Saturday, April 5, 2008

5th April '08 Late Morning

The Puppet-Master

The first thing that I remember was confessing my love to one of my friends after I met her after a few years. She and I used to study together in the same school and knew each other very well. She also liked me but yeah, didn't love me! She just smiled after she heard what I said and said that she, kind of, had that feeling that I might be in love with her.
Next thing I saw myself walking with her in the corridor of some place which was either a school or some other place. Surprisingly enough she was holding my hand while walking. She entered some place which was in fact a dressing room. I said that I'd wait outside, but after sometime I went inside and saw her a bit undressed from the top, standing in one of the sections. I felt like hugging her and kissing her. Her face showed strange anxiety and fear, which I couldn't help notice.

We were standing together in some well lighted, well furnished railway station, which more looked liked an airport than a typical Indian railway station. She spotted her mother, and we went to her. I greeted her mother, and tried to show extra respect by bending a little. Her mother had a baby, which was supposedly hers. Only baby's nose was showing, rest was covered. I requested if I could see his face to see if he looks more like her mother or her father. Aunty obliged, and when I saw his face, it looked like both of his parent's face, a perfect blend. We then realized that the train in which we were to go, was leaving the platform. We quickly bid goodbye to her mother and started running. I asked her to hold my hand, which she did and then we finally caught up with the last bogie. We didn't have any heavy luggage, just a backpack each. I got onto the stairs of the entrance of the bogie, then got inside, then helped her inside. I saw that it was a luggage compartment without any direct path to other bogies. The train also had stopped temporarily for a few seconds, and had then again started moving. I asked her to get down, got down myself, then went into the compartment before the last one. I got into the compartment, then helped her in. She realized something as she got into the compartment, and exclaimed, "I dropped my Encarta DVD while getting inside!" in a tone of agony more than sadness or pain. I pressed her hand which I was holding, to assure her that everything is going to be all right, that we are safe now, although I had never seen her as perturbed as this before. Something was going on that I was unaware of.

There also I found no path connecting to the other bogies, but we had to stay put as the train had gained good speed now. So we sat there. Surprisingly there were a few beds, with mattresses and bedsheets on them. I found that strange, and thought that some persons had laid them for themselves. But there was no crease or wrinkle on those bedsheets, as if were meant for some visitors. I wanted to stretch myself on one of those and sleep for a long time, but then I saw a pot belly, dirty shirt guy who was standing outside, on the extension part of that bogie, moving inside the bogie. I hadn't noticed him earlier, and was both surprised and disturbed at his presence. He was puffing his cigarette and looked at both of us for more than a few seconds, as if expecting us, and he walked back into the extension part of the bogie and started doing something, calling someone perhaps!
I signaled her to stay with me, sit beside me, but I guess she wanted some time with herself. There was no time for that, so I got up and sat beside her. I had a feeling that this was some plan, that we were being set-up. My fears couldn't be more true when I saw the pot bellied guy again, this time with few of his friends walking into the compartment and standing in front of us. What surprised was that the train hadn't stopped, that it was still moving, then how did these guys get onto this bogie?

"Ah I see, your friends are better dressed than you are!" I commented at pot bellied guy. I felt as if I knew those people, dressed in strange costume kind of dresses. They were four of them, and the pot bellied guy. The guy who looked like the leader spoke, "I had been looking for you for such a long time. Finally I have found you!" but he wasn't speaking to me, he was speaking to her! At this, she caught my arm and pulled me closer to herself.

I got scared and angry at the same time. I looked at her and realized that she knew him as if I could read her mind by looking at her face. Those expressions were so clear and distinct.
"And as for you, my friend, I know you too. We had met lately. You're a nice guy, I like you. You possess great powers, but alas you're unaware of them!" and then he laughed wickedly, "Now if only you would move aside and let the girl walk to me."

When I refused to let go and held her close to myself, wrapping my arms around her, he said, "then I am left with only one thing to ..." before he could finish his sentence, I suddenly realized that 'he had the power of optical illusion, which felt real as he attacked the person's mind. And that he'd be using some kind of flying snakes as an attack on me and that I can and should resist the snakes, and keep them at a distance and not allow them to hurt me, as one hit would also weaken my mind power.' I heard all that as if someone was whispering in my ears.

The scene around us changed. I saw huge flames, and lava, and flying snakes coming out of them. I heard the sinister laugh of him and others. I resisted the snakes and didn't allow them to come near me. It took some time, but after that I realized that I was walking without my luggage, on some railway platform which looked similar like the previous one. I felt that I was still holding her and that she was walking beside me. I met a few of my friends who had come to receive me at the station. They grinned at me and asked me that why was I keeping my left hand, half stretched out, in a weird shape while walking, as if holding some invisible person?
I looked at my left and realized that I'd lost her. "O damn!" and started running in the opposite direction. I covered a few blocks of the platform running when I saw someone carrying her and walking towards me. He was one of our good old friend from high school. But what was he doing here? I hadn't met him in years! And how did he find her in such a condition and how did I lose her? All these thoughts made me think, "How did I suddenly end up walking at this platform, i.e., at the right destination?" "Where were the snakes and those men?" and a few more perplexing questions!
"Hey man! Thanks! Thanks for saving her. Is she alright?" I asked.
"Yeah, unconscious though."
I saw her, and it looked like the flames of that illusion had affected her a lot. Her dress, her hair, her face bore the signs. I felt miserable that I couldn't even take good care of her.
"So, we haven't met in years, how have you been?!" he asked me, as we walked together, with me
carrying her this time. We went back to my friends, and I introduced him to my friends and vice-versa. I explained my friends everything that had happened. We all hurried to our college campus, which was the best thing to do at that time, as suggested by my friends because they were suspecting some curfew or fight to break out somewhere in the city.
By the time we reached the campus, it was late evening. She was still unconscious, which disturbed me a lot. One of my friends looked at me, realized what I was thinking, and said, "I know what you're thinking, but we can't take her to the hospital."
As we got down from the cab, we heard disturbing voices and movements from inside the campus building. We ducked behind a cover in front of our campus. "I never expected our college campus to be the epicenter for this fight." One of my friends said.
"Listen, you must help me. We must find a safe place for her to rest. Is the whole campus filled with these fights? There has to be some place inside, which would be safe!"
"Are you kidding me?" he said, "No place is secure right now."
We heard a sudden blast from inside the campus, with flames and smoke flying upwards.
"See! The place where we are right now is most secure place, got it?" he said in an attempt to close the discussion.
A few more blasts and we saw about 15-20 people running out of the building. These blasts woke her up. She was surprised to see where she was and also among the people she was. I decided to go inside and help them. "I have some special powers, that I have recently realized", I said, "and I am going to use that." Before they could stop me, I left.
I cautiously entered the building, by walking behind the wall of the campus, to avoid being spotted. As I reached inside, a group of people caught me, then somehow recognized me and said, "Abhishek, please help us!" It was more of a plea than an order. Those were my batch mates.
We all assembled in one of the classrooms and everyone was told that I was also there to join the battle. I was called, Beachhead, I wondered why! We were all GI Joe fans, but this fight looked more than real! As we moved out of the room to face the enemies, I saw many people lying on the floor, some of whom I could recognize. I felt miserable again. I fought with my mind-power, and converted some people from the mobster's gang into our team. I controlled and ordered them and prevented few others from attacking anyone. Everything was going fine, when suddenly I felt that she might be in danger. I immediately left the building, freezing minds of my players.
I saw my friends and her hiding behind the rock, at a distance when suddenly I saw those 4 people in costumes and the pot belly guy walking towards them from behind. I ran as fast as I could towards them, and shouted, "NNNNNNOOOOOO". They looked at me, and the optical illusion guy gave a sinister smile, and while other four handled my friends, he went towards her, and as he was about to hold her, something inside me shouted, all my rage came out as I stretched my right arm, palm facing towards him. He got a shock inside, then he attacked me with his illusion thing, but I had tasted it before, so I simply got rid of it in no time. I froze their minds.
I didn't meet them, but went back inside the campus, to finish what I had left. I activated my players, who were attacking their team, and surprising them. I was rather having fun now, but also felt tired and relieved after what I had done. She was safe now, I thought. Suddenly something caught my ear.
I heard my group leader say, "Zander, come on man! You're injured doesn't mean you can't fight. GI Joe's always fight!" and then I saw this "Zander" guy, sitting with his girlfriends, moaning. "Alright!" he said, and got up. I asked my group leader, "How can you name him 'Zander'! 'Zander is a cobra's name, not a GIJoe's name!"
I might have said this a bit louder, but surprisingly after I had completed my sentence, I felt silence all around. I turned around and saw that everyone was staring at me! I couldn't get much time to wonder as to what had happened, because everyone suddenly started shouting and laughing... someone played music in the background and everyone around me started dancing!
I was REALLY perplexed this time! Now what happened? I thought. I saw the people lying on the floor rising and dancing! It scared me for a fraction of a second. If that was not all, I saw her and my friends who were hiding outside, rush inside, smiling and laughing! She didn't have any burn marks and looked as beautiful as ever. But what was happening?!
"It was a game" someone shouted from the basement floor, "in case you're wondering what's happening! " and started dancing again!
"You were at home when we had planned all this." my group leader told me, "But I didn't know you were so good. You played the role of 'Puppet Master' beautifully! You were great!"
"You mean, the people I controlled, converted, attacked were acting? They weren't even looking at me when I was doing my stuff!"
"O come on! I agree you were great, but don't take it too seriously, it was a game."
"What about the people we met in the train?" I asked her. To this, the group leader showed that he was surprised, and I could see that without looking at him!
"What about them? I didn't have knowledge of everything! I just knew my role, that's it! And I am sure he must have planned all the weird things that happened with us during the journey, with optical illusion or other hi-fi gadgets he uses.", she said looking at the group leader. I had no idea how the two knew each other! She was not a student of my college.
"What? NOOO. Wasn't the game supposed to be just within the campus premises, as the last celebration during the holidays before the new semester started?! Hey you know what, relax guys, its celebration time! Weird things happen. They are just coincidences." he said cheerfully!

I looked at her and she looked at me. We knew those were not coincidences. I finally figured out what the illusion guy meant by, "we have met lately" and the reason only the nose of the baby was showing when we had gone to meet her mother. He became the baby as a disguise, so that he could keep track of us. He knew I might recognize him and the perfect blend of mother and father's looks was what took my attention and he saved his cover.
She didn't get burned or bruised, or unconscious. Those flames were meant to attack me only and I could prevent those flames from hurting someone else, which I now realize. I was fighting that guy's illusion, in the process of which, I teleported directly to my destination, the reason I am still unaware of. She was left alone in the bogie, since those bad guys couldn't attack her because I had defeated them and so they left her alone, and decided to take her when I was not around. She found herself alone in the bogie and got down at the right station, coincidentally meeting our good old friend. She made a plan to trouble me and make me feel guilty that I had left her. She didn't see me teleporting because she had closed her eyes when I was holding her close, and when I teleported, that feeling of me being around remained for sometime, then vanished.

Everything around me felt uncertain now. She was afraid, in fact and that she wasn't telling me the whole truth. My friends might have told her that all the things happening along was a game, which did give her some relief, but in reality also, she was expecting something of this sort to happen.
I loved her, but she didn't trust me enough.
My thoughts were interrupted by her voice. She had turned a little away, and said, "I'd better get going to my aunt's house. She would be waiting for me and getting worried." She smiled, but not as cheerfully as she usually does.
"I'll accompany you!" I said.
"No need. You celebrate along with your friends. I can go myself!" she said, then walked up to me, held my hand, pressed it a little and whispered, "thank you for everything." and finally she smiled with that shine and beauty. I was assured that she would be fine.
The guys who were after her had been suitably rewarded. From now on, they can't use their brains, they live like zombies. They'd stay and decay where they are lying right now. I am sure there are other guys looking for her, for some reason wanting something from her. And I'll be there to ensure that they don't succeed.
Then it struck me as obviously and as strangely as ever... "the Encarta DVD".


S.Ghosh said...

wow !!! great ...i must admit i first thought i would read a paragraph but then i was so absorbed in ur sci-fi story i read it end with an enthu ....
great work ...u should be a writer ....

will wait more from you ...
keep well

ojas said...

gooood :D

Abhishek said...

@S.Ghosh: Thanks a lot for your comment, and compliment! :D
@ojas: Thanks. :)

Anonymous said...

Refreshing. :) and its good. Very well put! :)