I was at a wedding, enjoying myself with friends and family. The festivities were in full swing. Feeling the need for a smoke, I stepped out from the venue. Walking beside the lake, under a star-studded sky, I lost count of time, till suddenly I remembered the festivities and returned post-haste to the venue. To my utter amazement I found that the function had ended, the wedding guests had departed, and the venue was covered in darkness.
How long was I missed? This mystic question amused my mind. My subconsciousness was not ready to believe this drift of time. Did I go too far? Or really party concluded. Insanely I scan all around the venue to answer this query, but it was a helpless effort. The screaming darkness and silenced vulnerability constantly constraining me to accept the reality. Amidst this confusion, I take out one smoke and tried to rewind my count on time by inhaling it stressfully. But like an ash of smoke, my reasons also puffed out by the spin of time.
Gradually, tension veiled me into its shield. My Conscious mind had begun doubting my presence and absence at the same time. After vehemently putting stress on my mind, I succeeded in recalling one thing that I purchased a lighter for my smoke from the shop which was located at the turning of a road from the venue. Without any delay & with curious intention, I approached it to resolve this mystery. In the dead of night and obscurity my snooping steps, halt when I heard a few people.
Shockingly, I looked around and saw three people sitting around a remaining of the old mill building which had few unarticulated garages and shop. The rusty shutter and locks of a building were unveiling its past. Automatic my footstep turn toward them as If they know about the festivity and its gathering. The minute I reached near them, they stopped the conversation and gazing me with scary and puzzled eyes. As though they were also searching for some unsolved questions. At that moment I sensed, their nervousness was more intense than me. But before disclosing anything they ran away from there with such mysterious looks and uneasy doubt. This upsurges my anxiety like a tidal wave in full moon. I resumed my journey toward the shop to resolve this riddle.
With the ticking of time, the vagueness in a gloomy night and unsettlement of doubt masked me with obscurity. This uncertainty devours me completely when I reached the turning of the road. There was no shop of smoke from where I asked for a matchbox. It was totally a different scenario.
In a hustle of amazement, I reached near the shop. Which was situated just at the same position where my off course remembrance had pointed out. The missing shop had been transformed into a big multistore shop. The interior infrastructure of the shop exhibited the magnificent craft of art. The glittering effect was highlighting the every product explicitly. Because it was the only shop in that locality, therefore, it remained open for long hours at night. Hardly one and two people were buying the groceries at that time when I was searching for my answers, with overlooked eyes, in the brightness of the altered shape. The boy at the counter called out upon me twice.
At that moment the heaviness of his shouting split into a frame of slow motion and absence consciousness of mine ignored the reflex from anyone when swiftly a tight grip vibration breached my blackout and inquired me. In a flurry way, I asked him about the shop which was there before its renovation. As a young and smart mind, he quickly understands my question. He replied me firmly that his father used to run that shop. With his death, I upgraded it and transformed that shop into a multistore. Death? I saw him with profoundly surprised eyes.
Night had grasped the brink and traffic were almost immobile on the road. Silence veiled the surrounding with its quietness and far from the somewhere hound of dogs repetitively violating the stillness of dusk. The flapping of the leaves and movement of twigs thrilled the air of nearby with worry. And, this fear was valid as his response had stirred my uneasiness.
My doubt transformed into horror when he showed me his father’s picture. I was completely confused. At that time I found myself in a mess of riddle from where I could not seek any way out. An awkward stiffness seized me. Mind was disregarding the reality. As a few hours ago I purchased a matchbox from him. The drop of sweats shimmers my nightmare into insanity. There must be some confusion, inwardly I pleased myself. But this mirage of foolishness did not still in a time when he revealed the incident of his father’s accident. He told me how a blast took his father’s life. My goose bump gets stimulated when he informed me about the place of the explosion.
His story paralyzed my sensibility. The bomb blast, which he was talking about, had occurred last year. The attack was so hard that it had wiped out all the nearby people. Chances were very less for anybody to survive in that explosion. He further explained me, that day a party was going on where this flash had happened. The leakage of a gas cylinder in the kitchen of the hall was the main reason of that intense flare and blast. It killed almost everyone in the festivity. The same celebration in which his father expired, rescuing the mass.
Step by step, his story fabricated all my doubt with deep fear and stimulation. Without any acknowledge and gratitude my frightened footsteps and dismayed eyes move out of his shop. Dreadfulness had formed the gap between the body and mind. Conscious mind had stopped replying my actions. In this hustle of terror, my steps start running toward the venue. At once I flip my wrist watch to confirm the time. And, It was stationary like my cognizance. The hour and minute pointer were displaying the time of last year’s explosion as told by the boy. This stuck my running legs into the ground in the middle of the road. While I was staring my watch an unexpectedly high-speed truck hit me with full strength.
This knock was so powerful that it thumped my heart beat and all of a sudden my eyes opened in the hospital. I found myself lying on a bed of ICU wired with few mechanized devices. The beep sound of machines and movement of my body hassle the doctors to run toward me. Their alertness reviewed my condition with a small note of greeting from one of them. “ Welcome back! Mr. Singh. It’s been a year you were in the intensive care unit.”