He reached for his phone, like most of us to turn off the buzzing alarm. It was set to 7:00.
Cursing the sun for coming out so early, he looked at his Guru’s photo. He liked to start his days uttering praise in his name.
Rolling off his unkempt bed, he went to the study table. There was a note on it.
We observed you closely over the years and have decided that you are the best-suited replacement for an open position with us.
As a glimpse of what you gain, we granted you some of our basic powers to use, like invisibility. This will exactly a day.
To accept, reach the capital of apple valley, our place is easy to find there.
Needless to say, you better reach the place before you run out of trail period.
As your race made it a little difficult for people here to even breath, be cautious while crossing roads.
Any damage taken will still hurt.
Laughing “What a jest!” he kept it back on the table, suddenly it burst into flames, leaving no residue of itself and knocking him off his feet.
Scared, he scampered out of his room to the hall, his father was engrossed in the newspaper.
Out of breath, he stood there. His father paused reading for a moment, looked around but did not say anything.
Perplexed, he tiptoed to the kitchen for water; his maid paid no heed to the glass moving by itself.
He began to believe.
Wishing to test it again, he moved flowers around in the pooja room; his mother mistook it for the winds handy work.
He made two little hops before realizing people can still hear him. His joy was boundless; he was indeed invisible!
He looked at the wall clock, it showed 7:15. He had a day to reach apple valley.
He consulted Google about ways to reach apple valley, no results; he tried again, nothing.
“Bingo! nothing neither comes out nor goes in there now; I will have to reach Prasthapura, our capital and then find a way to reach apple valley” he chalked out a plan.
Weighing in on the ruckus a driverless car may cause on the road; he exhaled “Oh my Elon! I have to take the bus”.
A quick Google search showed he can take the next bus at 7:45 AM, then a flight scheduled for 10 AM departure.
He reached the bus stop, a rundown spot with no shade to wait.
He waited, waited more, no sign of a bus even at 8:30. The wait started getting to him when a vehicle appeared at the end of the road.
With bated breath, he strained his eyes to see the bus number.
“OH!” the high he got when he figured that it was the bus he needed, had no match.
He hopped on board and settled in the last seat.
By the time he reached the airport, he hardly felt his trampled feet, not being able to make any noise added to his misery!
It was 9:25 when he made it to the airport, which otherwise would have given him a panic attack but he was invisible!
He strolled right past the security, who wondered if the gate scanner had a glitch.
The flight to Prasthapura was empty except for a familiar looking face and few girls.
Onboard, the air hostess almost fainted when she saw the seat belt of an empty seat buckle itself.
The first officer dismissed her concerns and ordered her to attend the familiar face.
He relaxed and thought hard, went over all the famous names he knew.
“Raja? No. Nidhi? Dead. God! It is Nitty Guruji!” he mushed his mouth to not scream with excitement.
Guruji, however, was busy with the girls, answering their queries and flattering them with his sweet words.
By the time they landed, he had seen Leela avatar of the guru.
If it was not for his invisibility, his eyes red with anger and his cheeks of the embarrassment were a sight to see. He wanted to hit the guru but he was surrounded, not worth the risk at the moment.
So, he exited the Airport quietly.
Time stood at 13:30.
He scrambled around the airport and finally found a way to reach the military airport.
He sat on top of a bus and reached it. Hoping to hop on to a flight used by netas to the Apple Valley, his nerves tingled seeing the real guns.
He sneaked in and found a Tamas carrying one of the babus.
Onboard, he overheard the babu saying netas were too scared of roses being thrown at. Owning the shame of letting it slip into that position was out of the question.
He dozed off for the rest of journey and woke up to the solders footsteps.
Thanking his stars for everything, he slipped out of the military facility in the valley.
Time stood at 5:45 AM. He thought “I still have more than an hour”
After a frantic search of 30 odd minutes, he found an obnoxiously built building.
Standing across the road, he observed the building, it’s cost should put most world-famous monuments to shame. It was glittering in the sunrise.
“This is it” he thought, taking a long breath and short step onto the road.
THUD and an apple hit him from one side,
THUD now rose from the other and he collapsed in a puddle of blood.
Someone peeping from the building said to the another “Was he not warned about this?”
“I think, he thought he was invisible, a day lasts from Sunrise to another Sunrise as per astrology” came the reply.
“Oh! We shall put that in the next letter we send out!”
Look both ways before you cross the street, always.
Photo by: Erik Witsoe
When was the last time you read some modern sea stories—stories of ships and the seafarers who man them? Tales of adventure, love, romance, piracy, intrigue... and human nature? Well, look no further.
These are twelve stories of the sea, but not necessarily for seafarers alone. They are for anybody and everybody who likes to read fiction. And a ripping good yarn, as sailors used to say once upon a time.
Written by a sea captain who has spent his entire adult life at sea, more than forty years on the waves and still counting, these are stories set in the 70s, 80s up till the present day.
Will you come aboard now? The voyage is about to begin.
Link to buy this book: https://www.amazon.in/Driftwood-Beetashok-Chatterjee/dp/9385854771 and also at selected bookstores all over India.
Author:Beetashok Chatterjee, ex-Claws Club member at ArtoonsInn.
The story you've read is an entry for UniK-5, #Invisible, a room8 Writing event by ArtoonsInn.
Check the event guidelines here: https://artoonsinn.com/unik-5-writing-event-artoonsinn/