Rubraville Number 130919800130, September 2019.

Whitney stood in the white mud wearing a huge helmet. It had been a few minutes since her arrival and she was already getting restless.

Whitney belonged to the Luka community, which was a very prestigious one in the town. She had to wait for a trigger that would transform her further to become a Nutra. Nutras were the ultimate warriors who protected this town.

 A few Lukas passed by her and she witnessed their transformation with wide eyes. The fresh Nutras laughed at her before moving further. How she longed to be with them… How she longed to get rid of the helmet that was so heavy that it hurt her ears… Once she became a Nutra, she could wear a colorful belt and hold a tiny gun. She looked forward to that moment.

As she began to yawn, Platina, a member of the Thrumba community, passed by Whitney. “What are you doing? You don’t want to miss the trigger or you’ll remain a fragile Luka and then die.” Platina smirked.

The taunting voice of Platina irked Whitney. “I hope you know your place, you lowly repairer.” She replied and stared Platina from top to bottom with a look of disgust. She smiled inwardly, thinking she would never be a repairer like the Thrumbas and she would never wear their filthy brown caps and coats.

Platina sucked in a breath at this response. “Whitney, my dear, you are new in this world. You don’t know everything. If we stop repairing things, this town will be a mess.” She then paddled off through the mud.

Whitney stomped her feet in the mud that she was stuck in. The wait for the trigger was tiring her. She had learnt through the programme built in her that if she wouldn’t transform, she would die. She had seen a few Lukas older than her dying. And her time was running short.

Hordes of other communities passed by her. She was tossed and turned in the crowd. But she had to stay put. She couldn’t leave the mud and enter the river until she transformed. This place is so suffocating. Look at the crowd! Everyone is piling on each other. And there are hardly any Lukas. It is Thrumbas and Erythras everywhere. I wish Red was here!

As if sensing her best friend’s thoughts, Red appeared, wearing a sash across her body. Red and Whitney were born together, but they were separated because of their different roles. Red belonged to the Erythra community and they travelled to deliver food to the population that resided on the various islands in the town.

“Whitney… how are you holding up, buddy?” Red tried to cheer her friend.

 “I’m not enjoying this, Red. This is not how I had imagined my life to be. I am only standing here. And all the Lukas that I met before are either transformed or dead. Who is the one putting this programme into us? Will I die or transform?”

“Sshhh… Calm down dear. Be patient. The trigger will come soon. And I do not know who builds the programme, but this is the way it has always been. This is what I have learnt from my seniors.”

“But how can someone else decide our fate? I fail to understand this, Red. I know one thing, I hate this world.”

“Hate it all you want, but believe me when I say that we are lucky to be in this town. It is one of the best amongst millions of others. The balance is well maintained.” A group of other Erythras pushed Red ahead. She yelled back with all her might, “I will catch you later…” And off she went.

Whitney was alone once again, amidst the throngs of people. She envied the other communities as they got to travel in the river, visit the various islands; whereas she couldn’t even go for a stroll.

A few more hours passed.

Whitney was still standing in the same position. Her brows were furrowed. She wondered why there were very few Lukas compared to the lakhs of people in the other communities. She found it very unfair.

She remembered that some Lukas had told her about these numbers. This was the way. It was a balance. Any change, and the balance would be disturbed. And then this town would be a mess. Even Red had reminded her of this ‘balance’ a while ago.

Her idle mind was churning out ideas to change this. She wanted more Lukas. More space for her kind.

A mass of Thrumbas led by Platina came towards her. 

“Whitney, there are infiltrators coming your way. Don’t let them touch you. Be careful. The Nutras will be here soon…”

This was the action that she was waiting for. She was nervous, yet excited. She looked forward to witness how the Nutras killed these infiltrators; after all, she was going to be one soon. She also wondered what would happen if an infiltrator touched her.

An ugly looking person with pale skin came her way. He was huge and Whitney had beads of sweat on her face. She adjusted her helmet with trembling hands. He tried to dash into her, she dodged. She sighed in relief, but her relief was short lived. He barged towards her again and dashed. A wave of electricity passed through her and she stumbled. Just then, the Nutras arrived and eliminated the infiltrator with their guns.

“Did he touch you?” One of them asked. Before Whitney could answer, he gobbled up the infiltrator.

Whitney gawked at him, horrified. This is what the Nutras do? Disgusting…

She watched the scene before her. The Nutras killing and eating the infiltrators. Then both of them were gone. All was silent for a while. I cannot do this… No… I don’t want to be a Nutra… These thoughts occupied her.

A few Erythras passed by her. They looked crestfallen. 

“What’s the matter?” Whitney asked with a sense of foreboding.

“A few thousands from us were killed because of the imbalance created by the infiltrators. The inbuilt programme triggered their death.” One of them said.

“Is Red alright?” Whitney already knew the answer. “But why? It wasn’t even her turn yet. She was so young. Why didn’t the older ones die?” The hostility in her voice scared the Erythras and they scurried past, muttering a sorry.

Whitney clenched her fists. Red was her only friend in this strange world.

A few infiltrators passed her way. She remembered Platina’s warning of not letting them near, but she also remembered the current that had passed through her. So, she let them touch her. She was shaken to her core with the waves of electricity, but she enjoyed it. Her insides were dancing; she loved that experience.

The infiltrators went laughing ahead and turned to enter one of the islands that occupied the town. 

“Did any more of them come here?” A Nutra that had arrived, asked her.

“N…No…” She managed to say while recovering from the currents.

Whitney had a strange feeling of empowerment. The contact with the infiltrators had changed something within her. She could feel the change in her DNA.

She knew the trigger would come soon and she would either transform or die. But, neither happened. She gave a sinister smile.

She was Whitney, yet not Whitney anymore. 

She realized that her inbuilt programme had failed. The new Lukas were in awe of her. They wanted to be like her. So, she taught them.

And what she was about to do, would destroy this town forever.

 

Mumbai, January 2020.

Darren rushed to the washroom and vomited. He had been unwell since the last few weeks with a vague weakness that he attributed to the stress of his job. At 39 years of age, he had achieved all that he had dreamed of. He looked with wide eyes, horrified at the site in the basin. He had vomited blood.

A battery of investigations revealed he had an Acute Myeloid Leukemia. The doctors said that they would try their best.

 

Rubraville Number 130919800130, January 2020.

Whitney was ecstatic. She was invincible.

She led an army of Lukas, who now dominated this town. They did as they pleased. Their favorite activity was suppressing the population of Thrumbas and Erythras. They also occupied most of the islands and had a gala time travelling all around the red river.

Whitney and her army had destroyed this town over a few months. This town that was known as Darren in another world. Darren, conceived on 13/09/1980 at 01.30 hours.

Authors note:

Rubraville; blood in the body.

Erythra; the red blood cells. 

Luka; the precursors of the white blood cells found in the bone marrow.

Nutra; the mature leukocyte that fights infection.

Thrumba; the platelets.

Islands: Organs of the body

Infiltrators; any environmental toxin/infectious agent that causes mutation in a particular cell giving rise to cancer.

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Photo By: Jordan McDonald

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This is an entry for Greenhorns-3, #Metamorphosis, an Exclusive Writing event for the Feathers club members of room8 by ArtoonsInn.

Check the event guidelines here: https://artoonsinn.com/metamorphosis-greenhorns-3-writing-event/

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