

“Oh no!” Swapnil said and ran.

“Wait! I’ll come.” Arpita ran after him.

“What happened Swapnil?” Arpita asked as the two moved towards the victim’s flat in his car.

“The flat wasn’t his house. He was meeting someone there. Someone with whom he was going to have a fight.” Swapnil said in one breath.

“This means there must be some other place where he lived.”

“Yeah. I have told Jacob to broaden his search to the whole city.”

“But someone was living there. Otherwise people would have said it was empty.”

“I know. There is one wild explanation I have but I can’t prove it right now.”

“Care to share.”

“What if everyone’s lying?”

“The whole building.”

“What if they are protecting the murderer. The person who actually lived at that place.”

“Yeah, it’s a crazy idea alright.”

Swapnil and Arpita reached the flat and started looking around. Arpita didn’t know what she was looking for but assumed that anything different from the last time would be good.

Swapnil moved around with fervour as if possessed.

“Yes.” Swapnil said and turned towards Arpita.

“It’s a photograph.” Arpita said disappointed.

“Yes. Now look at it.” Swapnil said shoving it in Arpita’s hand. It was a photograph of the victim.

“What’s the big deal about it? It’s the victim’s photo before he died.” Arpita said.

“Check the date.”

“It’s 2 days before his death.” Arpita said. Swapnil smiled like a maniac.

“Now, look at his physique.” Swapnil said.

“Oh my God!” Arpita said and dropped the photo.

Swapnil picked the photo and kept looking at it.

“Something crazy is going on. The guy who died can’t get this physically fit in 2 days. We are missing something crucial.” Swapnil said.

“What are you saying?”

“I am saying that I will solve this case.” Swapnil said.

A knock on the door woke up Graham. He moved shabbily towards the entrance. He opened the door and a look of shock filled his face.

“Happy Birthday Graham! You didn’t think we would forget your birthday.” A teenage girl squealed and entered the house, followed by half the building.

Graham looked at them grumpily. He hated socialising but didn’t want to avoid it either. He did wish he looked better so he could actually ask someone out. As far as he could see, building people were more courteous to him than caring.

He did hope that he would be able to change all that with the research he was working on. Hidden in his other room was his creation that he believed would change the way he lived.

“How’s your work coming along?” Jennifer asked. Graham’s heart elated. No one actually knew what the research was about but they still asked how it was moving. And Jennifer knowing about his research was a reward in it’s own.

“It’s going well. If everything goes as per plan, you will see a new me in two days.” Graham said excited.

“A new you.” Jennifer spoke, confused.

“Just wait for two days.” Graham smiled, while cursing himself slightly for saying more than he had meant to.

Jennifer smiled.

The party moved along smoothly and when it finally ended, Graham relaxed on his chair.

‘Two more days.’ Graham thought and went to his room for more tinkering.

“Hi Jennifer.” Swapnil said in a soft voice. Arpita sniggered behind him.

“H.. hi..” Jennifer said. Her voice was cracking and she was on the verge of tears.

“I know Jennifer that it is a weird case. You can tell me whatever the truth is and I will believe you.” Swapnil spoke in a soothing tone.

In the past three days, he has racked up every theory about what might have happened. Had the past version of Graham came and got killed by the present one? Were there twins? Or was it all a hoax to fox him. He had interrogated the whole building again but all of them had been silent on the matter, saying that they had not seen Graham for some time. Except for Jennifer, who had accidentally spilled that Graham’s birthday was two days before his death.

“I don’t know what happened.” Jennifer said trembling.

“But you know that something weird has happened. Right.” Arpita spoke from behind, in an even calmer voice.

Swapnil could smell victory but before he could prod Jennifer, Arpita put her hand on him and stopped him.

“You liked him, didn’t you?” Arpita said carefully.

Jennifer nodded and wiped tears from her eyes.

“Tell us the whole thing Jennifer. I know that you haven’t killed him. You have nothing to be afraid about.” Swapnil spoke taking cue from Arpita.

“We dated a few years ago. At that time, he was the jolliest person I knew. He was well liked in the whole building. No one actually knows how he earned money but most guessed that either he was wealthy or worked from home.

However, he was very conscious of how he looked and crazy about having the best looking body. When he started gaining weight, he became obsessed about improving his health. However, doctors said that it was a hormonal issue and while they can help him control the weight, he won’t ever be in the same shape as before.

He started having mood swings and became sad. He dumped me saying that he didn’t want to inflict himself upon me. I tried convincing him that it doesn’t matter but he won’t listen. We talked on and off and he hinted to me that he was working on a solution to get his old body back.” Jennifer spoke with intermittent of sobbing. Arpita put her hand on Jennifer’s shoulder and squeezed it.

“So, the body we found was…”

“…how Graham used to look. But I had seen him two days ago and he was not looking like this. He did mention he would have a new look in two days. I don’t know what he did but it was weird. The whole building is spooked by seeing the old Graham’s body. No one actually believes it’s Graham. They think he is hiding somewhere. Some think he was doing some ritual that failed.”

Swapnil and Arpita looked at each other. The story filled a lot of gaps but they still didn’t know how he died.

Jennifer’s phone vibrated on the table. She looked at the two, asking for permission to pick up the phone. Swapnil nodded. Jennifer looked at the message and squeaked. She dropped the phone and moved away from the table.

“What happened?” Swapnil asked urgently.

“The message is from Graham.”

Swapnil picked the phone and checked the mail.

Hey Jennifer.

If you are reading this mail, it means my experiment failed. It also means that my experiment succeeded.

I tried to create a perfect body all my life and then, it failed me due to faulty programming. Hormones, which were supposed to help me become better retaliated against me. However, I could never give up.

I started working with researchers across the world to create a tissue body for me that would be perfect in all ways. The trouble was how to shift my consciousness into the new body.

The challenge was big but I tried by best. No hard disk was big enough to store the whole consciousness. That’s when I got the idea that changed my life. I used a distributed network to disperse my consciousness.

Thus, it became a two step process. First, I removed myself from the old body. Second, to put it in the new body and reboot the body.

I had started the process of dispersion a few months ago. After the birthday, I put my new body in the house while removing the old body forever. The plan was to show you the new me, as a return gift to you.

Unfortunately, if you are getting this mail, it means I did the first step correctly but failed in the second step. Maybe the body didn’t reboot or it failed in some other way.

I loved you a lot Jenny and I’m sorry for failing to become better.

Goodbye!

Swapnil read the whole email and sat down. All three of them looked at each other. Jennifer’s hands were on her mouth and Arpita was looking from Jennifer to Swapnil to the phone.

“It can’t be possible.” Jennifer spoke first.

“I don’t know.” Swapnil said honestly. Of all the theories he had thought, the truth still beat him in weirdness.

“What is a distributed system?” Jennifer asked.

“Any system that shares resources. For example the internet is something like this. Theoretically, one can use the processing and storage power of multiple computers for a single purpose.” Arpita explained.

“Like creating a consciousness.” Jennifer asked.

“I don’t think that’s possible.” Swapnil said looking at Arpita.

The phone vibrated once again.

Hey Jennifer.

I am alive!

It’s incredible. I thought my consciousness would dissolve once the experiment has failed but I can feel everything.

I have finally found the perfect body. Now, we can be together forever.

I love you.

Graham.

Swapnil finished the sentence and a silence fell in the room.

Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

Rule

It was not what Nishit had expected but he went with the flow anyways. He knew that the amount of time it would take to change the whole plan was more and the effort tedious. Better to just follow along the plan and make a switch at the last moment.

“Tricky stuff.” A voice said in his head. The first time it had happened, Nishit had jumped a few feet in the air. Now, it was a voice which was sometimes a council, other times an annoyance but almost always, a friend.

“Yeah. But no other way.” Nishit whispered. For some reason, this voice wasn’t able to hear his thoughts. He had to explicitly state the words from his mouth. Even if whispered inaudibly, it would work but not before that. He sometimes wondered why it was so.

“May I suggest an alternative.” The voice said with glee. This was a bad sign. Despite all the good things about the voice, there was one major flaw.

“We can try to switch now instead of later.” The voice said.

“We would die if we did that.” Nishit said annoyed.

“And the downside being?” The voice said genuinely confused. The voice was extremely suicidal. This meant that almost all first advice from the voice was risky and dangerous. Nishit had learned this the hard way. Luckily he escaped unscathed from the event, primarily because he was skeptical of the advice during the early days.

“Any other advice?” Nishit asked patiently. The voice went silent for some time and then spoke.

“Don’t make the switch at all. Instead, make the switch irrelevant.”

“How?”

“Credibility is required for the action she’s taking. No credibility, no result would come from her action.”

“You really think that would work.”

“Better than switching.” The voice said seriously.

“We will own the High Tower then.” Nishit said smiling.

“Yes. And we can jump off it too.” The voice said again filled with glee.

Nishit knew what he had to do. To own the High Tower was his biggest dream. And he knew that it wasn’t possible until Minerva left the High Tower. Nishit had been trying to find various methods, most unsucessful to get the High Tower. That was before the voice.

The voice, for all its flaws, was cunning. All its plans (the non-suicidal ones) were spot on and never failed.

Minerva sighed and got to bed. She was tired but knew that she won’t be able to get more than a couple of hours of sleep. She didn’t remember the last time when she had slept without someone waking her up for any of the umpteen stupid reasons.

If there was one thing that Minerva wanted, it was to leave the High Tower and live a life of peace and rest. Unfortunately, the law of the land dictated that the only way to change the ruler in the high tower was to overthrow him or her. Besides, the people won’t let her live in peace if she left the Tower. Enemies would still find her a threat and try to kill her. She wasn’t bothered by the fear of death as much as annoyance of attempts.

“What are you thinking? You are doing the right thing.” Minerva said to her mulling over the events that had just transpired. Nishit was her favorite enemy. While others were toiling for the High Tower, Nishit was actually working for the people. He wasn’t even ambitious before Minerva got into his head. She couldn’t hear his thoughts but whatever he talked about was gentle and made her happy. Nishit was the right heir to her.

Unfortunately, the only way for him to rule over the High Tower was to remove her.

“I hope it works as well as I have planned it.” Minerva said to herself before putting on the blanket. If all went as she wanted, within a year, she would be sleeping as much as she wants without anyone every coming to torture her. It would be Nishit’s problem then.

Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

The Last One

Whenever I used to watch the tales of immortal beings — I used to get a thrill. Part of it was because how idiotic it all looked. Whenever people envisioned immortality, they would picture vampires or other similar creatures. Hideous, heinous and horrible. Either that, or it was pictured that it was happening through some scientific discovery that was only available to the rich. The third option of course was to be a god. All in all, being immortal was considered either a curse or a boon. It wasn’t an option available for humans.

The second reason for the thrill was because I’m immortal. I know… I know… You are surprised. I know what you people are thinking — “Come on Arvindraj. Surely you are joking. You don’t look over 25. How can you be immortal?”

But you see, that’s the thing. 25 is the peak human physical age. And I stopped at that point. My body doesn’t age and I simply regenerate any tissue or damage. Diseases are rare and infrequent. And most don’t affect my perfect immune system.

Now, I’m not here to brag about how awesome living forever is. I mean don’t get me wrong — it’s awesome — but there is more to this than just living forever. You have to watch your people go.

Saying this, Arvindraj clicked the camera and shut it down. He couldn’t carry on any further. He sat there for a few minutes thinking about the last time he had to let go. That was the most pain he had ever felt in his entire life. 500 years have passed since that incident and yet, he has not yet forgotten the day his species, sans him, ceased to exist.

Over the past 3500 years, he had lived through many catastrophes including the great floods and the bubonic plague. He had seen the people he love pass away. His friends, kids, their grandkids and so many more people. However, he had never anticipated in his dreams that he would ever see the end of human race.

“We seemed so durable.” Arvindraj said to himself before a flash light brought him to the reality.

“I’m sorry Mr. Human. Can you give me your autograph?” A small kid asked in a grating tone. The sound reminded him of turning wheels screeching on the road. His English was clearly broken and weak.

“Sure, kid. What’s your name?” Arvindraj asked the kid. He was around 3 feet tall, with three feet. One of the feet was basically a wheel that could balance on itself. There were twelve eyes that Arvindraj constituted as triple vision he had heard about recently. This kid could see more colors than Arvindraj could imagine. His hair were small tentacles that could be used for smelling and he had gotten one of his hand replaced by a mechanical arm.

‘Typical Homo Supreme kid.’ Arvindraj thought.

“My name is Kryznk.” The kid said. Three individuals were looking towards Arvindraj wondrously. Arvindraj assumed they were Kryznk’s parents. Arvindraj couldn’t distinguish between the parents as mother or father. He found it difficult to do with Homo Supreme. Especially since they had three sets of DNA, aside from the multiple machine parts.

Arvindraj wrote a few words in English and then in another language that he knew was Kryznk’s local tongue.

“You can speak this language.” Kryznk said awe-struck. Arvindraj had heard this tone several times. Most Homo Supreme people assumed that he was some prehistoric creature who would barely understand what they were saying. And while it was true that Homo Supremes were more intelligent due to their two brain structure, Arvindraj was no slouch. He had over the millennia learnt hundreds of languages and he could pick them up as quickly as any Homo Supreme. Besides, the fact that all Homo Supremes speak the same language gave Arvindraj more incentive to learn the language.

“Kryznk!” One of the parents’ whispered. Arvindraj was sure that the parent must have spoken more but it was difficult for Arvindraj to pick up the frequency. The kid however seemed to understand.

“I will go. Bye.” The kid said and left Arvindraj. Arvindraj looked around the room and checked the clock. He decided to call it a day. Arvindraj went to the reception area of the hotel where he was staying.

“Can you bring these items for me?” Arvindraj said giving the creature his list. This person had only three eyes and one of them was a compound eye and a second one was bionic.

The creature nodded. The kind of food Arvindraj needed was no longer easily available. Arvindraj knew that if he wasn’t on government payroll, he wouldn’t probably even be able to afford most of it. Thankfully, once Homo Supreme government realised that Arvindraj was immortal and the last of his species, they decided to keep him on their expense.

It was soon after the last human mother gave birth to a Homo Supreme baby with her husband, who was a homo supreme. Arvindraj had always thought that human race would end in a war. Instead, they were just assimilated into a superior race. It was no anti-climactic that Arvindraj could have never guessed it.

“Your food sir.” A person with tiny wings gave him the food and went away.

Arvindraj sat down and ate the food while looking at the itinerary for the next week. As part of the deal, Arvindraj had to attend 12 exhibitions every year where he was paraded along with several near-extinct species. This, along with weekly tests to see how he was immortal were the two conditions that helped him escape confinement.

‘With each Homo Supreme connected via hive mind, running away would have been futile anyways.’ Arvindraj thought to himself as he munched down on some chicken and rice.