Time & Place Prompt:
It’s after midnight. You find yourself in an eerie yet, magical swamp. You hear whispering and see flashes of light…
————————— Here goes… —————————–
Whisperings. Chatter of gibberish amidst what seems to be much enunciation of “s” and “shh” & clucking. Oh yes… some popping of lips as well amidst words, followed by a brief pause, making the pops sound like full-stops in the English language. Briefly peering through my half-opened eyes, I made out through what seems like a membrane over my eyes, a few beings moving away from my line of sight, then coming close. Sometimes touching me, sometimes peering at the various parts of my body, sometimes placing their hands on my forehead & looking up into the air, seemingly chanting in a song.
In the midst of what seems to be conversations, which till now I can’t make out the language, or even place a region close enough to what I have studied in years of Anthropology, I saw a smaller version of the beings, standing right beside another larger being, staring straight into the membrane which covered my eyes. Slowly, I started becoming aware that a form of covering has been placed over my face – translucent, probably bluish, as everything I saw seems to be tinted with blue.
The smaller being, quickly named “The Little One” by yours truly, made his way towards where I was laid, and started straight into my half-opened eyes. With an acute sense of possible threat, I stared straight ahead, through my half-opened eyes, and tried not to pay attention to his eyeballs making connection with mine. He moved his eyeball left & peered at my eyes sideway, trying to ascertain if my eyes moved along with his. I stared straight ahead, remaining perfectly still. After a few attempts, he shrugged, and moved away. This body language, seems international, or in this case, inter-terrestial. He scratched his head as he walked back to his spot – a sign of being bewildered, wondering, mild confusion.
Soon, the beings seemed to disappear from the space around me. Not exited, but vanished, literally. As if teleported somewhere else. When the last chatter ceased, I waited for what seems like eons in earthly minutes, I swiveled my eyes around to ensure the coast was clear. Then slowly rotated my hands a little, waited. No sign of movements in the room. Then wriggled my toes a little. Familiar sensations of the wriggle assured me that my legs are ready to go on full speed at first command. Breathing deeply with every inch my hand came closer to my face, I gently lifted the membrane off my face, and now I could see, without the blue tint.
I am in the open space. Now I can see the glittering lights – stars, shooting stars, flying across the sky every 2-3 minutes. As I slowly sat up, I realise that I was laid down on a make-shift platform of sorts, dressed in my trekking gear from the last I remembered. When I turned myself towards the edge of the platform, I sensed an ache on my arm, and noticed a neatly stitched up wound down my forearm. How did I hurt myself? Flashes of memories seemed to confirm that I had fallen from a height… Ah! I was trekking on the cliff, walking towards the waterfalls… when I took too large a step on the left edge, and the last thing I remembered was seeing the same flashing lights in the night sky. Shooting stars. I remembered wishing for the love of my life to have a great life without me. I remembered making my peace with the Almighty.
The same blinking lights greeted me with gusto. A renewed gusto which I felt throbbing through my own body. I pointed my foot to test how far this platform was from the ground, I reached the ground with much ease. As I stood up from my resting place, I felt a little whoosey, spinny, but in a couple of minutes, I felt… grounded. Different from the feeling I had when I was free-falling from the edge of the cliff. I was standing on solid ground.
I was actually… Standing. Parts of my body still felt achy, but I was fine. I then noticed more stitches on my thighs, my calf, left of my stomach. The thing is, I was actually standing, and now, walking a few steps towards what seems like a house, across the stream.
As I waded across the stream, I noticed an old couple seated on the porch of the house. I waved weakly. “Where is this place, Sir and Mdm?” The old lady smiled gently, “Twinkling Woods, my love. What are you doing out here on your own?” The elderly gentleman immediately added, “My my! You sure have been hurt bad! Come right in for a bowl of hot asparagus cream!”
I was… actually feeling hungry. I am alive…
I looked up to the night sky, where the blinking lights continued to be at play. There seems to be a beckoning from the lights to stay well, to stay safe. I seemed to see the face of “The Little One” winking at me, motioning me to claim my bowl of hot asparagus cream.
———- Post soup… ———
“My love, how long have you been wandering in the woods? Your clothes look…. different…” The elderly lady seemed amused at her old man’s question. “She must be from the city, dearie.” I paused and looked up from my soup, thought I just had to ask, “What year is this anyway?” “2025, dear. It’s spring of 2025. News has it that we’re heading to Saturn soon. The red planet I think. Cos the woods are being swallowed by the sandstorms.”
I started trekking in 2000, as a celebration with my love, for walking into the new millenium together…