Part I - The Truth
Just like every morning, my alarm rang and I wanted to wake up to switch it off but I couldn’t. Fortunately, a few seconds later, it stopped on its own. At 7:15, I woke up after a long sleep but was still laying on my bed.
Meanwhile, my mom entered my room to say, “Wake up kiddo! You are going to be late for college.”
Forcing myself, I got out of my bed and freshened up before walking into my living room to find my breakfast already served. Around 8 am, I reached my bus stop and found a few friends waiting for the bus. A few minutes later, I got into the bus following them and sat in my spot.
All my friends were enjoying themselves as usual without me. By 9 am, I reached my college and sat in my place beside Rohan, my best friend. From the moment I sat until the classes got completed, Rohan who just sat beside me didn’t even greet, talk or even respond.
By 3 pm, our classes were over and I returned home. This routine continued for two days. Even though everything seemed alright, I could observe some changes in these two days which I have never experienced before in my life before.
I could see that no one around me was responding. My mom was the only one who used to say every morning, “Wake up kiddo! You are going to be late for college.”
My dad on the other hand reads a document all day and my younger brother stood before our home every evening and cried for a few minutes. After that, he went to my uncle’s house which was just beside ours and all of these actions totally confused me. I could not understand as to why my family members were behaving differently.
The next day, when I woke up, I observed that the date-card was 14th February 2015. Since the present date was 17th February, I tried changing it but I was unable to. When I wanted to tell my mother, I couldn’t find her. Neither her nor my father was present at home. I thought of going to Rohan’s house to talk to him.
I reached his home within ten minutes as it was just in the next lane and as I walked, I could see him speaking to our classmates. Though I shouted to greet him, they didn’t respond as usual but when I walked near him, I could hear him saying, “It was unfortunate but three days ago while Vimal was travelling to a hill station, he died in an accident. Except for his brother who is currently in his uncle’s care, everyone has been killed.”
It took me a while to realize that I was no longer alive. I was now a part of the void yet filled with desire.
Part II - The Punishment
When I returned home dejected, I could notice that my parents were still ignorant as to what had happened. Not wanting them to exist in a lie, I wanted to inform them of the truth. For the first time, my father heard me and while I spoke to them, I noticed my uncle coming to our house. For the first time in my life, I loved him for taking care of my little brother.
Looking at our family portrait, he confessed, “My dear brother. Thank you for making me rich. I don’t know how I can repay you for you have given me power.”
My uncle’s words shocked us. Not even for a minute, one of us could believe it. Unable to control his anger, my father tried punching my uncle but he couldn’t.
As my uncle walked around our home, I told my parents that we were killed by our uncle. I also told them that my brother was only being taken care of because he would be the heir. As soon as he would become an adult, my uncle might be planning to take the estates from him and end him as well. However, to our surprise, my uncle and aunty were taking too much care of him right now and were showering too much love.
Days passed by as we wondered what could be done. A couple of days later, I could see my uncle and aunt have a disagreement in raising another kid in their home. With every passing day, my aunt started revealing her true colours. She straightforwardly stated that she cannot afford to love another child beside her own ones. Though my uncle explained his plan earlier, it didn’t make much difference to her. He pleaded with her while assuring that this burden would only be for a few months. On being asked as to what would happen in a few months, my uncle just smiled.
With this incident, all three of us became restless. We tried our best to communicate with my brother but our efforts failed. I could observe that my brother changed so much after our death. He started learning more and more about souls and devils and from his side, he was trying to contact us desperately too.
Though both of us lived in the same room all the time, we couldn’t talk. One day, I found him reading a book called “Dark Shade” as it was suggested to him to be the best book to find answers regarding souls and afterlife. After completing the preface, we started the chapter named “Lucifer: The Ultimate Master.”
The chapter was about Lucifer, the representative of demons. It was mentioned that it was his responsibility to send away all those souls with desires to hell for proper judgment. As to where he lived, it was mentioned that he lived in a graveyard waiting for people to be either cremated or burnt in-order to seek their souls.
When I completed reading the chapter, I was curious to know if Lucifer could be of some help. So when the moon took its turn, I went to the graveyard along with my parents. Before we entered, we were requested by many other souls to leave. These souls were as bright as the sun and we couldn’t stand near them. However, we went inside without heeding their words.
As we entered we could see many black souls waiting around burnt bodies. As we walked towards them, we could see a young boy flying above the flames of burning bodies. Noticing all the souls around us, we could understand that this boy was Lucifer.
As I approached him, he asked, “Tell me why I shouldn’t cease you but rather help you?”
Observing his smile, I replied, “Because I seek to help my brother after which I would surrender.”
Looking at me, Lucifer replied, “I shouldn’t indulge myself into mortal affairs child. I appreciate your concern but there is nothing anyone of us could do.”
Approaching Lucifer, my father pleaded, “My child is innocent and his life is in harm’s way. Please help us!”
Thinking about it for a moment, Lucifer replied, “If I help you, you shall have to pay a price for it but even if you agree, tell me how can you be certain of your child’s future?”
Controlling myself, I said, “You want us to give up on helping my brother but we can’t.”
As his eyes turned dark, Lucifer explained, “The dead are no longer participants, child. It is beyond you to dictate the future of your brother. Even if you talk to him and send him away, his destiny shall dictate his end.”
As my father said, “Let’s leave!”
A cage formed around each of us and when we touched the cage, the pain we experienced was as if our soul was ripped into two halves. Closing his eyes, Lucifer said, “You shall be presented for judgment children and within a short span your brother will join you too. Worry not, as your uncle will receive his due in time too.”
This short story has been published in an anthology of eight stories titled “Casket of Tales”. Our artists would benefit if you could order a paperback to show your support. Order your copy now!