He was lost but still hopeful of something, something that could only be felt and not detailed.

A young boy of teens, no mustaches at all, a jacket of fashion, seemingly a hipster, opens up fire, so much so that, all the available men lay dead-down. 

Oozing blood and screams were so parallel that none could guess, whether it was a death-knell, or the sonic attack.

A girl not more than six of age remained stunned. She didn’t move, was bloodstained. And then suddenly, she started moving — calling her father, so vitally.

Ayaan, a young man walking, saw things abruptly changing around. He picked the girl up and turned her face away from the ‘havoc’. She resisted madly, pulled herself down and then, just out of blues came her father, undead and alive.

Ayaan was nonchalant toward every worst. Chaos seemed as if it was just chaos. Blood seemed as if it was just blood. 

Support Our Journalism

You are reading this because you value quality and serious journalism.

But, serious journalism needs serious support. We need readers like you to support us and pay for making quality and independent journalism more vibrant.

A mysterious door opened just behind him, a long extended door, which was latent till now. There were military drills going on within the door. Ayaan entered it as if he owned the place and nobody seemed concerned. They were all working for themselves. He walked few paces more and then looked behind. There was no door but a person in front of him, with mustachios, as if the mustachios were created first. And he was just an appendage, an apoplectic freak dressed in an army suit looking askance.

There were two way-outs or maybe there was none. Left was off-limits, so Ayaan turned to right slinking away from the apoplectic. He started wondering in its land and there were people, many people, poor and uneducated, unhygienic too, and maybe unknown to the outside world. They had their own meager economy, few were spiteful and others frightened. They were conscious but unsocial.

Ayaan tried his words on them but they turned away, away to invisibility. Then there was none on the streets. These people were living in isolation, cloistered to the extremes.

A thin short wrinkled and unsophisticated old man was walking toward him, gazed upon him as if he was his object. The road was empty, so was his face, and then his words too. He slid off him, despised him for two minutes. Then he wanted to go back to him, ask him few things about the place. 

But no, he will find something better and different, he said to himself as if he was searching for something, as if he had an objective, and as if he has deliberately come here. 

He was lost but still hopeful of something, something that could only be felt and not detailed. 

Someone on his left closed the window of her house and then opened it again, saying: way back is a myth. And then she closed the window, as if he was an invariable enemy. There were no onlookers and entertainers, no accidents. Everything seemed measured and calculated. 

It was a place controlled by the unseen.

He was stuck and stiff and then a gunman came to him asking, why he was here? He didn’t say anything. His mouth was shut for the time being and pondered unnecessarily. He jumped down to his own boots, kept fidgeting with laces for some time and then heard a deep groan from above his head.

The groan was vulturous or maybe it’s the tone that falls before some threat or assault. 



He retied the laces and went standing. His eyes were stressed but confident. The unheard noise seemed gripping the surroundings. The dark seemed to come with darker things but there was no twilight. The clouds seemed to fill the head of Ayaan and the gunman.

Ayaan was thinking a better plan, a plan that could yield him a moment of freedom but he could not determine what he must do. He stood right there in front of a gunman and gave an immense look. 

And just after a look he slid the mud beneath his foot and triggered himself to reach a nearby desolated house, with burnt windows and shattered glasses. 

He inhaled deeply while elevating himself through stairs. He was under stress and found that he could no longer be able to resist the more terrible offerings of the place. The thoughts were coming with confusing consequences and if applied, he could be shot and nobody would know his place. 

The bricks were spread on the wet insides of the house. Sitting in a corner with a pounding heart was alarming his mind with fear, that he had never felt before. Movement to bring a brick in possession would be inviting the gun holder. 

Man with a gun is always better, so he thought, than a man with empty hands. 

But what if there is a brick in hand and a strategic place to hide till the gunman tries to pass through the place and possibly that time he could launch an attack as soon as the time whips his mind. 

Ayaan started moving and the young gunman was sweating as he heard the movement. They both feared an attack.

There was silence in the house wrapping the ears of both men but they felt as if the house was shaking. Their hands were trembling, with the gun and with the brick. 

The gun was without the bullets and the brick without the target. 

Both had no determined aim. Ayaan felt sick and lost his consciousness.

The lines circled within his eyes and he woke up in a place that he thought as real. 

He left his bed and went out. The streets were smelling humans but there was everything except humans. The roads were already blocked and the paranoia was bequeathed from the recent days – the days he had faced in a house with a gunman. 

The strict aggression from armed forces reminded him of a man who has multiplied. Streets were bereft of cordiality and the marketing places were kept under tight lockdown, even a fly would be questioned for flying through the barbed-wires. 

Feelings of peace seemed impending and so was bloodshed: that is how our history has been. 

For a tacit army, even a facial expression would be retorted with stern actions. Browbeating and suppression were so common that the state of beauty seemed the city of beast. Walking down the street was like jeopardizing the whole family. They would run after you, maybe follow you to your home and take out the whole family. That isn’t rational but who knows how the repressive state runs. 

It runs how they wish it to run. And suddenly what will happen in the coming days, if there are deaths and if there is turmoil, these conjectures are certain. 

There is nothing called uncertain when the political trajectory of a state is wayward, every uncanny seemed déjà vu.

All this while Ayaan was comprehending these things and letting himself more into confusion. Then a bullet was shot, and he became conscious and pained. The gunman had shot a bullet at him. His chest was bleeding. He was conscious and dying as he found the reality, but what will a dead man do to reality. 

He woke up all of a sudden, with all the senses lost. He comforted himself with a cry comprehending his vivid dream inside his dream.

Mountain Ink is now on Telegram. Subscribe here.

Become Our Ally

To help us strengthen the tradition of quality reading and writing, we need allies like YOU. Subscribe to us.