The Weatherman: Chapter 5

Gina had always hated teleporting. “Churns up a nauseating sensation in the belly!” she always said.
It was no different this time. The only difference there was maybe was the fact that nauseation probably wasn’t her greatest concern at this instant As she landed the eerie valley and the first gush of the frosty wind whiplashed across her face, she noticed that the colour of the sky wasn’t as purple as it used to be. A shade of black had started perpetuating and the highly ominous Gina took this as a sign.

She saw the motionless figure of Salem still holding her hand, in his previously endowed state of nothingness, clinging on to her foot. She bent on her knee and caressed his neck as the same shade of blue brought him back to consciousness. Salem’s first reaction to the surroundings wasn’t one of shock or disappointment, but of acceptance.

Gina smiled at him and whispered “We’re here”.

They saw the one thing that stood in the eeriness of the lush green valley. A wooden brown door with the words ‘NO TELEPORTATION ZONE BEYOND THIS POINT’ written on them. Just the door and the valley that lay behind it. Gina banged the gold doorknocker twice and waited. The wooden slit on the door slid and a pair of glittering emerald eyes stared at them.

“PASSWORD?”, came a voice from the slit.

“RATSKUNKS!” said Gina.

The door swung open and a bald, masculine figure with a goatee beard and the same emerald eyes stood in front of them. He wore a black robe with golden tapestry, large enough to conceal the sword scabbard lying behind it.

“Hello Miss Gina”, said the figure with a voice that sounded like a unison of several other voices all synced in a single vocal chord.

“Hello honorable Guardsmen!”, said Gina, “I’ve brought the convict with me.”

“Ah! Yes, yes.”, said the unison of voices. “Hello Foreseer!”

Salem smiled and bowed.

He looked around and said, “Pretty furious are the winds today, aren’t they?”

“Yes, yes” said Gina. “Perhaps the little mistress of the Windbearer hasn’t been all that faithful to him”

“Or perhaps there is something more cautionary to it than that” said the unison of voices. “ Perhaps our little young Foreseer might have an idea about it.” He shifted to the right, bent and waved his arm towards the gate. “Well anyways, welcome to Paradisus!”

The duo walked through the gates as the once lush valley now turned into a pathway surrounded by clouds of all shapes and sizes. There was the ‘Floating bridge Of Hideus’ that mediated the ground from the castle. Oh and yes, ‘The Black Castle’, pride of Pardisus that stood gigantically in front of them, kissing the abode of the skies so that the topmost point was nowhere to be seen.

On either side of the floating bridge lay the stretch of bushes with the exotic Butterbouts that grew on them.

Interesting story about the Butterbouts, these little flowers that seemed like poppies over a saucer. When the Lovelord, Sir Jean (He loved to be entitled as a knight although he wasn’t actually one) first came across his one true beloved, the Songstress Marayah, the Wilderbees were so mesmerized by the awe of the winds of love that flew that time that they accidentally cross pollinated the Butterfelds with the Rosenbouts and thus this new, beautiful creation came into existence.

“Proceed”, said the Guardsmen as the two of them started making their way through the bridge. It wobbled and lolled but the three of them didn’t stutter or bound for support for they had their trust in its firmness. As they stood before ginormous gates of the castle, the Guardsmen stepped forward and flicked the fingers of both his palms towards it as the gates gradually made way for them.

The two of walked in and turned towards the guardsmen.

“We shall see you later”, said the voices and the door swung to a close between them.

O Captain…. My Captain….

My childhood just died in an apartment in California today. He died of reasons called asphyxiation. Word I couldn’t spell when I was a kid. Word I don’t understand even now. And my childhood died of it.

Peculiar little character, my childhood. Delightfully notorious, painstakingly hilarious and insightfully thoughtful. He taught me the meaning of a whole new word. And no, the word wasn’t asphyxiation. It was hope.

I could still hear him whistling his way through as he came into the classroom. In a world full of educators who made me feel like a deposit fund to be broken someday, he came in as a teacher and showed me that I am not a cheque to be cashed in someday. That I exist! “Carpe Diem”, he said and I believed him.

I remember him as a tall, blue giant, with a funny beard and a funnier demeanor. I remember him sweeping in on his carpet, taking me places I couldn’t imagine existed. He taught me that wishes do come true, all you have to do is believe.

I remember him as a lunatic who lived inside a board game. I remember him taking me far away, in a mystical land with creatures that are both haunting and adorable. Does he still live in the board game? Would he come back if I roll the dice?

I also remember him as the psychologist who never charged me for his time. Who listened to me, who understood me. Who showed me that all my miseries and all my demons aren’t something I have to live with for the rest of my life. “It’s not your fault”, he said to me over and over and over and I believed him.

Where has he gone now? Have any of you seen him? Does he not see me rubbing upon a lamp wishing he’d come back? Or does he not see me rolling the dice over and over until I could get the number that might bring him back? Does he not see me wishing upon a star, waiting for him to come back,because he was the one who taught me that wishes do come true?

How could he manage to give the whole world around him hope and happiness and contentment? How could he not find the same from the world around him? Was he a hypocrite all this time? Or was he a skeptic of his own beliefs?

I wish I could’ve saved my childhood, just like he saved me. If you ever come upon him tell him that I thank him. Also tell him that I forgive him.

Will my childhood come back as the tall, blue giant that I always imagined him to be? Will he grant me 3 wishes? Because if he would, I’d wish for him to come back all the three times…..

The Weatherman: Chapter 4- ‘Ghost of Christmas Past’

She wore her favorite red dress that day. That one-piece with a neck strap which stretched up to her knees. It did cost 89$ but to her it was worth every penny. It was a bright, yellow Saturday morning. One of the hottest mornings of the summer, but she wasn’t so warm. She licked on to her butterscotch ice cream cone. Again, her favorite. A kid in the park ran into her chasing his sister. She laughed, bent over her knee and patted him on the head. She was so good with kids. One of the reasons why she loved visiting the park so very often. The park was filled with them.

A little boy swung her sister so hard she fell on the ground, but she didn’t cry. She got up, dusted herself, went back to the boy and slapped him so hard on the cheek, he fell on the ground and started weeping. A father and his son were playing catch with their baseball. The father cheered his son everytime he caught the ball. There was ruckus of noise in the park which was so chaotic, but to her ears it seemed as if it all blended into some sort of music. A music only she could hear. A melody only she could recognize.

A blonde flick of her hair dangled over her face touching her lips, caressing them. It went all the way through the side of her face, touching her apple cheek, obscuring her brown eye and toying with her lips. She placed it at the back of her ear with her finger. She offered her ice cream cone to him. “D’you want it?” she asked. She was standing right next to him but the sound felt so distant. It almost reverberated as it came to him. He raised his arm to grab it but she pulled the cone away. “You have to catch me for it.”, she said and laughed. He started chasing her as she ran towards the park exit. She laughed all the way through. Somehow the laugh echoed through the whole place. Dark grey clouds had started hovering over. They covered the blue and the yellow and the somehow it felt as if the colour had faded from the world.

She exited the park gates and stood still on the pavement. She turned around and looked towards him. Her blonde flick had now found its place on her eyelid. She blinked those brown eyes and again placed the blonde flick at the back of her ear. She smiled.

A red Volkswagen ran into her and drove away. Suddenly the day wasn’t bright anymore. It was as if a solar eclipse had occurred all of a sudden. The chaotic park fell dead silent. There was no girl swinging. The swing swung all by itself.  No boy playing catch. His glove was biting the dust off the ground.  A red rose in the park withered and then fell off. Dead.

The ringing of the phone woke Sam up.

He checked the alarm clock. It was 3:19. He picked up the phone.

“Yeah?”, he said sounding almost deranged.

“Hey it’s me.”, said Eric. His voice had the same heaviness.

“Its 3’o clock”

”3:20 actually”

“What d’you want dumbass?” Sam asked running his palm through his curls.

“Nothing man. I just wanted to know how you’re doing”, said Eric trying to obscure his laugh. “Just kidding man. So listen, d’you remember our guide Iqbal?”

“Yeah”, said Sam. He remembered him quite well. That dark, middle aged man with crooked teeth and chest hair that could knit themselves a sweater. He remembered him ruffling his chest hair once in the street and going ‘It is considered to be a matter of pride and the sign of a true man in our country. Women go crazy over it’. He then smiled as his crooked teeth shone in the sunlight.

“So it turns out that our man Salem wasn’t like a complete stranger. He had come to the village a few days back to visit an old widow named Fatima. Turned out our man had the hots for her. He convinced her to leave the village just a day before the storm and she now probably lives in another small Arab village in Kuwait by the name of Behrami. So I called the boss-”

“You called the boss too? At 3’o clock?”

“I did”, he chuckled. “You should’ve listened to his voice man. It was hilarious.”

“You’re a nutjob”

“So anyways the boss says we have to go to Kuwait tomorrow. Or should I say today. There’s a bus that’ll take us to the village from there. So start packing. Our flight leaves at 5:30.”

“What as in 5:30 in the next two hours?” said Sam as he rose from his bed and looked at the alarm clock.

“No. No. 5:30 in the evening.”

“Oh Thank god!” Sam sat back on the bed scratching his head. “Wait so this couldn’t have waited until I woke up?”

“Oh! Oh yeah, it could’ve.” said Eric chuckling lightly as he hung up the phone.