(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]

Man is a very fragile and weak animal. He is limited within 20 Hz-20,000 Hz, and restricted to the visible range within the near Infrared and the near Ultraviolet. He cannot see, hear or speak outside this range, so anything beyond his realm of senses is fascinating to him. These weaknesses provoke him to enquire and expand beyond his limits, to depend on things and objects for his survival. With a consciousness so aware and with a life span so small, the need for enquiry and expansion passes on, making the dependence on delusion a dire necessity. Now, this Dependence is more like addiction. Of a certain drug. And you’ll know how it feels like to be addicted if you’ve ever been down that sink hole.

You begin by enjoying being extracted from reality, and the zest of the act lies in the high – as long as it stays, you feel good. Good, like…like heaven. Like everything is meant to stay that way, mellow and to your benefit. Like everything on your mind has just been enhanced. Then the high simmers down and you want to feel good again, just one last time.

There! Right there! That’s the beginning of addiction, the beginning of Dependence.

The wish to do it ‘just one last time’ is where you slip and slide down an unending spiral, before you experience the pit fall. You do it one last time, and another last time, and so many last times flash before your eyes as you keep stuffing all the chemicals in yourself to escape reality. As your body stops resisting and begins to tolerate the torture being done to it, it tries to forget and run away from the ugly truth of Existence that stands naked like a giant nebula in front of you. A God. A prophecy meant to haunt the microbial you as long as you’re alive. And to avoid pricking your eyes and breaking-open your jaws because the ugliness is too much to gulp down, you want to remain deluded and so you stuff yourself with more drugs, increasing the dosage or changing the potency.

Then there comes a time when you don’t feel the high anymore – the rush of blood through your veins that you once used to feel when the surge was new, isn’t there and you keep dumping in your garbage-bin of a body in desperation, more and more chemicals and toxins with hollow hopes. While every effort goes in vain, your will is corroded, your motivation is decaying and your rotting immunity leads you nowhere, certainly not to the point where you’d once felt complete. You’ve stayed away from reality for so long, you can now measure the harm you’ve done to your dying soul and count the bruises on your fingertips because by this time, you’re Dependent. You’ve entered the pit fall and nothing can save you now.

Nothing.

The need for enquiry and expansion has led you here.

It’s also fascinating how we all choose to ignore certain things in our lives over others which could have been, otherwise, very well sought out and registered in our memory. Fascinating how we all switch off the auto-pilots of our lives and twist and turn knobs and make custom settings for our own routes, only so we could stay deluded and dependent to keep the burden of those ugly realizations in check. Fascinating in the same way it is to be able to venture beyond our natural physical limits.

The Dependences that we choose for ourselves to make getting through life a little more easy, result in our being apathetic and self-centered. Ever wondered why nothing comes to your rescue when you fall? Why nothing saves you from yourself? Why no one bothers to even try? Because everyone, everything is happily trapped in their own delusions. We’re always sleeping and dreaming with our eyes wide open, dreaming about our custom-tailored realities.

The remaining episodes of that night are only printed on my conscience like blocks of flash memory. As I kept running from the ugly truths I witnessed in that cold darkness, passing out, regaining senses and then passing out again, I realized how badly I wanted to go back to my delusions – my pen, the warmth and comfort of my room, the shutting down of my mind to forget everything I saw. I wanted to erase all of it…or turn back time, or…or run far, far away from here. But it wasn’t possible standing in the middle of a deserted street, in the heart of a town recently abandoned in a great haste.

I remember sitting in my backyard one sunny afternoon, reading the newspaper, sipping tea and munching on peanuts when I had overheard a conversation inside my house. I had not paid attention to it, because the automotive section of the newspaper I was reading was much more interesting, but from the bits and pieces that fell on my ear, I had made out what the conversation was about. They were talking about some kid who had died. The kid had fallen on the road while running and suffered a concussion. I felt sorry for that kid and brushed off the conversation as I read on, because I wanted to buy myself a used car to commute in the city.

I scanned the newspaper and found one that suited my needs and budget. I enquired and found out that it belonged to an elderly man who had died of a heart stroke after returning from a long journey, and so his sons, who had no use for the car, were selling it. I brushed the thought again – so many people die everyday; it’s not a big deal.

Until it was. Now I was standing in a cold dust storm and that kid was standing in front of me, giggling and showing his bloodied teeth. The sockets of his eyes were empty and broken bones peeked out at places. He stood there looking at me for a while, then turned away, ran and disappeared in a winding alley. Then, like a lightening bolt, a thought struck me – the dead body I had seen earlier that night belonged to the old man who had visited us after the pilgrimage. I did not want to die, but I wanted to stop living at that very moment. Anything to avoid these ugly truths, the ones I had been bared to after I had finally overcome my fear of the unknown.

Everything had began making sense to me, now – the fly, the inconvenience, the abandoned houses, the dead bodies, the deserted streets, the dust storm and the cold. Everything which was until now only pieces of a jigsaw puzzle scattered throughout this whole space-time continuum, had started falling into place, and what had led me here was my need for enquiry and expansion. I passed out.

I regained my senses and now I was lying flat on the street which led straight to my house. I picked myself up in the gathering storm and ran as fast as I could, from the flickering lights and the haunting shadows, with blood dripping from my left palm and my leg still sleeping. I reached my home and entered the comfort of my room. I took a seat and from the window, I looked outside and lit my cigarette with terribly shaking hands. I put it between my lips and took a long drag.

I began contemplating as the storm outside gathered full force and the winds began howling like abominable ghosts of our wretched pasts. The night had been very hard to me. Something ached inside me and churned as I began recollecting it all.

While we all crib about the little inconveniences that we occasionally have to go through, we forget that there are people out there who live through greater degrees of it every second of the day. While we crib about the little disorders in our privileged lives, there are people out there whose entire lives are shorter than our cribbings. We really have become so apathetic and self-centered, because we can afford to buy out our inconveniences as soon as possible so that we could go back to our Dependences and our leisures, that be it a few deaths or a million – it’s all just statistics to us, now. We just don’t want to accept anything which doesn’t align with our version of reality.

I had been so careless about others all my life, but now I wondered if only I had picked up that kid and really took him home that morning, I could have saved him. Or if I had called my father and asked him to check on the old man when I had seen his car, I might have saved him, too. But as I said, you, me, us – we all want to avoid all inconveniences and shove it on someone else’s shoulders. We don’t want to take responsibility.

So when this storm gets over and the dust settles down, they will count the bodies. And by then, the statistics will have fully grown teeth and it will bite. And then, we’ll realize that what is just a few days’ inconvenience to us, is a matter of life and death to a lot others. We will realize that our delusions are mere escapes and the only thing that can save us from our Dependences, is ourselves and our acceptance of every piece of the ugly truth. 

My cigarette had ended, the high of the nicotine had settled in me, made me feel good like heaven for that one last time, and my pen and its owner lay in their respective pool of bloods. But wait, why isn’t there anybody in my home? Is it abandoned, as well?

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