Well, hello there, people of WordPress! I’m back after quite a mighty long hiatus! And no, it’s not like I pulled a SHERLOCK, promising to be back and then disappearing off for another year ( eat dung, Moffat! ) (PS: just kidding, because 2016 is SO CLOSE!)
So, right now, I’m a little bit muddled up, still wondering about what to write. Do I make a cliched post about Christmas and how 2015 was for me? Nah, it’s too early for that one. How about my uni life, as a 1st semester Master’s student? More like brag about how smart I am compared to you non-nerds with your non-science background! Sounds like fun, buuuuut another day for that particular brag-a-thon! Or how about a teensy little thing I did on an uneventful day? Sounds good? Ok, let’s go-
So, the Write India Challenge. The Times of India, one of India’s leading newspapers, has been hosting an event called the Write India Challenge for amateur writers to see their work in print. Basically, every month, a renowned Indian author would publish a paragraph with a set of rules, and what we must do is cook up a worthwhile story using that particular paragraph. So, I came across this challenge last month and the author of the month was Ashwin Sanghi (author of Chanakya’s Chant and the Krishna Key) and I thought I’d give it a try.
So, here’s my work. Open to criticism and cynical praise. I would also like to mention that I was in the midst of a harried last minute assignment session and well, a little bit drunk. So, there are obvious grammatical errors. So you Grammar Nazis can calm your titties, and just enjoy the story 🙂
Here’s the author’s paragraph-
“I observed him carefully as he walked to the door. I knew that time was running out but suppressed the urge to check my watch. I took a deep breath and started counting in reverse under my breath. “Ten, nine, eight, seven…”
And here’s my story-
” DAY 275
Two hundred and seventy fifth day in the bunker. Not that I’m complaining, the bunker has everything that should be a necessity when total apocalypse calls, but it’s been months since I saw the sun. I’ve almost forgotten how it felt when the warm rays hit your face. Months since all of us, all 165 of us, have been outside. Outside. The very thought about what’s waiting for us outside chills me.
It’s been a year since the destruction ended. How it all started was a blur, and it still is. I can’t exactly put a finger onto the incite-point, none of us can. But as the days went by, it got worse. Some say it was supernatural forces, some proclaim it was judgement day which happened too soon, while some ranted that it was a foolish government conspiracy. Then came the aliens. Seems hard to believe but watching your best friend getting vapourized right in front of your eyes kind of puts things into perspective. What you see is what you believe, after all.
The sound of the military forces soon followed, albeit a week later. After a constant issuing of gunfire, grenade, and missiles, they ushered us out of our basements and we began our long journey towards what they called “Safe houses”. Long and perilious. We could travel only by night as these creatures, or aliens, fed on solar energy and hunted during the day. Let’s just say this journey, which lasted about 3 months, made me believe and call out to God more than I usually did.
To put it short, out of thousands of us city dwellers who were travelling, only around two hundred made it to the bunker alive. And we’ve been here ever since, for almost a year. It was awkward at first, a bunch of strangers all thrown in together, but like any small community, we learned to work together and well, survive. Three months in and our food rations started getting dangerously low. Some of them died from starvation, while some turned delusional and stopped eating completely. There were many illness spreading about like plagues and when we confronted a soldier about this situation, he said help is on the way. We waited patiently.
Two months and still no news from the outside world. No food, no medicine. The soldiers who were with us decided to go out and look for something. They made a plan, to travel that night as soon as possible. I hugged Lt. Raznovski hard. Out of all the hard headed soldiers, he was the one who was the most sincere and was close to my father. During nighttine, we bid them farewell, and watched their rickety jeep go about a few metres before they were ambushed by those creatures.
We saw the jeep go up in flames, a few bodies fall, a few run away before Dean slammed the bunker door shut. We were stunned. None of us could move or talk, but we all knew what each of us were thinking without verbally addressing it. All hope was lost.
The darkest of times followed. We were scared, hungry. Manic could be seen in our eyes. Some of us held onto the last shred of humanity that we had, while a few of them lost their sanity and ran out the door. We didn’t stop them. We couldn’t stop them. Nobody knows what happened to them. It was during this time that Dean started taking charge of the whole situation, the bunker and us, survivors.
The most important thing for us, right now, was food. We decided that fifty of us should go hunting or scavenging for anything edible once dusk settled, while the rest of the group tried getting the radio to work, or scrounge around the bunker to find anything helpful. I was always in the hunting party because I knew that if I stayed another second longer inside the bunker, I would go mad! I had to do something to keep my mind off the nightmares, to keep myself busy. Dean understood that and placed me in charge of the hunts. We would leave as soon as the sun settled, then split, half of us going north, while the other half headed south, and then circle back and repeat. The surrounding farm land was filled with trees and bushes and a few barns here and there. On some days, when we’re lucky, we’d stumble upon barns filled with hen, pigs and fresh supply of milk and eggs, despite the obliterated farmhouse. On the other days, we get by with fruits and nuts that we scrouge from the trees and the bushes.
A week later, the noises started. Bangs, scratches, weird hissings were heard throughout the whole day, from dawn till dusk. They know. They knew we were hiding in here. Once the sounds stopped, after dusk, we opened the door to investigate, with Dean leading, only to find a bunch of broken bones and a skull, a human skull, placed at the foot of the door. If they were sending us a message to scare us, they were succeeding.
But we knew, deep down, that we couldn’t live in fear of them any longer, so we hatched a plan. We would lure them using a bait and use whatever tools we had as weapons. Even if we were outnumbered, we would, at least, get an idea about what exactly we were dealing with, even if it means getting our heads ripped off. “Knowing is half the battle”, Dean smirks at me.
“So”, interjects Emma, “everything sounds clear, except, who or what is going to be our bait?” “I will”, I say, without hesitation, “I’ll be the bait”. “Are you sure about that?”, Dean asks while Emma and the others eye me anxiously. “What have I got to lose?”, I smile and shrug at them. “So that’s settled then!”, Dean announces while the rest of the bunker gets enveloped in a cloud of foreboding. In spite of my courage a few seconds before, I could not quite shake off the feeling that something was going to go horribly wrong.
A few more hours left before sunrise. I clamp my hands nervously on the sides of the chair that I’m sitting on, facing the bunker door, which was closed, and which will soon be opened just for me. Me, a sacrificial human gift. Huh. I couldn’t stop the giggle escaping from my throat. Dean peeks out through a hole in the wall and mutters, “A few more minutes till showtime” He walks back towards me with a concerned expression and before he could even open his mouth, I interrupt him saying “Dean, I’m ready. It’s going to be OK. Get ready now because it’s almost time” Everyone scampers off to their positions while Dean, gives me a thumbs-up and turns towards the door.
I could see the first rays of sunlight filtering through the timy hole in the wall. It was time. We waited, for we knew the sounds would soon engulf the whole place. Nothing happened at first and so we waited some more. What’s taking them so long? I shoot a look at Dean and he just shrugs.
I observed him carefully as he walked to the door. I knew that time was running out but suppressed the urge to check my watch. I took a deep breath and started counting in reverse under my breath. “Ten, nine, eight, seven…”
My head snapped up! Before Dean could even pull the door open, it was pushed open from the outside. I could make out a silhoutte standing against the sunlight. It stood still for a moment before it took a few steps forward. It walked slowly but the gait was somewhat familiar to me, like that of a known person. Dean yelped once he got a closer look and ran towards the person and hugged him!
As the two of them came closer, I recognized the round, tanned face of Mr. Raznovski and I gasped in surprise! Before I could do anything, he winks at me and gives a long, high-pitched whistle. There was a second of silence, and then something like a claw rips through Dean’s chest, squirting his blood everywhere. Before I could even react, Mr. Raznovski jumps onto the ceiling, swings from the bars and gets hold of the remaining people who were awaiting for their moment in ambush. The next few seconds were a blur of bodies and Mr. Raznovski’s snarls.
Soon, it got quiet. He came upto me and stood staring into my eyes. I got up from the chair, ready to make a dash for it. We stared at each other for a few more seconds before I couldn’t hold it in any longer-
“What took you so long?!”, I yelled at Raz. “Well, timing was everything!”, Raz grinned back, flicking his reptilian tongue in and out of his snake-like mouth, “Also, I wanted to make sure I got my claws into Dean before you did!”. “WHAT? You knew he was all mine!”, I whined, “I even sharpened my claws for the occasion”, I showed him my shiny steel claws. Ah well, atleast it wasn’t stained with blood.
“Well, alright, the next town, you get to call the shots”, Raz reasons.
“You’re damn right, I will!”, I grin, showing him my fangs.
It was one hell of a vacation.”
Soooooo? Did you guys like it? Let me know!