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T & T Story Writing Contest 2019-20

The Strange Ground

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He was shivering and sweating profusely.

If not for this red rope tied to the insides of this, this—platform or whatever—I would have fallen off this plateau.  Looks like silk, who would tie such a long silk cloth to a—and it seems to originate from in between the walls of the platform.

Gradually, his pulse turned to normal, and he started to explore the strange place.

I remember going to bed yesterday, but how did I end up here! Who could have done this to me? What sort of place is this! It looks like a vast white ground with no speck of greenery. I can’t spot a trace of another life. And how come I can’t even remember how I was about to fall off the plateau.

He decided to take another look at the valley below this place. His legs resisted but he crawled to the edge. The view below perplexed him further—all he could see was barren white land. The lack of a trace of greenery scared him more than anything else. He crawled back to the platform. At that odd moment, that red silk rope seemed to offer him the much-needed sense of security, he sat near it for some minutes. With every ticking moment, the deafening silence and smothering space were torturing him. He was urged to follow the red silk; to find its origin. He walked up to the platform from where it originated.

Huh! Good, this seems to be firmly fastened. I hope someone’s there above this structure, this loneliness is killing me. Huh! Hmm! Here I go. Not as tough as I thought. Wow! Wow! What a fascinating ground; looks like a plush reception floor of some super-rich hotels. But, why would someone design such an open structure with no walls, no pillars, and no seating facility; but a luxurious floor.

The flamboyance of the floor held his attention for some time. He walked, enjoying the beauty of that surface, trying to make meaning of the curves and lines in the design, from one end to the other. But the comfort was short-lived for he was soon hit by the fact that there was no life form here as well.

The burden of solitude crushed him.

‘No. No. No. Is there anyone out here?’ He shrieked out his lungs.

Knowing that no one would reply, he fell to knees and doomed in tears. Seconds later he sensed hot wind gushing against his sides, and was followed by a whimpering. He stood up and to his horror found the giant face of a beast. Thrust with terror, triggered by survival reflex he ran away from the animal and jumped off the longer side of the platform and hid there.

The beast was out of sight, but only for moments. This time it pounded up from the valley below, straight to the surface of the plateau.

‘Getaway, Leave me alone.’

Tommy was only as tall as the beast’s paws. He could hardly see its face or make out what the creature was exactly, but he was certain that within seconds his life will be crushed between the teeth of this animal.

He closed his eyes and lied there like a foetus ready to embrace another womb.

The beast came closer. And closer. And closer.

He could sense the smell and breath of the beast all over his body. It was so hot that he couldn’t make out whether he was yet on the ground or inside the beast’s mouth. But instead of the piercing pain of the sharp teeth, he felt gentle wetness spreading all over him—comforting wetness. And he gently opened his eyes. The beast was lying near him and licking him.

‘Brito! It’s you. How come you’ve turned so monstrous? Where are we?’

Despite the confusion, he was relieved that now he had someone’s company.

The pup whimpered again and looked at Tommy, and then behind him. Tommy turned around to find out what his puppy gazed and to his amazement found his name written on the wall of the platform—the very same ink, the very same style as he had scribbled on the spine of his diary minutes before he fell asleep last night.

‘I’m shrunk!’

But what knocked him for a loop was the recollection of the fact that today was his wedding.


Vaishnavi Sanoj

Vaishnavi Sanoj is a post-graduate in English Literature and a qualified teacher. Her poems and articles have been published in prestigious online journals like Muse-India, Indian Rumination; and the daily newspaper, The Hindu. Her books include: SIDEREAL DESTINY, a novel explores the impact of thoughts in our lives; MYSTIC REFLECTIONS, a satirical novella on contemporary ideas of development, equality and spirituality. She is also one of the recipients of NE8X Online Literary Awards 2019.

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