The Stone

The Stone

4 mins

The walls of Paradise Greens stood proud and tall, encompassing not just a residential block but heaven itself on this mediocre Earth. Like guards around a castle, these walls protected the exalted heavens from the paltry world outside. The world within the walls was unique; it housed only the rich and filthy rich. The lives of these people were just as twisted as the rest, but they had the privilege of masking their complexities with gorgeous attires and a brilliantly white, evidently fake smile.

The streets outside were smooth as butter, vehicles racing on it with what seemed to match the speed of light. Scarring this marvelous beauty were four poor children who spent their childhood on the pavement across the opulent, shielding walls. They had dirty faces; they wore torn clothes and fed themselves once in the entire day. The dogs of Paradise Greens were better nurtured.

The children had moved near the Paradise Greens a month ago, in the hope that the billionaires would have a few coins to spare for the starving. Their condition had been worse since. They survived off the leftovers that they found in the nearby bins and the kindness of one stranger.

The stranger would walk the heavenly streets exactly at 12 noon. He wore simple clothes and a broad, lively smile. Everyday, he would jaunt down the pavement, stop before the shabby kids who weren't noticed by anyone, and give them a piece of fresh, crispy, buttered bread. The stranger never spoke a word, nor did the children. They would look at him with wide eyes each time, too stunned to express their immense gratitude. None of the kids knew where this stranger came from, or where he went. Just that he came with bread and went with a smile.

The world outside Paradise Greens was no short of mysteries. Another mysterious man, of stark contradiction to the one previously mentioned, was the guest of the Streets during the dangerous dark of midnight. He would come, clamber The Walls, enter The Paradise and exit it with a bag hung on his shoulders; all the activities performed with absolute silence. Not an owl would witness the man, except the eldest of the four kids, who had lost his sleep the day his father was brutally killed in his. He would react similarly to the Man of Midnight as he did to the Man of Noon. He would look at him with wide eyes and always be too stunned to express his immense fear.

This routine had set itself comfortably in the lives of all people surrounding the Paradise Greens, until one fortunate, and equally unfortunate, date. The insomniac child was cradling his younger brother in his lap, customarily waiting for the Man of Midnight to come silently. The man came, but his shoes were making a thudding noise, as he ran at full pace on the Street. Chasing him were men dressed in Khakis, armed and intimidating, determined to catch the defaulter and send him to jail. The Insomniac saw this with a new-found engrossment. Like a change in the mundane schedule; like a new TV program on the boring channel about cooking. Before he could process any of this, he found his hand sliding to pick up a stone and throwing it at the mysterious man. The man tumbled, fell, and was within the inescapable grapple of the buff arms of the Khaki men. The Insomniac let out a sigh; a sigh of relief, pride, and gratitude.

Time flew and the sun was at its peak. The children eagerly waited for the Man of Noon to bring their only tasty meal of the day. The mysterious man did not come. Not for the entire day; a portent that he would not come for the next week, the next month, the next year. The absence of one day carried the strong message that he would not cross the Street again. It was clear as crystal. The Insomniac let out a sigh; a sigh of regret, compunction, and heartbreak.


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