Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hidden Lies

It was raining. I distinctly remembered it.

"Siddarth!"

I turned as I heard my name.

Shilpa was walking towards me with a hesitant smile on her face.

"Thanks for the notes," she told me handing my book back.

I nodded taking my book back and said nothing more.

My hostel room was barely a kilometer walk from my class, but I was feeling dejected.

Looking at the downpour, I realized that no matter how much I tried, I was going to get drenched. Not that I had anything against the rain in particular. Just that I was sure that my notes would be wet by the time I reached my room.

I saw Shilpa ahead of me looking out at the rain.. her hair and her dark eyes... They always cast a magical spell on me.

Not Shilpa. God, Shilpa was dumb. Way too dumb for me to put up with her. Shilpa's hair and eyes – they reminded me of someone. And for the life of me, I cannot remember who it reminds me of.

But whoever it reminds me – probably a memory from another life time – the eyes were special. There were some drunk nights when I found myself thinking of being in the embrace of a lovely woman with sparkling dark eyes.

Those were the days, I woke up with my usual nightmare of being stabbed in the heart.

So, this is all I am –

An Engineer who will have his Masters degree in two months time. I just cannot believe that I have actually finished my under graduation in the same college five years back. I remember almost nothing of it. Vague memories...and someone with a lot of hair...

Which leads to the second fact about me. I am someone with an overactive imagination.

Naturally, I am an overachiever in college and someone whom other students avoid like a plague.

The other students...well, let us not go there. We never see eye to eye. Me being what I am and they being what they are.

Most of them do not even remember me. Which is exactly how I like it to be. Trust me, staying alone and far away from that mad group of "students" is a far better deal. The only exception to that rule is Shilpa. She sometimes asks me questions – stupid ones, I might add. But then I tolerate her. And I honestly have no idea why.

It was thinking all this, that I stepped into the rain.

Probably, I heard some snickers behind me. But it died down soon enough.

My classmates learnt it the hard way to never mess up with me. I may be a nerd, but still I really do not like it when people point it out to me. And I definitely made that jerk in class realize exactly how much I don't like being pointed out that I was a nerd.

As I walked in the rain, I realized that being in the rain is actually a pleasant thing. Drip...drip....drip...The water sloshing all around me. It is actually fun hearing to it. My floaters were getting wet. If I did not think about the fact that my room is going to be a mess when I reach it, it might be fun actually.

Naturally, I was thinking about it.

That was when I felt it. Someone was looking at me. Specifically me.

I mean, I am not one of those people who is "self-aware" or whatever. But right now, I knew I was being watched.

I turned around sharply and other than my boring classmates, I actually saw no one. There was absolutely no reason, why any of them would be watching me. In fact, they were not. They all were looking miserably at the rain, just waiting for it to pass. There was all the more reason for them to completely ignore me. Something was irritating them even more than me.

Finally, I just managed to see my campus room, when I felt movement behind me.

I turned and I blinked. And still blinked again. I mean, I am not one of those brigade who blinks and stares and does all those weird things that generally people do in books. I am a proud student of science and hardly anything surprises me. Everything I can see, I can explain.

But this, was impossible.

The woman who was walking up to me, had long plaited hair and she was tall. The thing was I definitely cannot explain how she appeared so suddenly in my line of sight. I definitely did not see her a few seconds back.

The most unsurprising part in the entire thing was that she looked very angry at me. More than angry. That was a pretty normal reaction, as far as I am concerned. People who are around me, eventually get around to having that expression which the woman had in her face.

The thing was she looked dangerous. Like she was going to kill me, if I did something wrong – that kind of dangerous.

And believe me, in my life, those kind of people are not rare – they are just non-existent.

People do get annoyed with me a lot. They may have even dreamt of killing me, because I am so overly smart and all that.

But despite all that, no one has physically tried any of their homicidal tendencies on me – other than of course, the woman in my nightmares.

Anyway, back to reality, the look of the woman suggested that she wanted to make my nightmare, real. For the life of me, I could not understand why. I do not even know her – I don't normally hack into people's email accounts on a whim. Not anymore. I used to do it before. But now, that became boring. So that was probably not the reason the chick before me was so furious.

And that was when I noticed the dagger in her belt.

Well, for starters, I don't remember seeing daggers this close to me. Agreed, I do dream a lot about daggers, but then you can blame my overactive imagination for that too.

I admit it, I am freakish about the whole weapons thing. I never get close to weapons of any kind. Especially, since even without all that, I manage to hurt myself a lot.

No, that was also not what I found strange about her. The dagger...there was a part of me, telling me that I knew that dagger.

Behind her were two burly men – the kinds which really scared nerds like me. But even without the two men, by the side, the woman looked pretty scary.

"We are doing this again, Time Warrior!" She fumed angrily at me.

Her look got a lot worse and she was honestly looking at me like I was a bug to be squashed. For one incongruent minute, I realized that in the unlikely event, Sulphuric acid ever developed a conscious and saw me staring at it, through the other side of the test tube, this was exactly how it was going to feel.

After the initial terror rolled over me, I turned and there was a part of me wondering which cool dude got the benefit of being addressed as "Time Warrior" by this chick. I had to admit it, it sounded cool and goofy at the same time. And from her mouth, it even sounded slightly terrifying.

What took the cake was that she stopped right in front of me. Her brown eyes looked angrily at me. "We know that you are in a hiatus, after your last mission." She told me looking very serious. "But I had no choice. The Dark Star minions have attacked the City of Techno again."

I blinked some more. I realized that this was one of those rare occasions, when the individual words made sense, but together it gave me no cohesive meaning. Actually, it gave absolutely no meaning. And I was beginning to have a headache. A small headache.

And her hand was hovering over the dagger which bothered me a lot.

"The memory implant works well. He is looking like an idiot at me!" She fumed angrily and this time she was talking to the man on her right.

"Are you talking about me?" I demanded as I ignored the headache.

I may be a nerd. I may not have a six pack like those two jerks beside her. But I had my pride. Ok, I know that dialogues like those got you killed very painfully. But still, I had my pride. A beautiful woman with brown eyes and long plaited hair and two bodyguards could not get away with insulting me for no apparent reason. To be honest, if she had a reason for insulting me, I would have kept my mouth shut – she and the two guys were that scary.

"Of course, we are talking about you, mister!" She snapped angrily at me. "I don't see anyone else other than the four of us, here. Teleporting here to this exact location when you were not surrounded by the others, was really tough" She nearly chewed out the words. "And I really do not have time to waste. With Dark Star loose in the city, General Varayana wants you as soon as possible."

"OMG!" I said weakly, swallowing painfully. It was very painful, because despite the fact that she was a beautiful girl, I hated to break it to her that she had escaped from a mental asylum. Nothing else could explain the gibberish I was hearing. And for the first time in my life, I hated to be the bearer of bad news. Something told me, the woman did not take well to bad news and the bearers of the bad news.

"Do you know the name of your attending doctor?" I asked feebly, praying that the dagger she had was not real. "I can call him and have you transported back to your cell."

She snarled angrily and the two men behind her came forward.

If I had seen this in the movies, I would have been actually impressed. Watching in for real, was frankly more even more scarier than my nightmare.

That was when in a move so fast, the two men turned me and pushed me hard against the wall.

My scream was cut in my throat and frankly, the only important thing I wanted to tell the woman was that there was absolutely no point in kidnapping me. My net worth, even including the scholarship fees was no more than fifty thousand rupees. It really was not worth....

I gasped as something hot pricked me in the neck.

And the last thing I remembered was wanting to tell the woman that she as an idiot. There was no point in what she was trying to do....Then the darkness claimed me as I fell unceremoniously on the two men.

*********

I woke up suddenly and I wondered why Kira was looking so angrily at me.

And my head was... I clutched my head, stifling back a groan as I saw Karan and Thark beside her.

My initial nausea went back a notch, when the last memory came crashing in my head

"I wanted out!" I said hoarsely trying to sit up. "You and your stupid city of Techno – I am done with that crap!" I hissed at Kira angrily.

She had no business dragging me back into this stupid mess, especially since the last time.

Because after the last time that I had saved their stupid city, I just could not do it anymore.

Having my heart broken was actually the easiest part of the entire thing. I really missed was the normalcy of a boring college life with no one trying to kill me. And I had specifically asked out. General Varayana did not like it. But he really knew that he could not force me. Not if I did not want it. Did I mention I had my heart broken? God, that life really infuriated me.

"At least, he remembers everything," Kira said looking angrily at me, breathing noisily through her nose, as he looked at Karan. "This is the first time, we have undone the memory implant on any human, after putting them on a hiatus."

"Take me back home, Kira!" I told Kira angrily, not listening to anything she had said. God, it hurt. It hurt so badly. I could still see Tara's beautiful hair and her intense dark eyes. There was a time when those eyes meant the world to me. Meant everything to me.

Which was why Tara's betrayal hurt me so much. She had just left me and joined that crazy group of lunatics – Dark Star.

I had no answers of why she would do such a thing. I really thought she loved me. And the more I thought about it, the more insane it drove me. So I just wanted to forget it. I wanted to forget it all. That was why, I even had the experimental memory implant put in my brain. I wanted out and I wanted to remember absolutely no part of my life as the "Time Warrior" - Other than the fancy name, it offered me nothing. Nothing good at all.

They thought I'd forget. But I remembered. Everything.

Tara's eyes and the dagger through my heart....Both seemed equally sharp and equally heart wrenching. And I hated it from the bottom of my heart.

And now these idiots had just undone my implant.

That was when Kira spoke. "Tara and few members of the Dark Star have escaped from the penal colony," she said pulling out a beautifully carved dagger, as she handed it to me. "And Tara left a message for you. Specifically for you."

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