Story Contest 2017 #1 - Outstanding Stories » Alone and Fading
“Alone and Fading” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2017 written by Anushka Shetty, India.
Alone and Fading
It was a silent evening when I heard the news of a boy who had drowned in a well in our locality. I was shocked at the news, it spread like wildfire and soon enough all eyes were glued on the TV.
My mother was deeply depressed as she had seen the boy’s mother wailing over her lost child. It took a few days for the news to die down especially in our locality. For the past few days my mind was very troubled. Did the boy deserve to die? If so why?
He was a year older than me and had just passed his tenth! Studying in tenth I know how difficult it is to pass with satisfactory marks. This led to even more questions- Are all our hard works futile? Is there a meaning to life? Could I have saved him?
Soon my mind was busy on other things. It was twelve in the night and I was busy completing my homework as I had a bet with the other girls that I would complete all my homework’s in one-shot. My eyes were burning; I went into the washroom and washed my face. When I looked at myself in the mirror, things went dark around me and before I knew it I was standing beside the well. Ok now this was too creepy and I regretted thinking about that boy.
I quickly discarded such thoughts and tried to find my way out of here or at least from that damned well where there were rumours of it being cursed. I had seen many ghost movies and was very well educated about the things we have to follow while escaping a ghost but I never imagined that my knowledge would be put to test. “How long are you going to keep this up?” I curled up like a cat that had spotted its enemy. “I am sorry I didn’t mean to startle you.” I turned and looked towards the direction of the voice while breaking my rule – never respond to any supernatural things, but the voice was so warm and comforting in this darkness that it felt reassuring. I found a boy wearing a casuals and spectacles, exactly like the picture in the newspaper.
“What do you want from me? Why am I in this place? What have..” .
“Whoa! Too much of questions, slowdown will you”.
“Okay – what.......do.......you......want......from......me? Why........did....”.
“Is this funny for you? Do you know I can chant mantras very well and they are well feared by ghosts?” Clearly that was a lie.
“Could you please not say I am a ghost as it makes me look evil”
“well are you one of those friendly ghosts that just want to spend time or the one that can rest in peace when it has fulfilled something?”
”I guess the one that wants to spend time”
“Oh! But how do I know you mean good”.
“Well if at any point you find this dangerous you can always leave”.
“How do I leave?”
“Don’t worry when dawn arises you will automatically disappear”.
I know I looked naive to just accept it like that but he didn’t look like those scary ghosts but more of a lonely one and believe me I have experienced loneliness and it is not a very pleasant thing and also I did wish I could have saved him. Maybe this is just one kind of saving for all you may know this may just be my dream and dreams can never hurt.
“So what is it that you want to do?”
“At last!! Just enjoy the show.”
The background soon started to change into a familiar area.
“Isn’t this the roadside vendor near the children’s park?”.
“Yes!!, I always wanted to try his food when I pass by him, but my mom would never allow me to have unhealthy things but now that I am dead it’s time to enjoy”
“I am not dead am I?”
“Of course not!! You can watch me eat if you want but I always wished to have it with someone else.”
“Alright, I’ll have one too.”
Soon we were gorging on a plate of fried cauliflowers. “I have a question, how am I enjoying these things and why does the cauliflower taste just like cauliflowers do, isn’t this supposed to be a dream? Why does everything feet so real?”
“Can you just enjoy the moment and for further reference don’t trouble me with questions regarding my death and maybe you will reach home faster than expected.”
Well that pretty much kept me shut but it would be a lie to say that I wasn’t enjoying this. “Our next destination would be the arcade centre so hold on” soon enough we were in front of the arcade station.
“Are all the games free...” I had totally forgotten that he had banned me from asking questions.
We were soon concentrating on our game and there was no one to stop us. We went from one game to another until we were fed up but the more we played the more we enjoyed each other’s company.
“That was fun lets head on to the next part.”
The background changed and we were in a library. “I always wanted to come here.” But as we were about to pick a book my right hand started disappearing. I frantically looked at him for we both knew our time was up.
“I guess this was supposed to happen.” I felt frustrated that he was sending me off so casually as if we were just some strangers. “Do you know why I selected you, because you seemed a fun person to be with and I had always envied the way you kept smiling in the morning,
“Morning? What morning are you talking about? Don’t leave me alone!!” That was the last I saw of him. At that moment I remembered that I had known him maybe not directly but I had seen him below the tree waiting for his bus while I was on my way to my school. I broke down crying. I wished I could see him again but that was the last I saw of him and my questions were left unanswered. But whenever I see the things we did together tears start rolling up, hoping that he found his peace.