​(This is a work of fiction. The writer gives to the reader the liberty to post this work anywhere online but not with wrong credits. Also, any form of printing or publication is prohibited without prior notice.)

[Short Story]

She ran breathless through the woods, all muddy and bruised, slipping on the stones and stepping on broken branches lying on the damp ground. She kept running deeper into the density, as the last bits of lights kept leaving her skin, the grass rising from her ankles to her knees and then back to her ankles before turning into moss, away from any source of help or comfort of human presence. From this point, she could have gone anywhere but never would be found, making her run seem like a run for life. She never stopped to look, never turned, never took a moment’s pause to catch her breath.

In that chamber, settlement hadn’t come into existence. Their civilization was a different kind. They never stopped at a place for too long to suck it dry of its resources. Their lifestyle was still nomadic, yet luxurious and sophisticated enough.

There, they would often meet up at places and stock their earnings to help and feed everyone and celebrate for good spirits and the mere virtue of selfless help and co-operation. Comedians and actors performed, competitions and contests were held, often leading to a lot of aggression and showmanship. The finest silk, the best ointments, the latest inventions in bread-and-butter cooking, the tastiest desserts and the sweetest sweets from all over the world were lined up and there was trading and people seemed happy and life was a huge carnival. Then, when the festivities were over, they would go on working & harvesting again, living in a constant synchronization, moving from place to place but never really settling.

One such carnival was going on in a remote corner of that chamber, in a huge clearing near a caravan.

In a different clearing in the woods near the carnival, was a smaller gathering – a handful of carts, lesser lamps and fewer people. A bullock cart was approaching from far away, moving towards this clearing. It was coming from a land famous for its flowers and honey and its malvaceae and glue, because of which the strong friendships and bonds the people of those land held, were famous for.

An old man was walking beside the bull which was harnessed to the cart. He reached the clearing from the jungle, stood at the edge of this little festival and scanned the other end of the clearing, but couldn’t find what he was looking for. A little later, on the other end of the clearing, he saw a smile begin to outshine all the lamps in the carnival. Barely visible in the dark behind a cart, she was there on time as promised, standing just at the brim of the clearing. She looked like she was in her mid-twenties and that she had just ran a couple of miles without breaking a sweat. She was bruised, her clothes torn at places and the cuts on her bare feet were bleeding.

The old man smiled. They were meeting after ten long years and three thousand miles – her favorite flavor of candy and his favorite chessboard friend.

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