Monday, July 9, 2012

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE - Chapter I

Her shrill voice, calling my name again and again, is ringing in my ears and drawing me on like a magnet. I am getting pulled by it's force across the oceans, over the abandoned skyscrapers, into the empty lanes of my neighborhood, towards my home. The voice in my ears is getting louder and louder and so is my heartbeat as I approach my deserted home.

Memories long hidden in the remotest corners of my brain are surging in like a wave and painting the image of reality with their colors. I can see Tom pushing the swing to and fro, seated on which little Steph is shrieking with delight. There I am, struggling to play baseball with Tom. I miss the ball 3 out of 5 times. May be I am getting older, or may be he is or may be both. The characters are as impervious to me as they are to their gloomy surroundings, the overgrown grass and the dilapidated house.

I enter the house through it's open door. Her voice is the only thing that is occupying my mind right now, and I am moving towards it's source as a hypnotized person. I faintly observe myself as I walk past the living room, arranging dinner on the table wearing an apron while my two kids are fighting over the sofa set to get the TV remote. They run through me while I am ascending the stairs. I fling open the door of my bedroom, which was already ajar. She is standing near the wall facing her back to me and looking at the portrait taken on our marriage day, her slender body dressed in black. Her voice, calling me again and again, is reverberating through the whole room, giving my name a haunted effect. As I go nearer, her sounds gradually become high pitched shrieks coming from multiple places in the room resulting in an unbearable din with my loud heartbeat giving it a rhythm. Finally, I put a hand on her shoulder and she turns back...

I spring up from my bed as if it has exploded under me. My head is sweating profusely. I walk to the wash basin and sprinkle some water on my face, to erase any effects of the dream left. But I can still see my younger self in the mirror.

10 years of nothingness... then why this sudden outbreak of memories? Memories which I have long abolished. Memories in whose possession I lived like a haunted person for one year.

When I were sober, they would chase me like wolves. They used to spring up on me unexpectedly, while sitting on the couch, while eating dinner, while watching TV, while making coffee, while mowing the garden, while sleeping alone in the night and while waking up in the morning to realize that I am alone. They would attack me with their claws of happiness, laughter, mirth and joy and thereafter leave me to nurse the wounds of solitude.

When I were drunk, I would chase them. I would seek them in the dark corridors which my children used to light up with their laughter, in mornings on the empty half of the bed by my side in which used to be filled with her scent, in the cup of coffee left untouched on the patio table which for some reason I would still make though there was no one to drink it. In my misery and bitterness, I would curse these memories for being so radiant, filled with so much hope and happiness. I would hurl abuses at them and running inside and around the house drive them out of it. But they always came back.

Perhaps if there were any person to talk with, any person who could actually respond to my grief, I would have recovered much faster. But there was none. The world had ended. Literally it did, for every one else on the planet. But for me the world that I knew ended and was substituted by another one of loneliness and misery. By some miracle, like the single sperm cell which makes it out of the millions, I had survived the doomsday 21-12-2012 and was the last person alive on earth given with the responsibility of extending the length of human era by another 60 years at the most....


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