A Mare's Nest...!
A Mare's Nest...!
I just got down from the bus. It was raining cats and dogs. I didn't bring the raincoat with me as I didn't expect there would be rain at all. It would be a ten minutes walk from the bus stop to the house. The sky is pouring a huge bulk of water as the tar-black clouds unleashed their content. Though with a quickened pace, when I reached my house, I was totally drenched in the heavy downpour. My clothes were glued to me inseparable. 'Naresh might have been in the house already' I thought. Myself and Naresh, we both are working in different companies. But, we were from the same college. So, we stuck together and rented a house jointly. That was fine for me. Because, that reduces the expenses.
I stood in front of the house and pressed the calling bell. After a couple of minutes, the door was opened and Naresh stood there with a smile attached on his face.
"Hi Ashok, it's you! Why so late man? Seemed you forgot your raincoat?", he let out an array of questions.
"First, let me come inside", The rain was horrible and a sudden brief rush of wind sent a shiver through my whole body.
"Hey, you didn't answer me. Why so late, man?",he asked again.
"The manager gave me some last minute tasks. That's why"
"Okay, I kept your dinner on the table. Suit yourself!"
"Did you cook it?",i asked with a surprise.
"Oh, come on, how the hell i? I have a lot of work to do,man! I ordered from swiggy only",he retreated into his room and bent over his laptop.
I stepped into the shower, toes flinching as they touched the chilled ceramic floor.
I turned the dial, old and metallic, releasing thousands of lukewarm drops, drenching my already wet hair and trickled down my back.
As the water poured down, and dripped by my side, my mind faded into dullness and everything became a foggy illusion. The sensation of the steamy water calmed me; it took my mind of things. All the things I honestly don't care about. It's the water. My mind swirls, and it's like I'm standing under an everlasting waterfall. Ever so beautiful, but it can never last, I know that.
I finished my shower and came out of the bathroom afresh. After changing into my nightdress, I went into the dining room. Naresh kept a bowl of veg fried rice on the table. I took a bottle of coke from the fridge and settled in front of the TV. Finished my dinner within fifteen minutes, switched off the TV and placed the empty bowl in the sink. I entered into my room and settled on my bed with a Stephen King's novel.
I might have read for half an hour. My eyelids became heavy as I felt drowsy. When my right hand went over the bedside switch, I heard a loud thud at the window in the hall. I came out of the room and reached to the window. The wind rushed into the window as if it had been restrained for time out of mind and it was determined to outrun any chaser.
I looked through the window. The trees were writhing and flailing, their groans of pain carried away by the wind. The rain hammered the ground, an impenetrable salvo of bullets.
Livid black clouds reared up like a cobra readying itself for attack. They spat lightning mercilessly onto the pitiful scene below, which cut through the sky not unlike burning venom.
Suddenly, I heard an eerie howl of a wolf. A loud thunder rumbled distantly. The raucously swaying trees looked like the ghosts dancing in the background of the dark sky to the unearthly, creepy tune of the atmosphere. Unexpectedly, I heard, the howl of the wolf was coming from the backyard. A sudden chill went through my spine. I closed the window and rushed into my room locking the door behind. Somehow, I slept in spite of the fear.
I woke up as if it was an emergency, as if sleeping had become a dangerous thing. My heart was fluttering fast and there was a buzzing in my brain. And so this day will pass as if I am hungover, not from drink, but from the nightmares that demand solutions.
Streaks of sunlight penetrated the window and blinded me. I sat up, dragged my feet off the bed, and rubbed my knuckles onto my eyes. I stretched my arms above my head and yawned. I watched my legs dangle above the floor.
The dream was very vivid.
It's the feeling that you have inside of you in the dreams you dream, the people who pay a visit in them, the ventures you take, the places you go, the things you taste, even if they're not real you still feel every bit of them. But, if they were real, not just the dreams, but, leaving some manifestations over your body, like, some real injuries, would you call it a dream? You would be confused. Wouldn't you? I was also having the same confusion.
Let me tell you my dream - or a dream inside the dream or was it an incident?-last night. Being seated in front of my computer in my office, I was just looking at the emails. Suddenly, a message popped out. The message said 'you are not a human. You are a wolf. This is not your office. This is a forest', for which I was bewildered and panicked. I straightened up and looked around me. Nobody was there. All the seats were empty and all the computers were slowly transmuting into trees. They were growing large and densely fast enough to create a vast expansion. The building and the furnitures were disappeared. Suddenly, I was in the middle of a forest and the light of the day metamorphosed into the darkness of the night.
Stepping into the forest robbed you of one sense and heightened the others. It was disorientating to be almost blinded but given the ears of a wolf. Even the soft susurration of the branches felt heavy in the ears. The sense of smell was sensitized, the loam in the earth and the decomposing leaves made the atmosphere close and thick. The blackness nurtured a sense of claustrophobia inside you even though the woodland stretched unbroken for miles.
I, suddenly, heard a long and loud howl of a wolf. A chill went through my spine. Adrenaline flooded my system, my heart pumped and beat like it was trying to escape. I thought my heart would explode and my eyes were wide with fear. My body wanted to run fast for the safety. And the wolf was suddenly in front of me, staring. I was frozen. Beads of sweat appeared at the back of my neck and over the forehead. My brain advised my body to take the flight mode. My pupils were dilated, engulfing the vast atmosphere around me. My muscles became stronger because of the sudden adrenaline surge. I ran and ran and ran. Oh my God, ahead was me, lay a steep cliff overlooking a deep valley. I had myself thrown off over the cliff, falling, falling, falling...
I blinked open my eyes. I saw the time in my mobile. It was two in the morning. My nightdress was drenched with perspiration because of the overactive sweat glands. My heart was beating so fast. I came out from the room, took a bottle of water from the fridge and gulped down half the bottle. It calmed me a little. Still, it was raining heavily. The rain poured down over the earth with a roar. The sound of emptiness was disrupted by the loud frightening boom of thunder. Again, I heard the same howl of a wolf, this time behind the house. Now, I wanted to see it and face it head on. Praying God, I opened the door. A strong, chill wind slapped at my face. I took a pen torch from my pocket and lit it. I didn't bother about the thick icy sheets of rain obscuring my vision. The flashlight died just inches into the wall of water, reflecting off millions of raindrops which are continuously pounding at the ground. I walked with the water running freely down my face and into my already soaked clothes, with a determination.
At last, I saw the wolf. The wolf was as white as the snow. I noticed it's colour when the lightnings threw light on him. His fur, short over his body and longer at the neck, is smooth and shiny. His stance was confident and body muscular, he knows how to take care of himself. He just looked at me. He didn't do any harm to me. It was a surprise to me that I didn't feel any fear at all. And something totally unexpected happened. The wolf spoke!
"I came in your dream, not to frighten you, but, to befriend with you!"
"Why do you want to befriend with me", I felt a feeling of stange calmness inside me.
"Because, you are not a human. You are one among us"
"But, I'm in human form",i didn't know why the hell I was responding his questions.
"On outside you may look like a human. But, inside, you are a wolf"
"Do you have any proof for that?"
"Use your four limbs to stand like me"
Why I was obeying, I really didn't know. But, I put my both hands on the ground and imitated him. When doing so, I felt a strange happiness creeping inside me.
"Now, raise your head and howl like me...oowoooooooo"
"Oowookkooo", I coughed the howl.
"Try one more time"
"Oowoooooooo", this time I howled perfectly.
"Now, come inside the forest running behind me"
I obeyed. I ran using my legs and hands, running behind him with joy bursting inside me, unaware of the injuries created by the surrounding vegetations. I was ecstatic!
Now, at eight in the morning, I was well awake, I heard Naresh was pounding repeatedly on the door. I opened the door. He was perplexed and bewildered on looking at me.
"Ashok, why so many injuries on you?"
"Let me have a neat bath first. Then we will talk"
I walked leisurely to the shower, steam filling the room as I cut the shower on. I bathed my skin lightly, taking careful notice not to touch the bruises that scattered my body. After my shower was finished, donned my formals, I came out.
Naresh handed me a cup filled with coffee and asked,
"Now, tell me, why so many bruises over your skin?"
"If I tell you the truth, you won't believe me"
"Okay, I will believe whatever you say. Just tell the story"
"I am gradually transmuting into a wolf",i told seriously.
"What, my good Lord! Hah hah ha", Naresh had a good sarcastic laugh,"Man, are you out of your mind?"
"See, you are not believing me!"
"You might have had some god-damned dreams last night"
"Then, what about the scratches and injuries all over my body. These happened when I was following the wolf into the forest"
"Oh my God, are you serious?"
"I am damn serious and I decided to live inside the forest hereafter"
"Okay, let's do one thing. First, let's consult a psychiatrist today. After that you can go ahead with your living in the forest"
"Do you think, I am insane?"
"No, you just consult for my sake"
I simply nodded my head.
Naresh took his mobile and fixed an appointment at ten thirty today morning with Dr. Parthasarathi, the leading psychiatrist in the city. We reached his office at ten.
His office atmosphere was completely different not like the common hospitals. The air had a perfumed scent and the seats were plush. Every surface was dustless. The nurses were unhurried and they moved with a serene purposefulness from room to room on their rounds. There were vases of flowers and beautiful framed pieces of art on the walls. Exactly at ten thirty we were called inside.
Dr Parthasarathi was a middle aged man of medium height with an athletic body which might have come after a plenty of exercise. His powerful eyes exuded confidence. He was cheerful, easy going and well behaved. After being seated, he asked,
"Well, gentle men, what can I do for you"
Naresh told the whole story.
The doctor turned towards me and asked," how do you feel now?"
"Sir, actually I am gradually transmuting into a wolf. I'm not a human",i replied and just kneeled and kept both my hands on the floor in the animal position. I raised my head and howled,"oowoooooooo....", and said pathetically,
"Sir, I am really a wolf. Let me go to the forest"
"Okay, okay! I accept. You really are a wolf. You should need some strength before going into the forest. The nurse will give you an injection to increase your strength. Then you can go"
"Okay, doctor", I said happily.
The nurse gave me an injection.
I came to know what drug she gave me at that time and the other discussions that happened between Naresh and the doctor only two days later.
The nurse gave me a tranquilizer.
"Why is he behaving like a wolf, doctor?", Naresh asked.
"This condition is called clinical lycanthropy"
"What's it doctor?"
"In Greek folklore, lycanthropy means...a wolfman or called as a werewolf. But, in certain psychiatric conditions, for example in schizophrenia, the person may having an illusion that he is in the process of transforming into an animal or have already transformed into an animal, in your friend's case, a wolf. It has been associated with the altered states of mind that accompany psychosis"
"But, the injuries over his body were real! How will you explain them, doctor?"
"Your friend acted according to his illusion. He really ran into the forest following a wolf in his imagination!"
"Is it treatable, doctor?", Naresh asked worriedly.
"Yes, of course! We use hypnotherapy, psychoanalytical psychotherapy, and antipsychotic drugs to treat this condition. You need not worry. But, he has to stay here for a couple of days"
"Okay doctor, thank you"
"You are welcome!"
Naresh came out and informed my parents.