Persistence Of Life
The Green Desert
I woke up with a throbbing pain in my head, and looked up, where the stars would usually have been if only it was a normal night. This was neither normal, nor the night. I knew he was up there. This place was so familiar…
I know you are puzzled. Who am I? What mysterious place is this and who am I looking for, up in the sky everyday? I wish I could answer all your questions. You see, I seek the answers to the same questions. I do not know who I am. I do not know how I came to this deserted land covered with green grass. Everywhere I look, I see nothing but blades of grass growing in perfect harmony. Once in a while, a breeze graces this land of nothingness, and the blades wave in maddening unison.
Oh yes, I said I can’t answer all the questions but here’s one I can.
He watches over me everyday, as fiercely as an archer guarding his castle. His blood red body sprouts orange wings that move effervescently in the sky, keeping him afloat with a strange ease. He looks at me with those deep, sad eyes and some unknown force beckons me to follow him, as he walks away. As day turns to dusk, and dusk to night, he perches himself on a small rock and closes his eyes. I follow his lead and fall asleep.
So that is my routine, and that is what it will be. I’m a man stuck in a grassy savannah, following an orange bird into nothingness.
Except, today. Today is different.
As I walk and he flies, I can see the landscape changing. It was just a single blade of grass at first, longer than the others, with a drop of blood on it. Now there are more blades of grass, covered in blood, some with pieces of glass. My eyes are flooded with tears and my head is throbbing again. As I fall to my knees and stare at the orange bird, I realize, the bird is less of a bird, and more of a boy. No wait… It is a boy with an orange shirt.
He no longer flies, but gingerly walks to the horizon. In the distance, I see a clock. The boy is almost below it now. It is ticking, the hands are gaining pace. Soon they are furiously rotating and I sense my time is coming to an end.
The Ending of the Clock
The on-duty nurse was cleaning the intensive care unit when she noticed his signs. For a few seconds, everything was normal, giving her a faint ray of hope, only to have it erased in the next moment. Soon every reading, every machine in the room said this world had lost him, he slipped into the afterlife.
The mother cried herself to sleep yet another night. She dreamt of her little boy again. She still remembered his orange shirt and effervescent smile, as he walked out the door to bring her groceries, that sight had never left her eyes. His orange shirt was daubed in painful shades of crimson, when they brought her his body. It was a little comforting for her to know that the man who drove the car that took her son’s life was rid of his misery today, after a month in coma, shifting from his life in the limbo to his afterlife.
~Deepak Krishnakumar | Edited by Aditi Dhasmana