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Short Story Contest 2020-21

On Read

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Chandru’s POV:

9 am:

“Ugh… It’s morning… again,” I thought to myself, lying on my bed, while the sun flares hit my eyes. Sometimes I hate these days, humid days, people bustling around, and all that human contact I have to face is just horrible. Nights are way better. Just imagine, no days, just nights, beautiful nights with synthetic lights that shine bright. Wouldn’t it be exotic? Okay… time to get off the bed, before mom yells. “Chandru, it’s nine in the morning, the perfect time to get off your bed” Mom yelled. Like seriously, I was just about to do that. “The clock in my room works just fine, mom” I screamed. “Que milagro! Verte despertarte tan temprano.” Mom’s voice exhilarated. Do not panic, it’s just my mom showing off her Spanish skills, which she learned from her colleagues.

12:30 pm:

Tranquillity… is something I need right now, why don’t people learn to quiet down, can’t they see that I’m trying to read a book. It is always like this in my college; ugh… this is why I hate lunch breaks, except for one reason, her, Simran; the divine goddess of my chimaeras. This is the only time I could see her, or WATCH her. We both have different classes. Still, we both know a lot about each other, in fact, she’s my very good friend, but… she doesn’t know who I am. Not clear? Let me make it clear, we’re e-friends. Yes. I know everything about her, even who she is, but she doesn’t know me. She has never asked me to meet her, or for my picture, we just like talking to each other, we both think that it’s fun to have a friend with whom you can share everything without any worries. Serendipity was not our case, it was prepense. Chandru’s deliberate mission; woo Simran.

5:30 pm:

Finally, home. “Mother, do you have any appetizers to nourish my hunger” I exclaimed. “Yes, your highness, I have prepared an exquisite dish to succour your voracity” mom proclaimed. “Here is your most favourite… idli”, mom screamed. “Wow, I did not expect such a piquant dish from you. I wish this 435th attempt tastes better than your previous ones” I jested with a smirk while tasting her idli. Mmmhmm… I better order something.

11 pm:

Beep… as soon as I heard that sound, I rushed to get my phone. I know it is Simran, no one else would message me this late at night. As she says, it’s the only time she is free of work.

“Hey, you free?”

“Yup… absolutely at the state of rest”

“Ha-ha…”, “I meant to ask you this before!”

“Ask me what?”

“Umm…. You won’t mistake me, right?”

“Come on, you’re making me curious, what is it?”

“…. can we meet??…. If possible! ”

I was taken aback by what Simran said, is she serious?

“Umm… are you serious?”

“Yes, I am…”

Oh no… this shouldn’t be happening! There’s no way in the world I’m going to meet her… My introverted mind wouldn’t let me. Should I find some lame excuses? What if I tell her that I’m sick? Yes, master plan, she’ll probably believe it. “Chandru, it’s 8 at night, aren’t you hungry?” mom asked. “Mom please can we order something tonight? I don’t feel like cooking”, I replied hastily.

“Chandru?” I heard a voice beside me. “Y-yes…” I answered. “How are you doing in there?” that voice asked. “I-I’m not sure” I replied. Suddenly I woke up… thousands of people in front of me, talking to each other, taking my pictures. “Chandru? How do you feel right now?” that voice questioned. I turned to look at that person who owns this voice. “Who are you?” I asked. “Oh… he doesn’t remember her” I heard some voices squealing. “Don’t worry Chandru… you’re perfectly alright!” that voice said. “I’m sure that’s not the answer to-” I fainted.

Click, click, clamp, clamp… I heard these sounds… ugh I hate them. “You may put forth your questions now,” another voice said. “Prof. Brinda, can you explain the type of experiment that Mr Chandrasekhar has been subjugated?” someone asked.

“Yes… I’m Prof. Brinda. Before anything, I would like to inform you all that no one has been forced to undergo any sort of treatments without prior information and warning. This experiment that Mr Chandrasekhar, my son is encountering is called… The Oneiro-tendency… We syncopate the subject and that’s when the entire process starts… the subject goes into a completely unconscious state where they can only dream… hence the name, Oneiro, which means to dream.” That voice enounced.

“What happens after the process starts, Prof. Brinda?” Someone asked. “The subject starts dreaming, vividly. He/ she will start living in their mental vision, without acknowledging anything that happens outside of it” That voice said. “Can you explain the process in detail, Prof. Brinda?” someone questioned.

“Yes, it takes some time for the subject to start dreaming after the syncopation, for Mr Chandrasekhar, it took about 2 hours. While dreaming, the subject should not be disturbed externally, in any form, like talking or touching, which wakes them up and the dream stops abruptly. We can use high dosages which might help the subject to dream without any disturbances, but the chances are they never wake up. Instead, we insinuate them in a metal box, which keeps them unconscious. We supply them oxygen continuously and H2O intermittently. The dreams they have are not perpetual. As far as we have observed, the dreams occur in a very random manner, Mr. Chandrasekhar had dreamed at different times, like once it is 9 in the morning and suddenly it shifts to any random time of the day, it is not cyclical.” That voice said.

“How does one wake up from the dream, Prof. Dario Sánchez?” Someone asked. “We should disturb their dream, just like how one’s sleep is disrupted by alarms. We usually talk to them or call out their name. If that doesn’t work we pinch or hit them slightly. Sometimes, after waking up, they forget everything that has happened in their life, like how Mr Chandrasekhar did not remember Prof. Brinda. Then the subject faints, even in this state that Mr Chandrasekhar is in right now, they subconsciously can hear everything we’re saying.” Another voice said. “How will the dreams be?” another someone asked. “It can be however we want it to be. Our human brain cannot create something anew, like people; it only virtualizes the faces we have seen before, we might not remember them, but they’re not erased from our memory. Most dreams are a mixture of reality and imagination. Mr Chandrasekhar’s dream mainly revolves around him, his mother Prof. Brinda and his wife Mrs Simran.” another voice said.

“Can they control their dreams? Prof. Brinda” someone asked. “That is the speciality of our experiment. We can control this dream, just like how we control our daily life activities. You can do whatever you want, or go wherever you want.” That voice said. “What is the purpose of this experiment?” someone asked. “For people who regret their life, or wish to relive their life the way they want it to be. It can help a mental patient’s condition ease after any emotional trauma or despondency. Mr Chandrasekhar went to terrible distress after his wife’s demise. They undergo this treatment till they’ve recovered completely.”

Boom… I heard a loud noise, I started shuddering. “Oh my god… What is happening to Mr Chandrasekhar”, “Is this experiment a failure”, “Why is Mr Chandrasekhar shivering, Prof. Brinda?”, “Chandru wake up!” I heard these voices.

I woke up… I looked around me, everything was normal, same room, same bed, same me, same phone… PHONE? What? Did I just leave Simran ON READ?


Sameena Farzana

Sameena Farzana was born and brought up in the south of India. She loves experiences, even though the ones she's only heard or seen but never personally experienced. She is neither a book lover nor has read any book completely. But she adores writing. She has tried many hobbies and is still trying new ones to know more about herself. You can call her "The jack of all trades but master of none".

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