Fiction Park

The unbearable light

  • The only truth in all this is that we’re scared and that we’ve got no idea of what’s coming next. What we need is voice that’ll calm us down. Tonight, I choose to be that voice for her
- Sarans Pandey

Dec 31, 2017-What do we do?” she whispers as another train roars past us, flickering the faint light that falls on her tender face. As the final carriage disappears into darkness, the tremors start to ebb away, leaving us alone, yet again, in the dead silence of the night. In all fairness, this is a beautiful night. The clouds above drift along the sky like a fleet of ships, slowly exposing the white circle that’s been hiding underneath. And in that brief moment of revelation, the entire city below, basks in its pale shimmer. Alas, I can’t spend more time admiring this spectacle as her voice, once again, reaches out to my subconscious. 

“Clive?” she tries to pull me back in. Whatever her voice can’t do, her touch can. I feel the tip of her fingers rest on my back, and like a sunflower responding to the light that falls upon it, I turn towards the warmth. Even though her voice has that calm and steady demeanour, I can see it in her eyes that she’s petrified. 

“What should we do?”

The question comes out yet again as a whisper, but as it gets inside my head, it echoes louder than a trumpet. I’ve been asked this question several times before. I’ve asked myself this question several times before. And like with all previous occasions, I fail to come up with an answer. I don’t know what to do next. None of my moves are ever calculated. I believe in Karma and it has worked just fine for me. But this right here, is unlike any other dilemma I’ve ever gotten myself into. I have a fellow human being looking up to me for guidance. That’s preposterous! Throughout my life I’ve tried to break free from the burden of responsibility, and yet here I am. How could I possibly deem myself capable of making a choice on someone else’s behalf? I know I am ready to face the consequences of my actions, but what about her? Is she prepared to risk it all? What if everything goes off the rails? Would she be sorry to have listened to me?

Is it curiosity or paranoia? I don’t know if I want to be angry at this woman for doing this to me–dragging me into this conundrum from which I see no escape. 

I haven’t eaten in hours and my entire body is aching. Never mind the sleepless nights. As I scavenge through what I believe are the miseries of my life, a thought crosses my mind. Maybe if I shift the blame on to her, then perhaps it would get a bit easier. Everything is like hot potatoes. I don’t care where it lands as long as it’s not my hand that’s holding them.

It doesn’t take long before I realise that no one’s going to answer my questions for me. But then again, maybe I never posed these predicaments expecting one. The sentences end with a question mark, but more often than not, these are merely daggers in disguise, wanting to incite rather than to elicit. If you pull that trick off, the victory is yours. But I can’t win against silence- I just can’t. It makes me reflect upon myself—something I don’t like doing. It’s not that I have a problem being wrong, it’s just that I don’t want someone else pointing that out for me. 

But what was I supposed to do, when in an alley late at night, a girl comes up to me, asking for assistance? I know I’m not the strongest of blokes, and I know I’m not that smart. But that really didn’t seem to matter at that point. As I try to find out why I did what I did, I travel back through the corridors of time. Perhaps it was my dad’s preaching. What my father thought was beautiful about the idea of lending a hand, was that you were not giving away something you had in abundance. But rather you were sharing something of which you had little. That way you were seeing a reflection of yourself in another being. And that way you were helping yourself. Today twenty years later, was this me finally heeding to the advice of my old man? Or was it merely lust that got me? 

Here I am, under the light of the moon, looking straight into her eyes. What should I tell her? My mind moves back and forth for a while and then it finally stops. I’ll go with the honesty.

I take a deep breath and smile. 

And against what all the voices inside my head say, I tell her. “It’s okay, I got this.”

As those words come out of my mouth, I can sense her easing up. And with that, I do too. The only truth in all this is that we’re scared and that we’ve got no idea of what’s coming next. What we need is voice that’ll calm us down. Tonight, I choose to be that voice for her. 

“I think it’s a myth” I add, getting a bit confident. “If it were true, somebody ought to have caught him by now.”

“Going on for four years is what I heard. That’s lot of practice,” she replies. 

“Reckon so. I read a little on him. About how he preys only on kids like us. Sick bastard” I say.

“Why the kids?”

“ I don’t know why he does it at all. But don’t worry, no one’s going to find us here.” I try to reassure her, getting a bit uncomfortable.

“He may be smart but I am not half bad either,” now trying to show off. 

She pulls me close and gives me a tender kiss. 

Then she whispers into my ear, in the most seductive manner possible “It’s a she.”

I hadn’t finished comprehending her response, not that words would have made any difference at the point. I look down and see a pool of blood forming below me. Disbelief, not physical discomfort, takes over me.

One last question before it ends. And the most important one of all.

 Wasn’t this supposed to be my story?

Published: 31-12-2017 08:22

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