Senses Series Short Stories

The Seventh Day

Ever felt like a failure in life, like nothing is worth it? Ever felt like, life has no purpose, and you feel so, so numb, that nothing really matters, like nothing is really worth fighting for? Like, you have tried everything, and, one by one, every solution that you thought could work your way out, started to crumble all around you and taking you down along with it? Then, there is something that you have never tried…

You are waiting at on a platform of a subway, ready to board the train. It is exciting, because, this is no ordinary journey. It promises to lead you to the destination where you need to be. And the ride itself, is described to give you the most beautiful view that you have ever witnessed.

It is a cool Saturday evening. Just you, embarking on an interesting journey. What a way to start the weekend! A coffee cup in your left hand and a suitcase in your right, you take a deep breath, as your hands become numb with excitement and nervousness. Suddenly, you frown.

How is it that there is wind blowing in my hair?

You look in its direction and smile. Ah, the reason is beautiful.

The train has arrived.

You check your watch and your smile turns to a grin. A minute to midnight. On time.

You board the train and check your watch once again, your eyes following the Second hand on the dial. The seconds ticked away, as the automatic doors slowly slide to meet midway. You glance up, taking in your surroundings when suddenly, you notice someone sitting at the far end of the carriage. Just as the person is about to turn around, the doors kiss, the Second-hand strikes twelve…

…and your whole world turns black.

But, that is not all.

You know that you are awake. You know that you are still in the train. You are completely aware of that fact that, your journey has begun. And, yet…

…you feel nothing.

You cannot see, you cannot hear, you cannot feel. Nothing works. Except, the small feeling in your gut that, something is coming. Something, which you may not like, but you cannot do anything but face it.

You lose track of time, feeling like a renegade consciousness floating in the empty void. You feel everything, and yet, you feel nothing. Like, in this world, there is only you and your thoughts to deal with…

…and, just like that, you fall down!

The fall makes you happy because you can finally feel the cloth against your skin, the floor under your palms and the breath of air coming out of your nostrils. You can finally hear the sound of the wheels beating against the magnetism of the rails. You can smell the fresh paint off the newly painted steel walls. You can literally feel your throat go dry. You are finally happy, that the horrible time has passed, that it was just a dream…

…till you blink your eyes.

Once. Twice. Thrice. Four times. Many times. You blink it once more. You use your fingers to open your eyes, maybe even try to touch your eyeballs and howl in pain. You hold them tight and open them again and…

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not even the after-effects of the foolish eyeballing.

Simple and complete darkness!

You feel your chest tighten, and the panic setting in. You can feel the bile rise up, but somehow you steady yourself. Barely. This goes on for a while, but eventually, you understand, and come to terms with, your loss of sight.

It is said that, when one sense is lost, the others heighten. And you wished, simply wished, at that moment, that it wasn’t true.

The voices creep up to your ears, slowly at first, and rushing up.

You cannot do it!

You are not worth it!

You don’t know how to speak!

You are less compassionate!

You are not beautiful enough!

You have funny teeth!

You cannot be a good leader!

You have no backbone!

Your opinions don’t matter!

You don’t matter!

You close your ears, feeling the tears streaming down your face, as you clench your teeth. Your sobs choke your words, stopping them from escaping your mouth. The sounds get louder, and louder, as the one phrase that you want to escape from keeps following you.

YOU DON’T MATTER! YOU DON’T MATTER! YOU DON’T MATTER! YOU DON’T MATTER!

Those chants just keep getting louder and louder and louder, booming and vibrating, till you can feel the blood trickling out of your ears. The screams escape your clenched teeth, but the booming voices drown them out.

As if, that was not enough!

You feel a touch. It is not right. You inch away and feel the touch turn into a vice-like grip. You scream in pain, as you feel the cold blade of a knife slash against your arm. Another one, and another one, and yet another one. All in the wrong places and all hurt bad…

Train bunkers lining the sides. Hand holders. Steel rods. Glass sliding doors. Bright tube lights…

You can see again!

You look around you, hoping that it was a dream, and things would get better. Well, guess what? The cuts on your body and the blood on the steel surface tell another story. You take a very deep breath and stand up, checking your watch. It is a minute past midnight.

But, it is a Tuesday!

Your eyes widen, and you look up, only to meet the eyes of many strangers sitting on the seats. You give them a closer look, trying to catch your breath, and realize that they are not strangers at all.

They are the ones closest to you. They are your family. They are your friends. They are the ones who look up to you. They are the ones who you look up to. And all of them are simply staring at you.

You limp towards each and every person, screaming for help and crying your heart out, but nobody seems to hear, not even you. You can see the pain on some faces, while some of them are crying. Some are even smirking, giving you a look, like they have been waiting for this to happen to you. Some of them have knives covered in blood, while some have You back off, screaming at them, only to find that the entire carriage is covered in deafening silence. You try speaking to yourself once more, but you are deaf to your own cries for help. Your stomach tightens, as you look ahead and finally notice the person for the first time.

The person is the same one that you had noticed when you had just boarded the train, wearing the same clothes and carrying the same suitcase as you. The only difference is that, you can now see the face.

It is yours. The person is none other than you itself. You lift your hand, hoping that it is a reflection, but the person simply stands and stares at you.

The scars on both your bodies match. The cuts, the bruises, the dark circles from fatigue and the faces red from crying. You look at your reflection in the glass, and you see the desperation in your restless eyes. But, when you look at your other ‘self’, all you can see is the look of determination, as the lips purse firmly.

You shake your head, shouting at your ‘self’, but you only get a determined stare back. Ultimately, you cannot take it any longer, and lash out…

Just to hear a sound again, gives you the strength to give back. You check your watch once more, getting the faintest inkling of how your ‘journey’ worked. And, no prizes for guessing that it is half past midnight on Wednesday. All that pent-up anger builds up and…

You lash out at every single person sitting and staring at you. You let those thoughts forming in your mind, rolling out through your tongue and let it fire at them. As the words hit them like rotten vegetables, each and every one of those people, disappear.

But, you don’t care. At that very moment, you don’t care if there is a fleeting chance that you may never see them again because the burden on your shoulders is getting lighter and lighter. You don’t care how blunt they are, because you want to give them back, for what they did to you, you want to give them all back till…

…till you can finally taste the bitterness of your own words.

Another day passed, and you never even realized what you have done without tasting your own words. But, that did not mean that the others could not hear. They heard you enough. They heard you loud and clear. They left.

And, the only ones who remained are the ones who have embarked on the same journey as you.

You crawl your way towards them, all the while staring at your ‘self’, as you get closer. Your ‘self’ is finding it impossible to breathe but still looks determined to live through it. You focus on the people facing the same as you, and somehow, find the strength to hold on to dear life, even if none of you can breathe. The seconds tick away and you promise each other that everything will be fine, even if you cannot breathe. To your horror, you begin to find each and every one of them melting off, one by one, the smoke of an acid creeps its way up and eats them alive. You hyperventilate, clenching your teeth and wondering how you could smell the familiar stink of the killing acid. But, that is the least of your worries.

The faster they give up, the faster it works on them. In the end, they all give up. The last one falls, as the clock strikes twelve.

And the worst is yet to come.

You were insulted. You were never heard. You were ridiculed upon. And yet, you survived. Because you had hope. You had hope, in the form of those who supported you and had your back. And they gave up. Hope, gave up.

You sit on the seat, staring at everything around you. Everyone left. Whoever you ever hoped of letting go, faded away. You know that you are physically and mentally in pain, and yet, a numbness prevents you from reaching out to it. You stare and stare and stare, not keeping track of the seconds flying away, lost into oblivion.

It all seems pointless, even existence itself. You cannot feel a thing, not even the hand that grips the knife from your pocket, slowly making its way up to your neck, ready to meet its fate at the sharpness of the cold steel…

…till someone grips you tight and lifts you up.

You will yourself to drop the knife. In spite of whatever you have been through, you will yourself to drop the knife. And you see your ‘self’ for the first time, up close…

Clearly, the wounds are the same as yours, but they are healing up. You look at yourself, and you see that your wounds are closing up too. You take deep breaths, as the pain dulls down. With a quiver of your lips, you hug your ‘self’ tight, and you receive even more comfort than you ever thought that you deserved. You stare at your ‘self’ as you can see the train stopping at a platform. Your ‘self’ gives you a strong smile and a determined nod, walking towards the opening doors and stretches out a hand for you to hold.

You have been through a lot, and you have survived. So, you can either stay to beat yourself up, by putting yourself through the torture again and again, or you can hold the hand, get off the train as a stronger individual, to make your mark over destiny. Because, in the end…

…the choice, is yours!

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