By Shubham Virgandham
“Death is my only blanket of comfort now, kid”, said the sad old guy. I wish I could just ignore him. But the problem is, I can’t. It’s just him and me stuck here in, well I don’t know exactly where, but we are somewhere.
It’s a room, I guess, and floor is the only thing you can see. I tried to find the doors, even walls when I first got here, obviously with no success. It’s useless to try and find them, especially when I can’t even find how I got here in the first place.
"The last thing I remember is running through the tunnels to deliver..."
“You know I can hear your thoughts, don’t you, kid?”
“What? and of course you can hear my thoughts oldie." Oldie just smirks and goes back to lying on the floor.
"I have to deliver the message; I can’t be stuck here forever."
“Of course, you can be stuck here forever, kid.”
“Could you not overhear my thoughts, please?”
“Can’t help it kid, keep hearing them inside my brain.”
“Really, why can’t I hear you then?”
He just sits there. I swear I have never found someone as irritating as this old man. Is hearing other people’s thoughts his quirk?
He is really getting on my nerves now.
“Either tell me everything or just don’t open your mouth, I'm fine with it. Just don’t be ambiguous.”
Not saying anything again, great. Stuck with an irritating old man who won’t reveal anything in a place that seems to take after the old man. Life has the worst sense of humour than me, I guess. I can’t stay still, I must figure out a way out of this place. I need something to map the layout of this place though. Nothing in my shirts or pants. The only other thing I am carrying is a hoodie. His hoodie. A quick wrestle with the zipper on the hoodie and it should come off as I start wrestling with the zipper.
“Do you love him?” depressed old man back in action. Yay!
The zipper comes off. This is a relief. There’s an old saying, ‘When in doubt, stay away from strange old men'. Well I'm away.
I take a few steps away from the old man and –
I get hit in the head by an invisible wall, sort of. I put my hand forward to see if there’s something there, there isn’t.
“Get back here kid.”
I get back but I am confused. I had walked before in this place and there was nothing here before. This place is not as simple as it looks, I guess.
“For a confident kid, you sure guess a lot”, says the old man.
“Well, for an old man who likes to talk, you sure stay silent a lot.”
He gets up from the floor and sits. Wow, old man can move his body. “Come sit down kid, let me show you something.” An old man wanting to show you something, not creepy at all but wait he didn’t say that out loud, did he? So that means, I can hear his thoughts. I sit down next to him and suddenly my back has support, I turn around to look, it’s a wall. In fact, the whole space has transformed into a very cramped up room. Something familiar about this.
“What’s this place?”, I ask.
“Wait for it”, grumpy old man says with smile. Okay but still a little creepy. I wait and wait and still waiting. I would’ve fallen asleep, but sleep abandoned me since I stumbled in here.
Suddenly, I see myself running in the same attire. I see myself as a kid, a teen, a rebel. It almost felt like watching a movie.
“This is prison”, the old man explained. Cool.
“Nowhere. From what I can tell, this place exists out of world and time”. Of course, fully abled Stephen Hawking.
“From where we can see everything, huh? A theatre in space-time.”
“This place takes the shape of the place you’re most comfortable with. Once you’re here, you can’t get out,” said the poor old guy.
“How long have you been stuck here?”
“What year is it now?”, asks the old man, with a straight face for the time.
“2065. What year did you get stuck in?”
“Dude, you were there when the war started, which side were you on?”
“Same as you.”
“I bet you have some stories from your time. The operation we have now is amazing. We could use some of your experience when we get out.”
“Kid, we are not getting out.”
“How are you so sure?”
“Something you said.”
“Kid, I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but I haven’t said anything like that.”
“You didn’t say it now. You said it way back in 2025 before the war started.”
“Yeah, what was it?” smirky old man was back.
“Hope must be our blanket of comfort. I’m sure of that, not guessing this time," I say as I start to feel sleepy.
“Close your eyes and think of him,” says my idol.
“You’re amazing but please stop invading my thoughts, it’s creepy.”