The Case Of Missing Child
The Case Of Missing Child15 mins 600 15 mins 600
I was playing with my nephew Vinit at the backyard of my house, Vinit is just 2 years old cute, ever-smiling boy.
I was meeting after a few months so I wanted to have a picture of us together so I brought my camera along withstand to put it up there. I set a 5-second delay and went in front of the camera along with Vinit in my arm.
5….4…3...2.1 and photo clicked with a flash of camera and picture taken within microseconds. I immediately ran towards the camera to have a look at the photo in camera out of excitement but as I saw the photo I standstill as a frozen mountain, it felt earth moved beneath me as I was standing still there with no clue about what just happened, there was only me but no Vinit in my arm in the photo. As I tried to look closely, I saw having a pose of holding the baby but no one with me in that photo.
It took me in a great shock, I just couldn't believe what was happening with me. One moment before Vinit was with me and another moment he wasn't, all I could hear was echelon of his laughter.
Suddenly I felt someone putting a hand on my shoulder but it took a brief moment for me to have my senses back. My sister was standing behind me and as she saw me she realized something wrong happened with me, she started asking questions, a lot of questions but when she saw a picture in-camera, tears started falling from her eyes. She barely spoke in my ears “Kishan, you need to stop this, it wasn't your mistake, it's been 4 years since it happened, please make peace with it and move on”.
Today is the 13th of Feb, 2018. It is a day of festival Maha Shivratri or the "great night of Shiva" that comes once in a year, just before the arrival of spring. As it used to happen in our home, it was customary for both my sisters to join us for lunch at our home. Since the marriage of my elder sister Krishna in 2007, she always comes to visit us on this holy day. The same routine was followed by younger sister Priya when she got married in 2015.
The significance of Shivratri to worship Lord Shiva is to introspect and become meditative but since happening of that horrendous afternoon of 27 Feb 2014 the day of Shivratri I lost my self-introspective and meditative skills forever. The day I lost son of my sister Krishna in front of me, I saw everything by my own eyes but nobody believed for what was happened as I was lone witness, they thought because of severe shock I am making a story for the kidnapping of my nephew and not able to accept reality for moving on. Everyone else believed that Vinit was kidnapped when I took him with me in our garden and never found it again. With time my mind lost track of what’s real and what’s not. All I have now is the memory of him but mind subconsciously hides the event of that day from me to access forever.
Someone once said “Active imagination requires a state of reverie. Half-way between sleep and waking.” But I do not have that luxury to distinguish between those two. After a struggle of a few months, I embraced a new chapter of my life until yesterday when Krishna caught me flying in the sky of reverie. Sometimes imagination carries us to worlds that never were but only exist in our subconscious mind.
In 2015, I joined a multinational company and started working as a system engineer since then I never looked back, I kept working hard day and kept getting success in my corporate day. Everything was happening normally in my life till yesterday when I had a flashback of the incident when I went home for the Shivratri celebration but I came back to Ahmedabad as soon as possible to take me away from my past. I too had other reasons for a comeback to the city. It was Neha. My girlfriend. We were together since last Valentine’s Day when she proposed to me. With time our love story grew stronger, now it was very difficult for both of us to spend a day apart. She knew everything about me except that incident of my life, how come she knows? Even I don’t remember it all as it never happened. The shame of my mysterious past never let me sleep at night in peace until Neha caressed my life and gave meaning to our love.
“I’m very happy to see you back”, she hugged me tight as I entered our flat.
“You know what, only your love brings me back here. If anything right in my life I did was when I gave my heart to you. I fell in love with you because you loved me when I couldn’t love myself”
“Why did you said that? Without you, my day is not complete if I don’t tell you I love you.”
“I love you too” flown from my mouth just as words were coming from our heart in unison.
We spent a whole evening at her favorite luxurious garden restaurant. The quality time spent with Neha saved me from dread feelings. It is very strange that nature allows you to experience the most beautiful feeling of love as well as face you against your worst fear but today love conquered over the devil. After a well-spent evening, we came back home and I didn’t realize when we locked ourselves in love and fall asleep and lost in the world of our imagination. Our world.
The sudden laughter of a child made me more curious as I continue to walk towards the echelon of laughter. It was dark night enough dark to be lost for anyone in that jungle. As I continue to walk, the voice of the child appears transforming from laughter to creepy cry. My heartbeat stopped abruptly when I saw a child crying a child lying on the bank of the lake in the middle of the jungle. I immediately looked around to see if anyone around but found only myself in very dark greenery of Mother Nature. Unable to cope up with impending situation I was in, I instantly lift child from ground and took him into my arm and caressed to make him feel better. As I looked around to find a safe place for a child, I found nothing but murky surrounding trees and as I turned I found everything around lake turning into red. Leaves, branches of the tree, even water of lake turned red complementing itself as one of an integral part of the dark world.
Baffled by events taking place in the dark jungle my heart was racing like never before. Suddenly my eyes started suffering color blindness and having blur vision of everything around. Between all these, I noticed a child suddenly stopped crying and was staring straight into my eyes. This terrifying act frightened me and sent chills down my spine but since I had nowhere to go so I moved from there and ran away from the lake, a little droplet of drizzle fell on the face of a child. It was of same colour as of that grisly environment, dark red yet it felt something human to me. Before I realized its blood rain from bloody clouds gathered upon jungle, I saw some figures appearing behind branches of a tree. Before I scream in fear and shout for help, the child was started to vanish from my arms and becoming vaguer. Sometimes he was in my arms, sometimes not, sometimes crying and shedding tears of blood through his damp little frightening eyes. At that very moment, everything seemed falling apart, I was barely able to keep my feet on the ground. At that very moment someone patted me from behind, it took me in great peril and I started to faint on fear of uncertain danger of not knowing what was standing behind me. The fear of facing my fears was harder to overcome than fear itself.
I found myself sweating profusely on the bed in the middle of night. The clock hanging on the wall in front read 2:22 am. Neha immediately woke up as I was breathing heavily, not realizing what had happened with me she started patting my back and said gently in my ear “Baby, it must be the dream, don’t worry, I’m here” and passed me a bottle of water. I took a brief moment to realize about what I just went through, the dream, the world, the child, everything seemed real like I were been there, just as I always belonged there. She put her head on my shoulder and kept caressing my hair till my breathing became normal and we went back lying on the bed but sleep was gone a thousand miles away from me so I kept myself on the bed staring at the most beautiful face of my world.
Kishan, “how do you lost him?” my father asked but my eyes were fixed on some point in space.
“You supposed to be with him all the time, how careless you can be my child? Why don’t you say something and tell us what happened in the garden? Who took him? Please for the sake of god tell us something. My brother in law kept asking questions, sometimes he was furious, another moment pleading me to open my mouth that can help to find Vinit.
While males of the family were trying to get something out of me, the females were all crying, my sister Krishna couldn’t stop sobbing, and she was in no state of talk. Amid all this, I was standing tall between them. I faced my worst fear and there was nothing else I could afraid of. Not even devil, not anymore.
Can I be forgiven for all I have done to come at this point in time?
I don’t know. I don’t know.
I was trying very hard not to cry because every tear is just one more reminder of what I just lost but did I?
Soon the police arrived at our place, they began an investigation but they had no clue to from where, to begin with. I was an alone witness who went mum at the most undesirable time. Days passed but nobody able to get a trace of Vinit, all made their version of the story, and most of them believed he was kidnapped because of lack of my attentiveness. But after all, they were guesses, nobody ever got to know my version of the story. The real one.
Just like me, Neha also works at a reputed IT Company. We both almost leave the house at some time in the morning but I usually come late at night. She feels very alone and bored at home when I run late in my coming back home in the evening but she understands my nature of work, she knows I do not like to leave any unfinished task behind. I am the person who never leaves any stone unturned, after all, you never know what lies beneath them.
On that very day, I stand from the desk and left the office at sharp 08:30 PM. Knowing I might be late I was in a bit hurry, most of my colleagues were already left the office for their home. I took the escalator to the basement, a lot of thoughts were running in my mind. I am a Philosopher by the mind. It’s very hard to describe what I think and very difficult to understand unless you see it through my mind.
When I reached the parking lot in the basement, the floor was almost empty, only a few cars were parked with no sign of any person. The flickering of lights was making the scene more horrific than it already was. It seemed that I was relieving one of my nightmares. Closer I was approaching my car more glared my vision was becoming. I saw someone standing beside my car, as I went near I found a child crying near my car facing a wall. My heart already started beating very fast in unknown far of undesirable outcome of this situation. After all, I went through in my life I wasn’t sure whether this was reality or just an illusion. One thing I was sure of is that this isn’t normal happening. I sensed something creepy about the behaviour of the child. He stopped crying and stand still in that corner facing the wall.
Despite being very frightened at that very moment I quickly walked towards him to see his face. Just when I was about to put my hand on his shoulder, someone has blown the horn and took my attention to see a car coming out of the parking lot. When I turned back to look at a child, I got blinded by extremely bright white light. I just couldn’t stand on my knees. It took me a brief moment to get my senses back and to get into my car and drive back home.
I came back home as soon as possible and opened my flat to embrace my love, but to my great surprise the nobody seems to be in flat, no lights were on, the complete darkness was drowning me to the very world I was running away from, suddenly someone hugged me tight from behind, it almost gave me heartbreak.
“Surprise!!!!!! Darling”... a female voice stuck in my ear and lights were turned on. It was none other than Neha.
“Hello, where are you wondering at? I’m here” Neha said after finding me in great shock and looking at some point in space in fear.
“No baby, you took me in pleasant surprise that I wasn’t ready of,” I said to please her.
I observed something special planned for this evening as I entered the dining area, she had made dinner for both of us and placed on the dining table, ready to be served. She took the cake from the refrigerator and placed some candles on it and gave fire to them using a matchbox.
In an atmosphere of beautiful aura that she created, I was still standing clueless, I had no idea about reason for this celebration.
She connected her iPhone to the music system and played a Birthday wish song. Before I understand everything she too joins the song and took my hands in her started her steps to complete a couple of dance.
“Happy birthday my love” she whispered in my ear and kissed me.
It was my birthday, even I forget about it but how can she? And as a matter of fact, she didn’t. She planned all this for me, for making me happy, watching her very happy and content, I felt very happy and sad at a time. I was the luckiest person in the world to have a girl like Neha and was very sad for being lost in the world of unknown even when she always stand beside me in my ups and downs. At that very moment I made my mind to settle this for once and all, I will do everything in my power to make it right, to clear the mess I have created a long time ago even if it takes my life. I was more determined than ever as I embraced Neha in my arms and whispered “thank you” in her ear.
The time on radium wall clock read 2 am but sleep was long gone away from me, even Neha was being in my arms sleeping peacefully I wasn’t able to turn off my mind. The thoughts were occupied by past, present, and future that yet to come. I stood from bed softly without disturbing the sleep of Neha and opened my drawer and took a car key and changed clothes and went straight to the parking lot, within few minutes I was on the highway back home. This time I wanted to do it in a perfect way. I wanted to finish it for once and all.
Sometimes what you refuse to see about yourself is the same you do not want others to see but I wanted to see my shadow self. I wanted to embrace my inner darkness. The truth will never come as long as it remains in faintest shadow of egotism. Fear is the path to the dark side and my fear exposed to Vinit to be trapped forever in a world where only dark shadow self of people exists.
I took out some old camera and tripod which was the only way to enter the world, dark creation of devil’s mind. I set the camera on tripod and timer to 5 seconds and went in front of it. The clock started its tick-tock and with a bright flashlight I was somewhere else, I was standing at the same spot where all it happened.
The dark moon day of the lunar phase cycle of the moon made it every object that looks black. I knew I had a very few minutes before I will be thrown back in reality in front of the camera so I had to find me, my shadow self. The dark inhuman images were lurking from the sky and they all started to notice humans in their world. I ran very fast towards my house, I went straight to my garden but found no one there. I was looking everywhere to find even traces of myself but found nothing but more darkness.
“Kishan, come here”
A familiar voice came from behind neem tree but nobody was there as I went near I saw two shadows on ground confirming two people behind the tree. Each step I was walking was taking me towards the past and future at a time. My visions were getting weak as I was walked towards it, all of a sudden a 6-year-old boy came in front of me and raised his right hand signaling me to take his hand.
AS I hold his hand, he took me the place where I had kept a camera. Meanwhile, the other shadow did appear behind a tree with a smile of satisfaction. I knew he was waiting for this moment to happen for 4 years. He kept the child safe all this time that lost with him on that dreadful day. We kept walking towards bright white light until we came out on the other side. Reality.
It is a very beautiful morning, the rising sun is setting its fresh rays on plants. The flowers are shining in sunshine leaving pleasant fragrance in the atmosphere.
I pressed the doorbell key and took the boy in my arm and waited for someone to open the door. A few moments later my mother opened the door. She had a very puzzled look as I was standing in front of my house without any intimation of me coming home while a boy in my arms made her more nervous. Before I say something she shouted in the house to my father for calling Krishna immediately and took Vinit in her arm and started showering her love on him madly. I took a deep breath and entered home with big relief of getting Vinit back from the other side but only I knew what I lost in the process.