THE STORY NO ONE'S EVER HEARD
THE STORY NO ONE'S EVER HEARD
Neha groggily opened her eyes. It was a Sunday, and she was going to enjoy it to her heart’s content. She wasn’t going to make any phone calls. Neither would she accept any. She would be all by herself. Lazily she looked at the clock. Seven o'clock! But, she has been sleeping for a long time after the sun rose. Forget it, she thought. Who’s going to break her head over it, when she had resolved to shut out her known world for an entire day!
After enjoying the longest possible shower in her recent times, she came out draped in a white towel, stood in front of the mirror, and admired her own figure. She knew she had a perfect figure with all the curves at the appropriate places. Slowly, she spread the rose flavored cream over her body, rubbed it to perfection and drew her eyelashes. Then she applied the best lipstick to match the dress she would put on. With everything in place, she looked at her image in the mirror, and a smile of satisfaction spread across her face. She baked six slices of bread and spread a luxurious amount of butter on them. She would indulge herself to a heavy breakfast before stepping out. She poured a large mug of coffee for herself. Then she looked at the clock once again. Seven o’ clock! What the hell! Did the clock stop working? She looked at the clock with more attention this time. The hands of the clock were working perfectly. Then, why is it showing seven o’ clock, at least, two hours since she last noticed it?
She flipped open her mobile. It too showed seven o’ clock. Strange! She thought. A pair of denim colored jeans with a red top and a pair of black hiking boots enamored with dark brown sun glasses glamorized her no less than a film star. Attired thus, she stepped out of her apartment in high spirits. As she stepped out of her apartment gates, she was a bit surprised when the two security guards did not bow to her in the usual fashion they did every other day. She did not pay much heed to their insolence and walked away along the lane leading to the highway ahead, which was always bustling with activity. But, she found something missing, as she stepped onto the highway. The highway was unusually deserted except for the mess caused by a pile up of a few vehicles a few meters ahead. The vehicles were clustered together in the most unusual of ways and a few dead bodies could be seen popping out of their windows. The tires of the vehicles appeared burnt and smoke could be seen emanating from them. As she neared the cluster, she stared in disbelief at the road ahead. Corpses were lying everywhere with nobody to take care of their cremation. There were no police personnel manning the disastrous scene on the highway. A large banyan tree was standing only on its stump, bereft of any leaves on its branches. The tree seemed to have been incinerated by some kind of an incendiary as its branches were blackened by its effect. As she tried to take stock of the situation, she was mortified with fear when she saw the drains on both sides of the road filled with corpses, and the sewage overflowing its banks. There was a very prohibitive stench filling the air all around her. She felt she couldn’t stand the sight and stench any longer. She wanted a reprieve from the sight of death all around her. She wished for something to move. But, nothing did. She was completely confounded by the abominable sight all around her. She wanted to run. She wanted to escape. What on earth had happened to the people all around? Where was she? She almost puked.
She started running back towards her apartment building. She could take it no longer. As she hurtled towards the gates of her apartment, she stopped to take a closer look at the two guards. Her blood froze as she confronted them. Both the guards were dead, their dresses simply dangling from their shoulders as they leaned against the pillars holding the gates. The flesh seemed to have been peeled off from their bodies, their eyes popping out of their sockets and their boots almost pulverized. The shock she received from this sight lent wings to her feet and she sprinted up the stairs to her own flat, opened the front door and slamming it with a bang, she ran to the wash basin to vomit out the lump that was rising up her throat. After relieving herself, she turned the tap on to clean herself and the basin. And, then she saw it. She couldn’t believe her own eyes. Her own skin was peeling off and her eyes were popping out of their sockets. She watched herself in dismay as she was literally deforming into the shape of a zombie. Frustrated, she threw her clenched fist at the mirror to strike down the figure of the zombie in it.
Her hand simply went through the glass of the mirror. As she drew her hand back, not a shard of broken glass could be discovered. The mirror was as intact as the hand that she had flung at it in her rage. She thought, she was hallucinating. All that she had seen on the streets and then back at home seemed to haunt her like a nightmare. She wanted to believe that she had been dreaming all along. She ran to her bed room to lie down and take a rest, so that, she could clear her head, but, she got the biggest surprise of her life on her bed. The very bed that she had been lying on throughout the night before, from where she had risen awake in the morning to enjoy a day of merry making was now occupied by a girl of her age sleeping in the exact style that she did, face down on the pillow. Visibly irritated, she turned the face of the girl towards herself and was petrified with what lay in front of her. She was staring at her own self in a peacefully sleeping posture.