It was a nightmare so vivid one would never wish even upon his enemies. Where the blackish violet of the ethereal amalgamated with the reality of the vibrant, marring it with its own corruption and reducing it to a pungent blue. Where the green, in the stark negligence of humanity, exploded with greed and malice. It outgrew everywhere in the vicinity, ingesting everything like a plague. It looked down upon me in pity, but compassion is not what it harbored.

It pained me. I should have left a long time ago. It was not my moment. But there was nothing I could have done. I was a cripple; a helpless witness to the corrosion of the stretch.

The place was a Bastille, which imprisoned everything with its sheer beauty. Maybe the same exquisiteness still held me incarcerated in this place, devoid of all emotions and the ability to feel. It was not so at its conception. In the beginning, everything bedazzled-the the touch, the smell, and the sight. I couldn’t remember what misfortune threw me in this accursed place and rendered me helpless, but I knew what happened thereafter.

The Spectator

First, there was excessive stiffening. Then, the part of me touching the soil became cumbrous. It was as though the earth and sky conspired to tear me into two pieces. Then, an entity of dubious origins spawned inside me, and continually it grew, intending to rip me apart. But it failed. I stretched and stretched until I could no more. Enraged upon its failure, this malevolent presence mutilated me from the inside. It burped toxicity and spewed poison. I leaked them from every orifice—an agonizing experience-but as absurdity had it; I was a mere spectator with a detached empathy. I felt nothing rather spectated it with enough proximity to appall me but a substantial distance to keep me from experiencing it.

Once the torment ended, an unlikely lightness came into being. I felt a considerable weight being lifted off my existence. I felt relieved. But along with the relief came deposition. My self grew weary of me and opted for an exodus, and as an oblivious person I ever was, I did not comprehend its truth until I noticed my hand. My arm, like the rest of my being, lost its concreteness. It withered and became thinner and thinner, till it resembled a part of the foliage, corrupted by the colors and stench which cursed that area.

It repulsed me, but more than that I was aghast. For a while, I looked for solace in other entities of the surroundings. However, like the emerald of the vicinity, they only taunted me. Birds mocked the discrepancy between my aspirations and my fallen state, while they punctured holes in my already hallowed essence. The water from a nearby reservoir brought aplomb, but also poked fun at me by stating what I would never obtain again.

When the last straw of hope buried beneath the haystack of despondency, one turns towards his loved ones for succor. Mine brought me only resentment. Through a barrage of vague fragments of my memory, I remembered they were the reason why I was accursed to this drivel. My wife’s love vanquished suddenly, and my son, he feigned ignorance of my existence. It broke me from the inside, but I persevered, and after a lot of introspection, I decided to confront them.

It was a misty evening; I remembered. I was on my way home, filled with resolve, and then it happened. So swift it was that I couldn’t recall anything, but through the broken remnants of my consciousness, I saw an effigy in a stagecoach. Her silhouetted countenance was of a woman and it resembled my wife! This remembrance was brought to me in disjointed elusiveness. It could have been a misinterpretation, but still, it was enough to pique my desperation.

Worst kind of fate is not the violent one but the one which is left with perpetual doubts. I never wanted to belong to the latter. I knew I had to leave. I moved, but this task which is a mundane facet for the outside world proved to be a humongous task for me. No matter how strenuous my efforts were, I could not escape the captivity which had swallowed my body.

I didn’t lose hope, and soon light seeped through the rocks of desolation which had covered my freedom. It was anything but effortless. The breaking of shackles exerted a pressure of agonizing magnitude. It coerced everything into an insatiable void, and pushed me to a summit where an existential decimation was imminent.

Liberation did arrive, and with it came the fall. It was a great one. It amused me. How much further a man’s compose could dive even when being close to the ground? Mine was even greater. I felt like plunging off a tall mountain and into a treacherous ravine. My crash was monumental too, but it didn’t conclude with the shattering of bones and perforating of the body against sharp, ragged, and inconsiderate rocks. It was instead a soft thud on a bed of mud and sparse foliage. For a great plummet, this was amusingly genteel landing. So, as awed as I ever was, I rolled to confront the structure that besieged my existence for such a long period. It was then the horror-struck right into my face.

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It was not a prison but the cranium of a being of gargantuan proportions that had my existence manacled for so long. At last, I was liberated and now could confront my family as I intended to do for a long time. But then, I learned about the fickleness of a human frame.

After serving for so long in captivity, mine had turned into a petal. No matter how sincere my effort was, my feet refused to collaborate. Even my arms withdrew the support. But I was adamant. Mustering the last drop of my strength, I pushed myself. However, instead of a drag, I rolled. Worried that my languor might have piqued too far, I again pushed myself, only to repeat the motion. I had suffered too much and waited for too long to wait any further. So, I again moved (or bowl for the sake of correctness), and slowly but gradually I moved. Though it was an insignificant progression, it brought solace especially amid the land of giant dwellings. But the exertion was tiresome. Soon, I struggled to even twitch. It was then my attention fell on a puddle and it brushed my interest to some other matter. I could peek at the summit of my head, and it was as white as a lime! I could accept that my hair could have perished to the sweep of time, but how could a skin suffer such degradation. Only one thought registered my mind; the fiend hasn’t even spared a drop of blood.

Under dire circumstances, the need for a verbal retaliation increases tenfold, but I preferred to know the extent of my deterioration before resorting to such offensive tactics. So, with what remained of my strength, I pulled myself closer to the water for a better perspective and what I found even the sufferer of the worst nightmare couldn’t comprehend.

I was reduced to nothing but an eye. A single human eye. Then, as fate had it, what I experienced after being condemned to this place, flashed in front of my eyes. Each and every event turned into a fresh pod. Some magic did not stiffen me. The two extremes of heaven never conspired to tear me apart. No monster tried to ravage me from inside. No demon captured me. It was the decay of my carcass. I was dead; deceased long ago, so long I even forgot what fate befell me. Somehow, out of a cruel phenomenon, my eye survived nature’s own device of destruction, and my soul was trapped inside it, witnessing everything in an unredeemable paralysis.

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I lost hope, but what could I have done except to shed infertile tears? So, I wept, and when dejection stabbed at its worst, memories of mirth also seeped in. Though feeble, they filled me with a determination to see my family for one last time and to deliver them my last message. The only question was, how? It was then my eyes fell on a dog. It stood a few meters away, with his fixated on me. Initially, I doubted its intentions, but it proved that I only flailed meaninglessly amid a torrent of speculations. The beast didn’t attack me, instead, it closed on me and licked me. I was not much of a believer of the notion that animals could feel and communicate, but the ardency and compassion it showed while consoling me, moistened me like my maiden touch. Had my eyes retained the eyelids, I would have closed them to this heavenly sensation.

The dog picked me into its mouth and left the place. After a long time, the orange warmth of the evening sky bathed my organ. The sight of a departing sun greeted me. I was relieved. My appreciation of the creature grew. However, before my admiration could come to a completion, I felt an extraneous pressure. Probably it is exerting more pressure than necessary. I sighed and progressed to caution it, but, at that moment, the compression increased a magnitude more, preceded by a pop sound, and then everything turned black. It was the last thing I felt and the last thing I heard, before plunging into oblivion. Alas! Even docility betrayed me.

-Nishant Verma