"Whatever has happened once, will not happen again..but what has happened twice is bound to happen for the third time..." - Paulo Coelho from "The Alchemist"

Once Upon a Time

The logs crackled to life as the fire mustered enough strength to break the barrier of the ignition point of the wood. The black darkness of the night bowed down as the flames started to exert their supremacy and gave them a little space from its inky domain as a peace offering.

A smile of content came to Kumar’s face for his efforts as he wiped his brow with a handkerchief. Even in these times of anarchy and destruction he made a point to hang on to the last threads of civilization. Cooked food, Hygiene, No eating by hand were some of the few rules he had been enforcing to be followed.

‘Bye Bye Cold.’ clapped little Jimmy and threw in some twigs and pieces of plastic in the blaze. The bonfire instantly started to produce foul smelling black smoke, as the plastic started to curl from the heat.

‘That is enough Jim.’ Rita scolded him and forcefully made him sit in her lap.

Jimmy tried to wriggle free but a 5 year old was no match for the strength of the 13 year old girl.

‘Listen to her Jimmy.’ Kumar chuckled, ‘or you know both of us would get into trouble.’

A deep hue of red started to spread across Rita’s face. Sure, she had scolded Uncle Kumar from time to time, but it was for his own good, she always concluded. Sometimes he got a bit carried away in his enthusiasm, like the time he had jumped in the over flowing river because Jimmy wanted to fish for dinner.

‘Uncle Kumar, story.’ Jimmy chirped as he settled smugly into Rita’s lap.

‘Okay.’ Kumar said. ‘Now I know I have really spoilt you.’ he teased them.

Suddenly, the lights dancing in the sky caught Kumar’s eye. Just as they had appeared, they vanished but with them they swept off the moment of peace from Kumar’s mind.

‘Thank God the kids didn’t see them.’ the thought flashed in his mind.

‘Uncle Kumar. STORY.’ Jimmy shrieked.

‘All right, All right.’ Kumar tried to calm his quavering voice.

‘Once upon a time in a land not too far away, there lived a King. He was a great king. Compassionate, Brave, Just and Loved by all. But he had a vice. A very large problem. His anger.’

‘He had a raring temper and used to get angry at the most trivial of matters. Once he burnt all the apple orchards in his kingdom because one of the apples he ate hurt his gums. His name was Aramis.’ Jimmy gasped, apples were his favorite.

Kumar continued as if in a trance. ‘Aramis had a huge kingdom. It sprawled from the edge of the frozen Blue Mountains in the north to the bank of the Black Sea to the south, from the golden wheat farms in the east to the red desert in the west. His stories of might and strength were the first defensive walls against any outside invaders. Kings from all around were so scared of him that they had all married their daughters to him in order to maintain good relations. People from all around were in awe of him and respected him, except for at one place.’

‘On the other side of the black sea there was another kingdom. A beautiful land, of rivers and trees, of exotic animals and birds, of people who in spite being a little violent in nature had a little goodness in them. They didn’t have good boats which would allow them to cross the black sea, so had no idea that there was also someone across the sea.’

‘The crown prince of the Kingdom was Jadey. He was a little reckless and adventurous in nature, always climbing the Blue Mountains in the North or taming the Wild Rats of the red desert. One day he decided that he would go and see what is on the other side of the Black Sea. As was expected, Aramis forbid him to sail, but being as stubborn as his father, Jadey didn’t listen.’

‘That night Jadey set sail all alone. He traveled for 4 nights and still didn’t see signs of the land. On the fifth night there was a bad storm in the sea. Jadey tried and tried but just couldn’t control his boat. It kept on going in whatever direction the sea wanted it to go. Jadey just kept holding onto the main sail of the boat for his life. Finally the storm subsided and his boat touched land. He got down and marveled at the flora and fauna of the land. He kept on roaming on the land and saw strange creatures. He was just tasting some yellow colored fruit and looking at a cow in amazement when suddenly the natives saw him. The natives looked amazed at the appearance of Jadey. They hadn’t ever seen a person like them. They took him down and took him to their King.’

‘Meanwhile, Aramis on finding out that Jadey was missing got very worried. He knew that he must’ve gone to the Black sea. He ordered his whole navy to go out and look for him.’

‘Months went past and so did years but there was no clue of Jadey. Aramis kept on getting more and more worried. Finally one day, one of the scouts reported that they have found the remains of Jadey’s boat on some strange land across the sea.’

Kumar broke from his trance and saw that the kids had fallen asleep. He took a tattered quilt and covered them up with it. He slowly got up and moved towards the edge of the cliff. For miles and miles he could see the wreckage of his once majestic city. Fires which hadn’t stopped burning for the last 25 years still ravaged the whole world and mutated animals now roamed the streets once bustling with humanity. Kumar saw what remained of India Gate still standing, bathed by the light of the Spacecraft hovering above it.

‘If only the Americans knew the alien they had captured was the Prince of that Planet.’ Kumar thought sadly. ‘None of this would’ve had happened. We could’ve avoided all the death and destruction. There would’ve had been no need for them to invade us’. His eyes welled up as the images of the horrific past crashed down onto his soul. ‘If only that son-of-a-bitch would’ve stayed in his own forsaken world and not come to earth.’

He turned his back to the destroyed world and threw some twigs in the weakening fire.


Amit Anshu said...

What I love about your writing is that you have the natural flair of hiding the plot till the very end. And that keeps the readers glued. Its a talent and I think you should take it to the next level. Loved what you have written.Its excellent . Would be even more compelling if theres a little more punch.
You got me glued on this one,excellent !

Antriksh Satyarthi said...

Thanks Co-pilot.
I would like to know what you meant by the 'next' level.
As for the lack of punch is concerned,My bad. i was writing two stories at the same time so finished this one up in a hurry. Planning to re-edit it or maybe not. Ought to serve as a reminder not to load up my plate, makes a good story bad. :)

Amit Anshu said...

By ' taking it to the next level ' I meant I would like to see you writing a short story or something on similar lines. I think you can do it really well.
By lack of punch,I didnt mean that I wasnt compelled to read it.I actually loved how you took the story and narration forward.I would have loved an even forceful conclusion to the story. Nemesis of the world is a little cliched for me. Having said that, how you have put it across is absolutely fresh ! Just my 2 pence brother... !

N said...

Brilliant! Enjoyed reading it.

Such introspective stories are a fresh change from the slam bam thank you mam type fare. Good going man.


Erratic Thoughts said...

This was smooth and neat!
Liked it and I was gaping at the suspense at the end of the piece...
I could actually imagine the night enacted in-front-of me.
Eloquent writing!

Aastha said...

I can feel the emotions depicted here...Very well captured..Very unconventional style of narration but fun..

Antriksh Satyarthi said...

@N Thanks mate. Glad you liked it.

@E.T (LOLS) thanks a ton.

Was experimenting with a new style of writing. Thank god it didn't screw up big time. Focussed more on the treatment then the plot. No wonder the plot became so weak.

Yours Truly.

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