Senses Series Short Stories

A Train to Death

I could think of nothing except the overwhelming pain from head to knee, I wanted to turn around into the darkness of starless sky above me, however, the dirt and dust under my face made it unbearable from opening my eyes. I could feel the sand under my nose without any choice rushing into my lungs.

Where am I? How did myself mangle, in this dried grass, my body is fighting against the wave of pain from everywhere.

I could feel a strange vibration in my face; gradually gained its frequency and the tremor finally has hit my eardrums. My scared instinct told me that, it is the sound of Death coming to engulf me into further darkness. With a deep gasp, I repressed the agony and turned towards the loop of light, almost blinded when the flashing light pierced into my eyes. I saw the train majestically whizzed passed me, without minding the wreck of my body bleeding below the railway track.

Is this another bad trip? The wagon of memory travelled in reveres.  The last thing I remember was the sly smile on Ali’s face when he handed me a joint, which we had smoked together sitting on the footboard of the train. The sickness in my head break my chain of thoughts, there is no doubt now. Yes, it was a Bad fall from the train.

I should have listened to my mom just before boarding the train I can remember her saying,“why you are going if you don’t like, we can live here with whatever we have”.  I wanted to tell her I do not mind living in the adobe of hunger and poverty but only if I have a life with Veena. The beef haters had made the love life with Veena almost impossible, to even talk with my own mom. The path toward her is a pursuit of lynching to death in our village,however if I can earn a living away from the war against love I can bring her with me, I can rebuild my family in a new place; my dream is to build a home without any cast or hatred, each brick forged in love. Why should I make my mom sad by saying all this? She knows raising voice against the loudest noise of society is dead. Instead, I said, “don’t worry mom soon I will start to earn a life of freedom”. I did not turn back to see her tears again. I should have one more glance, to see her suppressing her tears to say a goodbye with a smile on her face.

Oh, God, I wanted to live again, at least to see them again. To tell Veena that you won’t hear my laugh or voice ever again, do not wait for me for another stealthy evening away from the hassle of the Village, staring at the serenity of flowing River. I know that she will give up everything in her life just to wait for me. Last time I tried hard to convince her to stay back in the village she was ready to come with me. However, the place that I am going to is a stranger who speaks a different language and I thought I would bring her after making love with the culture.

I took out my mobile phone; smartphones are smart enough in making us forget how to remember the phone numbers of our loved once now with the broken display it does not even willing to turn on its light. Gained all the energy in the direction of a beam of LED rays, it is from a house far away. I dragged my feet, barefoot, I could taste the blood bleed from my nose, walked towards the hope of light in slow and weary pace, grumbling with the pain I knocked on the door. Maybe they will help me to find the number of Ali or they can drop me at the nearest hospital. I have stared optimistically to the red car parked in the porch; suddenly a light reflected on it, the door opened.

A young woman appeared, as soon as she saw me, she covered her gold chain and ran inside with her daughter and shut the door in my face.  Pang of shiver, staying on the present is not that easy, physical pain is buckling the mental strength. I have to raise and stroll to the next house. Where is this place? it’s been two days in the train, In what language I should speak?  I wondered why the woman failed to understand the universal language of compassion. There is no spoken language necessary for me to understand real and fake blood; however, I do not blame her, newspapers nowadays making us believe that we are living in a spooky island of terror where killers and robbers disguised in our own blood and wound.

There is another house nearby I dragged myself. This time I knocked on to the door desperately, a pair of eyes on the window shield, he is talking to a woman, he came out and pushed me out,I fell down. I could see the fear in his eyes,  I couldn’t answer to his questions, I wanted to speak in my language but I couldn’t feel my tongue, someone pulled him inside and the door has been closed.

I got scared in the middle of the loneliness. I could feel the life inside me receding away.  I have tried hard to breath, as I am about to give up to my faith. I saw a flicker of light away,  I couldn’t think about using my legs, the death has numbed both of them, I dragged myself what seemed like an eternity I arrived at the source, it’s a wick burning on an oil lamp. As it has been waiting for me, finally, when I reached there it give up glowing.  I saw no one there, I raised my head it was a temple. I prayed for the last time and prepared to succumb to the darkness.

That is when I felt two hands on my face I opened my eyes could not see his face clearly. I can only see his two eyes shining through his grey beard face. He opened his rack sack and given me a few drops of water I could taste nothing. Gradually the pain ebbed away. Life faded into darkness.

I opened my eyes where am I? Am I dead or alive? Is it hell or heaven?  Everywhere I looked is white. At some point, I could see myself lying on the bed,   a nurse showed up, I asked where this place is, and she replayed with silence. How did I come here?? Who brings me here? Was that beard man real? The taste of water, now I can feel on my tongue, suddenly like a bad nightmare the events happened on the night registered one by one.

The doctor entered the room, he speaks to me in Hindi. I told him “I am from Jaridharala village in West Bengal and my friend working in Tamil Nadu offered a job in construction field”. Where is Ali? He might be worried about not seeing me and probably still searching for me in vain.  Doctor disclosed to me “you have been in a coma for more than a month, but for a person who fractured the skull the recovery was unbelievably fast. Anyway we don’t know whom to inform”. I told him about Ali and the train and the horrible fall. He handed over me two phones, along with mine there are another broken piece of mobile. I know that phone very well, played games with it several times and we brought it walking 20 km away from our village.  My heart stopped for a moment “What happened to him?” I asked. He replied I could see a bead of sweat dripping from his chin “No one noticed a man fall from the train or when he was crying for help, your friend died the same night you brought in here. Police found his body 100 meters away from the railway track. How did you end up in the hospital?”. How did I reach here? I tried to draw a clear picture of the beard men with a rucksack on the temple, however, I could not. My gaze followed the doctor walking out to the glass door, behind the red letters I C U. I saw that it’s real,  I recognised those generous eyes, yes it’s him the bearded man smiling at me, I wanted to call him inside however my hands are indifferent to my feelings. As if he read my mind He tried to come inside, but security stopped him. He was laughing and shaking his head when security pushed him out through the corridor. The fat on his belly sagged out through the torn shirt. The nurse asked me “Do you know that Madman, he come here daily for last month staring at us”. I said to myself in the world that fakes all senses we need more mad humans like him. Madman who does not scare to do what he destined to do in life.

After discharge from the hospital I searched for him everywhere, however, I could not find him anywhere nearby the temple nor in hospital, maybe he still there listening to the silence and seeing what we fail to see waiting for the darkness to raise for helping the next man falling from the train of death.

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By Soumith