Wednesday, February 8, 2017

When Time Stops

Aarvi suddenly opened her eyes and felt something wrong. Her head was hurting, as Aarvi gasped falling down, her eyes watering. She was sweating and it was feeling like she had run a mile. And then there was the feeling that something was wrong. The feeling if any was accentuated right now. She ignored her burning head as she looked around.

Beyond the blurred eyesight, Aarvi stared and saw that it was her classroom. Her classroom. The one where she and the others were practicing something..... Aarvi winced as her head started hurting real bad. She was taking deep breaths trying to control herself. And then again she was feeling something. She did not know what. It was....Unable to understand, Aarvi stumbled as she walked towards the classroom window. Carefully she peered down and was shocked slightly.

And it was not because of the view. The view of the Institute from the classroom was always the same. She could see the rest of the Institute from here.

But what she was feeling was worse than anything that Aarvi could imagine. It was silent. That was the whole thing. It was too silent.

Aarvi's heart was thudding painfully and the blood rushing to her ears was making it impossible for her to listen, as she collapsed. Slowly calming herself, Aarvi pushed herself up and stumbled out of the classroom. And Aarvi gasped.

The Institute was empty. The entire Institute, which had at least a hundred rowdy teenage students was empty. The empty classrooms...the huge place....It was almost making Aarvi claustrophobic and she was hyperventilating. Her headache was threatening to overpower her as even without realizing it, her hands glowed as Aarvi formed a shield around her. If Airan was after her, Aarvi realized that right now, she was really not going to offer any defences. She was too badly freaked. Really badly freaked ....

She looked around and there was no one there. Not one soul.

"Where is everyone?" Aarvi yelled and stopped immediately. The echo of her own voice through the empty Institute sounded....almost like a death knell. It was so loud...So unimaginably loud.

Her legs were feeling like jelly as she was whimpering, and stumbled towards the ground floor. She saw no one in the corridor. She was pushing open the other rooms. No one.

"Guys?" Aarvi whispered as she ran down the steps. No one. Aarvi's shield collapsed as she could no longer keep it up. She was already feeling real bad and the shield was draining her.

Aarvi ran towards the office in the ground floor and almost yelled hoarsely as she heard noises coming from there. She nearly collapsed as she pushed the office door open and unceremoniously collapsed there as she saw Mono there sitting in her usual chair, looking smug and boring as usual.

There was a small part of her telling her that she and Mono were sworn enemies from the time Aarvi joined the Institute. Mono was that perfect, strict, boring, following the rules...blah blah blah and everything else as the warden of the Institute and Mono was everything that Aarvi was not. They had hit it off the first time they had met. Literally. She and Mono had had a furious mind shield exercise and the entire thing would have ended with both of them killing each other. Only Aarush's interference prevented the matter from going any further.

And right now Aarvi just did not care. Aarvi made a weird gurgling voice as she saw the warden sitting in her usual chair, looking imperiously at her and she could not stop smiling, breathing in short gasps. And Aarvi was appalled to find that she was very close to weeping...

"What are you doing here? Why the shield?" the warden demanded looking at her slightly stunned. Probably, Mrs. Marika Mona, the warden of the Institute, realized that something was really wrong and forgot the usual tone that she usually used when talking with Aarvi.

"Where is everybody?" Aarvi asked stammering as she slumped on the chair opposite to the warden. There was a time when Mono had specifically told Aarvi never to do that. Mono had said that she had to wait until the person in any room, asked her to sit, or some such crap. Aarvi never listened to that before. And she definitely was not doing it right now, when she was half out of her wits.

"What everybody?" the warden asked looking slightly surprised. "You mean Raila and Sharila?" Mono asked pointing behind Aarvi. Aarvi sighed almost going limp with relief. Both Sharila and Raila were coming inside the Mono's room.

"Has Airan attacked the Institute? Has he done something to the others?" Aarvi asked trying to calm down her heart which was beating real hard.

"Aarvi, is something wrong with you?" Sharila asked, frowning as she looked at Aarvi. "Who is Airan?" Sharila asked.

And that stopped Aarvi. Real hard. She was feeling numb. More than numb. "You don't know Airan?" Aarvi whispered, not able to get the words out.

Sharila and Raila looked at each other worried. They then watched Mono. And even at that time, Aarvi had no doubt that the three of them were thinking of her as a candidate straight for the mental asylum.

"How can you not know Airan?" Aarvi shouted. "He is the dark Magi! The one who turned bad and has been hunting other Magis for the past week!" Aarvi looked at Sharila hoping, really hoping that the others would snap out of this. She was seriously freaking out.

Actually she was already past freaking out.

"You have been reading far too many books!" Raila said grinning as she sat on the chair beside Aarvi.

Aarvi was almost gasping for breath trying to concentrate.

"Aarush?" she wailed trying her telepathy. Aarsuh, her twin had to reply. Even before they had come to the Institute, the telepathic connection between the two of them was strong. Their mother used to complain that what she told one, the other automatically knew....They were always like that. And now, after training with Manar Kal in the Institute, the connection between them became stronger.

Aarvi could not believe that she had not thought of contacting Aarsuh first. And a second later, Aarvi was shocked as she opened her eyes suddenly, crashing as she fell down from the chair. Aarvi was getting up, running down the stairs with the two girls following her. "I cannot feel Aarsuh!" Aarvi said her breath coming out in gasps. "My....brother!" Aarvi said her voice trembling as she ran out of the hostel.

"What?" Raila asked looking confused.

Aarvi turned clutching Sharila's shoulder's hard, almost shaking Sharila. "Your brother Nehar. He is a powerful telekinetic. Where is he?"

Sharila was watching Aarvi like she was a disease as Aarvi fumbled. "Guys! We were all being taught by Manar Kal in our classroom at the Institute. He was taking a class about the time freeze bubble. The five of us and Veneera was there."

Aarvi winced as she struggled to remember that thing and fell down and would have hurt herself if Sharila had not caught her.

Aarvi's eyes were watering real bad as she realized that remembering anything was becoming too difficult. Almost painful.....Sharila opened her mouth and that was when Aarvi felt something behind her.

Aarvi turned her heart thundering.

"Aarvi?"

There was a bright swirling multi-coloured light before her. Too bright. And Aarvi was feeling giddy, as she was struggling not to break down.

Aarush. Aarvi was struggling to breathe properly. She could finally hear Aarush.

"Aarush?" She sobbed for breath, yelling as she forgot to use her telepathic connection. "What happened?"

"...gone! Can't see...come!"

And then even before Aarush could elaborate, the lights, the swirling connection, it was all gone.

"AARUSH?" Aarvi yelled running towards the place and found nothing there. No lights and worse no Aarush.

Aarvi remained rooted on the place as she heard Sharila breathing in sharply behind her.

"What is wrong with you, Aarvi?" Sharila asked her warily. "You are talking and behaving like...."

"Where is Raila?" Aarvi asked still whsipering, her heart beating real hard. "She was here just a few minutes ago..."

"Raila?" Sharila asked looking confused.

Aarvi watched Sharila her heart beating like a sledgehammer. "You don't know do you?" Aarvi asked looking around. "Why am I the only one who can remember?" Aarvi looked around trying to make sense of something.

Sharila was watching Aarvi warily. "Something is really wrong with you, Aarvi. First you run to the empty office, all the way from the classroom and you claim to be asking for people...."

"Empty office?" Aarvi asked Sharila numb. "Mono was there! Our warden!" Aarvi gasped. "You were the one who gave her the nickname Mono!"

"Mono? What is that?" Sharila mouthed looking confused. "It was always just the two of us in the entire Institute!" Sharila said looking real scared of Aarvi.

Aarvi stared at Sharila for a few seconds. She could not think. Too many stupid things. And none of it was making sense.

Aarvi looked around the empty place. Aarvi was struggling to remember what it was that she had felt from Aarush...Gone...Can't see...

Aarvi looked around and suddenly...

"Oh my God!" she said, as she nearly pushed the stunned Sharila aside, running.

"Hey! Where are you...?" Sharila called running behind her.

Aarvi was running at top speed towards Institute. Her footsteps thudding in the empty Institute and it was actually more than terrifying.

"Wait up, Aarvi!" Sharila called as they both ran up the Institute.

Aarvi ran to the fourth floor...her classroom.

The place, where it had all started. And Sharila was right behind her.

"Aarvi, what are you....?" Sharila called and Aarvi was slightly freaked out, as Sharila disappeared as she was talking.

But right now, Aarvi was beginning to understand.

"Aarush?" Aarvi called quietly.

It was quiet.

Aarvi closed her eyes and focused. "Aarush?"

"AARVI?"

Aarvi nearly broke her connection with Aarush. The barrage of feelings that she was feeling from Aarush was too high. Concern, worry, anxiety, anger, hopelessness, fear...And Aarush was nearly yelling in her mind.

"I managed to create the time bubble and I am inside it?" Aarvi asked as she tried focusing again on Aarush.

"Yes!" Aarush nearly screamed inside her mind. "You were gone! I could only feel you. I tried forcing the time bubble open before. I could not. Manar is trying to get you out. He says that you have to stand in the exact place that you entered the bubble. He said that you are the only one who can break it from the inside. You created the time freeze bubble. You have to create an opening to come out!"

Aarvi nodded as she tried to recollect where she was standing when Manar was taking the class. They were all practicing the time freeze bubble. A mind shield which could freeze time inside a particular area. Nehar had just practiced it and failed. It was Aarvi's turn and then....

Aarvi stood at the place where she had started learning it.

"I do not know how I did it, Aarush!" Aarvi said as she was trying to calm herself. She could not keep up her connection when she panicked.

"Follow me!" Aarush said desperately. "I am not going anywhere. Not without you. Just think of me! I will wait for you. I am waiting for you."

Without meaning to, Aarvi smiled. Aarush was always like this. Her brother....Always thinking with his heart. And that was the heart she was trusting herself in. That heart would always guide her.

Aarvi closed her eyes letting Aarush guide her. His thoughts..his feelings....his path...guiding her to the place where he was in.....

And then suddenly she saw the bright coloured lights swirling before her. It was so bright. So bright that she could barely see it. And still feeling Aarush she stepped inside the light.

**********

Aarush was almost sick as he saw Aarvi appear before him. He collapsed as she appeared before him outside time bubble, she had managed to create.

Aarush was just not able to do anything, as he felt drained....physically and otherwise.

"If you ever do that again, I will kill you!" he whispered as Aarvi hugged him tightly, looking unable to stop herself as he could feel sobs rack through her body.

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